Shopping can be tough. The crowds, the hustle and bustle, and carrying those packages and bags all over. Don’t get me wrong; it’s a good problem to have, but after a day of hitting the mall hard it’s nice to have a little respite, a place to recharge, set the bags down and unwind. Enter Ladurée, a new Parisian bakery and teahouse in the Americana at Brand.
Between the petite tea sandwiches, the fresh baked croissants, the house-blended tea and the delicate macarons, one would expect to be sitting beside the Seine and not in the heart of one of LA’s biggest shopping complexes. The location is set far back enough from the main thoroughfare, on the lawn, to give it a distanced feel from the bustling mall. It has the same advantage as its neighbor, Ombra, a gin and tonic bar with bits and bites, in its distance from the craziness of the shoppers. But whereas Ombra is a sit-down place for adults who want a chilled cocktail, Ladurée is a counter-service tea place that is good for families and accessible enough to grab a quick snack and keep going.
CV Weekly was invited to Ladurée recently to see what it has to offer. Personally, my favorite was the Saint Honoré Rose – a circle of puff pastry topped with rose-infused frosting, which was the mortar for attaching rose cream puffs, each frosted with the rose frosting, then all cemented with a swirl of rose-infused whipped cream and topped with a rose petal. That sounds like a lot of rose, but it is so delicately flavored that it doesn’t overpower the diner with floral notes but rather is just enough to balance out the sweetness of the whole pastry with a whiff of rose scent. And rose is Ladurée’s signature flavor – from rose croissants to tea to macarons, it has rose everything – and it’s all great. Of the macarons especially I am a big fan. It’s hard to get a macaron wrong, but it’s also hard to get it really right. They are one of those foods that are usually just okay, rarely being remarkably good or bad. But at Laudrée, the macarons are perfect. Honestly – one of the best I’ve had in America. Try the vanilla one, and thank me later.
Ladurée also offers lunch, with salads, sliders and finger sandwiches. I wasn’t a huge fan of the finger sandwiches, especially with all the other amazing pastries and madeleines and everything. I felt like I was wasting stomach space on mediocre wafer thin sandwiches when everything else was a home run. I can’t speak for the salads and sliders, but I can advise not to waste time on the sandwiches.
Aside from that, my experience at Ladurée was fantastic. The Ladurée Tea is a great companion to all its pastries and it makes for a great little break from a hectic day at the mall.
Ladurée is open now at the Americana at Brand.
By Robin Goldsworthy