Pascal. 31451 Rancho Viejo Road, No. 103, San Juan Capistrano. 949.488.0031. www.cafesanjuancapistranoca.com.
For a while there, it seemed like the delicate macaron would be crammed down the face of any half-interested gourmand and sweet tooth possessor. But the trend has died, and in its wake, only the steadfast and excellent purveyors of the heavenly cookie remain.
Pascal is one such place. The house specialty comes in a variety of rotating flavors—we tried mango, raspberry, vanilla and chocolate.
The meringue cookies that make up the macaron were egg-shelled on the exterior and airy inside. They were perfect bookends to robustly flavored filling—the vanilla had the distinct flavor of the bean and was more in the frosting category; while the mango punched with lemon and herb sweetness in a jam-like consistency.
Now, going to Pascal, a new-ish, award-winning restaurant where excellent breakfast, lunch and dinner are also served, and writing about the macarons is sort of like going to Yosemite and writing only about Half Dome. Sure, it’s magnificent, but it leaves out the vast greatness of the place. That said, make macarons the cap of a meal if you go, or the companion to coffee or wine.—Matt Cortina