Milk tea cream puff from Beard Papas (l)
First off let me diss on SF cabbies. Holy crap! I almost died back there. And unhelpful. Do not balk at your small tip fellow… you deserved every discount on it. I got to stay at the trendy W Hotel. S. and I had lunch at XYZ, the in-hotel restaurant. Nice decor with great loungey booths. I ordered sashimi tuna with heirloom tomatoes and pickled string beans. The pickling on the beans contrasted nicely with the fattyness of the tuna and the tomatoes. Although there weren’t enough beans to provide the contrast. S. ordered a grilled chicken sandwich with fries. The fries were yummy until they got cold.
The highlight of the day was Beard Papa’s cream puffs. When I got there the line was out the door. Aside from the standard vanilla cream puff, they have chocolate. In addition, they have a weekly flavor rotating between milk tea, strawberry, green tea, caramel and pumpkin. The flavor they had the week I visited was milk tea. Everything is made fresh in the store, and you can watch as they extrude the cream and powder the tops.
These are big cream puffs, approximately the size of a big lemon. I ordered milk tea, vanilla and chocolate. I ended up giving the chocolate to my boss since he’s a big chocolate fan. The initial bite into a milk tea cream puff was crusty and reminded me vaguely of Price Club frozen cream puffs: a bit tough and maybe bordering on too flaky. (There is bad, weird flaky.) This was vaguely horrifying, since I’d bought a half dozen to share with colleagues. But I pushed on through, and was rewarded with a wonderful texture that melded perfectly with the cream. The flakyness transformed in a crisp crust encompassing a softer, pudding-like interior. The milk tea custard was great, a mellow, delicate floral flavor and scent. Creamy and just the right thickness. I do think you have to be a fan of milk tea to understand the flavor being conveyed. The vanilla cream puff was also excellent. What can I say vanilla is vanilla. It’s good. I would say that if you like pastries and cream puffs, this is a great place to go.
99 Yerba Buena Lane
San Francisco, CA