I finally was able to make it to Boule after my first failed attempt a couple of months ago. My friend Mei-Mei and I dropped by the West Hollywood patisserie after some quick hat shopping at the Goorin Bros. sale on Melrose (scored a cute knit cap btw).
Since it was a cold day with an extra chilly wind, I thought tea and some macarons would hit the spot. On a late Saturday afternoon, the small store wasn’t all that busy, just a couple of women marveling over the delicacies behind the glass cases. I knew Mei-Mei would love this place as she appreciates good food as much as I do and has a sweet tooth that is almost as big as mine.
We oohed and aahed at the selection of gourmet chocolates, designer desserts, macarons and sorbet as well as the housewares for sale along the wall. Hmm, $28 for a peppermill.
I asked the cheery counterperson about the flavors of the macarons on display since there weren’t any signs. He introduced me to the egg nog, vanilla, chocolate, passionfruit and mint chocolate cookies, saying that the mint chocolate has been the most popular one lately. It’s festive, it makes sense. The macaron flavors vary day to day as Boule apparently doesn’t do daily flavors like cupcake shops do but rather the chefs bring out whatever they feel like making. Fair enough. I, of course, had to try one of each ($1.25/a cookie).
The decor is reminiscent of a jewelry store, with high ceilings and colors as blue as a Tiffany box. Glass cases show off sweet treats made from fresh, seasonal ingredients most often found at local farmers markets.
But wait, I really should try a couple of the chocolates as well. I hadn’t realized it at the time but each tiny piece of gourmet chocolate costs $2.50 a piece. Double the price of one macaron!
However, I had to try the one named “Beckham” because that just sounds yummy, the name more so than the chocolate/curry combination, heh. I also ordered the coffee/cardamom chocolate. There were many other exotic-sounding combinations but this was a good enough start for me.
For tea, I chose the vanilla green tea ($3). Very exciting considering I usually only see vanilla black tea everywhere, and green tea is so much better for you. Unfortunately, they only put the tea in a paper cup. I guess I was kinda hoping for a better presentation for those who want to enjoy their hot beverage in the store.
There are a couple of long tables for dining patrons but everything seems boxed to go. Why not give us a nice chocolate brown and light blue teapot to steep our tea in while we sit? I know, this is very nitpicky but it’s something to think about. Seems like a small extra step that could be made but was overlooked.
Regardless, I was about to dig into my box of macarons when Mei-Mei handed me one of Boule’s homemade caramels (95 cents each). The long cylindrical candy was wrapped in a shiny translucent candy wrapper that I tore into, flashing back to that time when Charlie was giving me a tour of his chocolate factory. Oh wait, that wasn’t me.
The caramel was creamy with bits of sea salt (?) in it making for a nice salty sweet taste. I loved it but later Mei-Mei told me that her boyfriend, whom she got an extra piece for, thought it too salty. My bf tried it later, too, and reached the same conclusion. Whateverrrr! I thought it was divine. But 95 cents does seem a bit much for a piece of caramel.
Although the store has a big sign that does say, “‘…The finest handmade caramel I’ve ever come across.’ – Oprah (O Magazine 2007).” Well well!
Next I tried the Beckham chocolate. Very spicy and unusual but too brief to really enjoy. I think I need a chocolate bar version or at least four more pieces to truly get a sense of it but at $2.50 a piece that ain’t gonna happen.
Since my 15 minutes at the parking meter were almost up, I only had enough time to try one macaron with my lovely flavored tea. The vanilla cookie seemed like the best choice but in the end wasn’t really as it ended up tasting plain with the tea. Ah well, I still appreciated the lightness and texture of the cookie. Can a cookie taste cute?
Back at home I continued to enjoy the rest of my sugary treasures while playing Scrabulous and watching Sex and the City. Twas heaven. I wasn’t too crazy about the egg nog one and found the passionfruit shocking. But I think it’s because it seems too tropical for a cold November day. Rather, I loved the mint chocolate and chocolate flavors the best.
In any case, if you get a chance to take a break from your hectic holiday shopping at the Beverly Center, go to Boule, grab a seat at one of the tables and just enjoy a nice hot tea with these delicate cookies. You’ll feel worlds better.
408 N. La Cienega Boulevard
West Hollywood, California 90048 (map)