Few things inspire you to brave the traffic and tourists on Hollywood Boulevard quite like the alluring taste of fresh, made-to-order cream puffs from Beard Papa. With a craving that can only be satisfied by their special blend of crisp pie crust and soft French choux dough, you and your friends pile in the car and make for the Hollywood Boulevard storefront. With 13 locations around the city, it’s clear that Angelenos love their Beard Papa’s — but there’s a certain star quality that makes the Hollywood one an extra treat to visit.
Drive past the Chinese Theatre and pull into that last parking spot in a crowded garage. Hurrying past the Walk of Fame, you cut through the crowds gathered there. There’s no time to be starstruck — you’re on a mission. As you round the corner, you spot the yellow-hat-wearing icon of cream puff perfection himself, Beard Papa, beckoning to you from the sign outside the store.
When you push open the swinging door, the sweet aroma of vanilla and sugar greets you like a warm embrace and draws you toward the counter, where the open-air “eater-tainment” kitchen provides a front-row seat to the production of Beard Papa’s cream puffs. Employees pull fresh-baked batches of pastry shells from the oven and pump them full of cream before handing them off to an eager customer. You lean in for a closer look at the fist-sized cream puff shells neatly lined on the counter before you; at this moment, your only care in the world is, “Which flavor should I get?”
There’s peach yogurt, dulce de leche, strawberries and cream, green tea and honey, and the classic vanilla. The best strategy: Bring enough friends to grab one of each — that way, you can share. When you get your prize, snag a chair on the sunny patio and dig in. The cream puffs are a sight to behold: Billowing layers of pastry shell ooze with creamy goodness. There’s a frenzy as everyone reaches for a cream puff, but then a hush falls upon your friends as they munch away.
As you bite into the classic vanilla, a cloud of powdered sugar fills the air. There’s no dainty way to eat a Beard Papa’s cream puff, but don’t worry — everybody is fully absorbed in their own treats. A warm outer layer of crispy crust surrounds the soft chewy dough beneath, until you get to the creamy, chilled custard layered with whipped cream. In your classic vanilla puff, you spot tiny specks of real bourbon vanilla beans in the filling, evidence of Beard Papa’s commitment to using only the best, all-natural ingredients. Then, too soon, it’s gone. You mourn for a moment, but then your friends head back to the counter and order six cream puffs to go. Problem solved.