Beard Papa’s – Bad Teeth Bring Cream Puffs

beard papa's sweets cafe, sawtelle, west los angeles, ca

Beard Papa’s Sweets Cafe
2130 Sawtelle Blvd. (@ Olympic Blvd.)
Los Angels, CA 90025

See that smile? Up there in the profile photo?

It’s totally fake

Alright, so it’s not totally fake. It is my smile. I am genuinely smiling, too, or at least as genuinely as you can be when someone says “Smile!” three seconds before shoving a digital camera in your face and blinding you with a flashbulb.

However, it is fake because my smile in real-life doesn’t look as winning as it appears in the photo. I didn’t touch the picture with Photoshop (except to crop it for top secret anonymity); it’s just some fluke of camera nature. I have to admit that I chose that photo for my profile because it is the only one I have ever taken in which my smile makes me look like I almost have good teeth.


The reality is that my teeth are horrible. Fortunately, most of my teeth grew in naturally straight. Rather unfortuantely though, there is one tooth in the bottom of the front row that is crooked, and my parents didn’t want to spend five thousand dollars on a mouthful of metal just for one measly tooth. I was spared the angst and ridicule that comes with braces and headgear in my pre-teen years, but suffer now with a self-image-crushing crooked tooth.

The problem isn’t the crooked tooth, which, in some countries, is Austin-tatiously shag-errific, or so I like to tell myself. The problem is the enamel on my teeth. The dentist told me a long time ago that my DNA has destined me to his chair because my enamel is about as strong as…Saran wrap. Literally, I have sheerer-than-normal enamel so not only does it stain more easily than a winter white carpeting on the runway at a 4H pageant show, but it is much more vulnerable to those icky things called cavities. No matter how much I brush or floss or pre-brush rinse with Plax or Act or post-brush rinse with Listerine or sit in bed with plastic trays filled with thick gelatinous line of precription dosage pure Dr. Strangelove fluroide in my mouth for 20 minutes, I will get cavities. Unless, of course, I just drink water and eat air. Even then, I will probably get cavities because that is how I am cursed in this life. I may not be able to get a table at AOC on the day of, but I have a standing reservation in The Chair.

Without getting into the details of how I got my #31 into this siutation, let’s just cut to the chase and say that I had to have root canal therapy. Calling it a “root canal” is not correct because a “root canal” is a thing in your tooth. All of our teeth have roots, and all of the roots have canals. You don’t do a root canal. You do treatment on or in the root canal. The problem was horrible, so I won’t go into the gory details of how it was so ridiculously complicated that my usual dentist couldn’t do it and had to send me to “a specialist,” or in the dental insurance world, “not covered,” i.e. “expensive.” I should have known it was going to hurl my bank account into permanenet anorexia when the endodontist swung an enormous Battlestar Galactica machine from overhead, and worked on my mouth via micro camera viewfinder and robotic arm.

Needless to say, the procedure was drawn out over three appointments, each of which comprised nothing short of the endodontist stabbing my gums with what felt like a knitting needle at least three times, injecting so much poison from the syringe that I was numb all the way up to my eyebrow, hacking away at my fragile enamel with a jackhammer, then shoving tiny sharp deathscrews into each of the canals to completely scrape out the bloody, pulpy mess of nerves until my tooth had no sign of life whatsoever. “Just raise your left hand if you feel any discomfort,” he purred at me at me from under his surgical mask. “If?” If I feel any discomfort?!?! I bet he was smiling when he said it, too.

After the final appointment, I came home, slipped into my “home sweats” because for the endodontist, I got dressed up in my “going-out sweats.” I putzed around the house, letting myself get progressively nastier by the minute because the receptionist told me not eat or drink anything for about six hours until the numbness went away, which basically felt sounded like it might be a six or seven weeks because, gee, how do I explain this? I was numb up to my eyebrow. I was drooling out of the corner of my mouth, which of course, I didn’t actually notice until I looked in the mirror because I was numb so I couldn’t feel the little rivulets of spittle slowly making their way through my laughlines like the Colorado cuts through the Grand Canyon. Pretty sexy.

At the height (depth) of my utter post-op sexiness, I got a phone call.

“What are you doing?” He was calling me from the car. I prayed he wasn’t in his car in front of my building. Oh sh*t. What if he was? I should lie and say I was “out and about.”

“Nuh-hin. Ah ha shi ih mah mou frun woot cannow.” I can’t lie.

beard papa's sweets cafe, sawtelle, west los angeles
you can’t call yourself a food blogger without beard papa’s

“Let’s get Beard Papa’s. I can’t believe you haven’t tried them yet. You have to blog about it.”

“Unh unh. Ah cank ee ay-thi fuh SIX HOURS!” (Strangely enough, the point about six hours was perfectly clear.)

I have no idea how he understood a single word that I was spewing out of my mouth, but I suspect he might have thought I was hungover. I’ve been known to speak in tongue when hungover.

“Okay, I’ll bring them to you.” What? No! He can’t come over here and see me looking like a Alvin, Simon, and precious chubby Theodore, all combined into one. I hemmed. I hawed. But suddenly, whence before he translated perfectly the conversation as if her were the dentist himself, suddenly he didn’t understand “No, I look like I’ve gone to hell, camped out there for eighteen straight days without showering, and just got back.” He would be at my place in 15 minutes.

I ran around my apartment like a chicken with a root canal, throwing things into the closet, shoving things under the bed, and ohmahgawd what do i do with all these disgusting, dry, crusted-over dishes?!?! I tossed them into the dishwasher.

The phone rang again.

“Come on down!” I clasped my hands together and looked heavenward. Someone Up There took pity on me for the pain I went through over three appointments. The boy wanted to do a drive-by drop-off and not come up. Thankyouthankyouthankyou.

beard papa's sweets cafe, sawtelle, west los angeles
look like the gorton’s fisherman

He brought
me a giant cream puff from Beard Papa’s in a tiny little Beard Papa’s paper envelope to put in my refrigerator and save until I could eat it later, since I would have to wait SIX effin’ hours before I could eat anything.

Six hours? Yeah, right. In fact, I doubt I even waited six minutes.

The cream puff was heavier than it should have been for being about the size of my tightened fist – I wasn’t sure if that was promising, or frightening. The landscape of the choux – yes, it was big enough that I can call it a “landscape” – had a wide canyon down the center and steep crags on two sides, snowed over with powdered sugar. It was a scene right out of the Sound of Music. At the end. When Maria, the kids and Captain Von Trapp (*dreamy sigh*) are going over the mountains. I love Captain Von Trapp, by the way.

beard papa's sweets cafe, sawtelle, west los angeles
snow-capped, craggy landscape
beard papa's sweets cafe, sawtelle, west los angeles
bad ratio

The pastry was thin, crisp, and had that sensational airy crackle as I broke the puff into halves. I did it gently, slowly, holding my breath through the gauze and spit-soaked cotton in my cheeks, knowing that whatever heaviness was inside would come tumbling out if I was too eager. The cream inside was a pale golden yellow, but I was slightly taken aback by the overwhelming amount of cream inside. The two halves of the puff now agape, the heavy pastry cream was heaving forward. I set it down on the Beard Papa’s happy little face to snap a photo.

I tried the cream puff and I was disappointed. All that hype. All that buzz. All that gushing over how good the cream puff was, even the gentle promise upon pulling the two halves apart, and Beard Papa’s little puff of so-called magic was…eh.

You would never think it of me based on the wild extremes I display on The Delicious Life, but I am indeed, a girl of balance, of well-measured ratios. For a girl of balance, the cream puff was way too big, throwing the ratio of choux to cream into wild disproportion – not enough of the light, crackling pastry. The cream tasted smooth, but too much of it and it was a thick, pasty monster, suffocating the fragility of the choux.

I didn’t love it. Obviously, I ate all of it since there’s no sense in wasting it, but I doubt I will ever need to eat another one gain. Oh well. It’s probably better for my poor, rotting teeth anyway.

** a year ago today, jack sprat could eat no fat, i could eat no lean **

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 c(h)ristine October 22, 2006 at 6:45 am

ack! i hope you feel better. if you must reward yourself with a treat for the end of the root canal saga, it might as well be a delicious beard papa cream puff!


2 Ash October 22, 2006 at 6:50 am

Hi :) I’m usually a lurker, but I had to tell you that you are not alone with the bad teeth! I have the same problems as you do, but my dentist explained it as an ‘unsatisfactory pH condition’ in my mouth. Apparently the pH of our mouths determines whether or not the enamel thins.

Anyway, after root canals/umpteen fillings, special toothbrushes (I now have the top of the line OralB electric and it helps!), I eventually had some of the really bad teeth out and implants done instead – what a pleasure.

I have had one, and it’s my best tooth ;) Now I’ve had the extraction for the second and I’m doing the three month wait before the post can be inserted. Do some research and consider it. The next tooth I have that needs a root canal is getting removed and I’m having an implant instead!

The worst bit of all this – I brush, floss, whatever compulsively and I get cavities. Husband never flosses, hardly ever brushes his teeth (euw) and has not a single cavity in his mouth. Sucks.


3 Jyotsna aka deccanheffalump October 22, 2006 at 7:08 am

Oohh god I can really sympathise. I have a horror of dentists!


4 Bernsteinschmuck October 22, 2006 at 7:58 am

Hey you,

this is a very interest site!
I come from germany and sale Bernsteinschmuck
I will vistit these Blog soon again to look all the news.


5 Russkar October 22, 2006 at 3:05 pm

Look at the Brightside. You could be living in the 1800’s and need a rootcanal? Can you imagine? Give her(you) another swig of whiskey before I(Endo) goes in with my gouger?
The bad news is when one root canal is needed it normally is followed by a couple more. Better to start dating your Endo now!
Hope you feel better. Opus on Tue.


6 KT October 22, 2006 at 5:40 pm

Oh man … I am in the same boat. I just consider myself lucky that my brushing and flossing has allowed me to get away with cavities and no root canals.


Hope your cream puff made everything better.


7 sarah October 22, 2006 at 9:24 pm

c(h)ristine: i think i would have been better off swigging a little absolut citron.

ash: hi ash! glad that you’re not lurking anymore! welcome to the delicious life!

yeah, some of my friends are lucky like that – they can eat gummy candies, washit down with coke, never brush, floss or even SEE a dentist, and they have nothing but colgate smiles. i on the other hand, spend exorbitant amounts of cash seeing the dentist three times a year. life ain’t fair.

deccanheffalump: haha. i actually like my dentist. i just hate my teeth.

russkar: true. then again, in the 1800s, people didn’t live long enough to develop cavities to begin with.

have fun at opus!

kt: i think i should give up on brushing and flossing altogether. i mean, what’s the point, right? :)


8 Acme Instant Food October 23, 2006 at 4:30 pm

I had never herd of Beard Papa’s until someone showed up at a party I threw recently with BOXES of these things. Those suckers were so tasty–oozing with an amazing cream filling. Perhaps, like an over-hyped movie, the reputation couldn’t live up to your actual experience when you tried em. I, and other party-goers, sucked down every last one of those things.


9 *janet* October 24, 2006 at 2:12 am

Sarah, I have had the same “wish my parents had gotten me braces in middle school even though my current teeth are OK, I guess” issue. I finally sucked it up and got Invisalign (at age 26), and I can’t wait till February when I can beam like a cheerleader with my perfect smile.

Anyway, I think these cream puffs are freaking insanely good, but only when you eat them within 10 seconds of them injecting the puff with the cream. If you wait much longer, I agree — they taste pretty much like regular cream puffs. So I really hope you will give them one more try, but at the actual store.


10 joanh October 24, 2006 at 3:10 pm

the first time I had Beard Papa cream puffs was actually in Japan about 2 years ago.. after smelling the freshly baked puffs and seeing a line of schoolgirls and businessmen waiting, we had to try them. it was SO good. but since then, they are usually just okay.. in Taiwan and LA.. i agree with janet, you have to eat them ASAP, or in the case in Japan, just baked, and it makes it so much better.


11 sarah October 24, 2006 at 4:48 pm

acme: perhaps you are right. in fact, i know you are right because i tend to do that a LOT. get suuuuper excited and hyped myself over something, only to be let down later. i really should stop having such a positive attitude and set lower expectations. ;)

really though, with respect to the beard papa’s cream puffs, it wasn’t so much the expectation as a personal preference. i simply prefer a more balanced ratio of pastry cream to choux!

janet: hmmm..i wonder if i could possibly get those invisalign on just the one tooth that’s crooked in my mouth?

joanh: maybe i SHOULD go to the store itself and tell them to fill it only halfway!


12 sarah October 24, 2006 at 4:48 pm

acme: perhaps you are right. in fact, i know you are right because i tend to do that a LOT. get suuuuper excited and hyped myself over something, only to be let down later. i really should stop having such a positive attitude and set lower expectations. ;)

really though, with respect to the beard papa’s cream puffs, it wasn’t so much the expectation as a personal preference. i simply prefer a more balanced ratio of pastry cream to choux!

janet: hmmm..i wonder if i could possibly get those invisalign on just the one tooth that’s crooked in my mouth?

joanh: maybe i SHOULD go to the store itself and tell them to fill it only halfway!


13 hermz October 31, 2006 at 9:11 pm

I’m with you. They were “eh” for me too. I even went to the store and got some fresh. Still “eh.”

Regardless, a Battlestar Galactica reference? Cool… now maybe some sci-fi types will discover your blog when they search it. haha!


14 Shiva_mike July 5, 2009 at 3:13 am

I miss that here very much.


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