Sweet S’more Options Are All The Crave on Pinterest

The official first day of summer is coming up, and it has got me dreaming of some iconic desserts that go perfectly with the warm weather. In addition to melty ice cream and popsicles, I am reminiscing about campfire nights under the stars with a melty s’mores in my hand. Summer reminds me of going camping with friends, setting up a roaring fire, and toasting marshmallows while listening to the nighttime summer sounds. Searches for campfire desserts on Pinterest is up +55% this year. I’m guilty of being part of that search! In an effort to satisfy my summer cravings and celebrate the warm months, I have found unique s’mores treats around Los Angeles, without even pitching a tent!

Mallow Mallow- gourmet S’mores

Ella S’more special flavor made an appearance this year at Coachella, but this store sells these gourmet treats year round. You can find the Smore-ologists popping up at events around Los Angeles, or have them cater your next birthday party with a S’more Service!

Gotta Have S’more

Their mini-muffin shaped treats are a new twist on the classic treat. A graham cracker cup case is topped with a toasted marshmallow, and dipped in a unique chocolate flavor. They have seasonal and special flavors, such as Peanut Butter & Jelly and Salted Caramel. All of their selections are available online for nationwide shipping, too!

Kettle Glazed Donuts

This shop is infusing two of my favorite desserts- donuts and s’mores! Their S’mores donut is a classic cake donut filled with gooey marshmallow fluff and topped with melted chocolate, graham cracker crumbs, and more marshmallow.

This s’mores trend is not only making its way to new desserts, but keeping its classic take as well! See how you can make your favorite fireside treat in a new, creative way this summer via Pinterest. Whether you’re deep in the woods, or just hanging in your backyard, this summer is all about easy-to-make, outdoor dessert recipes.

Check out some of my saved s’mores favorites here!

Sweet of the Week | Tuccio’s Italian

Lemon curd mousse over blackberry jam with a lemon ash meringue and fresh lemon petals from Tuccio’s Italian in Woodland Hills. It was a dessert special for the night and such a treat. The lemon curd mousse was light and refreshing and the meringue was delightfully chewy. I had never had lemon petals before, they are as you would imagine lightly floral with a concentrated lemon flavor. A nice compliment to the dish. This was one of three desserts we had to begin our meal. From start to finish it was amazing. A true gem tucked away in the Valley.

Six Must Try Desserts in Chicago

These 6 stops are Chicago classics, serving a range of mouth-watering desserts you can’t leave the city without trying!  – by Anna Volkmann

Doughnut Vault

This “hole in the wall” (literally!) spot is tucked into the River North neighborhood. Every morning, batches of their perfected creative flavored doughnuts are sold. The catch? There’s no closing time… they’re done for the day when they are all sold out! Luckily I got there in time to try a few of their most popular flavors, including their Seasonal Jelly Filled (this month- Peanut Butter and Jelly!).

The Classic Old Fashioned doughnut lived up to the name. After breaking apart at the cracks around the edge, with a slight crisp from the light glaze on the outside, the perfect fluffy cake on the inside was revealed. The flavor was as it should be- classic, not overpowering, and made for the perfect coffee-dipping pairing.

Formento’s

This upscale Italian restaurant serves up old-school hearty dishes in the West Loop. After a delicious spread of modern classics like calamari, orecchiette pasta, and grilled branzino, we indulged into their most famous part of the menu- their dessert.

Formento’s Chocolate cake has been served for over ten years, and continues to be their top-sold item. There are ten unique layers to each cake that pair together perfectly in each bite, from the mocha crunch layer in the middle to the rich chocolate ganache finish on top. The light mousse with the dense chocolate cake makes for a tasty flight for any chocolate lover!

The Bristol

Also owned by Formento’s management, the B. Hospitality Co., is the farm-to-table American spot called The Bristol. Located in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood, this hip space offers their fresh twist on classic dishes and cocktails.

Before leaving, you cannot pass up the dessert menu. In addition to their house-brewed coffee and dessert cocktails is their well-known Basque Cake. This made-to-order treat hits the spot with its thoughtful flavor pairings. A decadent, gooey white cake baked to perfection, topped with raspberry compote, candied walnuts, and a dollop of vanilla crème fraiche on the side- so summery and delicious!

Lou Malnati’s

What’s a Chicago visit without a bite of their iconic deep-dish pizza? Lou Malnati’s comes out as one of the best specialty pizzerias in the city. Starting when the first one opened in a northern suburb in 1971 (the original is still open for business!), their homemade pizzas are worth the wait– each pizza is made from scratch and takes about 20-30 minutes to bake.

As a continuation of their classic deep-dish selection, their dessert menu includes their special Chocolate Chip Pizza. A classic take on the ‘pazooki’ dessert, this freshly made decadence is a deep-dish skillet filled with a gooey chocolate chip cookie, layered with vanilla bean ice cream, covered in whipped cream, and topped off with cherries. The pan is hot out of the oven, making the combination between the crusted cookie bottom with the melting ice cream a treat that you cannot leave Chicago without trying!

Cookie Bar

Located just a quick “L” ride north of the city is Lincoln Park, home to Chicago’s first and only completely wheat-free and gluten-free bakery. Owned and run by two innovative bakers, Joe Bova and Jeff Steinberg, this allergy-friendly bakery serves a delicious variety of treats, from their Giant Cookie Pizzas and their famous Salted Caramel Nutella Brownies, to classic chocolate chip cookies and chocolate cupcakes with buttercream. What’s even better? They are so delicious, you can’t tell it’s gluten free!

They also serve vegan options that are just as tasty. I tried their vegan chocolate chip cookie sandwich that is filled with vegan chocolate ganache. The lightness of the chocolaty interior combined with the perfect softness to the cookie surrounding was so well done! Even the slight coconut flavor (that came from the substituted ingredients) didn’t disrupt the taste- it paired perfectly with the chocolate goodness!

Hoosier Mama Pie Co.

If you’re wanting to explore the suburbs a little, head up to Evanston to grab a slice of pie any time of the day. They serve breakfast pastries and coffee, lunch sweet and savory pies (like their famous Chicken Pot Pie), and, of course, slices and whole dessert pies any time of the day. Their selections change daily, so make sure to get there early to try your slice of choice!

In addition to their classic Hoosier Sugar Cream pie, which had a light and subtle flavor, I had to try the fan-favorite Chocolate Cream pie. Their perfected buttery, flaky crust held together a rich combination of a chocolate mousse, generous amounts of fresh whipped cream, and decadent dark chocolate shavings. The slightly-chilled treat melted in my mouth and made for a perfect hot-chocolate alternative on a toasty Chicago summer day.

 

Sweet of the Week | Somi Somi Koreatown

You’ve probably seen this treat on @Instagram a lot. After seeing it a few times I had to go find and enjoy it!
Somi Somi, in Koreatown offers four flavors of soft serve that fill the pancake-like Taiyaki cone (fish shaped cone) that is then filled with either red bean, custard, or Nutella. It’s called Ah-Boong in Korea and it’s just a good as it looks.

Somi Somi 620 S Manhattan Pl #208-A, Los Angeles, CA 90005

The Sweet Side of Downtown Santa Monica

I love that in Los Angeles I continue to be able to explore and discover my own city. Having grown up here I’ve watch the city change, grow, and transform. It’s been amazing to experience. One of the biggest changes I’ve seen has been with L.A.’s food scene. Each neighborhood in L.A. has it’s own culinary treasures and treats to discover.

I recently went west to spend the day in Santa Monica. For those familiar with L.A. you know that the city’s expanse makes traveling east and west seem like you are on a mini vacation sometimes and this sweet filled day exploring Downtown Santa Monica felt like just that. If you are looking to enjoy some time next to the beach mixed with some walking around and shopping in between then Downtown Santa Monica is just the ticket and here are five sweet treats to check out.

True Food Kitchen

True Food Kitchen is a great place to grab some lunch. Their menu offers health-driven seasonal eats. Best part you won’t feel bad ordering dessert while you are at it since you had such a well balanced meal. And while they focus more on gluten-free and vegan options, the desserts here are delicious. They usually have a seasonal pie, in this case key-lime and also a pudding or flan. If you had to choose one, but why choose one, I would say grab the coconut chia flan I promise there will not be one bite left after you try it!

Stickhouse

Looking for an ice cold treat? Stickhouse offers an array of fruity and creamy gelato on a stick. You can have it as is or dip it in chocolate and coat it with toppings. There is something for everyone here. They even offer a Golden Hour discount so you can grab that perfect beach sunset popsicle Instagram pic.

ChouChou

New to Santa Monica this French café offers freshly baked croissants, pastries, tarts and cakes. The croissant is a buttery delight, but the real show stopper was their gluten-free sugar free berry cake. I know gasp, Let Me Eat Cake going GF and sugar-free I have to admit I surprised myself too, but while I was skeptical at first one bite changed my tune. It tastes every bit as good as a gluten full sugary sweet. Don’t believe me? Go check it out for yourself.

The Georgian

The Georgian Hotel is 1940’s Old Hollywood charm nestled next to the beach. Pop in to enjoy brunch on the veranda with ocean views. They have a French toast soufflé that is worth the visit alone!

Vanilla Bakeshop

Because cake is always a good idea, you should make a stop at Vanilla Bakeshop. They have a rotating selection of flavors in regular and cupcake babies. They also carry whole cakes, cookies, bars, cake pops, and tarts. My go to are the perfectly bite sized cupcake babies.

Sweet of the Week | FrankieLucy Bakeshop Silverlake

FrankieLucy Bakeshop in Silverlake is the sweet marriage of two lovely female owned small business in Los Angeles – Creme Caramel LA and Found Coffee. Together at FrankieLucy they bring you a coffee and custard concept. They have a little something for everyone in both the beverage and food categories. My favorite of which happens to be an off the menu special – their mini ube pavlova. It’s a ube meringue shell filled with vanilla custard and has graham crumbles on top. I love the sweets they are serving up here!

Frankielucy Bakeshop 3116 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

SWEET NEWS | Plan Check x Linkin Park Meal Pack

Plan Check Linkin Park Meal Pack leading up to the release of the GRAMMY® Award-winning band’s seventh album, One More Light TODAY, May 19.

Through Wednesday, May 31, Owner/Founder, Terry Heller of Plan Check Kitchen + Bar and Linkin Park are joining forces to offer a multi-course takeover menu—featuring a KBBQ-ed pork belly grilled cheese + a limited-edition Linkin Park tee shirtat all four Plan Check locations in L.A.’s Japantown, Fairfax Village, Downtown, Santa Monica. Linkin Park and Terry—who is a veteran of the music industry—previously collaborated in the 2000’s when Terry produced and directed the band’s music video for the song, “Crawling,” off their album, Hybrid Theory.

Traditional Japanese aromatics, such as ponzu and yuzu, are featured throughout the feast as a nod to vocalist, Mike Shinoda’s Japanese roots, while gochujang and kimchi add a spicy kick in tribute to turntablist, Joe Hahn’s Korean background. The complete Plan Check x Linkin Park Meal Pack includes:

    • Ahi Tuna Tostada – jalapeno ponzu, radish, and avocado
    • The Heavy – K-BBQ’ed grilled cheese with Americanized dashi cheese, parmesan-crusted sourdough, and gochujang-braised pork belly ← name inspired by the album’s first single
    • Kimchi-Dusted Russet Fries
    • OML Cruller – caramelized pineapple, yuzu air, coconut glaze, and a chocolate “disc” bearing Linkin Park’s logo
    • Mandarin Orange & Black Cherry Cream Soda
    • LIMITED-EDITION LINKIN PARK T-SHIRT ← exclusive to Plan Check and available with purchase of meal pack only

 $39* for the Plan Check x Linkin Park Meal Pack available at all four Plan Check locations across L.A., while supplies last (*tax and gratuity not included)

The OML Cruller, which is what we’ve got our eye on, is named after Linkin Park’s newest album, One More Light. The album cover was shot on a beach, so the cruller features tropical, pina colada-esque flavors in tribute. YUM!

Sweet of the Week | Donut Sundae from Universal Studios Hollywood

Growing up in Los Angeles Universal Studios has always been a part of my life. It’s where you got to go on special field trips if you should enough candy bars in the school fundraiser and it’s where I went for birthdays some years because it was closer than Disneyland. It’s always held a special place in my heart and is so nostalgic for me. It’s amazing to see how it has changed over the years, many changes I really love like the area dedicated to the Simpsons. Having also grown up watching the Simpsons it’s a fun throwback to walk through that area of the park and see the different shops, rides, and attractions. My favorite of which is Lard Lad Donuts and Phineaus Q. Butterfats just across from it. I mean donuts and ice cream, what’s not to love? So this week’s Sweet of the Week is the donut ice cream sundae. It’s a pink frosting rainbow sprinkle donut from Lard Lad that you can order at Phineaus Q. filled with soft serve and topped with chocolate sauce and strawberry sauce. If this doesn’t evoke your inner Homer Simpson all I can say is d’oh!

Universal Studios Hollywood
100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608
@unistudios

National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day!

Today is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day! How are you celebrating? I recently read on NBC that Americans eat an average of 18,928 cookies in a lifetime — with chocolate chip cookies top of the list of the treats that Americans bake and consume most. Those are some crazy numbers, but I can’t say I’m not guilty of this. While you could definitely whip up a batch using your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, probably the most searched recipe on the internet, would it be more fun to save yourself the trouble and pick up a great cookie at one of these great bakeries in LA? That’s what I’m going to do. Here are some of my favorite places for cookies, specifically of the chocolate chip kind.

Milk Jar Cookies will be celebrating National Chocolate Chip Cookie day today by opening their doors for the day (they’re typically closed on Mondays) to offer cookie fans a free Chocolate Chip Cookie with purchase of any item. Yes, you can really roll in for a cup of coffee and walk out with a free cookie.
5466 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles

by CHLOE Need a cookie spot that everyone can enjoy? This vegan spot in Silver Lake (their first location outside of New York!) has lots of yummy options to help you celebrate the day! Come in for a gooey Old Fashioned Chocolate Chip Cookie to finish off your plant-based meal. Everyone can enjoy a sweet treat here though, as they are also known for their delicious gluten-free chocolate chip cookies and other allergy-conscious sweets!
2520 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles 11 am- 10 pm

The Dirty Cookie Known for their cookie milk shots, The Dirty Cookie will be having some sweet deals to celebrate the holiday. Those in Orange County can come into their Tustin shop and partake in their happy hour: buy two cookies and get one free!
2493 Park Ave, Tustin, CA 12- 9pm

Diddy Riese This highly-raved bakery in Westwood is worth the 30 minute waiting line. Come in on Monday for a gooey Chocolate Chip cookie, or one of their other fresh-made cookie creations, for a whopping 35 cents each. Celebrate even more and indulge in a build-your-own ice cream sandwich, two warm cookies of choice filled with your pick from the selection of Dreyer’s ice cream flavors available.
926 Broxton Ave, Westwood, CA 11 am- 12 am

Here are some great chocolate chip cookie options beyond LA as recommended by some of my friends!

Zingerman’s Ann Arbor

My pal Valentina recently moved from Los Angeles to Ann Arbor. While we miss her dearly we are so jealous of her access to Zingerman’s! They have a pretty killer chunky chocolate chip cookie out there and in her words “the ingredients are what take this cookie to another level—it’s made with Muscovado brown sugar, Madagascar bourbon vanilla extract, and Wisconsin sweet butter. It’s not overly sweet, and the texture is crisp, which I love. It also has big chunks of semi-sweet chocolate and toasted walnuts!” People can order it via Zingermans.com. They don’t sell them separately on the site, but if you contact them, they’ll create special orders for customers.

follow her on Instagram @eastsidefoodbites

Levain Bakery New York

My dear college friend Leandra lives in NYC so I turned to her for chocolate chip cookie advice. Naturally she too loves the chocolate chip cookie from Levain Bakery. As she describes it “ It is always fresh out of the oven when you get it and chocolate chip walnut is my favorite! It’s delicious and gooey inside, with a crisp outer layer. Perfectly done!”

follow her on Instagram @LeandraRae

 

The Cravory San Diego

I have an Instagram friend, yes it’s a real thing. We chat all the time on the gram and follow each others every dessert adventure. So when wondering where to get the best chocolate chip cookie in San Diego I turned to her. Kristen suggest The Cravory and says “It has a perfect balance of chewy and crispy with a rich brown buttery flavor, three different types of Guittard chocolate, bittersweet chocolate chunks, semi-sweet and milk chocolate. Then the sprinkle of sea salt really packs a punch. They call is the Ultimate CCC, I would agree with the name. There is something extra special about the mix of chocolate.”

follow her on Instagram @firstcomeslatte

Sweedeedee Portland

I’ve admired Jade’s Instagram for years now. She has a sweet tooth like me and always enjoys the best afternoon sweets that she also paints! So I asked if she could share her favorite Portland Chocolate Chip Cookie and here is her pick – Sweedeedee, which is housed in what was once a Kaleidoscope factory in Northeast Portland, is a cafe that makes all of their own sweets and treats, one of the best being their chocolate chip cookies. They layer, thick chipped slates of chocolate, so you get layers of soft cookie and slightly melty chocolate in every bite. They are a perfect combination of bitter sweet and salty. Plus, they don’t chimp you on size, with each cookie being four whole inches across, with the perfect chocolate to cookie ratio, because honestly I like my cookies with more chocolate than cookie.

follow her on Instagram @jade_melissa

Where to Indulge on Mother’s Day in LA

With Mother’s Day tomorrow I thought I’d share some of the sweet things I’m considering for my mom for those of you looking for some last minute sweet ways to show your mom some love!

Sweet Brunch

Maple at Descanso Gardens

What: Located in the beautiful blooming Descanso Gardens in La Canada Flintridge, Maple is serving a special delicious modern American dishes for brunch for Mother’s Day! While enjoying the harpist performance and the garden views, you will be treated to a buffet with your choice of eggs from the blooming breakfast station, sweet or savory combinations from the oatmeal and fruit oasis, a homestyle brunch from the baked potato bar, and of course, their famous Fried Chicken N’ Beignets. Before strolling through the beautiful gardens, don’t forget to stop at the creperie to treat yourself to a house made to order crepe just how you like it.

When: 9am, 11:30 am, 2pm
Price: For members, $65 per adult, $25 per child. For non-members, $70 per adult, $30 per child.
Reserve: Pay ahead for a reservation online, or call  818-864-6435

The Front Yard

What: Valley dwellers looking to celebrate Mother’s Day can head to the Front Yard at the Garland hotel in North Hollywood. Treat Mom to a delectable spread, including highlights like a tomato and watermelon gazpacho, seared salmon with rosemary, slow-cooked prime rib, classic eggs Benedict and a sweet-tooth-approved crepe station.

When: 11am-3pm
Price: $49 per adult, $22 per child age 12 and under
Reserve: 818-255-7290

Sweet Gifts

Luphia Sweets

What: Unable to spend the day with Mom? Send her a custom gift box of sweets to show her you are thinking of her! Choose from a duo or trio package of Luphia’s delicious icebox cookie or chocolate covered almonds, or create your own custom combination tailored specifically toward what she likes. Made with premium California ingredients and shipped worldwide!

How: Shop online or call ((310) 975-7088) for same-day shipping within the Los Angeles area.
Check them out: @LuphiaSweets

Sweet Treats

Pitchoun Bakery

What: If you’re Downtown, head to the French bakery and café to indulge. They offer a wide selection for brunch, including their parisian omelette and Croque-Monsieur. If you are looking for that perfect sweet treat to bring home to your celebration, pick up any of their freshly-made pastries including their raspberry croissants, macarons, and homemade creme brulee!

When: Brunch from 11 am- 1 pm, Bakery open 7am- 5pm Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm Saturday, and 8am- 4pm Sunday.
Where: 545 S Olive Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013. No reservations necessary.
Check them out: @PitchounBakery

Sweet Lady Jane

What: This iconic bakery creates the perfect treat for any occasion… especially Mother’s Day. The perfect mid-day cake to celebrate is their signature Triple Berry Shortbread Cake, studded with fresh raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries within a fluffy vanilla buttercream and light yellow cake. For the chocolate lovers, satisfy those cravings with their Old Fashion Chocolate Cake. Don’t forget to add a personalized note on top to make it extra special!

Where: Pick-up from any of their three store locations (West Hollywood, Santa Monica, and Encino), or place a mail order for delivery nation-wide
Check them out: @tripleberrycake (If you show their most recent post to an in-store cashier between Weds May 10th and Sunday May 14th, receive 10% off your order!!)