Monday, February 9, 2009

Jin Patisserie: A Three Year Dream

Three years ago, I was desperately trying to convince myself that moving to Los Angeles wouldn’t be that bad. Sure, it wasn’t New York but at least I had two things to comfort me:

1) Knowing that Elliott Yamin* was planning to further his “career” in LA and
2) Jin Patisserie

My fascination with #2 occurred when I stumbled upon Rick Poon’s amazing photography site a long time ago. He would always be raving about this-and-that at this place called “Jin Patisserie” in Venice, CA. I was excited about all the this-and-thats he talked about. But I lived my first year in LA, I lived my second year in LA, I was well into my third year…and still, I had never ventured out to Jin. Why? One word explains it all: CAR. That’s right, Venice might as well have been the other side of the Pacific for me during the two years we were car-less in LA. I had been to Venice once but that was at night, after Jin had already closed up for the day. So you can imagine how ecstatic I was when I heard that Jin was opening a branch at the nearby Intercontinental hotel. I received their e-invite to the opening CHOCOLATE DESSERT PARTY and, without thinking twice, forwarded it to Debs and Sunny, called the place up, and made reservations for three.

The set menu consisted of an assortment of finger sandwiches (Roast Beef w/Brie Cheese, Egg Salad, Cream Cheese Tomato - nothing special there) and a mini dessert platter each. OHOHOHO. I was SO ready. A small pot of Spicy Milk Chocolate Mousse with Mango glistened on my left; a White Chocolate with Peach Compote and Yuzu Jelly filled a giant shot-glass, topped with a mini tuille cookie; a mini square of Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie was flecked with sweet peanut nibs and, at the very end of the plate, a Baked Chocolate Tart with Pineapple and Pistachio. The platter should’ve been my dream-come-true.

…But it wasn’t. Three years of waiting and I was far from blown away from the dessert sampler. The brownie was the best out of the four desserts but even that was just good – not great. Yes, I was disappointed. But I was also determined not to give up on Jin just yet. After all, these weren’t their signature desserts. Nope, Rick P had always raved about their macarons…THAT was what I was here for.

(The best of the lot: the Brownie)

Oh-SO-good! They put the macarons from Paris Pastry to shame (and they were $12.00 for eight! Where does Paris Pastry get off charging $2.50/macaron?!) How do I even begin to describe the meringue shells? A delicate, crunchy shell which hides a soft and chewy, light-as-air mass of perfect sweetness. My favorite was probably the cream cheese macaron (of course) – sweet and tart in a biteful…and in the prettiest pink shade! The caramel macaroon also kicked major butt as did the rose flavor – I’ve had rose macaron before but Jin’s really drew out the flavor like nothing else. Yes, the macaroons more than redeemed the disappointment of the dessert platter.

(You are so beautiful to me: (From left) rose, caramel, violet w/ cranberries, chocolate)

FOOD: 4.5/5
SERVICE: 4.5/5

JIN PATISSERIE (Intercontinental Branch) ($)
2151 Avenue of Stars
Los Angeles, CA 90067
(310) 789-6485

* Elliott Yamin has since grown out his hair and is no longer attractive to me.

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