Mid-morning snack ideas between LAX and fairfax
Im picking up my girlfriend for at LAX friday morning (around 9:30) and curious if there was anything distinctly LA between there and where we're staying back near fairfax.
preferably something on the lighter side - a pastry or confection or something less than meal-esque, as im planning on getting pastrami at langer's for lunch.
It doesnt need to be right on the most direct path back from the airport, but the whole point is to find something somewhere near a sensible route back.
I have a of couple ideas: you could take Lincoln up to Venice and head to 3 Square on Abbott Kinney and share their fantastic pastry/bread basket and enjoy the sunshine. Then hop on Washington and head over to Fairfax. Alternately, LA is a huge donut city so you could head to the LA Farmer's Market on Fairfax and grab donuts at Bob's dounuts.
If you want something close to your route to Fairfax try Normandie Bakery on Jefferson and Cochran between La Cienaga and La Brea. French pastries and drinks but no real coffee bar. Also along the way on La Cienega is Pann's which is a Diner of some note on this board. If you want something completely different there is an Armenian Bakery On Adams where you can pick up some lahmajune a very thin Flat bread with ground lamb herbs and tomato sauce.
Pann's Restaurant & Coffee Shop
6710 La Tijera Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045
5410 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016
3022 S Cochran Ave, Los Angeles, CA
I've done that drive a lot and I can see a detour to Abbot-Kinney doubling your drive time, esp. late morning on a Friday as you grind through Santa Monica traffic. There's a good little Mexican bakery in West L.A. on Venice Blvd. east of the 405, though I can't remember the name (north side of Venice) - help? locals? I would say that's a pretty L.A.-esque, maybe even w/ a plate of chorizo and eggs thrown in. From there it's a straight shot up Venice past Helms onto Fairfax. The cemitas poblanos truck parks nearby for future reference, as you may not want that pre-Langer's!
Another good stop would be Rubios bakery at La Brea and Pico (across from Lucy's), but that would require a bit of a back-track to Fairfax. See: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/356474
Maybe a donut at Randy's (near the airport), a donut at Primo's (on Sawtelle at the midway point) and then a donut at Bob's (at the Farmer's market), just to make a comparison of some of the better donuts in LA.
You could take Centinela to Angel Maid for some pretty light and not too sweet cakes and desserts. Owned and operated by a couple from Japan (who I think now have a son working in the back as well), they have a lighter hand on the sugar and fat in their cakes and pastries, but still good as ever.
The little refrigerated case is where it's happening - lots of somewhat fancy-ish desserts (as of late) and cakes (the strawberry filled white cake with chantilly cream, the dobash, or the guava cake), but the real star is kinda sitting low and incognito in the boxes on the bottom of the case toward the end. The mini cream puffs are very portable and the two of you should be able to polish off a box in a matter of 5 minutes tops. If I recall, it's a box of 16, with half of them topped with dark chocolate. There's no seating at the bakery itself, but I was thinking you could grab and go - these desserts are perfect for on-the-go pigging out. Just be careful as many Chowhounds have warned other of the "exploding cream puff" phenomenon where if you bite into the min-puff with the hole (for the filling) not facing into your mouth, the cream will come shooting out and splat on where the hole is pointed. They really should have some kind of warning or eating instructions on the box for first-timers... I was thinking coffee, but actually if you like cold milk, that would probably pair perfectly with these little devils. There's a Von's just past Washington, but your cream puffs might not make it that far - you'd better grab two boxes...
For something just a little more unique but maybe not quite as universal, the bookstore inside Mitsuwa up the street on Centinela has a counter that serves very good pastries and good coffee, but guess what? That's not what you're there for either. They have a soft-serve green tea (maccha) ice cream with red beans and mochi. If you and your friend are into green tea, this version of green tea ice cream is hell-on-wheels - very green - like Hulk with vacation suntan green, and very green tea-ish. The red beans and mochi are a nice (and necessary) compliment. And if you get all timid about this and chage your mind just before the clerk is about to pull the handle, you can venture into Mitsuwa's grocery section and get the more timid version - Maeda-en - for wimps (I jest). That and maybe some mochi, or some Castella or sponge cakes from the back refrigerator section can easily combine for a nice light snack - enjoy it in the food court. And if you decide to go into the store, you owe it to yourself to grab at least a couple of bottles of Koshi Hikari beer - that's for after you pound down those Langer's pastrami sandwiches.
Thanks to everyone for the ideas - at the moment im leaning towards a box of creme puffs and maybe something for later (har har) at Angel Maid. Well be at the farmers mkt later in the weekend and venice seems sorta out of the way (and we will likely trek out there later in the weekend also.
I looked through the archives on Angel Maid but was wondering if there are any more recent experiences or suggestion sof a MUST-have there?
The cakes are very light - I believe they're chiffon - this place built its popularity on their cakes filled with fresh fruit, particularly strawberry, strawberry/banana, and banana. They also do a pretty decent guava-based filling (I think they use either juice or concentrate as the base) and dobash as well. They also carry mango filled cakes on occasion, and the lemon is pretty light with just enough lemon flavor to put a smile on your face... If you like cakes, you might consider picking up a smaller one - I think eight-inch is their smallest size. I don't recall if they sell by the slice - we usually order whole cakes for B-days. They usually have about six to 10 cakes displayed in that refrigerated case that I mentioned. I personally find that because these cakes are great and are very light, I often rationalize that I can eat more.
I personally don't show nearly as much interest in their case where the cookies, danishes, cupcakes and donuts are. But often there are some gems in there as well. Teacakes, somewhat of a squat square-ish cupcake with no frosting, are perfect with, well, tea. These aren't going to samba in front of you to catch your attention but I like them. They often do donuts - the one to get is the red bean-filled (or azuki-filled) ones. Again, these go well with tea. But I wouldn't get if you don't plan on eating it soon as they, like any donut, don't keep for long. I'm not a huge fan of standard danishes but many like their danishes and have boxes of mini-danishes as well. The cookies are popular as well - I like the Mexican wedding cookies.
I have noticed a new face working in the back over the past year or so. I think he might be a relative (maybe a son?) of the owners. Coinciding with his arrival, I've noticed a huge change in the dessert offerings in the cold case. A lot more Japanese/French patisserie-style desserts like Monte Blancs, various tarts with imbellishments like raspberry macarons (as opposed to macarOOns), maccha-based and mocha-based desserts, etc. Considering how relatively humble the bakery's offerings were in the past, this is a pretty noticeable change to me. I have yet to try these newer desserts as I've been trying to spread out my caloric allowance, but they really look great - I think most were around $3-$4. When I see a raspberry macaron placed slightly on the diagonal atop a raspberry mousse-filled concoction that is also embellished with dark chocolate and who know what else (going off of my memory from my last visit in March), it tells me that someone back in that bakery is very inspired.
Never said it was low-fat - they use less of it. A similar reference would be watching folks pile sour cream and butter on to their baked spuds. The average person uses up most if not all of the portions allotted them with their side. I tend to us about half - but this doesn't make it low-fat, righ? Baked goods is baked goods, cake is cake, and I'm a sucker for most of it. I used the word, "rationalize," because it's not very hard to fool or convince myself that something that weighs just a few ounces couldn't possibly convert into pounds and inches... yeah ---- right.