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    Post #1 - December 22nd, 2009, 9:33 pm
    Post #1 - December 22nd, 2009, 9:33 pm Post #1 - December 22nd, 2009, 9:33 pm
    Anybody make it over to Block 37 today for Beard Papa's opening? I couldn't find their hours or a phone number and was thinking of visiting tomorrow morning.

    Beard Papa
    Block 37
    108 N State St
    Chicago IL 60602
  • Post #2 - December 22nd, 2009, 10:30 pm
    Post #2 - December 22nd, 2009, 10:30 pm Post #2 - December 22nd, 2009, 10:30 pm
    Thank you, Twitter.

    Image
  • Post #3 - December 23rd, 2009, 5:11 pm
    Post #3 - December 23rd, 2009, 5:11 pm Post #3 - December 23rd, 2009, 5:11 pm
    i went there yesterday for their opening. it was a little chaotic, so give them a week or two to get it together. the line was long, but once you order, the puffs are filled right in front of you so they are super fresh. they don't have a full menu yet so i just picked up a couple of each of the "regular" puffs to try them. i liked the strawberry the best which is odd because i am usually all about chocolate. something about that custard laced with strawberry was soooo mmmmm! they have blended coffee/hagen dazs drinks too.
  • Post #4 - December 23rd, 2009, 7:22 pm
    Post #4 - December 23rd, 2009, 7:22 pm Post #4 - December 23rd, 2009, 7:22 pm
    dollbabytina wrote:i went there yesterday for their opening. it was a little chaotic, so give them a week or two to get it together. the line was long, but once you order, the puffs are filled right in front of you so they are super fresh. they don't have a full menu yet so i just picked up a couple of each of the "regular" puffs to try them. i liked the strawberry the best which is odd because i am usually all about chocolate. something about that custard laced with strawberry was soooo mmmmm! they have blended coffee/hagen dazs drinks too.


    I thought of you when I walked by there today. It just didn't look terribly inviting. Granted I'm not a cream puff person by nature, I suspect I've just not had a good 1. Perhaps I will pick some up for the home tomorrow.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #5 - December 23rd, 2009, 9:01 pm
    Post #5 - December 23rd, 2009, 9:01 pm Post #5 - December 23rd, 2009, 9:01 pm
    I'd be interested in hearing whether the vanilla filling is the classic French creme patissiere, versus just a pudding-like custard like you find in custard donuts.
  • Post #6 - December 23rd, 2009, 10:05 pm
    Post #6 - December 23rd, 2009, 10:05 pm Post #6 - December 23rd, 2009, 10:05 pm
    pairs4life wrote:Granted I'm not a cream puff person by nature, I suspect I've just not had a good 1. Perhaps I will pick some up for the home tomorrow.


    They were giving out a lot of samples today--miniatures--so you can try the cream puffs before buying anything.

    Image

    nsxtasy wrote:I'd be interested in hearing whether the vanilla filling is the classic French creme patissiere, versus just a pudding-like custard like you find in custard donuts.


    Here are the ingredients of the "Madagascar Vanilla Bean" cream puff (they seemed extra explicit about this today) from the Beard Papa web site.

    Milk, Heavy Cream, Water, Corn Starch, Flour, Sugar, Salt, Unsalted Butter, Pasteurized Eggs, Margarine, Malt, Vanilla Beans, Powder Sugar


    It's looks like it could be pretty close to a crème patissiere.
  • Post #7 - December 23rd, 2009, 10:16 pm
    Post #7 - December 23rd, 2009, 10:16 pm Post #7 - December 23rd, 2009, 10:16 pm
    happy_stomach wrote:Here are the ingredients of the "Madagascar Vanilla Bean" cream puff (they seemed extra explicit about this today) from the Beard Papa web site.

    Milk, Heavy Cream, Water, Corn Starch, Flour, Sugar, Salt, Unsalted Butter, Pasteurized Eggs, Margarine, Malt, Vanilla Beans, Powder Sugar


    It's looks like it could be pretty close to a crème patissiere.

    also really close to a vanilla pudding :wink:
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #8 - December 23rd, 2009, 11:19 pm
    Post #8 - December 23rd, 2009, 11:19 pm Post #8 - December 23rd, 2009, 11:19 pm
    happy_stomach wrote:
    Milk, Heavy Cream, Water, Corn Starch, Flour, Sugar, Salt, Unsalted Butter, Pasteurized Eggs, Margarine, Malt, Vanilla Beans, Powder Sugar


    It's looks like it could be pretty close to a crème patissiere.

    Some of those ingredients may refer to the shell (presumably pate a choux) rather than the creme patissiere filling.

    FWIW, a classic crème patissiere consists of milk, vanilla, egg yolks, sugar, and either flour or cornstarch.
  • Post #9 - December 24th, 2009, 1:40 am
    Post #9 - December 24th, 2009, 1:40 am Post #9 - December 24th, 2009, 1:40 am
    I knew nothing of Beard Papa's until a trip to Seattle and Vancouver last year and seeing long lines of mostly Asian customers waiting for cream puffs. I was impressed enough with the product to stop by the new Beard Papa's in the Block 37 pedway (beneath Randolph, midway between State & Dearborn).

    Image

    They sell several pastries and coffee (including Illy espresso) but it's really all about the cream puffs at Beard Papa's. The shells are baked several times a day and filled to order. You won't find many fresher pastries in Chicago.

    Image

    Image

    Some of those ingredients may refer to the shell (presumably pate a choux) rather than the creme patissiere filling.

    From what I understand, the shell is a somewhat nontraditional two-ply structure with pâte à choux surrounded by a denser, flakier pastry.

    FWIW, a classic crème patissiere consists of milk, vanilla, egg yolks, sugar, and either flour or cornstarch.

    I think the filling is close to a classic crème pâtissière but it's lightened by the addition of whipped cream. I'm no dessert expert but I like this Japanese take on French pastry quite a bit. It'll only cost you $2 to see what you think.

    Beard Papa's
    108 N State St
    Block 37, Pedway Level (under Randolph, between State & Dearborn)
    Chicago
    312-960-9000
  • Post #10 - December 24th, 2009, 6:20 am
    Post #10 - December 24th, 2009, 6:20 am Post #10 - December 24th, 2009, 6:20 am
    nsxtasy wrote:
    happy_stomach wrote:
    Milk, Heavy Cream, Water, Corn Starch, Flour, Sugar, Salt, Unsalted Butter, Pasteurized Eggs, Margarine, Malt, Vanilla Beans, Powder Sugar


    It's looks like it could be pretty close to a crème patissiere.

    Some of those ingredients may refer to the shell (presumably pate a choux) rather than the creme patissiere filling.

    FWIW, a classic crème patissiere consists of milk, vanilla, egg yolks, sugar, and either flour or cornstarch.


    those are the same ingredients in vanilla pudding.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #11 - December 24th, 2009, 8:59 am
    Post #11 - December 24th, 2009, 8:59 am Post #11 - December 24th, 2009, 8:59 am
    Went out of my way this morning to pick up a dozen for the office. I love Beard Papa, and am so excited they are finally here in Chicago! My Beard Papa dozen consisted of 4 of each shell type (plain, eclair and cookie) and all 3 fillings are represented in each type. My first pick was the eclair with strawberry cream filling. Messy? Yes. Fresh? Absolutely! Delicious? Off the charts!

    The cream is the pink strawberry flavored type, but they had added chunks of strawberries. I gobbled it down too fast for a photo, but I could be persuaded to have another and attempt to scarf it down slower... :)
  • Post #12 - February 23rd, 2010, 9:17 pm
    Post #12 - February 23rd, 2010, 9:17 pm Post #12 - February 23rd, 2010, 9:17 pm
    I went to Beard Papa's today. To make a long story short, I LOVED these!!!

    You can choose a shell; choices are plain, cookie crumbs (on the outside), and "eclair" (dipped in chocolate). You then choose a filling, such as vanilla custard, chocolate custard, or strawberries and cream. They fill the cream puff then, after you order it. So already there's an advantage, since the shells have no chance to get soggy.

    And oh, was it wonderful! The consistency of the shells is different from any cream puffs or pate a choux I've ever seen elsewhere or made myself. They were FLAKY. They also were very crumbly; these can easily fall apart while you're eating them, so they're messy. The filling was very good; the description above, of vanilla pastry cream with whipped cream folded into it, is apt, and as a result it is slightly less dense and has a silky texture - VERY nice.

    The store is located on the pedway level, one flight down from street level and between the Washington el stations for the CTA Red Line and the Blue Line.
  • Post #13 - February 24th, 2010, 7:39 am
    Post #13 - February 24th, 2010, 7:39 am Post #13 - February 24th, 2010, 7:39 am
    Beard Papa's cream puffs are epically delicious, but also shockingly unfair: according to that Font of All Knowledge, Wikipedia, some locations such as Japan and Hawaii get filling flavors like Earl Grey, pumpkin, haupia (a jelly-like coconut pudding), and caramel. Any sightings of these specialty flavors here?
  • Post #14 - February 24th, 2010, 10:51 am
    Post #14 - February 24th, 2010, 10:51 am Post #14 - February 24th, 2010, 10:51 am
    They occasionally have green tea, and I heard this Friday they are having coffee flavored cream puffs!
  • Post #15 - February 24th, 2010, 11:12 am
    Post #15 - February 24th, 2010, 11:12 am Post #15 - February 24th, 2010, 11:12 am
    I had my first Beard Papas after the recent Loop Lunch at Ginza. Count me among the fans of this light yet satisfying pastry! I love the Asian sensibility of these cream puffs. Not too sweet and astonishingly light for as rich and delicious as they are. I tried both vanilla and strawberry. Both were great, and I'm not usually a fan of strawberry pastry items.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #16 - March 8th, 2010, 7:21 pm
    Post #16 - March 8th, 2010, 7:21 pm Post #16 - March 8th, 2010, 7:21 pm
    Is there any point in adding to this thread? Probably not, but....

    I had an errand that took me right past Beard Papa today so I stopped in for my first ever taste. Here is my review:

    As soon as I finished my cream puff, I wanted another.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #17 - March 15th, 2010, 2:58 pm
    Post #17 - March 15th, 2010, 2:58 pm Post #17 - March 15th, 2010, 2:58 pm
    100% agree with happy_stomach. I stopped by a few days ago just to check out the cavernous real estate disaster that is Block 37. Thought I'd give Beard Papa's a try while I'm there. Ordered two, thinking I'd have a bite of each just to give 'em a try and nearly inhaled both.

    Btw, I realize that there is some basic discussion of the composition of these cream puffs, but why is this thread not in the Eating Out section?
  • Post #18 - March 15th, 2010, 3:24 pm
    Post #18 - March 15th, 2010, 3:24 pm Post #18 - March 15th, 2010, 3:24 pm
    uvasabri wrote:Btw, I realize that there is some basic discussion of the composition of these cream puffs, but why is this thread not in the Eating Out section?

    Good question. I think it's for the same reason a lot of bakery discussion ends up here - picking up a box of cream puffs (or some awesome bread, or a cake, et c.) doesn't really feel like eating out - though now that I think about it for a second, I could definitely make a meal out of these pastries! It kinda straddles the line between the two sections, and I'm not bothered by whether or not it gets moved over.
  • Post #19 - March 15th, 2010, 7:00 pm
    Post #19 - March 15th, 2010, 7:00 pm Post #19 - March 15th, 2010, 7:00 pm
    I love them, too. Can easily finish a 6 pack if I don't rein in my will power.

    Yet, these beautiful gems were totally panned by the Stew, article posted Jan 8, 2010 titled, "Beard Papa Cream Puffs are Deflating"

    Edited to add another thought: This is why I don't bother with any of the 'professional' critics (e.g. the Stew), and rely on LTHForum for more reliable reviews and opinions.
    “Nothing is more agreeable to look at than a gourmande in full battle dress.”
    Jean-Antheleme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826)
  • Post #20 - March 16th, 2010, 10:54 am
    Post #20 - March 16th, 2010, 10:54 am Post #20 - March 16th, 2010, 10:54 am
    MincyBits wrote:It kinda straddles the line between the two sections

    Yup:
    Where do Bakery Discussions Belong?
  • Post #21 - March 24th, 2010, 3:48 pm
    Post #21 - March 24th, 2010, 3:48 pm Post #21 - March 24th, 2010, 3:48 pm
    petite_gourmande wrote:
    Yet, these beautiful gems were totally panned by the Stew, article posted Jan 8, 2010 titled, "Beard Papa Cream Puffs are Deflating"

    Edited to add another thought: This is why I don't bother with any of the 'professional' critics (e.g. the Stew), and rely on LTHForum for more reliable reviews and opinions.


    Count me as another who is not enamored. Perhaps it's because my mother makes cream puffs all the time, there's no particular magic in them for me. Plus, I think that if they're going to make cream puffs, why don't they fill some of them with chicken salad and serve them for lunch?

    But there are certainly lots of enthusiastic followers. Besides the 2000 followers on twitter, I had a client come in all excited that he'd managed to get there when they were making chocolate cookies--an off-menu item that appears to be their cream puff batter mixed with some chocolate and dropped onto a cookie sheet. Again, it was fine, but not so special that I'm going to be lurking in the pedway waiting for a batch to appear.
  • Post #22 - March 24th, 2010, 8:10 pm
    Post #22 - March 24th, 2010, 8:10 pm Post #22 - March 24th, 2010, 8:10 pm
    I don't see why you can't eat custard-filled puffs for lunch. Chicken salad? bah! :)
  • Post #23 - March 25th, 2010, 5:34 am
    Post #23 - March 25th, 2010, 5:34 am Post #23 - March 25th, 2010, 5:34 am
    I tried one "eclair" style. I think the hard chocolate topping on the cream puff throws off the whole balance (hey Beard Papa, eclairs don't have a hard chocolate shell on them). Beard Papas are so delicate that having the hard chocolate coating on top causes the custard to break through the pastry in a complete mess with the first bite. From now on, it's original style only for me.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #24 - March 25th, 2010, 7:19 am
    Post #24 - March 25th, 2010, 7:19 am Post #24 - March 25th, 2010, 7:19 am
    I had one of these in New York....a sorry example compared to something you might find at a county fair somewhere in Wisconsin. However, I would happily gobble it down if someone were to seduce me (hint hint)....
    i used to milk cows
  • Post #25 - March 25th, 2010, 9:50 am
    Post #25 - March 25th, 2010, 9:50 am Post #25 - March 25th, 2010, 9:50 am
    stevez wrote:I tried one "eclair" style. I think the hard chocolate topping on the cream puff throws off the whole balance (hey Beard Papa, eclairs don't have a hard chocolate shell on them). Beard Papas are so delicate that having the hard chocolate coating on top causes the custard to break through the pastry in a complete mess with the first bite. From now on, it's original style only for me.


    So I think I have almost perfected my Beard Papa eating style... I need more practice of course!

    For regular puffs, I make sure the filling hole is facing me when I take my first bite. That ensures that the filling has no way to go when I bite into it... For the chocolate one, I eat it with the chocolate shell facing down, and the hole facing my mouth. The shell then serves as a "platform" for all the cream and the puff... :)
  • Post #26 - March 25th, 2010, 12:44 pm
    Post #26 - March 25th, 2010, 12:44 pm Post #26 - March 25th, 2010, 12:44 pm
    I just had my 1st one. I really liked it. It was light & not too sweet. A perfect dessert. Perhaps we should start a campaign for the Earl Grey custard. That sounds soooo good.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #27 - March 25th, 2010, 2:40 pm
    Post #27 - March 25th, 2010, 2:40 pm Post #27 - March 25th, 2010, 2:40 pm
    Today is the first day, in a while, that I've had time to catch up on LTH. Funny because earlier today I was thinking to myself, "I wish there was a place around where I work that I can get a treat." And low and behold, Beard Papa thread is found. I actually work off of Randolph and Wacker, so I figured I would walk down there and see what is going on. I got the original with vanilla custard and eclair with vanilla custard and both are pretty good. I like the consistancy of the puff and the coldness of the cream, it goes very well together.

    I also noticed that Bleading Heart Bakery was opening up in Lot 37, which I was surprised being that their other locations might not be doing as well as expected. This is only my thoughts from everything I have read and tasted.
  • Post #28 - March 25th, 2010, 2:54 pm
    Post #28 - March 25th, 2010, 2:54 pm Post #28 - March 25th, 2010, 2:54 pm
    Shaggywillis wrote:Today is the first day, in a while, that I've had time to catch up on LTH. Funny because earlier today I was thinking to myself, "I wish there was a place around where I work that I can get a treat." And low and behold, Beard Papa thread is found. I actually work off of Randolph and Wacker, so I figured I would walk down there and see what is going on. I got the original with vanilla custard and eclair with vanilla custard and both are pretty good. I like the consistancy of the puff and the coldness of the cream, it goes very well together.


    Did you use the Pedway? I love the Pedway. It's right up there w/ Richie, the Picasso, Oprah, Jordan,hot dogs,the Lakefront, & #44 as best of Chicago* :mrgreen:

    *Disclaimer: The aforementioned is not a comprehensive or complete list of all things lovely about the Chi.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #29 - March 25th, 2010, 3:28 pm
    Post #29 - March 25th, 2010, 3:28 pm Post #29 - March 25th, 2010, 3:28 pm
    Did you use the Pedway? I love the Pedway. It's right up there w/ Richie, the Picasso, Oprah, Jordan,hot dogs,the Lakefront, & #44 as best of Chicago*


    No, are trying to be a smart ass? I like it.
  • Post #30 - March 26th, 2010, 3:29 pm
    Post #30 - March 26th, 2010, 3:29 pm Post #30 - March 26th, 2010, 3:29 pm
    My husband and I stopped in after lunch at Old Timers (I've been wanting to go there for ages, and it was exactly what I expected, which is not really a ringing endorsement) and had one regular, one eclair, and one Paris Brest, all with vanilla custard. The Paris Brest is a new thing, sort of a circular, chewier cream puff, and we both liked it the best. The filling/pastry ratio was better, and I liked the denser texture. Both of us liked the eclair the least, the chocolate simply didn't taste fresh.

    And wow, Block 37 is weird. Those long stretches of empty walls make it look more like a convention center - certainly not a place were people would want to gather.
    As a mattra-fact, Pie Face, you are beginning to look almost human. - Barbara Bennett

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