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.
“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.
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.
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 **