Most Original or Unusual Desserts in LA - Where?
I'm doing an article for a class on the most unusual or original desserts in the Los Angeles area, but it's been a while since I've been around. I'm trying to stay away from the trendiest places in town. Any suggestions? Thanks!
Garlic ice cream is pretty weird. Available at The Stinking Rose on Beverly Hills. I've not tried it, but have been there for their garlic dishes...food's okay...place is very eclectic.
55 N La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211
I'd head to "Asia." Among desserts from Asia are lots of icy desserts to cool off folks on those hot sweltering days. Off the top of my head, ice kachang, cendol, kueh lapis (Malaysian/Singaporean); coconut milk ice cream, mango or durian w/ sweet sticky rice (Thai), snow ice (finely shaved ice often infused with milk) often topped with things like mango, almond tofu, rice balls, grass jelly and condensed milk (Taiwan), bing su (Korean), and mochi, manju, yokan, kanten (Japan).
Don't even get Asian dessert places and bakeries started on maccha (green tea) desserts. Cakes, puddings, cookies, ice creams, etc., etc., as well as kintoki (sweetened red bean) ________ fill-in-the-blank. The coup de grace is combining the two with some decadent custard and/or sweetened mochi. Pandan is an essence that not many outside of Southeast Asian cuisine have heard about. A very heady herbal/nutty/vanilla-like essence that is used mostly in pastries and cakes, but some savory dishes as well.
The Japanese are reputed to have some very "unique" ice cream flavors that might send you into some bad dreams:
Speaking of ice cream flavors that you won't find at the local Baskin & Robbins 31 list, try Scoops on Heliotrope. I've never been but I believe the owner (Tai?) was told as a child that he would change the ice cream world, one scoop at a time. Embracing these prophetic words, he has created some of the most inventive flavors that often push the ice cream flavor envelope. Vegan carrot cardamom pistachio? Chocolate wasabi? Fig/brie cheese? Calpis/green tea? This guy's got a serious mad scientist gene combined with a Picasso-like palette for previously unexplored flavor combinations...
Places to try:
Scoops (ice cream
)JJ Bakery (Taiwanese bakery)
Patisserie Chantilly (French-inspired Japanese patisserie)
85C (Taiwanese tea/desserts/snacks)
Class 302 (Taiwanese desserts/snacks)
Simbala (Taiwanese dishes, snacks, desserts)
Shau May (Taiwanese meals, snacks, desserts)
Ice Kiss (Korean desserts, coffee, tea, ice cream)
Mitsuwa (Torrance location - Japanese desserts, specialty dessert counters)
Belacan Grill (Malaysian cuisine, ice kachang, cendol)
99 Ranch (Chinese supermarket - broad range of foods including snacks, desserts, baked items)
Van's Bakery (Vietnamese bakery - good pandan-_______; cakes, breads)
Phoenix Food Boutique (Chinese/Cantonese snacks, noodles, desserts)
I don't think any of these places fall under the "Trendy" category for most. Aside from the Japanese options, you might be shocked at the QPR (Quality/Price Ratio). Your $$ go pretty far at many of these places... Enjoy :)
I really like the strawberry mochi thing they have at the JJ Bakery in Torrance. It's basically a small flat square of sponge cake. On top of that they put a bunch of fresh strawberries. It's more or less encased in a sphere of whipped cream. And then the whole thing is wrapped with a thin sheet of mochi to form a huge ball. The whole thing is about the size of a softball. They have a mango version, too.
Those alone are worth making a trip to any of the JJ bakeries around SoCal. If I recall correctly, they also have a maccha version as well... Poster nomofan and his wife loved these treats so much, they handed them out at their wedding reception - I believe 300+ if my memories serves me correctly...
mashti malone's on la brea north of sunset has some interesting ice creams (rosewater and the noodles - i forget what they're called) as well as a host of other interesting ethnic treats.
there's a new place i've yet to frequent on santa monica blvd in bev hills called Fulfilled, that advertises japanese pastries... not sure exactly what that will entail... i'll have to check it out more closely when i run by tomorrow morn.
nata's pastries in sherman oaks has some tasty and unusual desserts, the nata as well as others.
avoiding the trendier places will leave you out of the junk food platter at SimonLA, as well as the blackberry cobbler at Cynthia's (those this isn't particularly trendy anymore).