Author: Nastassia

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!!)

 

Sweet News | Shake Shack x Nicole Rucker Team Up

LA’s own Nicole Rucker (of soon to open Rucker’s Pies) has collaborated with Shake Shack to create The Golden State Shake. The Golden State Shake features a blend of vanilla frozen custard, salted honey butter sauce, and finely crushed cornflakes topped with whipped cream. It will be available at all Los Angeles Shacks for the month of May. This special item is a part of Shake Shack’s Great American Shake Sale being held throughout the month of May, where Shake Shack guests who donate $2 or more to No Kid Hungry(NKH) will receive a card for a complimentary hand-spun shake—valued at $6.00—redeemable on their next visit. 100 percent of donations will benefit NKH.

Shake Shack Century City
10250 Santa Monica Boulevard, Level 2, Los Angeles, CA 90067
Shake Shack West Hollywood
8520 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069
Shake Shack Hollywood
6201 Hollywood Blvd #104, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Shake Shack Glendale
252 S Brand Blvd, Glendale, CA 91204
@ShakeShack

Sweet of the Week | Magpies Soft Serve

Los Angeles is not stranger to frozen desserts. We are a city swimming in ice cream shops, fro-yo stops, and over the top frozen confection creations. With so many options it’s often hard to choose where to go to enjoy an ice cold treat, or is it? To me the really quality producers stand out and when it comes to soft serve there is no better choice than Magpies. Currently in Silver Lake with a second location in Tarzan that opened yesterday, Magpies offers homemade, small-batch softserve that is nostalgic and satisfying. Their menu suggests flavors to swirl together or you can stick to one choice. They make all of their toppings themselves (minus the rainbow sprinkles) and you would be remiss to not add a topping or two especially the butterscotch rice crispies. On my most recent visit they had birthday cake as a flavor option so naturally that is what I ordered and the timing couldn’t be better because tomorrow is my birthday. I’m not sure how long it will be on the menu, but get your butt down there and try it if you can!

Magpies Softserve Silver Lake
2660 Griffith Park Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 

Magpies Softserve Tarzana 
18971 Ventura Blvd, Tarzana, CA 

@magpiesoftserve

Sweet News | Unicorn Food X byCHLOE Tutti Frutti

by CHLOE. and Kat Odell’s Unicorn Food have teamed up to create The Tutti Frutti: sweet beet pancake, tutti frutti dust + pink coconut whipped cream.  The colorful pancake will be available for brunch at all New York and Los Angeles by CHLOE. locations, and for daily breakfast at by CHLOE. Flatiron for the entire month of May. The magical pancake is completely gluten-free, and as gorgeous as it is delicious!

Cinco de Mayo Sweets

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Naturally we are celebrating with sweets over here, our favorite of which is this tres leches cake from My Delight Cupcakery and we think you should too. If you make a stop there be sure to also grab an Horchata cupcake or two.
My Delight Cupcakery 1520 N Mountain Ave B-108, Ontario, CA 91762

Another great option is a flan from Mercado and of course don’t miss the choriqueso too!
Mercado 3413 Cahuenga Blvd W, Los Angeles, CA 90068

And any of the sweets from Salazar are a good option too! Paired with one of their signature cocktails and you are on your way to one happy Cinco de Mayo!
Salazar 2490 Fletcher Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90039

Or how about a Strawberry Margarhita Donut. Available for ONE DAY ONLY for $3.10, this delicious treat will feature strawberry margarita glaze with tequila and triple sec sprinkled with rock sugar. Photo credit: Michelle Berry
Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken L.A516 W.  6th St., Los Angeles, CA 90014