After hearing how crowded the NYC store was when it opened two years ago, I was expecting a long line. But there were just a few people in line in front of me. The menu board listed quite a few items, but all -- with the exception of the vanilla cream puffs -- had "coming soon" stickers slapped over them. So I guess it was vanilla cream puffs... or vanilla cream puffs. At least for now.
The cream puffs are served straight from the oven, so they're still warm. The pastry actually consists of two layers: the outside pie-crust-like pastry is nice and crunchy, while the inside choux pastry is light and airy. (Most cream puffs are made from only choux pastry.) The coolness of the filling is a good contrast to the pastry shell. The little black specks in the whipped cream custard confirm that Beard Papa does indeed use real vanilla beans in the puffs. (Madagascar beans to be exact.)
While I thought the cream puff was very good, it's not something that I find myself craving. Maybe it's because I'm not a big fan of vanilla? I am looking forward to trying some of the other goods that the store will be offering -- like the green tea flavored puffs and the chocolate-covered eclairs. (I did see a woman leaving the store with a bag full of Beard Papa boxes, so clearly there are those who can't get enough of the cream puffs. I hope she can consume that many in one sitting, because they're meant to be eaten the day they're made.)
And in case you're wondering, the Redwood City location is scheduled to open
99 Yerba Buena Lane
San Francisco, CA