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Suggestions please for unique,local dessert

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I am interested in suggestions to serve at a house tour. There are seven other homes on the tour which are serving different "treats" for example, one home is serving Sprinkles cupcakes, another 21 Choices, sugar cookies at another. The attendance expected is 400 and the food should be portable and easy to serve, not messy. Any ideas for something unique to the Los Angeles area? Is there a special bakery treat such as the Sprinkle cupcake which is trendy and topical? Ok, basically I want to compete with a dessert that has a "buzz" about it. Non alcoholic but can be a beverage. Sounds like mission impossible but I trust the chowhounders to help. Thanks so much in advance!

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  1. Not sure if this is something you'd be interested in, but I did have a green tea chiffon cake at Paris Baguette and thought it was different, yummy and light. (Outside has white icing, but inside is green colored cake)

    Paris Baguette is in Ktown, on Western and Beverly, I believe.

    Good luck!

    5 Replies
    1. re: spicychow

      It's on Western at 1st Street, just south of Beverly.

      I have to agree, the green tea cake here is divine! I dream of it often.

      http://myculinaryadventures.blogspot.com

      1. re: spicychow

        I never heard of that kind of cake. It sounds like it would look very pretty.

        1. re: Amanda please

          I don't know what the cake looks like or what it includes, but green tea cake is somewhat common amongst the Japanese and other Asian bakeries and patisseries. Whirl around the bake places in the South Bay or SGV, and you'll see it alot. My favorite is at Chantilly - it's presented as a roll, with a cream filling that has some red beans (azuki) folded into it, and a dusting of maccha and and a few more red beans for garnish. The one caviat I would give is the cakes from the Asian perspective don't scream flavor, but rather offer nuances of it.

          1. re: bulavinaka

            I also highly reommend Chantilly even if you don't go for green tea cake, there are so many other "beautiful" (and quite pretty) choices offered. I recommend visiting too!

            1. re: miffy

              I didn't want to sound like a broken record in always giving them a rec - thanks for chiming in for me!

      2. Hmm, not unique to L.A., but Beard Papa Cream Puffs always go over well, and have some novelty value.

        1. There are some amazing strawberry-whipped cream white cakes that I've had from some bakery in the Valley - I got the impression they're a kind of local and maybe ethnic specialty of some sort?

          You could also find some Mexican tres leches cakes.

          Or you could always contact Frances Kuyper's cake museum in Pasadena and ask.

          1. How about setting up your own Diddy Reise operation? You could go to Westwood - buy enough cookies from them - and then serve it with ice cream at your house.

            Only other desserts unique to LA that come to mind are various organic things around town like the cakes you can get from Ghalia. But not sure your guests will really be happy about that.

            One other suggestion - you can't go wrong with Pizookie from BJ's Brewhouse. Have yet to meet anyone who does not like Pizookie. Not an LA original, though the first BJ's was in Santa Ana.

            3 Replies
            1. re: dbuckho

              Thanks so much and I am making list up now of sites I need to go to this coming week. I am beginning to think I may be able to pull this off this year since in the past my offerings were the most lackluster and I am getting desperate for some kudos. Please,please keep brainstorming and I will continue to be ever so grateful. Criteria is easy treats one can carry without much fuss.

              1. re: foodseek

                Well, I don't know what part of Los Angeles you are referring to but in Pasadena there is a little Russian/Armenian bakery on Washington called House of Cookies. Besides having well priced and delicious cookies, they do all kinds of miniature cream puffs, napoleons and eclairs that are less than $1/each. They use real whipped cream,etc.

                1. re: foodseek

                  If it's kind of DIY, I will put in a rec for Rose Market's rose ice cream with pistachios (try the orange one too - you can buy by the scoop or big tub) - and also buy some rose preserves there to heat slightly and use as a sauce... wonderful. I like them in little sandwiches made with round Italian wafer cookies (that look like they're made of cake cone material but taste better).

              2. Pan dulce from East Los Angeles, e.g., El Gallo, La Fama, etc.

                1. Potato balls from Porto's in Burbank or Glendale. Not dessert, but damn good. You may stand out for serving a savory.

                  Go to Little Tokyo, find a market, and see if you can find lotus or red bean cakes. Ohhhh YUM!

                  Nata's bakery in Sherman oaks has some fabulous portugese bakes treats!

                  Mashti malone's persian ice cream...I'd get some pre-packed ginger rosewater.

                  Baklava form the baklava factory in Encino or Glendale/burbank.

                  I find Leed'a Cookies at Leeda's in Sherman oaks even better than her cupcakes. hr scones and blondies are inceadible, too!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Diana

                    Second Nata's.

                    See if you could special order a massive batch of buttermilk bars from Primo's or cinnamon rolls from Royal Donuts.

                    Jin Pattiserie

                    Berries'n'Cream Cake from SLJ or Susina

                    Angel maid for cream puffs

                    Van's Bakery in San Gabriel for tarot cakes

                    Adelita's for tres leches

                    Sarkis for baklava

                    1. re: Emme

                      Sarkis also has some really good Ice Creams. Pistachio, Rose, Strwberry and a couple other ethnic flavors

                      1. re: Emme

                        Just had Angel Maid cream puffs- they are delicious

                    2. I second the Beard Papa's suggestion. This can get expensive though.

                      For a cheaper idea with an Asian flair, why not get different flavored mochi ice cream from Trader Joe's.

                      Finally, try out Phoenix Bakery for Chinese desserts. They have mochis filled with mango, mango pudding, rose bud jelly, and many other choices.

                      1. Chunkomunko Cheese*cakes.

                        See my prior post here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/378191

                        1. Cream puffs at Paradise Pastry in Glendale are three for a dollar (for the small ones). They are great.

                          They also have excellent fruit cups-- fresh kiwi, strawberry, apricot on a thin slice of sponge cake, in a thin chocolate cup. These are $1.50 each. I bought 20 of them, and they were a hit at work.

                          1. Perfectly Sweet
                            126 W. Main St., Alhambra, CA 91801
                            626.282.9400

                            They have meringues, mousse cakes, cheesecakes, fruit mousses, roulades, tarte tatin, tiramisu, tres leches, pies, etc... all scrumptious !!!

                            1. What part of town are you in? Is there any particular theme to the house tour? What's your approx. budget per? Any limitations on refrigeration? Any transportation issues? Serving 400 means a huge amount of whatever...

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: bulavinaka

                                The tour is in the West Adams area of Los Angeles. The guests will be mainly women and since they are touring other homes with refreshments as well the "treats" don't need to be "filling". I am hoping to have something though that is attractive, easy to serve, and hopefully easy to eat. Needless to say I hope for something distinctive. As stated earlier other items along the tour , that I know of so far, will be Sprinkles cupcakes, 21 Flavors or Pinkberry. Thanks for the brainstorming keep it up-our budget is pretty generous so I think we can afford most desserts.

                                1. re: foodseek

                                  I'm thinking that if most of your house guests are women, that they'll be eating on the move, that eye appeal is a must, and that this dessert will be competing with some seriously distinct older homes in the West Adams area of midtown, you probably want something compact, kind of self-serve, something that will call to you, and will also bring smiles to faces and eyes rolling back as they bite into... macarons.

                                  Someone already mentioned Jin Patisserie on Abbot Kinney in Venice. IMHO, they have excellent macarons that will dazzle the interior of your home. Assuming it's one of those well-preserved craftmans, victorians, art-decos, or metros, this might be the ticket. Some of those homes tend to be a little bit darker on the interior, meaning you might want something that has enough color to pop.

                                  Jin sells multi-colored/flavored macarons in a nice clear plastic packaging specifically made to hold and preserve the integrity of the macarons, while displaying them like works of art for all to see. The macarons themselves are small, easy to eat, and the multitude of flavors will do anything but bore you. I can see a huge table of these babies being offered with some nice teas or coffees. Kristy Choo, the owner, does alot of custom work for functions of all sorts and sizes, so I could easily see you two sitting down together for a consult and coming up with something that will blow away your competition.

                                  Check out her website - just past the intro page, you'll see some of her creations, one of which where raspberries and a flavored buttercream is sandwiched between two halves of macaron. Her cakes are very unique and tasty as well. Lots of eye candy to go with the amazing flavor combinations. Creativity is her specialty - if she can't dazzle you, then you've obviously seen everything there is to see in life.

                                  http://www.jinpatisserie.com/

                              2. dunno what part of town you're in, but
                                if it were me, i'd probably go to la maison du pain and explain the situation to them.
                                i'm sure that they'd have some good suggestions and would make up platters with assorted pastries for you. also, they probably would bake the goodies in an easy-to-manage size.

                                i would not do beard papa because
                                1) keeping the cream puffs 'fresh-enough' would be next to impossible--there's a reason they fill those puffs the moment before they hand them to you.
                                2) the puffs are messy to eat. for most women, the puffs are bigger than a mouthful so that there is no neat/elegant way to eat one unless you are sitting down at a table with cutlery... . (of course for slobs like me, tearing into the box in the car on the way home is ok).

                                1. i love the hot chocolate from City Bakery in Brentwood. It's very thick. More like a melted chocolate bar. You could serve it in a clear plastic shot glass. CB caters and will make up a batch for you. This is a dessert with "buzz", from a restaurant/bakery with "buzz". The shot glass presentation is fun and you can portion control.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: cuppajoe

                                    Went to a party not too long ago where the caterer served mini-milkshakes. Thought it was pretty cool and the display looked very upscale with all the small glasses on each tray, Sounds like the hot chocolate from CB would be similar.

                                    1. re: cuppajoe

                                      Just to expand on your fabulous idea, Cuppajoe...
                                      How about Mexican Hot Chocolate...buy some nice homemade marshmallows (or make them yourself..even better), cut them into small pieces. Serve with a cinnamon stick. Maybe buy mini pan dulce to go with the hot choc...or a nice mini-biscotti..not too sweet.

                                      1. re: Sugar Jones

                                        YES!! Mexican hot chocolate w/ marshmallows from Little Flower. Served in a shot glass or interesting disposable stemware.

                                        1. re: cuppajoe

                                          I am fixated on this idea. How about a "chocolate martini" ?
                                          Mexican chocolate poured into a plastic martini glass (hot or cold) with a small marshmallow "olive" on a toothpick,
                                          I love food preparations that incorporate whimsy.

                                    2. I have recently got into Pot Bing Soo which is a Korean shaved ice dessert with red beans, fresh fruit, and ice cream or frozen yogurt (and depending on who makes it, boba and mochi as well). I've had it at various places around town (Koreatown Plaza, local Korean coffee houses), my next stop being Ce Fiore, but I've heard some good things about Ice Kiss.

                                      http://myculinaryadventures.blogspot.com

                                      1. How about tiny (2-bite) packets of Thai sticky rice with fresh slices of mango on top?

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: hrhboo

                                          I'm chiming in late, but I'd be voting for this one!

                                        2. Martino's Tea Cakes are always a favorite. They are in Burbank and have been around forever. The tea cakes aren't too fancy, but you could dress them up with edible flowers on top. Leda's mini cupcakes are really delicious especially the tropical fruit flavored ones.

                                          1. Not sure how good they are because the reviews here have been mixed, but maybe Fratelli's donuts? Those are getting a fair amount of buzz lately...

                                            1. Wow, lots of good ideas here. The only thing that I came up with that I haven't seen is mango lassi. Those would be delicious, and I'm sure you could find a place to make several gallons for you...if it's a chilly night though, I second the Mexican hot chocolate idea! (I like the tres leches and moochi balls idea as well.)

                                              1. Surfas and Lemon Moon have excellent Lemon Bars. Surfas' has a hint of lavender, tho' I like the tartness of the LM better. Both do catering.

                                                www.cafesurfas.com
                                                lemonmoon.com

                                                1. Bobby Flay’s Throwdown with Auntie Em’s caused some buzz. Flay won, however, he cheated with some mangos, butter, vanilla beans and a cupcake book author (think she knew who made the Red Velvet and who’s show it was?) as a judge against that tangy creme cheese. But hey, that’s not to say Auntie Em’s Red Velvet is not outstanding and would not have kicked Flay’s butt if he competed Red Velvet against Red Velvet. Anyway, aside from the buzz Auntie Em’s also makes mini cupcakes and some really good melt-in-your-mouth Whoopie Pies. Maybe you could ask if they would also make mini Whoopie Pies. That would make an impressive display – mini Red Velvet, Chocolate and Coconut cupcakes and Whoopie Pies. Then add something good to wash it all down with. Maybe Broguiere's milk in quart size glass bottles, white and the best chocolate milk in the state, and some other drinks

                                                  Auntie Em’s Kitchen
                                                  4616 Eagle Rock Blvd.
                                                  Los Angeles, CA 90041
                                                  (323) 255-0800
                                                  mon-fri 8am to 7pm & sat-sun 8am to 4pm
                                                  http://www.auntieemskitchen.com/about...

                                                  Broguiere's Farm Fresh Dairy (Very Cool old Drive thru Dairy with Milk in old-time Glass quarts and half-gallon bottles, Must try the chocolate Milk in glass – drink it very cold before you leave)
                                                  505 S Maple Ave
                                                  Montebello, CA 90640-5404
                                                  7am to 7pm Mon. to Fri.
                                                  7am to 6pm on Sat.
                                                  (323) 726-0524
                                                  One block South of Olympic almost on the Rail Road Tracks. About five blocks North of Washington Blvd.)

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: JeetJet

                                                    oh yea. auntie em's is great for desserts. i just went today. they have fresh crisps, cakes, cookies, their famous cupcakes, all very yummie.

                                                    other than that, i have been addicted to the banana bread pudding at Blue Hen also in eaglerock.

                                                  2. Daan taat -- the little egg tarts served at dim sum. Cheap, can be held at room temperature for a few hours without suffering, and transport relatively well.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                      That's a good one - they hold up well, are bite-sized, and really tasty, especially with a nice unadulterated tea. We just had some great ones at both Capital Seafood and Sea Harbour. And of course Sea Harbour stepped it up a couple of knotches by adding what we first thought was coconut at first sight. Upon closer inspection, we first thought it was gelatin. Both guesses were wrong - we finally figured out it was bird's nest. Sea Harbour just can't stand being outdone...

                                                    2. One of my all-time favorite desserts is a quirky treat from the Sawtelle kitchen. It's a parfait with homemade coffee jello on the bottom, that's been roughed up into little pieces, topped with a scoop of strong capuccino ice cream, all topped with some whipped cream. You could set up the jello ahead of time in small cups (maybe shot glasses?) and top them at the last minute with the ice cream and a dab of whipped cream (maybe use a melon baller if you use small cups or shot glasses).

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: purplescout

                                                        i love that coffee jello dessert. There are many variations, all delicious. My personal favorite is smooth coffee jello with a dollop of partially melted vanilla ice cream and a shot of kahlua. That's how it was prepared at the now defunct Cafe Blanc . I plan to go to Sawtelle Kitchen tomorrow, on your rec, and try their version. will report back!

                                                      2. Persian ice cream from Mashti Malone's... L.A. is home to the largest persian community outside of Tehran... I recommend faloodeh (rosewater sherbet) with sour lemon juice or (if you're not on a diet) the saffron bastani with pistachios.

                                                        http://www.mashtimalones.com/contact.htm
                                                        (brace yourself, it's one of the kitsch-iest websites i've seen recently)

                                                        10 Replies
                                                        1. re: amandine

                                                          I love all things Persian, especially their frozen confections, but wonder how practical things like ice cream would be in a setting where I am guessing the tour will be about 3-6 hours during the day, and there will be a flow of guests coming in at random - that's how these neighborhood house tours usually go. Now I'm guessing if Mashti came in and set up a cart and dished it out as they came in, this would be a different story. However, they usually walk throughout the host's house, as well as others, and I could see some serious spilling going on with anything that is or can turn into liquid... I'm frankly surprised that the refreshments are encouraged on this particular tour, as most that I've been to prohibit it for obvious reasons. But in the same breath, I think it's great - these places should be respected but not treated like museums - they are homes.

                                                          1. re: bulavinaka

                                                            Once again thanks so much for the suggestions and yes I believe successful entertaining includes putting guests as ease and providing food. One of the "bragging" rights as a host is who tapped into the most attractive, novel, and delicious treat. Thanks for helping me be a contender this year - I am optimistic with all these leads.

                                                            1. re: foodseek

                                                              Another suggestion -- if you have a Peruvian place near you, go for leche asada ("grilled milk", it's a very unctuous custard) or alfajores, also available at any Argentine place worth its beef. (You can make alfajores easily as well with butter cookies and dulce de leche.)

                                                              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                Great alfajores can be sourced at Grand Casino bakery on Main St in Culver City - just 5-10 minutes from Midtown... those are too easy to eat...

                                                            2. re: bulavinaka

                                                              Oh bulavinaka, have you been to a house party of Persian hosts? :) The parties always seem to defy the laws of nature and stainage... most of the ones I've been to include serving large quantities of bastani in huge bowls (and dinner and dessert are almost always served buffet style, so it hangs around for a few hours as people serve themselves, chat, and serve themselves again) I believe they just have the containers on ice.

                                                              But I totally know what you mean. I don't think we mere mortals should attempt to throw parties as Iranians do. (speaking as the daughter of one) :)

                                                              1. re: amandine

                                                                I just can't comprehend how Persian parties can combine quality and quantity so well - the two are diametrically opposed to each other, yet after my last fortunate encounter a couple of weekends ago I was baffled again... although no bastani, we actually had a boston cream pie! A nice curve ball to another fantastic buffet-style feast that still has my belt out one extra notch... Berma'id!

                                                                1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                  lol. quantity AND quality is the name of the game in Persian culture it seems... weddings especially feature UNIMAGINABLE amounts of food on display, it's almost a shame to see so much food left over.

                                                                  as for your dessert party, you could always go to any persian market (try Elat on Pico east of Robertson) and pick up some bamieh and zulubia (fried honey-soaked deliciousness, excellent with tea) and their incredible bursting medjool dates. But I'm guessing by now the party's already happened. ;)

                                                                  1. re: amandine

                                                                    Actually the tour is in September. This year I wanted to be prepared so I started early in my search for the "perfect" dessert. Besides, I will need the time to check out all these wonderful suggestions. Earlier this week I ventured off to City Bakery in Brentwood-chocolate drink was delicious and dare I say I felt somewhat decadent after drinking it. I think I am in store for a delicious summer. Thanks again!

                                                                    1. re: foodseek

                                                                      Wow! That's advanced planning. June, July, August, September-- 4 months, and plenty of eating ahead. :)

                                                                      1. re: katkoupai

                                                                        Like a true chowhound...

                                                          2. Presentation plus a moist taste sensation = unforgettable. A blue table cloth decorated with white randomly tossed stars. Then RED velvet,, WHITE and BLUE velvet cakes all cut in half to display their colors. For some reason I think a few little flags and some apple pie belong here as well.

                                                            The Buzz...

                                                            MILK (Blue Velvet Cake)
                                                            7290 Beverly Boulevard (at Poinsettia)
                                                            Los Angeles 90036
                                                            (323) 939-6455
                                                            Mon - Closed
                                                            Sun, Tue – Thur 9 a.m.– 10 p.m.
                                                            Fri-Sat 9 a.m. - 11 p.m.

                                                            Auntie Em’s Kitchen (Red Velvet Cake)
                                                            4616 Eagle Rock Blvd.
                                                            Los Angeles, CA 90041
                                                            (323) 255-0800
                                                            mon-fri 8am to 7pm & sat-sun 8am to 4pm
                                                            http://www.auntieemskitchen.com/about...

                                                            Jongewaard's Bake 'n Broil (Red Velvet and White Cake)
                                                            3697 Atlantic Ave (At 37th st.) Long Beach, CA 90807
                                                            (562) 595-0396

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: JeetJet

                                                              These all sound great!

                                                            2. Lots of good suggestions already. You might also consider slices of Pumpkin Bread/Cake from the Monastery of the Angels: http://www.op-stjoseph.org/nuns/angels/ . Delicious, and uniquely Los Angeles. (Maybe top with a little fresh whipped cream.)

                                                              1. Ooh, here's another one.... the pumpkin pie at Urth Cafe. [drool...]

                                                                1. Not cheap, but near you, La Brea Bakery is a Los Angeles original. Their canneles are delicious, easy to carry-n-eat, and somewhat of an unusual treat. But again, pricey. Their cookies & scones are good too.

                                                                  To add to the mini-cupcakes, Buttercake Bakery on Pico near Westside Pavilion has great red velvet minis. Perfect frosting to cake ratio.

                                                                  I second Paris Baguette in Koreatown. The sweet potato twists and the chocolate twists especially are wondrous, and way cheaper than a westside equivalent. Easy to eat and carry.

                                                                  Ice cream and cream puffs, though great ideas, might be messy.

                                                                  Too bad Broguieres doesn't have eggnog in Sept. Shot glasses of that = pure deliciousness!

                                                                  See's Candy - that's a West Coast thing. See's truffles.

                                                                  1. nothing as heavenly as the banana pudding at baby blues bbq

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: woofer

                                                                      SusieCakes has just started serving the most incredible strawberry shortcake in the history of the world. Surely, something to consider.

                                                                      1. re: woofer

                                                                        Interesting. Tell me more about this banana pudding you speak of.

                                                                      2. My favorite dessert is super simple and is always a big hit. Put out a big bowl of delicious farmers market strawberries. Let people dip them into a bowl of sour cream and then roll them in brown sugar. It is a fresh dessert take on the chip & dip and is amazingly delicious.

                                                                        1. Speaking of Persian food, I'm a huge fan of the desserts at Rex Bakery on Sawtelle near Santa Monica:

                                                                          http://www.yelp.com/biz/oHQinavLjEcYt...

                                                                          Lots of varieties of desserts in all shapes and sizes. Incredibly good stuff!

                                                                          1. I highly recommend these for an open-house type of event:
                                                                            - chunkomunko cheesecakes: www.chunkomunko.com - unbelievable mini cheesecakes!
                                                                            - dots cupcakes: www.dotscupcakes.com - moist cupcakes
                                                                            - cannoli king: www.cannolikings.com - great connolis!

                                                                            they all cater/deliver. i hope this helps.

                                                                            p.s. i like gelato too, but i'm not sure how well that would go with the house tours - might stain carpets...