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planning a visit to La brea bakery...

SF chowhounder planning a southern town visit to La brea bakery, heard beautiful stories about the baked products and especially sandwiches, wanting to also learn of any other bakeries that are worth the visit while in LA area, enjoy good artisan breads, pastries...
also just cafe, or sandwich places worth a good bite to eat...? thanks,

PS, heard also about the fancy gourmet donut shop, where is it?

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  1. In addition to La Brea Bakery, Amandine on Wilshire in West LA does great pastries, and I'm a big fan of the sandwiches at Bay Cities Deli.

    1. As much as it pains me to say it, LBB is not worth a special trip for baked goods. The baked goods and bread are well past their prime these days. Restaurants seem to get decent bread from the bakery and the prepared sandwiches are good for on the run (especially if you opt to have them grill a cheese sandwhich) but the baked goods no longer meet LA standards, let alone SF. I wish we were colonized. They do have some tasty cheeses.

      LA doesn't have a lot of great bakeries. Bread (but not pastries or service or cafe food) is good at Bread Bar, baked goods and cafe food is good at Clementine, Joan's, and Europane. A lot of people like Amandine and Surfas for pastry but I don't think they rate a trip.

      The fancy donut shop is called Fritteli, haven't been.

      2 Replies
      1. re: JudiAU

        I agree with Judi. Since you have your heart set on it, visit LBB anyway to judge for yourself. IMO, the Bay Area is far superior in bread and cheeses.

        However, I think L.A. makes a decent showing in the pastry and chocolate arena. Jin Patisserie and Boule both shine in those two areas. If you make it as far south as Orange County, stop by for a slice of cake at Let Them Eat Cake in Costa Mesa. They make world class cakes, by far the most insanely creative cake people in our area.

        1. re: JudiAU

          I should have mentioned before that if you are interested in the bready arts you should try and stop by and try Mozza, Nancy Silverton's pizza place during the off hours. She is a tremendous talent and post-buyout LBB is nothing without her. Her pizza, however, is very special. Approach it with an open mind and not with ideals.

        2. I like Bluebird Bakery in Culver City for the red velvet cupcakes, pressed sandwiches, and salads. Auntie Em's, however, is my #1 for cupcakes in general. They also make great sandwiches and salads (pomegranate steak special once!)

          I also suggest Boule for more delicate pastries, Sweet Lady Jane for cakes, and Susina Bakery for delicious paninis, pastries, and Italian cookies (I take a box of all selections home!).

          There are several Asian bakeries farther east worth checking out. Vanille Patisserie has beautifully decorated tarts and cakes; you can find those and other asian pastries (taro/red bean/green bean, sesame, pineapple, etc.- filled) at JJ Bakery, RJ Patisserie.

          Frittelli’s Doughnuts & Coffee, 350 North Canon Drive, suite 6, between Brighton and Dayton Ways, Beverly Hills (310-276-1408).

          Here's a link to other popular bakeries in LA: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/320331

          Welcome and enjoy!

          1. Frittelli's Doughnuts in Beverly Hills is a great place (www.frittelli.com). The glazed buttermilk is excellent! If you are looking for a good lunch spot with great pastries then checkout Susina Bakery (www.susinabakery.com), or one of the great places on Third Street such as Doughboys (www.doughboys.net), or Joan's on Third (www.joansonthird.com).

            2 Replies
            1. re: pepitos

              right, the round red velvet cakes at Doughboys. Yumm. Joan's on Third has heavenly salads, too.

              Next door to Doughboys is Little Door Next Door. Great pastries, sandwiches, pates, and ready made salads, too.

              1. re: chica

                I'll add to the chorus that sings the praises of Doughboys. And this doesn't even begin to mention their savory menu!

            2. Have to agree w/ JudiAU - better bakeries in LA - But am a huge fan of their sandwiches - especially the fresh ricotta w/ marinated artichokes on olive bread Fantastic! I do like Amandine in West LA and think it is worth a trip - but it is definitely a French bakery. Love the banana cream pie at Clementine (also worth a trip) Happy eating!

              2 Replies
              1. re: mrpullings

                The banana cream pie for two at Clementine is a joke - I order it for my wife and me but I eat it all myself! The joke's on my wife, but she doesn't think it's very funny... Get the banana cream pie... and the key lime pie is yowza...

                1. re: mrpullings

                  That artichoke-ricotta sandwhich is indeed perfect. Yum.

                2. Well if you DO go to La Brea Bakery, make sure you get one of the sour-cherry brioches and a few caneles. I used to live right there and was a regular, and have taken many friends and relatives, and the consensus was always that those were the standout items.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: trojanhorse

                    Haven't been in years, but they used to have a lemon ginger scone that was really great as well...

                  2. You really need to check out the french-inspired Asian patisseries. Tops on my list is Chantilly in Lomita (have lunch or dinner next door at Gaja), then Jin in Venice (have fixed lunch menu at Joe's). Also mentioned earlier was J.J. in Arcadia, and if you go there, you might as well try Din Tai Fung for their dumplings, fried rice, noodles, and bao. After that, you can walk it off at the LA Arboretum, or bet on the horses at Santa Anita...

                    1. Be sure to get the autostrada at La Brea Bakery. Campanile used to do an amazing one for Thursday's grilled cheese night, but the last few times we went, it was no longer on the menu. The bakery version, though not as ridiculous, is still pretty terrific. So if you don't keep Kosher and aren't afraid of the occasional myocardial infarction, it's the way to go.

                      1. Anyone know anything about "Milk"? Do they have great sandwiches?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: ochound

                          There is a thread about it here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/370542

                          Milk's sandwiches are good; La Brea's sandwiches are better.

                        2. for anyone who wishes to try La Brea Bakery's baked goods but isn't able to visit the actual bakery, select Whole Foods locations carry a limited selection of their scones and sweet buns and cookies. (I've found them at the Glendale WF and the WF across from the Grove)

                          1. You must go to the La Brea Bakery. Some of their pressed sandwiches are divine! My favorite is a turkey, smoked mozzarella, balsamic onion, bacon and sage pressed sandwich - smoky, sweet, salty, filling and delicious. My bf swears by the "Autostrada" sandwich which is all sorts of meats, a thinner slice of cheese than the turkey and hot cherry peppers. Autostrada is richer but ultra satisfying for a meat lover without being TOO much food for lunch.

                            Also, Susina Bakery (on Beverly Blvd. just west of La Brea) has a deeeeeelicious berry bread pudding made with brioche.