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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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).
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!