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Beard Papa comes to SF


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Beard Papas are obscenely good, but don't get fooled into buying the six packs like I do. They deteriorate very quickly and are not anywhere near as good several hours later or the next day.

We got a six pack and SHARED. But if we didn't have anyone to share them with, the husband would've been able to finish the box by himself.....

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Beard Papas are obscenely good, but don't get fooled into buying the six packs like I do. They deteriorate very quickly and are not anywhere near as good several hours later or the next day.

We got a six pack and SHARED. But if we didn't have anyone to share them with, the husband would've been able to finish the box by himself.....

Yeah, even for two people, a six pack of Beard Papas is too much.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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I went by around 3:30 on Friday and had to wait in line with 30 people ahead of me. After 10 minutes only one person came out with a box, so I didn't have time to wait any longer.

It appears on Friday that they were churning out batches and as soon as they were done with a batch, the next set of choux were not quite ready to be filled. I went towards the end of the day on Friday, and I got there right in the middle of one of those lulls. They then determined that the next batch was ready, and out came a bunch of happy folks with their boxes of puffs. I had to wait through 2 cycles before I got my pack.

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It appears on Friday that they were churning out batches and as soon as they were done with a batch, the next set of choux were not quite ready to be filled.  I went towards the end of the day on Friday, and I got there right in the middle of one of those lulls.  They then determined that the next batch was ready, and out came a bunch of happy folks with their boxes of puffs.  I had to wait through 2 cycles before I got my pack.

What's up with that? Even at the teeny tiny Beard Papa's in Japan, I've never had to wait for the choux to be ready. They don't fill until you order them, but the whole operation is very efficient and there are always enough choux ready to be filled, no matter how long the line.

The only things that have ever had longer waits are the mochi choux (which they only make at certain times of the day, but they're seasonal, anyway, so they rarely have them), and other specialty products.

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Other than the fact that the cream puffs are fresh out of the oven, and the pastry cream is also very fresh (>2 hrs. old, as someone mentioned), what is it about Beard Papa that makes them so good? Are the cream puffs on the drier side, or slightly moist on the inside? Is the pastry cream lighter (made with mostly milk and yolks) or richer...probably made with milk and cream? Just curious b/c I won't be down in San Fran anytime soon, but those pictures are killing me! The pastry cream looks especially luscious. :smile:

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in my opinion, they are good because they are less sweet than some (most) dessert items. this is something that most asian bakeries lean toward as desserts (pastry) aren't originally part of the food culture.

the puffs are light and crisp and very mild. the custard is not terribly rich or sweet, but mild, smooth and creamy.

i think they are a great treat.

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Other than the fact that the cream puffs are fresh out of the oven, and the pastry cream is also very fresh (>2 hrs. old, as someone mentioned), what is it about Beard Papa that makes them so good? Are the cream puffs on the drier side, or slightly moist on the inside? Is the pastry cream lighter (made with mostly milk and yolks) or richer...probably made with milk and cream? Just curious b/c I won't be down in San Fran anytime soon, but those pictures are killing me! The pastry cream looks especially luscious.  :smile:

Check out this page for some info on Beard Papa cream puffs. The shells are two layers - choux and pie crust, and the filling is a whipped cream custard. Too bad they don't travel well! I could've sent you a few along with some Tartine morning buns(I read your report and live a block away from Tartine :biggrin:).

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I've had them in HK - I don't recall the structure or flavors being some sort of radical departure from normal choux pastry and cream.

But what makes them over the top delicious is the insane freshness. Really enjoyable - in that fairground kind of way.

BTW - I am also sooo jealous that you live so close to Tartin - their sandwiches and cream pies slay me. How's the new Delfina pizza joint?

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^Thanks for the link. I've read that the choux is covered in a sort of pie crust...I'll try and experiment. The puffs when baked look like regular choux puffs to me though. (You're so lucky to be living right by Tartine, btw! Eat an almond croissant for me!!)

Ok, let me know how your experiments go. (And I'll eat 2 for you!! )

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If you can get green tea ones out there, I'll be terribly jealous.  They only come out once a year around my area (half-way between Kobe and Osaka) and in my two years I have never been able to try one.  I love green tea anything!

I went to the Beard Papa over on Hollywood & Highland this afternoon and ordered two cream puffs: one with regular vanilla filling and one with ... green tea filling ...

Unfortunately (or fortunately), I didn't have my camera with me to take photos of the green tea cream puff. The puff pastry was nice and crunchy. The green tea filling was present, but not too intense. ... hmm, I just might go back and take some photos anyways, hehehe ...

Price comparison: Over at the Hollywood & Highland location, the price of a regular is $1.50 & the green tea cream puff was $1.65. Those prices are definitely cheaper than those over in San Francisco. It must be that expenisve to do business over in SF, ehh?

Edited by rjwong (log)

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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I've been holding out going to the San Francisco location until the hype is over... I may not be able to hold out much longer with you teasing us like this!

Hype? Things calmed down a couple of days after they opened - the lines have been reasonable for a while.

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  • 2 weeks later...

In the San Francisco Chronicle article (11 June 2006), Bliss by the bay: Cream puff makes a sweet comeback / by Patricia Yollin

Luigi Cruz ... bought a cream puff shop. Now, as co-owner of Beard Papa's Sweets Cafe in downtown San Francisco, he's burning up calories working 13 hours a day.

Cruz and his business partner, Yuan Ongpin, did not just acquire the master franchise in Northern California for the Japanese cream puff chain, which has about 300 outlets in Asia and 13 in the United States. They inherited its cult following as well and are hoping to capitalize on a nationwide revival of the centuries-old pastry.

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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Good news! There will be a Beard Papa opening in August in Redwood City's On Broadway Shopping Center and one around SF Center in September (just a few blocks away from the Yerba Buena one). :wub:

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  • 1 year later...

I went to Beard Papa in San Francisco last month and was unimpressed. I felt that the pastry was dry and the filling overly thick and rich. I've had cream puffs many times in France and I prefer mine on the moist, lighter side. I could not understand what the big deal was about, sorry!

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