I don’t ordinarily review restaurants or anything here on my blog, but this bakery is worth a mention. The first thing it has going for it is location. Up until today, I was not aware of any decent bakeries near me. I know a good place for challah and a good place for donuts, but beyond those things, I would have to face traffic and trek further into LA. This is not always an appealing thought if all you want is a cookie or a baguette.
The second thing, and most important, is that the pastries I tasted were great. Everything else looked equally good.
L’Artiste Patisserie opened fairly recently and yesterday was the first day I stopped in there. It had gotten a mention on Chowhound, which is how I learned about it. I went around lunch time and there were about 8-10 people seated in the patio area eating sandwiches and other lunch offerings. Inside, there were two pastry cases: one with breads and morning pastries and one with cookies and desserts. I decided that I would go back for bread another time and treated myself to a few macarons and an espresso chocolate chip cookie.
The macaroons, from back to front in the photo above, are: lemon, lavender, cinnamon-orange, vanilla and pistachio. The lemon and cinnamon-orange were my favorites. I think the lemon may have been filled with lemon curd, or perhaps a lemon curd buttercreme. It was really, really excellent. The cinnamon-orange, a close second, was filled with marmalade.
The pistachio and lavender had excellent flavors, though the lavender was not as crisp as the others. I suspect that some of the locals might be intimidated by a lavender cookie, as mine was clearly the only one sold from that variety. It just didn’t seem quite as fresh. At first I didn’t think that the vanilla had much flavor, but after taking a break from the other flavors to cleanse my palate, I found the flavor to be very nice. There were also coffee, chocolate, hazelnut and raspberry flavors available.
The espresso chocolate chip cookie was praised on the Chowhound boards and it, too, was excellent. It was very rich and chewy, a brownie held together in cookie shape. It didn’t have a coffee flavor, but the intensity of chocolate that has coffee added to it.
I’m going back soon to try the breads and other offerings which include brioche, baguettes, scones, muffins, monkey bread, cinnamon rolls, coconut cake, florentine bars and fruit tarts. They also serve breakfast and lunch, but I’m not sure if they’re open for dinner. I am so pleased to find a nice french bakery/cafe nearby! And with macarons!
C’mon LA food bloggers (and non-bloggers, too, of course!) – try it and let me know what you think!
17312-A Ventura Boulevard
Encino, California 91316
AnonymousJune 11, 2005
you’ve convinced me to go! i’ve read about this bakery on chowhound but just haven’t gotten over there yet. it’s in my old ‘hood too and i’ll be glad to make the trek.
reading through your blog, i just love your entries! your blogs about cooking school look just incredible. can i ask which school you’re attending? i’d love to know so that i can check it out.
cookie jillJune 11, 2005
I think citysearch is doing their food ratings…
you can go rate them up!
NicJune 11, 2005
Anonymous – It was the New School of Cooking, though I’ll probably mention more about it later this week.
Jill – Good tip, I hadn’t thought of that.
MikaJune 12, 2005
Nicole- those macaroons and espresso cookie look incredible. Lucky you Californians, cannot find anything even close to this kind of bakery in Pittsburgh!
AndreaJune 12, 2005
oh my, those macarrons look sooo good! i would love to have a recipe. fantasic pic!
NicJune 12, 2005
Mika – Hopefully one will find it’s way there soon. Maybe I should consider moving… =)
Dreska – I’ve never tried to make french macaroons myself, either. But I would love to try it.
sarahJune 13, 2005
ahhhh….i will try to make a visit…but i am such a spoiled little westside princess – and that is *sigh* so far away fro me – LOL! no, i will try…because they look de-luscious!!!
i bet eating l.a. will get there before me. she goes everywhere!!
NicJune 13, 2005
Sarah – I’m just glad that (for once) I don’t have to trek the opposite way to get a decent pastry! Pick a day when traffic is light and make the drive =)
AnonymousJune 14, 2005
I had the quiche and it was incredible. The brioche french toast rocks and the service impecable especially the head waiter Russel. He is attentive and cheerful and makes your dining experience an exceptional one.
AnonymousJune 14, 2005
I am also entranced by Les Artistes. This is an authentic French bakery and everything glows with the best quality ingredients. The chocolate used in all the baked goods made this choco-holic smile for days as I rememberd the taste. I love this place!!!
AnonymousJune 14, 2005
Jessica: I loved the cookies. The rasberry cream cheese danish was divine and the chocolate croissant is always sold out! I can’t wait to get my little hands on one of those!
Best of luck to the Bakery.
NicJune 14, 2005
Thanks for the tips, everyone. Now I’ll know what to look for and to try the next time I visit.
ScottJune 15, 2005
A friend of mine told me about this place – nothing like it in the neighborhood. I LOVE chocolate croissants and have tried just about everyplace in LA. These guys have nailed it! It’s a slight drive for me but TOTALLY worth it.
RockyJune 15, 2005
I, too, am a westsider, but I’ll deal with the 405 trip over the hill to have their tasty delights. The breads are fantastic and I highly recommend the green apple dessert. It’s scrumptious.
AnonymousJune 15, 2005
My wife and I have even trekked here from Pasadena several times. Well worth it. I dig their “Monkeybread” – the perfect, fresh-baked cinnamon/sweet match for good cup of coffee.
NicJune 16, 2005
Wow – more great tips! It sounds like if I kept eating there, I’d almost never need to bake again. Yeah, as though that’ll happen… Thanks everyone!
AnonymousJuly 29, 2005
Where do you find the good challah and the good donuts?
JenLippJuly 29, 2005
Where did you find the good challah and the good donuts?
AnonymousAugust 4, 2005
I love their iced blended drinks during the hot days in the valley, especially the blended mochas. It tastes better than Starbucks & Coffee bean since it 100% organic.
FatemehNovember 28, 2005
I happened to be in LA this weekend, and went to Artiste for brunch on Saturday.
Everything was superb, and C bought a cinnamon bun for his flight home. Alas, no macarons, but I might swing by tomorrow…