One of my goals for maternity leave is to explore some places by myself that W would not go to: bakeries or cafes with good pastries, snacks and/or desserts. These are not restaurants but places I can stop off at when I am running errands and not feel like a loser for being alone. Here are mine so far:
Taza: this is a tiny little holeinthewall cafe that H and I walk to every few days for lattes and sometimes also a muffin. It has great coffee for relatively cheap and is cool with out being a scene–this is insanely hard to find in LA where good coffee is massively expensive and always toocoolforschool. The owner is there almost all the time and is very sweet and always checks in with me and Hface. Also the shop is so tiny H can stare at me in the doorway and not be his usual disastrous self–barking and acting like the world is ending. They put a lot of thought into their drinks–they always shake iced drinks and never pour hot espresso into plastic cups (a huge pet peeve of mine), they also carry pastries from Portos. My favorite: Orchata Latte–must have!
K&K Donuts: One thing the NW does not have that I have noticed almost every other city has are doughnut shops. Sure, the NW has Voodoo Doughnuts–but those are fancy expensive doughnuts. I am talking down and dirty, cheap, yummy doughnut shops with the crappier-than-a-gas-station-coffee. Philly had these, though most were Dunkin’ Doughnuts (and for those not in the know, DD has THE BEST chain coffee, way better than Starbucks or anywhere else). The reason I love K&K Doughnut MORE than all the other doughnut shops in LA (and they are seriously on every corner) is the variety. They have doughnuts, ice cream, coffee, some Asian pastries, super cheap super good sandwiches (huge bagel sandwich with deli meat runs $2.75), smoothies, shakes, and Bubble tea. Its a quick and dirty hole in the wall of a strip mall but sometimes EXACTLY what I want and for super cheap. This is a rare place that W also loves. My favorite: Coconut Bubble Tea with no added sweetener.
Milk: This cafe has a full menu but you go here for dessert. Their desserts are Los Angeles famous, especially their macaroon ice cream sandwiches. They also have gelato, sundaes, shakes, regular ice cream sandwiches, cupcake icecream cone (ever present at 1980s bday parties and due for a comeback), cookies, and all sorts of other goodies.. My favorite: Hot Fudge Brownie Sundae.
Mashti Malone: I just went here. A friend put a picture of his ice cream up on Instagram and I had to go–they make it in the shape of a rose! It is, I think, Armenian (?) ice cream. The ice cream here is some of the best I’ve had. It is old school Hollywood (again in a strip mall). Flavors include Creamy Rosewater, Saffron, Orange Blossom, and of course all the normal flavors. The ice cream is made in house and fing fantastic–not too sweet, very creamy. I was worried the rosewater would be too perfumy but it was amazing–never had a flavor I like more. I did ask for the rose shape with my ice cream but it was a poor teenager newbe and she did here best but it needed a bit [a lot] of work. My favorite: Creamy Rosewater on a waffer cone.
Frosted Cupcakery: Hands down THE BEST cupcake shop I have ever been too. I am sorry Sprinkles, I am sorry Magnolia Bakery, I am sorry Cupcake Jones, I am sorry Saint Cupcake (my now #2 favorite) but Frosted does everything right and their frosting is amazing too (usually what, for me, throws off a cupcake). They have amazing normal cupcakes and also icecream cupcakes but a warning–these are MASSIVE so be prepared to share or ask them to cut it in half to take part home. Also–H likes the dog cupcakes here. My favorite: Strawberry cupcake with strawberry cream cheese frosting. Second fav: mint chocolate chip ice cream chocolate cupcake.
Proof Bakery: Ohjoy frequents this place a lot so when I was over in Glendale I made a point to stop by. IT IS SUPER GOOD. The staff was a little hipster-cool for me but they have a wide variety of just amazing pastries and small Italian baguette sandwiches that are awesome. They made me a butter and salami sandwich convert–so good, so bad for my heart! My favorites: Small Salami baguette with butter and arugula paired with a tiny canele.
Botegga Louie: Of course. Its so pretty. BUT I am not listing this as a restaurant but just their bakery portion. Everything is gorgeous here. I want to eat it all but what I love the most are the tinsy tinsy tarts the size of a quarter that I can grab on the go with a coffee or ice tea and not feel like I just stuffed my face. They are super good and perfectly small. My favorite: Mini berry tart and ice tea to go.
Gigi’s: This Latin bakery and cafe is frikin amazing. The food is perfect but I will just talk about the pastries here: amazing. There are both sweet and savory items and you really cannot go wrong. Here they have the horribly awesome giant neon pink sugar cookies that are my downfall–they are pretty much just sugar, lard, salt, food coloring and just enough flour to hold it together. They offer way better stuff than that (not everyone has my refined taste): guava cheese pie, chicken empanadas (another favorite), potato balls, cafe con leche….sooooo good, everything. I know this is not a restaurant review but ripe plantains, beans and cream is pretty much my favorite breakfast EVER and they have it here FOR CHEAP. This is another place that W also loves…for the meat pastries. My favorite: Guava cheese pie and chicken empanadas
NOTE: I just want you to know that I did not eat at all these places in 1 week. This was over a long period of time including prior to maternity leave. Desserts and pastries are treats and not for daily consumption…most of the time 🙂