Bakeries in Los Angeles: Home of Freshly Baked Breads, Luscious Fruit Pastries, and Decadent Triple Chocolate Cakes
By Sujata Day
Breads, tarts, and pies, oh my! Los Angeles natives may be obsessed with treadmills, pilates, and yoga, but for good reason; the bakeries in the city send carb-phobic humans into an alluring frenzy of delectable desserts and pastries. Hot bakeries in tourist-friendly neighborhoods like Doughboys, King's Road Cafe, and Le Pain Quotidien often extend their popular breakfast menus to meals and snacks later in the day. Crave-worthy creations at Doughboys include the banana butterscotch pancakes, enormous breakfast burritos, beefy mac ‘n cheese, creamy tomato soup and famous red velvet cake, lauded as L.A.'s best. Breakfast lovers rave about King's Road Cafe's homemade french toast with fresh strawberries, whole wheat granola pancakes, and hearty selection of omelets. Choose an organic beverage at Le Pain Quotidien to accompany your meal like Belgian hot chocolate, mint lemonade and a fabulous selection of teas and coffee. Traveling with kids? Misto Caffe and Bakery offers scrumptious children’s menu items like mac ‘n cheese, pizza and chicken strips. Sip on your cafe au lait while the kids occupy themselves in the fun play area. Interested in rave reviews? Voted Zagat’s favorite bakery in 2010, Susina Bakery prides itself on fresh baked goods like chocolate sponge cake, blueberry custard tart, and banana cream pie. At Porto's Bakery and Cafe in burbank, patrons rave about the fried potato balls filled with seasoned ground beef as well as the satisfyingly rich cheese rolls, perfectly crafted Cubano sandwich and chorizo empanadas. No matter what your palate, sweet and savory food-lovers will find something perfect at any of L.A.'s hot and happening bakeries!
Looking for a stellar specialty bakery? Don't miss Euro Pane, a charming, no-frills eatery, owned by brilliant baker Sumi Chang, which offers a mouthwatering array of fresh pastries, cookies, quiches and sandwiches. Perhaps most cherished are the heavenly macaroons-- chewy, crunchy, creamy and available in a rainbow of flavors, including salted caramel, pistachio, raspberry and hazelnut. Strong, bold, and rich coffee awaits caffeine addicts and sunny days create nary an open seat or table on the patio. For lunch, don't miss the legendary open-faced egg salad sandwich on homemade rosemary bread. Set your alarm and head to Euro Pane at 8am when all the desserts and baked goods come out of the over piping hot! (626-577-1828)
Le Pain Quotidien
French for "Daily Bread," this café and bakery features warm, inviting European ambience and is a favorite haunt of models and celebrities. Even so, the establishment is not out to set trends or attract a fashionable crowd; rather, its main goal is to provide scrumptious, open-face sandwiches fashioned of items like smoked salmon, duck pâté, and fresh breads. After you've indulged in them, give yourself over to the cafe's delicious cakes, pastries, and baked goods. Organic beverages to accompany your meal include Belgian hot chocolate, mint lemonade and a fabulous selection of teas and coffee. A communal table is available, as are individual perches. (310-859-1100)
This cozy corner hangout features extensive outdoor seating, shaded by umbrellas, as well as a pleasant, if cramped, indoor space. While the cafe serves three meals a day, there's always a rush on desserts and pastries, thanks to creations like brown butter berry tarts and praline fudge bars with homemade vanilla caramel. Alcove's take on the moon pie is an extravagant one — two chocolate chip cookies encase made-from-scratch marshmallow, and the whole is dipped in chocolate and hand-decorated. Layer cakes, bundt cakes, pies, and loaves of bread are also available. The bakery's namesake chocolate bars come in unique flavors like milk chocolate with spicy peanut and dark chocolate with chipotle chili. Alcove begins serving food an hour after opening times. (323-644-0100)
In need of a pick-me-up? Established in 1977, Michel Richard patisserie features a glass case of delectable treats — from coffee custard eclairs to apricot tarts. The popular bakery sits atop many "Best of Los Angeles" lists and creates extremely high-quality pastries and desserts using fresh, natural ingredients, including some organic ones. Leave your no-carb diets at the door; Michel Richard's bakery produces homemade croissants, raisin rolls, and apple turnovers that'll make you drool. Dark chocolate truffles with Grand Marnier have a loyal following, as do sugar cookies, almond twists, and light-as-air palmiers. Sidewalk tables mean you don't have to travel far before you can dig in. (310-275-5707)
Kings Road Cafe
This cafe with its adjoining bakery is an inviting place for a lingering weekend respite. The streetside patio affords excellent people-watching opportunities and is a sunny place ideal for sipping endless cups of notoriously strong coffee. Celebrities like Jane Lynch and Vanessa Hudgens have been spotted noshing at the recently opened Ventura Boulevard location. Breakfast lovers rave about their homemade french toast with fresh strawberries, whole wheat granola pancakes, and hearty selection of omelets. Brewed coffee, espressos, macchiatos, cappuccinos, lattes, mochas, and hot teas are on the menu and can be flavored with sweet vanilla (or an organic soy substitute). Indulge in biscotti, muffins, croissants, scones, or even vanilla bean crème brûlée as well. (323-655-9044)
Jin Patisserie is a world-class cafe in which every freshly-baked treat is a jaw-dropping work of art that tastes just as divine as it looks. On the bakery's serene garden patio, patrons savor a delightful dessert sampling or elegant afternoon tea complete with gourmet sandwiches and sinful sweets. Adventurous dessert foodies can try unique specialty items like the green tea mousse, triple chocolate bitter Madagascar cake, or mange and passion fruit mascarpone. Chocolate lovers will go gaga over an exquisite collection of chocolate bars and individual one-bite treats. Five-star menu masterpieces include marvelous macaroons, lemon cake, ginger custard and lavender-almond cookies. (310-399-8801)
Porto's Bakery & Cafe
Savory and sweet Cuban dishes tantalize taste buds at this wildly popular specialty bakery. From sensational sandwiches and buttery croissants to addictive pastries and cakes, every item is cheap, authentic and unbelievably drool-worthy. Patrons rave about the fried potato balls filled with seasoned ground beef as well as the satisfyingly rich cheese rolls, perfectly crafted Cubano sandwich and chorizo empanadas. Salads served with a side of crunchy plantain chips made on the premises complete a perfect meal. Carb-lovers can't get enough of their freshly baked flautas (Cuban baguettes), galletas (marine crackers), and Cuban bolillos. For dessert, pair the moist tres leches cake with refreshing iced coffee. (818-956-5996)
Susina Bakery & Cafe
Voted Zagat's favorite bakery in 2010, Susina Bakery prides itself on fresh baked goods like chocolate sponge cake, blueberry custard tart, and banana cream pie. Angelenos with an affinity for cake and coffee adore Susina, one of the most celebrated bakeries in the city. Susina packs delicious picnic boxes with your choice of sandwich, salad, and dessert for visitors on-the-go. Amidst a cheerful, Parisian-like setting, diners delight in blissful almond croissants for breakfast, perfect paninis for lunch and homemade lasagna for dinner. After your meal, treat yourself to a latte and a slice of the famous berry blossom cake—vanilla sponge cake brushed with orange liqueur and filled with white chocolate mousse and fresh berries. (323-934-7900)
Diners can't get enough of the homemade decadence dished up at Doughboys, one of the most beloved bakeries in Los Angeles. From hearty breakfasts (served all day) and made-from-scratch lunches to the most decadent desserts in the city, everything on the extensive menu is both affordable and out-of-this-world delicious. Delicious baked breads, cakes, and desserts are made fresh daily on the premises. Order a fruit-filled pastry and caffeinated beverage from the full serve espresso bar for an afternoon pick-me-up! Crave-worthy creations include the banana butterscotch pancakes, enormous breakfast burritos, beefy mac 'n cheese, creamy tomato soup and famous red velvet cake, lauded as L.A.'s best. (323-852-1020)
Misto Caffe & Bakery
A quiet neighborhood establishment, Misto is popular with grandparents and young mothers. It's the perfect bakery to take a break from the day, sip flavored coffees or teas on the patio, and chat up a storm while kids entertain themselves in the play area. Children's menu items include mac 'n cheese, pizza and chicken strips. Although gourmet burgers, sandwiches, and California-style pizzas are a huge hit, folks are really mesmerized by Misto's fresh-baked breads and treat-laden display cases. Craving something sweet? Choose from delectable desserts and pastries like flourless chocolate cake, crème brulee, tiramisu, and bread pudding. A tasty neighborhood hangout! (310-375-3608)
About Sujata Day
Living in the land of perpetual sun, beautiful beaches, and gorgeous people has fueled Sujata Day’s creativity in myriad ways. Her short story “Forbidden Fate” won the WRITE STUFF competition sponsored by MTV and People magazine, birthing a prosperous writing career. The tale was published in a collection of short stories titled Pieces, edited by Stephen Chbosky. Reviews hail Pieces as “an exciting glimpse into the future of fiction” and “endearingly raw, undeniably bold, and engagingly inventive.” Since moving to LA from the suburbs of Pittsburgh, PA, Sujata has appeared in many TV shows, films, and internet productions. TV credits include Desperate Housewives, Secret Life of the American Teenager, Campus Ladies, Greek, and The Loop. She plays a supporting role in 2009’s Down For Life, alongside Danny Glover and Snoop Dogg. Sujata produced, wrote, and starred in the web pilot Raveena and the Vampire chosen to launch as a 2010 premiere vehicle on the popular internet channel, Somebody’s Basement. Currently, she stars as ‘CeCe’ in the hit web series, Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. Sujata can be seen next starring in the film, Big Breakin', to be released in early 2012.
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