I was squiring some out-of-towners around LA today, including my mother. We lunched at Loteria in the Fairfax Farmers Market (one of my favorite eateries in one of my favorite Angeleno attractions - best horchata anywhere). While we ate, I spun them a tale of the tastiest French macarons, the most luscious gelato, the most imaginitve breads, and ... I don't want to oversell this ... THE ABSOLUTE BEST CARAMELS ON THE FACE OF THE ENTIRE PLANET THAT HAVE EVER EXISTED.
Fleur de sel caramels, to be exact. Rich, buttery, soft, deeply flavored caramels balanced by delicate flakes of gourmet salt crystals, which enhanced all the notes. These were one of Oprah's favorite things for Jimny's sake.
We're talking better confections than the ones Chef Smurf would whip up once a year, giving a small supply to all who lived in the Smurf village. The flavor of which was enough to pit Smurf against Smurf until they started smurfing each other with big, blunt smurfs until there were puddles of smurf all over the smurf and Chef Smurf decided the candy was too smurf to ever smurf again. Smurf.
After lunch, we were all fired up to go get our caramel on. We lion tamed our way out of the viscious parking lot, headed down 3rd, took a right on La Cienega, found rockstar parking and ... had our hearts (mine mostly) broken by a sign on the door thanking the shop's patrons for their support (past tense slathered on), and stating that both the La Cienega and Beverly Hills locations were now closed.
A peak through the window (as if the sign might have merely proved a cruel hoax) confirmed that all that was left of my beloved confectionary shrine were its trademark robin's egg blue walls, now stripped completely bare.
If anyone has the recipe for their red wine bread, please send it to me.
the delightful macarons of many colors (photo courtesty of boulela.com)