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Going on a bakery spree this weekend

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I plan to hit every new(ish) bakery in Los Angeles. Would love to hear any specific recommendations/warnings Chowhounds have (Great cookies? Tragic cream puffs?) and, of course, let me know if there's another place that should be on the hit list.

(A clarification: I am open to everything except cupcakes. Nothing against them, you understand; I just think we need some time apart.)

Back Door Bakery, Silver Lake
Bluebird Bakery, Culver City
City Bakery, Santa Monica
Delilah Bakery, Echo Park
Hot Cakes, West L.A.
Sophie's Bakery & Cafe, Bel-Air
Susiecakes, Brentwood

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  1. City Bakery: tragic prices.

    1. WOW!! Sadly i have plans this weekend, otherwise I'd join you!!!

      Here are my recs:

      Bluebird Bakery, Culver City - Cupcakes!

      Hot Cakes, West L.A. - Chocolate Cream Puffs

      Susiecakes, Brentwood - Cupcakes!

      Although not a bakery, Surfas Cafe has some great an interesting baked goods such as the Lavender Lemon Bar... Yumm!!!

      --Dommy!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Dommy

        The Canneles at Surfas are pretty good too, and unique. Pricey but worth a try if something that's stickily caramelized and golden with a slight crunch on the outside, and moist and dense with a hint of lemon/honey on the inside appeals to you. They're ugly, but they're good.

      2. YUM! Please do bring us some photos!

        Here are some of my additions:

        Amandine
        1225 Wilshire Boulevard in West Los Angeles
        #310.979-3211
        Their hot green tea is wonderful, as are their chocolate croissants! Some of their items have a Japanese flair and are not too sweet...

        Jin's Patisserie
        1202 Abbot Kinney in Venice
        #310.399-8801
        Her items are museum-worthy, so even if you don't eat here, do window-shop! High tea on her patio is a real treat!

        EuroPane Bakery
        950 East Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena
        #626.577-1828
        Everything is delicious! Some Hounds have commented about some service issues here, but I have never experienced anything but courtesy.

        Le Pain Quotidien
        There are several locations; I like them all!
        Here are a few, but you can check for others on your trail.
        8607 Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood
        #310.854-3700
        11702 Barrington Court in Los Angeles
        #310.476-0969
        9630 Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills
        #310.859-1100
        Be sure to try their hazelnut spread...by the spoonful. It is often on the tables early in the day, but you might have to ask for it.

        Enjoy!

        4 Replies
        1. re: liu

          I agree with all of these places-- great list, liu! In addition, I'd add:

          Wien Konditorei und Cafe
          3035 W. Olympic Blvd. (Ktown)
          (213) 427-0404

          Galleria Cake House
          3250 W. Olympic Blvd. #103, market level (Ktown)
          (323) 766-0404

          I have no idea where the Alcove Cafe sources their cheesecakes, but they're pretty good. Next door is Market Gourmet (or is that the name of the one in on Abbot Kinney in Venice? hmmm...), and they have flourless tortes and whatnot, but I'm usually too busy trying to get cheese samples that I end up being too full for desserty-dessert.
          1929 Hillhurst Ave. (Los Feliz)
          (323) 644-0100

          1. re: PseudoNerd

            Hi, PseudoNerd! I love your add-ons!

            Is Wien Konditorei und Cafe in one of the Korean malls? If not, what is it near?

            Also, Alcove Cafe is new to me, but I will certainly give it a look.

            Thanks for adding on the calories...These lucious lists never seem to end!

            1. re: liu

              After mentioning Wien myself in this thread this morning, I decided it was time to stop just driving past on my way to work every day, and went in. I'm going to post my thoughts under the thread someone else just started specifically about Wien... Oh, as for location, it's on the north side of Olympic, just west of Normandie. There's a big sign, and a small parking lot, which I notice is usually full.

              1. re: jnovgirl

                Thanks! I'm heading over to your other post.

        2. Susina Bakery on Beverly and La Brea. Yumm!

          1 Reply
          1. re: offwhiteroom

            I would add Susina's to my list, too!

            Susina's Bakery
            7122 Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles
            #323.934-7900

          2. It's been open for just over a year, so not really new, but I'd add Maison du Pain in Mid-City (Pico and Ridgeley). Good chocolate croissants, and they're always adding new things.

            And I've been meaning to stop by one of the European-style Koreatown bakeries (Paris Baguette, Wien) which are new to me if not new.

            4 Replies
            1. re: jnovgirl

              Thanks, jnovgirl, for the reminder about Maison du Pain. We were there once and the case was pretty empty. The chocolate croissant was delicious, however, so I would like to plan a return visit soon -- especially since you mention that they are always adding new items.

              1. re: liu

                just don't get an almond croissant.

                1. re: PseudoNerd

                  Really???? Does this mean to save them all for you, or did you have a not-so-delicious experience?

                  1. re: liu

                    I'd posted about it previously, but the gist of it was that instead of putting a log of almond paste in the middle before baking, they'll slice a regular croissant and smear some vaguely almond-flavored cream on it.

                    But they'll make it fresh if you call them, so at least they have the customer service part down.

            2. Vanille Patisserie
              2998 Huntington Drive
              San Marino, CA
              Pretty cakes and pastries with unique flavors (ie rose tea cake), and fresh breads.

              JJ Bakery
              Baldwin Plaza
              Arcadia, CA
              Fresh Chinese breads and pastries.

              I agree with the BlueBird Bakery for cupcakes; Susina for cookies and cake slices; Sweet Lady Jane for cake; Europane for some pastries; Union Bakery in Pasadena for more pastries. I want to add Le Pain Quotidien - I know it's more of a chain, but they do great tarts and breads. Also, Surfas' canneles, lemon lavendar bars, and huge cookies. =) Have fun!

              2 Replies
              1. re: chica

                I love both of your suggestions, chica. Vanille Patisserie is quite beautiful and serene inside, and they do seem to be multiplying in the area. I have yet to taste anything there (it is just so much fun to look!), but with your recommendation I will dive in next time!

                JJ Bakery is another very great visual experience; some of their creations are so beautiful! I think it is a fine bakery, but I think the visual aspect prepares me for great expectations that are sometimes not met. I am often happy to look and walk away, but I do like that some of their items are not too heavy and sticky-sweet.

                1. re: chica

                  Agreed with Sweet Lady Jane for cake (even though it's not new). Get the lemon cake with the buttercream frosting; the tartness of the lemon curd and the creaminess of the buttercream frosting is in perfect balance without being overly rich.

                2. How about Bees Knees and The Kitchen in Pasadena. Both are great and right next to eachother :) KQ

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Kitchen Queen

                    Never heard of these places--what do you recommend at each?

                  2. correct me if i'm wrong but i don't think delilah bakery (echo park) is open yet.

                    1. This is my list working from the westside to east.

                      Jin Patisserie (abbot kinney in venice)
                      Wonderful petite pastries. Lovely garden to sit and enjoy sweets and tea.

                      City Market - I only like the lemon tart.

                      Bread Bar -(3rd street across from Cedar Sinai) offshoot of Paris' Eric kaisers bread shops.
                      The breads and morning sweets are fantastic. Especially the pain du chocolate and almond croissant (flattened style like in paris)

                      Boule (La Cienega, north of beverly blvd)
                      The macroons and canneles are very good. Pastries are like little jewels.
                      Overpriced, but beautiful ""Tiffany's-like" space.

                      Susina- (Beverly and LaBrea)
                      The chocolate "Bear Cake" is delicious. Tiny Italian cookies are one of the specialties. (yum!)
                      Skip the pies, big cookies and brownies.

                      Europane (colorado blvd in pasadena)
                      When they have it, creme fraiche tart!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: ostudio

                        Oh, yest, the Italian cookies at Susina are really good. Nothing else has tempted me there, but I do like the cookies!

                        1. re: emily

                          You must not have tried the Berry Blossom cake yet, then :-)

                      2. I heartily second the recommendations for Jin Patissire (especially for the tea service) and EuroPane. I don't think it's worth your time to stop at Bluebird--the food is just okay in my opinion.

                        I also like Boule on La Cienega, just north of Melrose. It's pricey, but the macarons are light yet chewy and very flavorful.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: eriny

                          You'd be MUCH better off getting macarons from Jin Patisserie as well, as the ones I've had from Boule were pretty much bland and overly sweet.

                          Boule: You want how much money for what???

                        2. This is great - thank you! Promise to report back.

                          1. I don't know if you left it off becuase it isn't new but doing any bakery tour of LA without hitting Europane is criminal.
                            PLus they have new pastries all the time so something is always different - I had a creme fraiche tart with pear today that was spectacular.

                            1. I forgot to mention Phoenix Cafe -- several locations. Sometimes I am in the mood for just an Asian custard. They offer a variety of fun flavors (lychee, mango, green tea, coconut) that are infused with real fruit chunks. In the summer heat, this is a good bakery substitute!

                              1. I don't think Delilah Bakery in Echo Park is open yet...

                                1. Have never heard anything positive about the Backdoor Bakery although maybe my info isn't current. I would definitely include Paris Baquette on Western near 1st and the tiny French Bakery on Vermont in Los Feliz--formerly La Conversation--but I forget its current name. Haven't been in ages but I do remember it as being quite excellent. I'm sure someone houndly will provide correct name and location.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Slow Foodie

                                    I love Backdoor Bakery because I'm in the neighborhood and it is an easy walk or drive. If I had schlepped across town to get a croissant I'd probably be pretty fairly nonplussed if not dissappointed. That being said, their apple ugly muffin (big chunks of apple with walnuts and raisins and usually a nicely browned top) is easily my favorite muffin ever.

                                  2. Do you mean Hotcakes Bakes on Centinela? Don't do it! Go to Angel Maid instead, Centinela just north of Culver. Or at least do both. Hotcakes is just a sad little place with very dry red velvet cupcakes and old looking lemon bars, the macaroons were pretty good tho.

                                    Don't forget Porto's in Glendale!

                                    1. This reminds me about the Italian bakery in Eagle Rock -- the one that has cannolis that are "stuffed" when ordered. While I like the cannolis a lot, I love their fig cookies that have mini chocolate chips in them...mmmmmmmmmmmm! But what is the name of this bakery?

                                      1. Susiecakes is known for their cupcakes. I didn't like them. Plus, you said you wanted some time apart from cupcakes... so, skip this place. Liu's list is probably my favorite!

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: banquisha

                                          Love you, too, banquisha! Now I gotta' get me to the gym!

                                          And with Sushi Zo and Nanbankan on your "Top 5 List," I love you even more!

                                        2. Back Door Bakery: I've heard nothing about their non-cupcake baked goods. And even those reviews were mixed.

                                          1. I'm definitely going to Susiecakes - tempted by chocolate pudding and whoopie pie. Thank you for all of the Asian bakery suggestions, but now I'm wondering if I should separate them for another trip - there's just too many.

                                            1. Love Susina. Whatever you get, wash it down with an Italian soda.

                                              Back Door Bakery. Bring cash, they don't take plastic. I really like the croissants and fresh bread.

                                              1. how bout beard papa's? they're known for their cream puffs, and while i'm not a huge cream puff fan, they were very moist and fresh. i had plain ole vanilla, but they have them with other fillings like chocolate and green tea. i also had one of those little chocolate molten cake things that they sprinkle confectionary sugar on and it was yummy. they put it in the microwave to warm it and it was divine. man i wonder how many calories are in that little thing. anyhoo, the one i went to is in the hollywood/highland center, but i'm almost positine there's at least one more location (id avoid that one like the plague just cuz of the locale).

                                                also, there's this great thai bakery in thai town (also in noho) in that little shopping plaza on hollywood blvd. (either at hobart, or 1 or 2 blocks over) that has amazing looking desserts and theyre open rather late. i cant remember the name of it, but it's really cool inside, almost fancyish, and i had this stuff there called panchi, which are made w/ taro and corn i think and are lavendar in color. they were served warm and were most excellent. cheap too...i highly recommend it. have fun!

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: unocal

                                                  I am going to guess that Unocal was referring to Bhan Khanom Thai (Thai snack house). I LOVE the one in Thai Town and am always disappointed by the bigger branch in NoHo.

                                                  But I wouldn't really call them bakeries. The Thai attitude towards bread can be seen in their name for it khanom bpaing - khanom means snack and often means sweet.

                                                2. Have you ever had a pecan square from Cakery Bakery up in La Canada? Or a Lemon Bar from Frank's Famous on Verdugo in Montrose/La Canada? (i like his P B n J muffins, too!)

                                                  1. skip euro pane on colorado blvd in pasadena and head down lake ave to wheatberry. the breads, cakes, tarts and sandwiches are outstanding. alot of employees come from the cooking school and the food is outstanding. they have some great breakfast and lunch items. the only downer is the counter service. can be great or indifferent but the food is well worth it

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: surfer63

                                                      i find it difficult to compare europane and wheatberry.

                                                      wheatberry is an americanized asian bakery. they use more wet heat to steam more than bake. it's good and i like their cake and coffee package. you will likely see many more in the future. and further wheatberry discussions will one day be moved to the chain board.

                                                      europane is artisanal. the difference between europane and wheatberry are the ingredients. sumi's using farmer's market produce. the best butter. very good quality cheese. i don't think sumi has plans to open more. and what's best - she's always there.

                                                      while there certainly is quality distinction between europane and wheatberry, i do believe that overall, the service and ambiance are better at wheatberry. europane's staff often seems exasperated by explaining the items in the case. at wheatberry, they're usually having to ask someone else what something is.

                                                      but if we're just talking product. there's little to compare. sumi chang is one of the great bakers of our time...not my words, nancy silverton's.

                                                    2. AMAZING bakery run by a Russian family on the SE corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Fairfax (West Hollywood). Everything baked on premises. Super-fresh and yummy.

                                                      Particularly good are the NAPOLEON cakes, but everything I've had here has been pretty impressive. Not sickeningly sweet like some places.

                                                      And get this: Their prices beat the pants off of every other bakery I've been to, either in LA or NYC. A must!!

                                                      Happy Eating.

                                                      1. liquid sky - this place sounds like a real gem. i may have to swing by there tomorrow, as i am housesitting a few blocks away. any non-bakery items available that you recommend?

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: unocal

                                                          I think Liquid Sky is referring to the Russian Bakery located right beside Whole Foods. If that's the case, that would be the Stolichnaya Bakery. We used to live in Hollywood and a weekly ritual was Whole Foods for the healthy and Stolichnaya Bakery for the sinful -- that's our version of a balanced diet! :)

                                                          Stolichnaya Bakery
                                                          7875 Santa Monica Blvd
                                                          West Hollywood, CA 90046
                                                          (323) 656-7136

                                                          Some of the desserts are hit or miss but my favorite was their symphony cake. You might also want to add 3 Square Cafe + Bakery to your list. They have a great linzer torte, Berliners every Friday and a yummy chocolate raspberry mousse pie.

                                                          3 Square Cafe + Bakery
                                                          1121 Abbot Kinney
                                                          Venice, CA 90291
                                                          (310) 399-6504

                                                          Enjoy :)

                                                          1. re: sharkgirl88

                                                            I second 3 Square - need to go out another belt knotch because of them! Don't forget the hazelnut triangles and chocolate covered nougat rings...

                                                        2. My Little Cupcake - Ventura Blvd. east of Laurel in S.O.
                                                          Aux Delices - Pico Blvd. west of La Cienega
                                                          Bread Bar - 3rd St. east of Robertson
                                                          Michel Richard - Robertson Blvd. south of 3rd (apple turnover)
                                                          Buttercake - Pico Blvd. east of Overland
                                                          Sweet Lady Jane - Melrose Ave. east of La Cienega
                                                          Boule - La Cienega north of Beverly Blvd.
                                                          Almandine - Wilshire Blvd. west of Bundy

                                                          1. #1 Amandine (outstanding croissants)
                                                            #2 Breadbar (killer Emmenthaler rolls)
                                                            #3 Sweet Lady Jane (excellent date bars)
                                                            #4 Maison du Pain (excellent croissants, breads)

                                                            Other Worthy Stops:
                                                            Boule
                                                            Jin Patisserie
                                                            (Nice little baked goods, but $$$ and impossible parking)
                                                            Euro Pane
                                                            Joan's on Third (great lemon tart (or bar)
                                                            Clementine

                                                            Not Worthy IME:
                                                            Delice (worst bakery we've been too)
                                                            Michel Richard (only had croissants--not impressed)
                                                            Susina (Marginal have been 2x--nothing great (sorry). Will try again especially the croissants as urged by another CH :)

                                                            PLEASE, PLEASE report back with your experiences (specific recs at each bakery too :)

                                                            1. Again, thanks to everyone.

                                                              Wanted to give you guys my semi-final hit list. I'm only (!) going to 10 bakeries, selected by vintage. (I will definitely visit the other at another time, but I will be swamped only by visiting places that opened over the last 12 months!

                                                              They are:

                                                              Hot Cakes Bakes

                                                              Jamaica’s Cakes

                                                              Surfas

                                                              Maison du Pain

                                                              BreadBar

                                                              Bluebird Bakery

                                                              City Bakery

                                                              Sophie's Bakery & Café

                                                              Back Door

                                                              Susiecakes

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Dana Harris

                                                                *jealous!!!*

                                                                :)

                                                                Can't wait for the report!!

                                                              2. Whoops - taking off Backdoor - it's older than I remembered.

                                                                1. And adding one more: Dolce Forno.

                                                                  1. backdoor isn't so good imo.... i live near it. i looooove sweet lady jane's though! going to bread bar today, we'll see...

                                                                    1. Delilah Bakery finally opens! It was worth the wait. The owner is very sweet and hardworking. I went on opening day; she could hardly cook fast enough. Best of luck Delilah, I'll be back for more goodies.

                                                                      1. I am a huge fan of Portos Bakery in Glendale. They also have a location in Burbank. The cakes are decadent. My favorites are the Opera, Chocolate Parisienne, and the Chocolate Grand Marnier. This cuban bakery does a fine job with cakes.The selection of ready made cakes are endless and they also sell individual slices.
                                                                        http://www.portosbakery.com/home.htm

                                                                        1. I was disapointed in Jamaica's Cakes - very ordinary. I'd go a mile or two east to Buttercake & get whatever they've got hanging around (it's very tiny & they don't bake tons of stuff). I love the cupcakes, but if you're scorning them, there's a lot of other delicious stuff (in particular the bundt cakes - which they sell by the slice). I like their orange currant scones because they are smallish & not heavy, but lovely.

                                                                          Enjoy!

                                                                          1. Boule on La Cienega makes a great unusual lavender eclair! Wheatberry makes a delicious light green tea cake, neat-looking too.

                                                                            1. Lots of great postings... a couple more that I didn't see while feverishly skimming or maybe I just missed them...

                                                                              Massimo's Delectables
                                                                              13222 Washington Blvd
                                                                              Los Angeles (Mar Vista), CA 90066

                                                                              Located behind the Van's shoe store on the corner of Washington and Redwood, Massimo's makes Italian derived cakes, cookies, pastries, and gelato. Anything resembling a cake or chocolate is a sure-bet, especially the chocolate-hazelnut torte and the pear torte. Also save room for gelato or get it to go in cups or pints. The one gelato flavor I can't get out of my head is the green apple-caramel gelato loaded with small flecks of green apple - with the skin - and caramel swirled through the gelato.

                                                                              Patisserie Chantilly
                                                                              2383 Lomita Blvd
                                                                              Lomita, CA 90717

                                                                              Located in a small strip mall on the corner of Lomita and Pennsylvania, right next to Gaja's, Chantilly has some of the best executed pastries, cakes, and other desserts that this blogger has ever had. These desserts have a strong influence from both French and Japanese cultures, both in terms of flavors and aesthetics. Mousses, chestnuts, fresh and flambeed fruits, black sesame, and green tea are some of the ingredients that come to mind. One truly gets the sense that every single item in the case must earn its spot by being the absolute best in flavor and presentation. I can truly say that I have never been underwhelmed by anything at Chantilly, from their chestnut mousse monte-blancs, to their macha tea sponge rolls. Even their coffees and teas are excellent and brewed to order.

                                                                              But the real stars of Chantilly are the cream puffs. These are made to order as well. The two flavors I am familiar with are the traditional cream puff with a choux filling, and the cream puff with a black sesame-choux filling, topped with black sesame seeds and carmelized shoyu glaze. These cream puffs make those from the big cream puff chain - need I name them - look and taste tired and McDonald-like.

                                                                              Everything about Chantilly is so well thought out and executed with such passion and creativity that one can only fault it maybe for its location in Lomita, in that Lomita is probably at the geographic far reaches of an Angeleno's eating universe. Believe me though - it is worth the journey.

                                                                              1. Just an afterthought: I guess it is me who is at fault for not living closer to Chantilly - I am sure they are doing just fine where they are now...

                                                                                1. always a fave of mine - Caprice on Pico in Sm/WLA across the street from TJ's. smell the butter fat - not your ordinary bakery - cash only.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: moanabite

                                                                                    The owner will pop up like the devil on your shoulder - he will tempt you with his tray devilish delights...

                                                                                  2. Paradise Pastry, Glendale. Still my favorite. :)

                                                                                    www.paradisepastry.com