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The Opera Patisserie Fines Cafe

Oh man…my wallet and waistline are screaming for mercy, but do I listen?? Nope! On Wednesday, after having a quick lunch at my desk, I took my heels off and slipped into some sneaks then took to the streets. I walked around the block and I confess, I had some intention of heading to Opera Patisserie but I wasn’t set on it until I was less than half a block away.

When I walked in, the place was pretty full. There was a line at the counter with people ordering lunch. Me? I was going to get myself some sweets…

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I came into the cafe once before when there weren’t as many people and I believe the owner was there too! This time, he wasn’t around, but the ladies that helped me were very nice and had a friendly smile even though they were running around trying to serve everyone. They had one man working the ovens and panini grill, pushing out the lunch orders. I saw a crossiant that had melting cheese all over the top. I was half tempted to ask the man then and there if I could sample it! They have a very small menu of savory items – mostly sandwiches and pizzas – as well as a salad next to the dessert case. You can read about them too in SDReader’s Ed Bedford’s review on this cafe as well.For me, I had only one thing in mind as I walked in: the French Macaroons. I wanted to try Opera’s macaroons after reading a review somewhere in cyberspace awhile back. Apparently, they make the best French macaroon in San Diego. I had a French macaroon about a year ago from Miette’s in San Francisco and it was not good. Plus, it was overpriced so it soured my experience with the French macaroon. However, these little beauties changed everything.

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I know my words and descriptions will not be able to accurately describe these babies but here goes: If I had to describe these macaroons in one word, it would have to be “delicate.” If I had more words at my disposal, then it would be: “a delicate party of flavors in my mouth.” I got one of each flavor (going clockwise from the pink one): Raspberry, Cappuccino, Cinnamon, Chocolate, Hazelnut with chocolate, and Pistachio.

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The raspberry macaroon had a raspberry jam filling in the middle that added a nice little tartness along with the sweet. The cappuccino macaroon caught me off guard because I was expecting a more firm filling, like a buttercream? But instead, I greeted by a very smooth, possible whipped cream that had been caffeinated.

The pistachio was pleasant, had a really good flavor that was not too overwhelming. The chocolate macaroon sent me into chocolate bliss (but not the same way as the Dark Chocolate Tea Cookie from ED early this week). I loved how you could taste the chocolate itself rather than some sort of artificial flavoring.

Both the cinnamon and hazelnut macaroons were good, but did not stand out like the others. However, I gave my little sister the cinnamon one to try (cinnamon’s her favorite flavor) and she really enjoyed it. So I guess it comes down to each person’s tastes.

I am still not sure which one is my favorite, but I know that the ones I liked the LEAST were the Cinnamon and Hazelnut. I am a huge fan of hazelnut, yet this macaroon flavor did nothing for me. Although the lady who packed my macaroons was really nice and gave me an extra Cinnamon macaroon as a “sample” and for waiting so patiently, it was not one of my favorites.

Along with my macaroons, I couldn’t resist the pistachio pound cake that I saw when I first stepped inside. Now, in retrospect, I should have resisted. It was not all that good and I would highly recommend that others not bother with it.

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And another item that I saw and got, but probably shouldn’t have was their almond crossiant. I didn’t even think about it until I was in line, waiting to get up to the register, when I looked up at the top of their dessert case and saw the almond crossiants. The thought of trying it didn’t hit me until I noticed a really thin line in the middle of it. They cut their crossiants in half too! Like Tartine! That could only mean that they actually spread the fragipane in themselves!! Oh man, that was I all needed to know. So I got one to try.

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Now…one must remember that it was around noon when I went in. The cafe opens at 8am, and like any bakery, all pastries tend to be baked before the cafe even opens. So I’m not sure how long the crossiant had been sitting there, but it was long enough to severely disappoint me. The crossiant was not flaky but rather more dense and bread-like. However, their saving point is their generous slathering of fragipane in the middle. Maybe if I can try a fresh-out-of-the-oven one, it might just be a good contender of Tartine’s…..maybe.

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Then on Friday, I found myself went back at Opera Patisserie’s. There wasn’t as many people even though it was about the same time in the afternoon that I went. The same people were there working and still no sign of the owner. But I got myself 3 more of their macaroons – the chocolate, raspberry, and cappuccino. All were just as delicious as the ones I got on Wednesday, except I think the chocolate one that I got wasn’t the freshest of the batch. Nonetheless, I sincerely enjoyed myself. Unfortunately…now I have one more addiction in my life: French macaroons.

Ópera Patisseries Fines
1354 5th Avenue
San Diego, Ca 92101
619-234-0425

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6 responses

  1. Macarons!
    This has become an International craze!
    I even had to translate the original French recipe for a client of mine here in Shizuoka City where he owns a very reputable cake shop!
    Croisants do come in all kinds of guise. After all, it was a kind of light bread invented in Austria and introduced in France by this not-so-nice woman called Marie-Antoinette.
    I do prefer them in their original form with a bowl of coffee or hot chocolate!
    By the way, dear May, how do you manage to gulp down all these crumptious offerings?
    LOL
    Robert-Gilles

    June 28, 2007 at 1:51 am

  2. May-chan

    I have to wonder on the Japanese’s take on this little French delicacy, if they do anything different from the original recipe. Since one of my favorite flavors involves anything with azuki beans, I would love to see an azuki macaron! I tend to enjoy Japanese cakes because they are so airy light (so much so that it’s dangerous!) that you can still have dessert after a big meal.
    And Robert, the ONLY way I can have all that my city has to offer is to usually only have a TASTE of it. I usually will get a variety of items, take a bite or two of each to see what it tastes like, and if I find a couple that I really like, I finish it. Otherwise I give it to my little sister so that she can taste everything that the world can offer! I find that it’s not enough that I expand my own palate but the people close to me too. That is why my friends and family know that when they are with me, I will MAKE them try everything! Lol.

    July 5, 2007 at 2:56 pm

  3. Bonjour May,
    I am Thierry, the owner of Opera Patisserie. Thank you for visiting the boutique! I apologize for not being there when you came, certainely working on new recipes at the bakery. Please let me know when I will have the chance to meet you and introduce you to some new exiting desserts. I am surprised that the almond croissant was not completely to your liking, it is normally very flaky, the dough itself and the inside very soft, the almond cream. I hope to read back from you. Have a great day!!! Thierry

    July 6, 2007 at 9:22 pm

  4. May-chan

    Hello Thierry,
    I am by no means a professional and I’m honored that you read my review of your cafe. Overall, I think that your croissant was better than a lot that I have tried in San Diego, especially when I know many places buy them frozen in a box. And your cafe is the first place I’ve seen that actually put their own almond filling. Do you make it yourself? I would love to meet you, to talk and see the new items you have come up with. Perhaps some time next week if you have a chance?
    I hope you’ll have a great day and good weekend.

    July 6, 2007 at 10:41 pm

  5. Pingback: Bonjour! Opera Patisserie Fines…Redux! « Delighted Palate

  6. Emilie

    Please note that the ownership changed. This place is no longer managed or supplied by Opera Patisserie.
    The original Opera Cafe will re-open Mid-July in Sorrento Valley. Here is the exact address: 9254 Scranton Road, San Diego 92121
    See you there!

    June 30, 2008 at 6:02 pm

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