For a frequent visitor to Japan like me, it was fun to see the familiar yellow signage and the famous Papa face. But my nose immediately knew something was amiss in Seattle. One thing I love as I contend with the crush of the crowds leaving the south exit of Tokyo’s Shibuya station: the smell of the choux cream and the puffs. I know that as I reach the outdoors and turn the corner, I’ll see a line of people patiently waiting their turns to order Beard Papa’s cream pipin’ hot cream puffs.
Will we have such lines here in Seattle? Sadly, I doubt it—unless the local owners get their act together. These puffs are reminiscent of what I’ve had in Japan, but the quality was lacking. The “pipin’ hot” slogan refers to how they fill fresh-baked puffs upon ordering, so that the crunchy pastry doesn’t get soggy. These puffs were not piping hot. Their size was inconsistent; too many were too small. And while Beard Papa’s prides itself on its whipped cream custard, using handpicked vanilla beans, which takes two hours to prepare, this filling wasn’t as rich as I remembered, but instead a bit runny. Lastly, while they run just over a dollar each in Japan (120 yen, I believe, including tax), the price here is $2.15 plus tax. I fear it’s time for the puff police to page Beard Papa’s corporate office in Japan to stir up quality control here in Seattle.
Cross-posted on Examiner.