When my friend mentioned Bottega Louie for lunch, I was just a tad hesitant. Not that I don’t not enjoy the food there, but because of the fact that I had gotten a ticket on the way home after the last visit, the dark shadow is still hanging over me from the trauma of receiving an unjust, unfair, highly expensive citation that did not fit the violation.
However, the remembrance of one of the best pastry I have ever tasted, Le Grand Macaroon, and the image of the beautiful, elegant display of the exquisite patisserie, as well as the magnificent architecture, the ambiance, the energy and the excitement of the place, which is so reminiscent of Paris, all proved to be too strong for me to resist, despite the nagging uneasiness of having to deal with traffic and parking in the Los Angeles downtown area.
After my church service on Sunday, I armed myself with the round trip driving instructions from Mapquest so that I will be able to zip in and out of the area in the fastest, most efficient way possible.
Parking was difficult, I had wanted to find parking on nearby streets, so I stubbornly circled the area continuously for 4 to 5 times. The idea of just giving up and calling my friend to say that we should just go elsewhere crossed my mind, but again, the thought of the unparallelled taste and beauty of the pastries would not allow me to leave. I found a parking lot nearby for $5 and succumbed to paying that price for the sake of tasting the Grand Macaroon once again and trying new ones.
I was surprised by how incredibly busy this place was on this Sunday morning around 11:30 am. The whole restaurant was packed and there was going to be about a 15 minute wait.
Famished, I ordered the Smoked Salmon Benedict, and the Portobello Fries, both of which I had wrote about in my June blog of this year. The fries seemed to be even better this time around. I had mentioned on my last blog how I wished there would be more smoked salmon with the Eggs Benedict, so I decided to take things into my own hand. I ordered the Smoked Salmon Plate. It came with ample slices of the firm, yet moist and silky, and wonderfully smoky wild salmon, served with a side of white bagel and cream cheese. Now my Eggs Benedict is complete with the addition of the extra salmon.
We also ordered the Prosciutto & Burrata which are ultra thin slices of mildly favored prosciutto on top of the Burrata cheese on a potato pancake. I liked the fact that the taste of the meat was delicate and not too salty, which balanced well with the softness of the cheese and crunchiness of the pancake. Though the serving was small, it was just right given the fact that I was becoming full.
Now let’s get to the real and important reason for coming here. It was mainly for the pastries, the sweets, the true masterpieces!
And I do mean masterpieces – each one of the beautifully crafted cakes are meticulously and impeccably executed. While the appearances of some may seem delicate, the taste are often bold and exquisite.
When I tried Le Grand Macaroon last time, it left me exclaiming in excitement to my son how incredible it was. So the first thing I looked for once inside was this splendid huge macaroon with the freshest raspberries and delicious cream filling. It did not disappoint me, it is just as good this time around.
However, as incredible as the macaroon is, the Cappuccino, unbelievably, is even better. Not only does the luscious light yellow custard-cream-like filling taste of strong espresso, but it is mixed with a striking liqueur flavor that is irresistibly flawless. Even my son chose that one as his favorite.
The Hazelnut Brownie is a dense, not too sweet, round shape brownie with a slightly crunchy top. The Earl Grey Macaroon is chewy, crisp and moist all at the same time, but I did not get too much of the tea flavor. I must say the cookies are really good here, too, perhaps a bit under-rated and had gotten a bit lost amongst all the other great sweets. I had the Oatmeal Raisin and the Chocolate Chip, and both were excellent in freshness in taste and texture.
I am still energized and excited a day later from having visited this restaurant and from trying out the amazing pastries and cakes. Perhaps that is the mark of a great restaurant when it can instill such a sense of energy, passion and adventure. It was definitely worth the nuisance that came with the trip.
Bottega Louie – 700 South Grand Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90017 Phone: 213-802-1470