Sweet tour of LA recommendations?
We will be in LA for a few days soon and are interested in hitting up any new bakeries and sweet spots.
We have been to Sprinkles, Auntie Ems, Suzie Cakes, City Bakery, Hot Cakes, Rockenwagner Bakery, Frosted, Leda's, Portos, My Little Cupcake, Yummy Cupcakes, Jin, Boule, Sweet Lady Jane, Joan's on Third, Toast, Susina, Beard Papas, Amande, Clementine.
We have not been to Big Sugar Bakeshop, Violet's Cakes, Dot's Cupcakery, Butter Cake, Cake Walk, Milk, Pinkberry, Frittelles, Bluebird, Dainties, 3 Square.
Any places we should add to the list?
Where are the open Pinkberry? Their site does not have a working list of locations.
Any spectacular ice cream or gelato shops?
Your timing couldn't be better. Bulgarini in Altadena just opened recently. They are reputed to currently have the absolute best gelato in town. Two active posts within the past week will get you going on them. I haven't been yet, but thousands (literally) already have.
Pinkberry? Well, okay - if you insist... they have long been in the process of trying to open additional units in just about every part of the broad LA region. You just name the area that you'd like to visit one and my gut tells me that one of many kind Chowhounders who are admitted Crackberry addicts will be glad to let you know where the closest one(s) will be. Their Venice location on Abbot Kinney should be open within the next week, according to their site supervisor.
You mentioned, "Amande." Did you possibly mean Amandine? If you haven't been yet, they have some of the best - no - the best croissants I've tried here. Their baked goods are quite good - Running Pig will personally rec their chocolate-banana danish with almonds. I really enjoy their cakes as well.
I go to Three Square about one to three times a week. They always offer top-knotch baked goods like their bacon-cheddar twist, raspberry sandwich (strawberry if you're lucky), chocolate nougat ring, hazelnut triangle, and their muffins and scones - while not "look at me I'm so beautiful" looking, they are deceptively good in taste. I think they currently have three chefs who alternately crank out the baked goods, and they all have their own favorites. So depending on the time of day, you will see different offerings. As you've already been to Rockenwagner (the Big R), you might not be so impressed with 3 Square other than it is a nicer place and seems to offer more items - some of which I've already mentioned.
Buttercake might be a teeny place in West LA, but their goods are big on yum. Check out Pei's posts on Buttercake. Although they seem to be known for their cupcakes and mini-cupcakes, they seem to do alot of things well. Their carrot cake is great, and their espresso chocolate cookies are one of my favorites.
I just picked up two dozen Dainties cupcakes (plus four more that Bill and Susan tossed in - some of the nicest folks you'd meet) for my son's basketball game tomorrow. I think their cupcakes are the wonders of cupcakes. The care that goes into making their whipped cream toppings is truly old school. They make almost all of their base flavors from scratch. One of my favorites - the caramel frosting is infused with caramel that Bill makes from scratch. The frosting in his plain old vanilla cupcakes have zillions of vanilla beans broadcasted in it. The raspberry frosting is from his own raspberry sauce and the raspberry garnish is always fresh. And of course the tops of the cupcakes are dipped in ganache - double-dip for the Stupid chocolate. You can always call ahead for the flavors of the day.
As you've already tried Jin Patisserie, another patisserie that I feel belongs at the top of my personal list is Patisserie Chantilly. They're in the sleepy South Bay town of Lomita, but they offer some of the most exquisite desserts and coffee that I've had the pleasure of trying. Most patrons offer praise to Chantilly's cream puffs, especially their choux aux sesame, but I find just about everything else that I've tried there to be all that one could ask for. Just keep in mind that their puffs are made to order, which can take ten to fifteen minutes on average. The usual routine for me is to order however many cream puffs I plan to have, and wait for my cream puffs by ordering one of their other desserts in their case plus a cup of their coffee to keep me occupied while I wait.
Bob's, The Donut Man, Primo's, Royal and USA Donuts seem to be on the top of the donut postings. My personal favorite (thanks, Tony Michaels) is Primo's as they make a killer buttermilk bar, and Primo's is a tad over five minutes from my home via the 405.
Enjoy all the high-calorie grazing - please don't forget to report back and let us know what you thought. We are always curious about what folks from other areas think about our offerings.
It looks like you've covered a lot of places, but here are a few more that might be of interest:
Bread Bar (3rd St or Century City mall)
City Bakery (Brentwood, 26th & San Vicente, Brentwood Country Mart)
Le Marmiton on Montana Avenue has some pastries
The Little Next Door (3rd St)
I tried Milano Freezer for the first time today (on Olympic Blvd. near Robertson in Beverly Hills) - might as well check out the "Imitation Pinkberry" thread to add some other fro-yo places to your list :)
...and as bulvinaka mentioned, Patisserie Chantilly in Lomita/Torrance for sure!
Yes, yes, yes to checking out Bulgarini for gelato in Altadena - but I seem to recall that they're open Wednesday through Sunday, so hopefully someone else will chime in with their operating hours.
Since you'll be driving through Pasadena to get to Altadena, how about Europane bakery on Colorado (one block east of Lake) in Pasadena? Some incredible fruit tarts have come from there (I'm partial to the blueberry tart thingy-ma-bobber (not sure of the technical name, sorry), as well as other delightful bakery items.
Also yes to the Dainties cupcakes - incredible! And (if they're still being served - not sure how long the strawberry season is) the strawberry donuts at the Donut Man in Glendora are unlike anything I've ever had (in a very good way).
I would add the Thai desserts place, Bhan Kanom Thai, in the same mini mall as Ruen Pair. They have an interesting taco looking crepe dessert that is just delicious. Do try the mango with sticky rice if it's still in season.
5271 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
You should check out this recent review regarding a French ice cream store in the South Bay: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/387363
Also Persian ice cream is really great stuff. If you have a chance stop by Rose Market on Westwood Blvd. just south of Santa Monica Blvd. about 2 blocks (in the middle of the 1900 block on the east side) has flavors like white roses and saffron with pistachios. Right across the street from Rose Market is a Persian bakery, Orchid that would be worth making the walk over to try their sweets.
re: tony michaels
I've never had an ice cream flavor at Rose that didn't sing of the flavor describing the ice cream or sorbet. They're excellent. And their ice cream sandwiches are the ice cream equivalent of a triple burger - they're almost too thick to get your mouth around. I don't know how my son finishes them.
Orchid's cookies made respectively of rice flour and chic pea flower - just the right size to pop 20 or 30 in my mouth by the time I get home from there... the textures are amazingly different from "regular" cookies, and the cardamom and rose essence make these memorable. These are perfect with tea.
I feel I did a great disservice to you and the surrounding Chinese and Vietnamese communities by not mentioning you might want to slot in visits to SGV for some great bakeries out there as well.
JJ bakery in Arcadia is a small to medium sized bakery that offers alot of Chinese/Taiwanese-inspired baked goods, and some great renditions of more conventional goods as well. The quality, price, and selection at many of the Chinese bakeries is amazing. I always make a point of dropping by any bakery at random to sample their offerings and rarely leave disappointed.
I have yet to make it to Van's in San Gabriel but fellow Chowhounders have stated very positive things about this Vietnamese bakery. The Vietnamese have a strong affinity with bagettes and desserts - much of it rooted in the French colonial period of their history. One of my father's best friends is Vietnamese and always brings amazing pastries and desserts from the Westminster area when visiting.
I hope other folks will chime in about the many great places out in SGV - even Westminster - as I haven't even scratched the proverbial surface...
Got Cake--great thread--I LOVE bakeries. ***(I'd love to hear your assessment of the bakeries you've gone to ie; top 5, etc.)
I also recommend Breadbar--their emmenthaler rolls warmed up and slathered with Plugra... HEAVEN on earth!
Clementine's chicken pot pie is great to take home for dinner...after a day at bakeries--comfort food at its best.
The recs keep coming to mind... Grand Casino bakery, located on Main Street in downtown Culver City, has great baked goods, cakes, flan, empanadas, expresso, yerba mate, sandwiches de miga, and everything else that an expat from Buenos Aires would want from a bakery/cafe. They've been there for 20 years and are still going strong. I highly recommend anything graced with their dulce de leche, especially their alfajores and "half" alfajores that have a huge dollop of dulce de leche plopped on top, then dipped in dark or white chocolate. While their empanadas are baked, not fried, their lighter nature allows me to enjoy them any time of the day or nite.
Not if this 100% fits the bill, but definitely sweet would be Diddy Riese Cookies in Westwood on Broxton at Le Conte. Can't beat the prices - 3 large cookies (about 10 different flavors) for $1 and $1.25 (they raised their prices!) for an ice cream sandwich (2 cookies and a healthy scoop of whatever flavor Dryer's Ice Cream you want). They also have brownies and muffins, but the cookies (and pricetag) are the stars. It's a UCLA institution and definitely worth a stop if you havn't been already.