I’ve never thought I’d ever embark on a trek in search of macarons. Never really cared for them until recently, when I had to take a bite on a friend’s macaron and it was yummy. I know there are a ton of people in the world who would go crazy for macarons, and I’m scared to say that I might be one of them now. Oh no!
I thought it would be a fun “project” to do in my free time to search for places that sell macarons without charging an arm and a leg. So far, I have found several including coffee houses, tea bars, and sweets stores around Orange County, CA, and thought I’d share them with you.
ORANGE COUNTY MACARON PLACES
These good-lookin’ colorful macarons are from Merely Sweets in Brea. I got these to go so I can enjoy them at home while watching my favorite TV shows. Flavors range from green tea, raspberry, hazelnut chocolate, earl grey, pistachio, strawberry, chocolate, and a few others and they go for $1.65 each. They’re a little bigger but a little flatter, so I’m not sure which one is better – big but flat, or small but puffy (no pun intended).
Costa Mesa, CA:
These little macarons are from Seventh Tea Bar in Costa Mesa, located inside OC Mix Mart. They are slightly smaller than standard and are 3 for $5. They’re fluffy but flatten once you bite on them or you can just pop the whole thing in your mouth and there goes $1.67. They have different flavors coming in everyday so there isn’t a chart for you to know what they have. Poor guy behind the counter has to memorize which color is which flavor. I tried the cookies and cream, chai tea, and peanut butter. They are decent.
I can’t believe Wild Flour in Fullerton has been right under my nose this whole time and I didn’t even find it until fairly recently. They’re a cute little bake shop that has cupcakes, cakepops, and macarons. Macarons here are $1.65, or half a dozen for $9. I recommend half a dozen, because it’s cheaper AND you get this super cute, classy looking box! I’ve been saving these boxes. Hey, you’ll never know when you’ll need a pretty box for gifting! And macarons are delicious here, to my surprise. They’re firm but soft and chewy, not hard and dry. Highly recommend. Try the cassis flavor, which is like some kind of blueberry.
The Night Owl in downtown Fullerton is a coffee house that has a small selection of macarons, but as I’ve indicated before in my review of this place, they are expensive – tiny in size and go for $1.95 each. No thanks! I didn’t buy any.
Bon Epi Patisserie in Irvine is a more expensive macaron bakery. Hey, they need money to make giant macaron signs to place in the Diamond/Jamboree shopping plaza to compete with 85 Degree Bakery! If I remember correctly, their macarons are $1.95 each. Yikes. They are delicious, and have a wide assortment of interesting flavors, like white mocha mango . However, the price is a bit steep for me. I had to try once but I doubt I’m coming back.
It’s a bit random for a sandwich shop to have macarons, but Sandwich Club in Irvine does manage to join the macaron club by selling a small variety of flavors. Nothing special other than typical flavors like pistacchio, hazelnut, strawberry, etc. They are $1.75 each. I’ve had better.
Many people recommend Layer Cake Bakery in Irvine for macarons so I thought, why not? Macarons are baked right in the bakery and they are $1.60 each. They do have box options, and I got a box of 8 macarons for $12.50, which saves you a whopping 30 cents. The flavors I got were hazenut, pistachio, strawberry, passion fruit, peach, and green tea. They taste pretty good. And I like the cute skinny box design!
Santa Ana, CA:
I can’t believe I never knew about Dolcissimo Bakeshop inside of Main Place Mall in Santa Ana. It’s located in the food court, downstairs, right by the escalators. As often as I go to this mall, I can honestly say I rarely wander to this part of the mall, which is probably why I never knew this magical macaron place existed. Anyway, they have a pretty big selection of macarons and they are all yummy. The only thing is the flavors are pretty standard, nothing unique. Vanilla, strawberry, passion fruit, faspberry, black currant, lemon, pistachio, nutella, salted caramel, chocolate, and coffee. They sell for 3 for $5. I got a box of dozen for $20. Expensive, but it’s worth it!
These are from a new tea bar called Fusion Tea Bar in Tustin. They have signs that say they make these macarons in-house. Hmm, I’m a bit skeptical but I got some, anyway. They have interesting flavors like Thai tea shells with coconut filling, taro shells with taro and coconut filling, and Ferrero Rocher (my favorite chocolate), and they’re $1.50 each. Cheapest one so far, although a little small. I tried all three and they taste as interesting as they sound not in a bad way.
Lily Bakery in Wesminster only has a small selection of macarons and they’re average. And sometimes, presentation helps, too, but here they just place macarons in plastic boxes. Each box has 3 macarons for $5, and they all seem to have the same flavors: strawberry, pistacchio and chocolate. Hmph.
I’ve always known Vans Bakery had macarons and I’ve never really bothered until now. The quality and taste are average. They go for $1.50 each. They don’t sell in bulk or anything so you’re stuck with buying individual ones or a box of 10 mini macarons for $12. I was tempted but I thought about how small they are – what’s the point? Flavors I tried were taro, coffee, pistacchio and orange.
Chubbi Cakes has been around for about a year, located in the busiest intersection of all Westminster – Westminster/Brookhurst. They have a pretty good variety of macaron flavors, but my favorite ones are lavender and rose. Maybe because they’re flowers and they taste pretty good. Macarons here are $1.50 each. I’ve visited this place twice already, and each time I got a box of 7. No discount for buying more apparently.
Le Versailles is a small bakery in a small strip mall in Westminster. The lady there who I assume is the owner is super friendly. She stepped out from behind the counter, approached me, and courteously asked what I’d like to buy. Her friendliness almost made me want to buy a hundred macarons. But considering this was my first time here, I wasn’t sure if the macarons would be good. So I told her I wanted to try just ONE to make sure. I tried a coffee flavored macaron and it was just OK for me. It was sort of bitter, and the shells and cream were a bit hard to bite into. But I didn’t want to buy just one (that I had already eaten, LOL!) so I ended up buying 4 more, with orange lemon, pistacchio, hazelnut, and earl gray flavors. They are also $1.50 each.
Brodard Restaurant in Westminster, known for yummy spring rolls, also sells macarons. Cheapest around, $1.25 each. Not the best macarons I’ve had, but if you’re really craving macarons and don’t feel like spending that much money, these babies will do. I got durian, hazelnut, and taro. The flavors were quite strong, though.
LOS ANGELES COUNTY MACAROON PLACES
Diamond Bar, CA:
Not knowing where to go for lunch, I randomly called up Ni Ni Bakery in Diamond Bar while searching for macarons thinking they probably don’t have any since I didn’t see any photos online at their bakery. Lo and behold, the lady on the phone said “Yes, we have macarons.” Yay! So I drove there, and turns out it’s been right under my nose this whole time. Anyway, they have a decent selection of macarons, HOWEVER, they are tiny, even smaller than the already-small standard size, yet they are still $1.50 each, and only sold individually, so none of that “3 for $5″ deal. Flavors I tried were: green tea, lavender, mango, egg yolk, and rose. I do like that the rose one is in the shape of a heart. Something different I guess. They also have “giant” sized macarons nicely decorated with flower frostings and four baby macarons on top. They’re about half the size of your palm. They looked pretty so I had to get one for $3. OK, not too bad I suppose. Overall, despite the fact that these macarons look cute, the taste is sub-par. Can’t even compare to ones at Chubbi Cakes mentioned above.
Los Angeles, CA:
Bottega Louie is in downtown Los Angeles. This oh-so-famous restaurant/bakery is also popular for its macarons – its expensive macarons, might I add. $2 a pop. Yes. Although they are, indeed, delicious – nice and thick, and sweet and chewy, $2 is just too much. I feel like I’m paying $0.50 extra for the cute little boxes. Yes, they are pretty boxes, and I still have them even 3 days later after I had already devoured the 10 macaroons. The flavors I got were: pistachio, rose, lavender, hazelnut, and orange. This whole trip cost me $20 for 10 macarons and $7 for parking because nothing in LA is ever free.