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Visitor seeks spectacular dessert

I'm visiting from Portland, Oregon on Jan 13-17. I've just finished Adam Gopnik's dessert piece in the Jan 3 New Yorker (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/20...), and I've developed a powerful hankering for some serious dessert. Now, I know LA ain't Spain. But I'll bet you folks can get me closer than I'll be able to get in Portland.

So, recommendations please for the latest, greatest, most fabulous, unusual, experimental, super-delicious blow-my-mind desserts in LA?

I'll be staying at the Palomar in Westwood. But I can drive.

Bonus points if anyone wants to join me for this extravagant break of all New Years' Resolutions.

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  1. Providence has a 6 course dessert tasting menu for $50 ($85 if you include wine parings) that ought to tickle your sweet tooth fancy.

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    Providence
    5955 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

    3 Replies
    1. re: Servorg

      Since Adrian Vasquez is leaving Providence I am not sure if they will keep the dessert tasting menu.

      1. re: honkman

        what?! say it ain't so! Karen Hatfield is making some of the best desserts in LA, IMO. Hatfield's is darn near replacing Providence as my dessert favorite.

        link to article
        http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/20...

        1. re: soniabegonia

          http://blogs.laweekly.com/squidink/20...

          I really like Hatfield's and also their desserts but Adrian Vasquez is playing in a different league than anybody in LA.

    2. Butterscotch budino with Maldon sea salt & rosemary pine nut cookies at Pizzeria Mozza.

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      Pizzeria Mozza
      6602 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038

      6 Replies
      1. re: wienermobile

        The Gelato at Grom in Malibu. My favorite gelato from Italy is now finally open here. Try their Caramello caramel sugar with Himalayan pink salt. This stuff is great.
        http://www.grom.it/eng/index.php

        (plus it's free 11am to 6pm for their grand opening this Sunday Jan 9th).
        http://losangeles.grubstreet.com/2011...

        3886 Cross Creek Road, Malibu, CA

          1. re: jsandler

            How busy was it and what flavors did you try? Grom is great, isn't it.

            1. re: wienermobile

              Not busy at all. I walked right up to the counter at about 1pm yesterday (when everything was free).

              I tried the egg cream, the tiramisu and the pear sorbet (which i found myself dreaming about later) . The whip cream was also great.

              1. re: jsandler

                My favorite flavor is the fresh cantaloupe gelato, and that won't be on the menu till spring/summer. Glad you liked it.

        1. re: wienermobile

          Second both Providence's dessert tasting and the butterscotch budino as some of the best desserts in LA right now.

          Bazzar's desserts are better for show. I've yet to have a dessert I liked at Bazzar in over half a dozen visit

        2. Simon LA, at the Hotel Sofitel features some interesting (and some would call it experimental) "junk food" desserts. Down the street, The Bazaar by Jose Andres also has neat-looking desserts.

          I like the old-fashioned, well-executed favorites, like the creme brulee cheesecake at Literati Cafe in West LA. Speaking of cheesecakes, The souffle cheesecake at Frances Bakery in Little Tokyo is fantastic. The ricotta cheesecake at Colori Kitchen in Downtown is worth a trip (not dessert, but their tagliatelle alla bolognese is also amazing).

          The Choux aux Sésames at Patisserie Chantilly in Lomita still haunts my tastebuds.

          Dessert is not a strong suit at most sushi bars, but the floating island dessert at Sushi King in Santa Monica is worth mentioning. It is a chilled, "drunken" (wine-infused) Bartlett pear, floating in a bowl of custard. Awesome.

          Unique ice cream: At Scoops (2 Scoops locations: original store on Heliotrope, and 2nd location on Overland in West LA), owner/chef/glacier Tai Kim features unheard-of ice cream flavor combinations (e.g. cabernet + grape nuts) which you may not find in Portland. On the topic of ice creams: Persian Ice Cream in Westwood also has a very refreshing cucumber ice cream, as well as the usual rosewater flavored ice creams. Fosselman's ice creamery in Alhambra has taro & lychee ice creams year-round, and their ube (purple yam) ice cream is delicious.

          Filipino desserts, like buko pandan and halo halo can be found at Max's of Manila in Glendale.

          Porto's is a phenomenal Cuban bakery with an addictive guava pastry.

          Brazilian churrascaria Fogo de Chao in Beverly Hills has an excellent passionfruit mousse.

          Taiwanese shaved snow (not shaved ice, mind you): Class 302 in Rowland Heights, and Pa Pa Walk in San Gabriel (get the mango snow - just do it), Taiwanese shaved ice (5+ toppings) is done best by SinBaLa in Arcadia.

          Enjoy LA!

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          Patisserie Chantilly
          2383 Lomita Blvd., #104, Lomita, CA 90717

          Colori Kitchen
          429 W 8th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

          Sushi King
          1330 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90403

          1 Reply
          1. re: J.L.

            Thanks for this detailed response. I'm obviously not staying in LA nearly long enough. We have some wonderful food in Portland, but there was one line in your report that brought home the idea that we're playing in different leagues: "as well as the usual rosewater flavored ice creams."

            Especially loving the Asian dessert recommendations. Not what I thought I was looking for, but now that I've read it, I know I won't be missing them.

          2. Your NewYorker link didn't work; however, on my to-try list is a Malaysian concoction - Last 2 pictures and the commentary between them:

            http://manbitesworld.com/articles/62/...

            1 Reply
            1. Nickel Diner downtown can make you lots of desserts.
              http://nickeldiner.com/photos.htm

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              Nickel Diner
              524 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

              1. Call Providence to see if they are still offering the dessert tasting menu. If not, head over to Hatfields and enjoy the deliciousness provided by Karen Hatfield.

                I also hear that Red Medicine is putting out great desserts.

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                Red Medicine
                8400 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

                1. My three favorite desserts in LA at the moment are:

                  - Butterscotch pot de creme at Gjelina
                  - Sticky toffee pudding at The Gorbals
                  - Rice pudding at The Lazy Ox Canteen

                  Interestingly, none of these are really pastry per se - but they are damn good!

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                  Gjelina
                  1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291, USA

                  Lazy Ox Canteen
                  241 S San Pedro St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                  The Gorbals
                  501 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: aching

                    Agree on the sticky toffee pudding and the rice pudding! YUM!

                  2. Thanks everyone! More great ideas than I can shake a soon-to-be-in-a-sugar-coma stick at.

                    1. not in the same vein as adam gopnik's (as most of the responses are not either), but plain great tasting like mozza's butterscotch budino is animal's tres leches.

                      1. For GR8 desserts with an Asian tinge
                        in LA's most talked about restaurant.....
                        RED MEDICINE takes the "cake".
                        Xclnt coffee service also.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: NumeroUnoEat

                          RM is indeed a "most talked about" restaurant these days, but hardly because of the desserts.

                        2. If you get up towards Burbank, this amazing fruit tart has got to be the absolute best pastry value in all of Los Angeles, and the most delicious thing ever to come out of Burbank:

                          http://www.masisbakery.com/index.php?...

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: jackattack

                            Can you recommend anything else from this place?

                            1. re: ns1

                              They have little individual fruit tarts with either blueberries, raspberries or apple on top and for 65c each they're great for a party. (Not so crazy about their little mango and pistachio tarts but the ones we tried might have been a day old. ) The "Vozni" is some kind of round cupcake, either white or chocolate. They are filled with pudding cream (choc mousse in the choc Vozni) and are rolled in cake crumbs. Kinda look like fuzzy tennis balls and keep nicely in the fridge for a few days.

                              It's their Florentine tart that really blew us away, though...a kind of almond roca pastry shell with a thin lining of chocolate, filled with pastry cream and topped with fruit. It's the shell that makes it special and is what steered us from Porto's over to the other side of town.

                          2. Huckleberry Yogurt Sorbet at Craft.
                            Chocolate Cake w/Burnt Orange Caramel Gelato & Espresso Sauce at Scarpetta.

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                            Craft Los Angeles
                            10100 Constellation Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90067

                            Scarpetta
                            225 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210