High maintenance, desirable–that is the state of the French macaron in this county, a status the dessert has held for several years. Slight changes in humidity can mess up in-progress macarons for good, which is why those who do 'em right deserve massive recognition. After a meticulous preparation process, the result is ganache filling sandwiched in between two meringue-based cookies. Good macarons have chewy, airy bites. They're moist and, most importantly, don't crumble when you eat them. Such macarons exist here and, interestingly enough, they're not all from French bakeries. You'll find them in boba shops and new age dessert spots, too.
10. 7 Leaves Cafe (Tustin)
There's no denying that 7 Leaves Cafe is a place for great Vietnamese iced coffee and teas made with natural ingredients. But have you tried their macarons? Guys, they're delish. A bit tiny they are, but that's what makes them go so well with 7 Leaves' filling drinks (and maybe after eating Korean barbecue at Gen in the same complex).
9786 Westminster Ave, Garden Grove, (714) 590-2790
9111 Valley View Street #101, Cypress, (714) 229-9900
13771 Newport Avenue #12, Tustin, (714) 838-8887
9475 Warner Avenue, Fountain Valley, (714) 465-2343
7leavescafe.com; Twitter: @7leavescafe
9. Snow Monster (Multiple Locations)
Macaron ice cream sandwiches are genius in the sense that ice cream is a great way to hold two delicate cookies together and, well, give them a less delicate component. Macaron ice cream sandwiches have become the core dessert of Snow Monster–the coolest part of which are their macarons in fun flavors like Cap'n Crunch and Oreo. Now, for some Thai tea in a mason jar on the side.
9600 Bolsa Ave Suite G, Westminster
17406 Beach Blvd, Huntington Beach
4255 Campus Drive Suite A124, Irvine
snowmonsteroc.com; Instagram: @snowmonsteroc
8. Brodard Restaurant (Westminster)
We all know that Brodard Restaurants is known for their Vietnamese grilled pork rolls, but they also make delicious macarons. They're kept behind the restaurant's glass counter and flaunt both classic and Asian-inspired flavors like durian and taro. Each bite is creamy and cold–a perfect palate cleanser after eating a Vietnamese dinner, which is generally hot and savory.
9892 Westminster Ave, Garden Grove, (714) 530-1744, brodard.net
7. Bon Epi (Irvine)
If you've walked around Diamond Jamboree at least a couple times, you've probably seen a rainbow-esque array of macarons reflecting through the glass windows of Bon Epi. Breads, danishes, croissants, and macarons are what they're known for, but mostly their macarons. The macarons here are light, sweet, and larger in size than the average macaron–a plus for people who are serious about their dessert.
2750 Alton Pkwy, Ste 101, Irvine, (949) 251-0070; bonepimacarons.com; facebook.com/pages/Bon-Epi-Patisseries-Cafe/221462271212341
6. Rendez Vous (Newport Beach)
As quaint as the breeze that flows through PCH is Rendez Vous, a restaurant primarily known for its brunch (light, savory crepes, anyone?) and macarons–particularly the savory ones. If you like goat cheese and figs, consider trying their macaron in said flavor. More of a blue cheese and bacon kind of person? They have that too. But, of course, if the thought of savory macarons just isn't pleasing to you, find solace in the fact that they make amazing sweet ones, too.
3330 E Coast Hwy, Newport Beach, (949) 791-8730; rendezvouscdm.com
5. Paris In a Cup (Orange)
Paris In a Cup is a French tea salon located in Old Towne Orange. It's inspired by old 1940s French films, which is instantly noticeable upon entering the salon and being welcomed by multiple sparkly chandeliers. Their offer tea party specials here in tiers, which means varying amounts of scones and jam served on a multi-level tray. You can also order sandwiches, French teas, and macarons served on an Eiffel Tower stand.
119 S Glassell St, Orange; (714) 538-9411; parisinacup.com; Twitter: @parisinacup
4. Merely Sweets (Brea)
For many of us, a really, really good dream consists of walking into a room full of layer cakes, cupcakes, tarts, and macarons–and they're all too pretty to eat. But what if I told you a place–specifically, Merely Sweets–is close to said fantasy. Ladies and gents, I present to you one of the cutest shops in Brea where macarons come in flavors like smores, animal cookies, and earl grey. Need I say more?
260 W Birch St, Brea, (714) 529-9909; merelysweets.com; Instagram: @merelysweets
3. La Petite Sourie (Santa Ana)
You don't go to La Petite Sourie without–as Tom Haverford from "Parks and Recreation" would say–treating yo' self. Brunch and dessert go hand-in-hand here, which means you need to make sure your digestive system can handle eggs, bacon, fruits with–homemade, I might add–cream, bread, macarons, and eclairs all at once. The macaron flavors here are classic ones, though you should definitely try the coconut one.
2801 West MacArthur Boulevard Suite A, Santa Ana, CA 92704
(714) 966-9969; lapetitesourie.com; facebook.com/La-Petite-Sourie-193962794126247
2. Au Coeur de Paris (Westminster)
$1.25 for a macaron is cheap considering how difficult it is to make them. That's the price you'll pay for them at Au Coeur de Paris, a French-Vietnamese restaurant and bakery that serves banh mi, baguettes, and French desserts altogether. Here's Dave Lieberman to report on it:
When I bit into the raspberry macaron, I was transported. Not to the Champs-Elysées and its macarons snobs, but to an unpretentious table at the Fête de la Patrimoine (cultural heritage fair) in the city of Meaux, about 30 miles east of Paris, where I had the most perfect macarons I've ever tasted.
The hazelnut macaron was similarly excellent, with a subtle flavor and a really deft hand in the making. The shell shattered in my mouth, but the meringue below was still soft and chewy, and the hazelnut filling inside had its sweetness tempered so the nut flavor could shine through.
I haven't yet been back to try the other flavors, but I will be: despite its odd location in a strip mall that appears out of houses like a corn "volunteer" in a field of soybeans, it's worth finding.
9441 Edinger Ave, Westminster, (714) 775-8465; facebook.com/Au-Coeur-De-Paris-Bakery-253474608031659/timeline
1. Lette Macarons (Newport Beach)
In a tiny shop on some non-island island, a plethora of magnificent macarons came to be. Their creators–Paulette Koumetz and Christophe Michalak (winner of the Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie)–have perfected the pillowy and crispy elements of the macaron. Their offerings are classic in nature–like rose, red velvet, Colombian coffee, for example–but they also offer seasonal flavors. Right now, they have green tea and apple cinnamon macarons.
Fashion Island, 1131 Newport Center Dr, Newport Beach, (949) 706-8299; lettemacarons.com; Instagram: @lettemacarons