Category: Sweet Escapes

Sweet New | Pizzana Brentwood Now Open!

Candace & Charles Nelson, the couple behind Sprinkles Cupcakes, open Pizzana in Los Angeles’ Brentwood neighborhood with partners Chris & Caroline O’Donnell. Inspired by their shared passion for pizza and fascination with the science behind baking, the Nelsons’ first savory venture features handcrafted Neo-Neapolitan pies from Naples-born master pizzaiolo Daniele Uditi.

Candace brings her pastry expertise to Pizzana’s dessert menu, where she will debut a Neapolitan Ice Cream Terrine alongside Italian-inspired sweets such as Salted Caramel Panna Cotta. The wine and beer list – curated by local wine expert Amanda Crawford – offers a selection of wines from small Italian & California producers, most available by the glass and bottle.

Pizzana 11712 San Vicente Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90049 @pizzana_la
photo credit:  Amy Neunsinger

Sweet of the Week | The Ponte

The charming patio of this new mid-city restaurant is the ideal setting for this dessert that I’m confident you too will become obsessed with. The Ponte is a soulful Italian restaurant from chef Scott Conant known for signature dishes like his famed spaghetti pomodoro. Since we are really here for the sweet stuff be sure to order dessert in addition to of course the spaghetti. The banana budino with rum caramel and toffee is decadent, rich, and delicious – it will be hard to share this one so maybe get two.

The Ponte
8265 Beverly Blvd. Los Angeles CA 90048

Museum of Ice Cream | Los Angeles

The Museum of Ice Cream is a real thing. So are ice cream fairies and rainbow sprinkle pools. Basically this museum is one big Instagram dream, you will hardly notice the art you will be taking so many pictures. If you love ice cream and you love pop culture-esq art then the Museum of Ice Cream is for you. It’s a fun Willy Wonka like 10 room gallery of ice cream fun. Here are some highlights from my preview visit last week. To keep some of the fun alive I’ve left out a lot that hopefully you will get to experience yourself.

You are greeted at the entrance and invited to enjoy some chocolate before entering through a perfectly pink door into the first exhibit of the museum. Don’t miss this pink telephone room. Seriously, pick up a phone because you are in for a silly and rather hilarious treat on the other end of the line. (see the full highlight video below)

There is in fact ice cream here. You can enjoy a scoop of McConnell’s ice cream shortly after entering, but it must be consumed in the room in which you receive it before you move on. No problem here because we love ice cream!

And there are other treats too like a handful of gummy bears with accompanying gummy bear inspired art. This is just some of the many thoughtfully curated and definitely ice cream themed rooms! Treats abound in this sensory overload of color and sweetness. It is definitely something to experience if only to jump into the 100 million plastic rainbow sprinkle pool.

Sweet News | Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken LA

Last week Astro’s first West Coast restaurant opened in Downtown Los Angeles. If you love doughnuts, this place is for you. If you love fried chicken this is the spot too. If you love both, well then you are in luck because both are good alone and even better together. If you get only one thing make sure it’s the crème brûlée doughnut.  Among other accolades, Astro’s crème brûlée doughnut has been named one of 40 “Must-Try Dishes” by The Washington Post, one of the “best fried chicken restaurants in America” by TimeOut, one of the “Best Doughnuts in DC” and “Best Donut Shops in America” by Thrillist, one of the “Hottest Doughnut Shops in America” by Eater. 

516 W.  6th Street Los Angeles, CA 90014  @astrodoughnuts

What to Eat at Coachella 2017

Coachella is definitely as much about the food as it is about the music. Over the years the food options have grown, developed, and become downright drool-worthy. With only three days and over 100 vendors how could you possibly even scratch the surface of all the deliciousness? Well you can’t so you have to go in with a plan and some key interests to make sure you enjoy the best of what Coachella food has to offer.

MallowMallow – Ella S’mores (Across from Sahara Tent)

All throughout the grounds you can find a tasty treat, but this one takes the cake. Mallow Mallow offers torched to order s’mores. You can go classic homemade marshmallow, homemade graham cracker and chocolate sauce or opt for the Coachella special Ella like I did which includes a homemade funfetti marshmallow!
* Also worth enjoying out and about around the grounds :
Arepas -you can get them at stand alone booths near the Outdoor Stage, near Main Stage and around Gobi and Mojave. Cheesy, gooey, corn cakes that are so satisfying.
Spicy Pie – if you leave having eaten just one thing make is a slice from spicy pie. Hot, fresh, and just damn good pizza.

POT – Fruity Pebble Rice Crispy Treats (Main VIP)

Rice crispy treats are always a good idea, especially when they are chock full of fruity pebbles. This treat from POT will satisfy any sweet tooth and is easy to take on the go for when then munchies strike.

If you are looking for a healthier sweet treat alternative may I suggest a matcha shake from Matcha Bar made with homemade almond ice cream. Sweet tooth cravings satisfied without the guilt and with an added caffeine kick.
* Also worth enjoying in Main VIP:
Hanjip– bulgogi bowl; Sunny Blue– salmon musubi; Badmaash– chicken tikka poutine fries; Sweetfin Poke– any of their oh so yummy poke bowls.

Outstanding in the Fields (Rose Garden)

Outstanding in the Field is by far one of my favorite experiences at Coachella and one worth investing in. If you don’t have a VIP ticket this grants you access to the Rose Garden VIP which is a plus. Beyond access to VIP you get an incredible seated four-course dinner by celebrated chefs from LA and beyond. And did I mention the welcome cocktail and wine pairing throughout dinner. I’ve gone the past two years and each time the dessert has been exceptional!
* Also worth enjoying in the Rose Garden:
Mamacita Cantina– try chef Ricardo Zarrate’s ceviches; Kazu Nori– yummy hand rolls; McConnell’s Ice Cream– ice cream duh; Paper Planes- raclette topped tots.

Churro Soft Serve Sundae (Boardwalk/Terrace)

There is plenty to enjoy even if you do not have a VIP ticket. This year’s Boardwalk and Terrace area feature some of the best food in the festival, my favorite of which was the churro sundaes. Find this at the stand with the sign CHURROS. They serve a variety of churros flavors from classic cinnamon sugar to salted caramel or fruity pebbles. The warm fried to order churros are placed in a cup of soft serve with even more toppings. It’s a big cup of delicious.
* Also worth enjoying at the Boardwalk:
Fritzi Coop – chicken sandwich; Go Get Em Tiger – coffee; MilkBox – milk teas.

Bludsos – Key Lime Pie (Beer Garden)

Make your way past the Terrace to find the Beer Garden for more eats. It’s not hard to miss just follow the giant illuminated sign that reads Craft Beer. Here you will find more mouthwatering food options, a craft cocktail area, craft beer, and a hidden Tiki bar. The thing not to miss in this area though is Bludsos. Not only do you get some of the best BBQ, but a killer slice of key lime pie from Nicole Rucker to end the meal on a sweet note. I sadly didn’t get to try this one, but you can read more about it from Andy Wang here.
*Also worth enjoying in the Craft Beer Barn: Fat Dragon!!!



Where to Enjoy Easter Brunch and Easter Desserts in LA

Easter Sunday is quickly approaching and as you are busy planning brunch may I suggest some of my favorite options. Whether you are looking for a restaurant with a great brunch offering or looking to pick up some sweet additions to your Easter spread, these restaurants are just the ticket.

Paley  Homemade Peeps, Floral Buttercream Cupcakes & Nostalgic Easter Pastries

At Paley in Hollywood, guests can opt for items from the regular brunch menu (including Custard French Toast and the Britt Benedict with proscuitto on brioche) then get to the good stuff – the Easter special dessert menu. The sweet treats include housemade Peeps-inspired marshmallows & a Cadbury-inspired egg-shaped devil’s food cake covered with chocolate ganache and filled with a chocolate-carmel custard, and gorgeous flower decorated vanilla and chocolate cupcakes that will make you want to only receive flowers in cake form from now on.
11am – 3pm323.544.9430; 6115 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 100, Los Angeles CA 90028; @paleyhollywood

photo courtesy of @LoveandLoathingLA

Love & Salt   Spelt Carrot Cake & Rye Toast with Eggs

In addition to Love & Salt’s à la carte brunch menu, chef Michael Fiorelli will be offering wood-oven rye toast topped with griddled mortadella, fontina and fried eggs, paired with a fresh Spring pea tendril salad and a special Spelt Carrot Cake made with house-milled flour from Central Milling. An already amazing brunch got even better.
10 am – 3pm; 310.545.5252; 317 Manhattan Beach Blvd. Manhattan Beach, CA 90266; @loveandsaltla

Gwen  Coconut Passionfruit Layer Cake, Hot Cross Buns, and more

Who would have thought that a butcher would be the place to get decadent Easter desserts? You can get butcher items for you Easter meal while also picking up one or all of their incredible Easter take-away dessert menu that includes a coconut passionfruit layer cake, a tray of hot cross buns, strawberry rhubarb pie, and double chocolate cream pie. Easter or not I’m getting myself a pie and you should too! 24 hours notice required for orders; order by April 15th.
10 am – 3pm; 323.946.7513; 6600 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles 90028; @gwenla

Village Bakery & Café Buona Pasqua and Easter decorated cookies

Village Bakery is always a great place to get holiday themed sweet treats. I’m constantly amazed by their creativity with confections and the fun they have with them. This holiday they are offering a gorgeous braided Easter bread loaf along with an assortment of perfectly decorated Easter sugar cookies. Get the bunnies they are too cute to pass up.
7:30am-4pm; 323.662.8600; 3119 Los Feliz Blvd., Los Angeles 90039; @villagebakeryandcafe



Sweet of the Week | Gwen

Who knew that a butcher shop and restaurant could have some of the best pastries in LA? Well it’s true – Gwen Butcher Shop & Restaurant from chef Curtis Stone (of Maude) and his brother Luke Stone serves up some of the best sweet treats in town courtesy of pastry chef Amy Taylor. Swing by for an epic croissant and cup of Aussie coffee in the morning or an incredible cookie to go with one of their butcher counter sandwiches for lunch. But you would be remiss to not enjoy a big slice of their coconut passion fruit layer cake or whatever layer cake they have available at the moment. Their cakes, their cookies, their pastry – it’s good, really (insert expletive) good!

6600 Sunset Blvd Los Angeles 90028

Sweet News | Sanrio Hello Kitty Mini Cafe Opening!

Calling all Sanrio fans –  just announced the opening of the first Hello Kitty Mini Cafe at the Westfield Santa Ana mall. No more chasing after the Hello Kitty Cafe truck on its roving stops, the pink and white Hello Kitty adorned fast casual cafe will feature a menu of delectably adorable sweet treats like pies, tarts, cookies, pastries and cakes. It opens to the public Friday April 7.

GIVEAWAY ALERT! The Hello Kitty Mini Cafe is scheduled to open THIS Friday, April 7, at Westfield Santa Ana. Grand opening festivities will take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday – with the first 50 people in line each day will receive a  complimentary beverage of their choice and the first 100 people in line each day will receive a commemorative “small gift”, to celebrate Sanrio’s ‘small gift, big smile’ philosophy.

Five Desserts To Try in Scottsdale

Scottsdale is an ideal weekend getaway from LA, being just a short flight away from the West Coast. Having recently discovered just how easy it is to get to Scottsdale, I’ve already made two visits in less than six months. I can’t help myself. Scottsdale has an amazing food scene and I can’t get enough. If you are a lover of food this is a great city to explore. If you are also looking for some R&R, this is the place. And If you love outdoor adventures, look no further.

I could go on about Scottsdale being the ultimate weekend getaway destination. But since you are here for the sweet stuff, here are five of my favorite sweets to try in Scottsdale.

For Donuts – The Local Donut

If you have been reading this blog for a while or even just follow me on Instagram, you know I’m a donut lover! Having had my fair share of donuts across the country, I can confidently say that the donuts from The Local Donut are GREAT! They have fun flavors like creme brûlée, s’mores, and peach pie in both raised and cake donut forms. With so many delicious choices it’s hard to have just one.

For Ice Cream – Sweet Republic

This is the Valley of the Sun’s premier artisan ice cream. Sweet Republic is a local fave for good reason. The ice cream is perfection in fun and classic flavors. I love their selection of sundaes. Try the Toffee Banofi sundae if you are a caramel and banana lover.

For Fun, Unique Treats – Super Chunk and Cowboy Ciao

The sweet treats in Scottsdale are on point!  I absolutely fell in love with Super Chunk, a small-batch, handcrafted sweets & treats shop in Old Town. This mini rainbow sprinkle birthday cake (along with the rest of the mini cakes), canelés, and the mesquite chocolate chips cookies were incredible! This shop is the sweet offshoot of the beloved Cowboy Ciao restaurant from the same owners. They are known for their Stetson chopped salad (which is great!), but really should be known for their mind-blowingly amazing Cereal Killer dessert, consisting of a malted oat cookie, Frosted Flake cereal ice cream and Frosted Flake brittle.

For the Instagram-able Treat – Ruze Cake House

Ruze Cake House is a little gem tucked down a small street in the Arts District of Old Town Scottsdale. Their business is predominantly beautiful wedding cakes, but they also have this Instagram-worthy storefront that offers a selection of sweets like funfetti layer cake, gorgeous macarons, and more. Their pink velvet cupcake with a frosting cactus on top is not to be missed. Not only does it make for the perfect photo op, but it is tasty too! Sit under the neon sign in the shop, take a selfie with your cupcake and enjoy every last bite!

For Chocolate – Zak’s

I have a confession – I’m not a huge chocolate lover. At least I didn’t think I was. That all changed for me after trying Zak’s Chocolate – now I find myself wanting chocolate all the time. The ultimate bean-to-bar chocolatier, Zak’s crafts chocolate directly from single origin cocoa beans. Each bar lists its origin and has a unique flavor profile depending on terroir. Zak’s also offers truffles and chocolate bites if you want something other than a chocolate bar. Hands down some of the best chocolate I’ve ever tasted.

Still need more options?

Check out The Fat Ox for a beautiful Italian dinner. I love to have dessert first so I started with their not-to-be-missed affogato.

Postino is a cute wine bar that is the perfect place to enjoy a Pinot Noir and charcuterie. It is also an unassuming spot for a sundae, and they happen to have one of the best sundaes I’ve ever had, with Vanilla ice cream from Churn topped with a homemade caramel sauce that is to die for, and chocolate covered corn nuts.

Looking for things to do? Check out Experience Scottsdale for the best hikes, spas, shopping, and more.

Looking for a place to stay?
I LOVED my stay at the new Andaz hotel. It perfectly captures the lovely desert feel of Arizona. It is a peaceful oasis in the city. You can stay on-property and enjoy the pool and delish restaurant or hop in their complimentary car (a Tesla no less) to get dropped off in Old Town.
Looking to stay a bit outside of town? Try the Four Seasons at Troon North. They have a great spa to pamper yourself in, along with morning yoga, pools, and patio views of the surrounding mountains.
Another great stay option is The Phoenician. It has gorgeous rooms, an innovative cocktail program at the bar, and as a bonus it is located at the base of Camelback Mountain, so you are just a few minutes’ walk from a picturesque hike.

Scottsdale is full of amazing dining options and sweet treats (and beautiful hikes to help you balance out all the eating). I can’t wait to get back and discover more.

Saveur’s 12 Favorite Dessert and Pastry Instagrams

When a site you love publishes their 12 Favorite Dessert and Pastry Instagrams and you are one of them, you think ‘wait what? me? really? no really?’ then you get excited, then you do the ugly cry because you are excited. An hour later you look at the list again and are in sheer admiration of the amazingly talented people in dessert and pastry and then you think ‘I’m not worthy!’. That was me last week. I’m so incredibly honored and humbled to be on this list.

Check out the full story here!