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By Steven Li on 2006-01-24

January 23, 2006

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Well I’m back to school now and it will be a good four months before I return home. I miss Korean plate lunches already! There’s plenty more I will post on places I’ve eaten at over winter break, but I first want to tell you of recent visit to Jin Patisserie.

I’ve heard much about Jin Patisseriethrough various food blogs, issues of Gourmet and Chocolatier and even a special on the Food Network. A friend and I made a pact to go last semester but never made it because we were always bogged down by “too much homework.” With the start of a new year and school semester we figured if we didn’t make the 90 minute drive this weekend we would never end up going. And thank god we did because I’m still swooning over the delights we consumed!

Located on a side street marked by unique restaurants and boutiques, I felt like I was walking into the back of someone’s garden. At 11 am many tables were full with people brunching on light quiches and salads, though most were there for desserts and a cup of tea.
Our plan was to take the cakes to go but the sight of those beautiful creatures made my stomach growl so we decided to sit and eat! Seats are located in the outside garden area which leads into a tiny store boasting shiny clear cases filled with the most wondrous delights. Heck, this even beats Payard in Manhattan!

What attracted me to this creation ($5.25)is the haphazard crazy shape and the fact that it’s the only dessert not featured on the website along with all of Jin’s other treats.. It’s quite possibly the ugliest cake in her shop and from past experiences I find that the stranger a dessert appears, this more likely I am to enjoy it (however this doesn’t always hold true).
I was in awe of the jagged pieces of lightly browned meringue dusted in powdered sugar. The meringue was tossed in a medley of a sweet fruity cream studded by darling bits of vibrant yellow mangoes and sun kissed strawberries. This deliciously tangled, whimsical creation was boxed into a presentable manner by a delicate layer of the tender white meringue. It was like the excited mass of billowy poofy cream and fruits mixed with thin cuts of meringue had to be held down by a more “secure” layer of meringue, lest the intoxicating filling bust from sheer deliciousness Ooh, it makes me tingle just to think about it.

And of course if one dessert pleases beyond any doubt, why stop there? Appropriately named “Passion” ($5.25), this cheery teardrop cake combines the rich flavors of mascarpone with passion fruit and mangoes. Though delicious to both the eye and palate, I found it to be a slight disappointment after the meringue. A thin layer of vanilla sponge cake was topped with a very basic mousse – a little too jelly-like in texture to be to be considered silky but the subtle sweetness and intense fruit flavors were intriguing.
I really wanted another pieces, perhaps the gorgeous dark Belgium Marquise or the Green Tea mousse made with azuki beans, but my stomach and wallet said no. I can usually avoid listening to my stomach, but the wallet? eh, that’s another matter!
However I did have enough left for a trio of macarons.

Eleven of these sirens are lined up a on a shelf with flavors ranging from Caramel to Lavender. At $1.10 they’re a bit smaller and “plumper” than your average ones though looked delicious nonetheless. I’ll never get over the aesthetic value of macarons, innocently sitting there in a row, adorned in the most gleeful shades pastels and completely unaware of their beauty.

I hemmmed and hawwed over the flavors for a while – how difficult it is to pick!…before settling on black sesame, matcha and coffee. And what joy they were to eat! I loved hearing the crack of the cookie with the first bite and feeling bits just melt away in your mouth. From the intense coffee creme to the nutty warm flavor of the black sesame and a mellow green tea, I could have easily eaten through a dozen of the babies. It is the play of cool flavored cream and the magic of a crunchy, nearly hollow cookie that verges on being chewy but effortlessly disappears at the touch of your tongue leaving you only the flavor, whether it be the essence of a rose or a touch of coffee, that keeps you longing for more.

Jin Patisserie is a pricey treat, but is worth the occasional visit. And even after becoming famous, owner Kristy Choo is still at the counter serving, making recommendations and ringing up orders everyday. She took the time to ask customers how they enjoyed so and so dessert and welcomed frequent visitors by name. It’s small things like that (and macarons) that make me so happy.

My only mistake? I should have eaten more!

Jin Patisserie
1202 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA 90291
(310) 399-8801



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