Sweet of the Week | Joan’s on Third

Every year around this time I share a cake that I really love or a round up of cakes that I love. This year in honor of my birthday tomorrow my Sweet of the Week is dedicated to a cake that should be part of every Angeleno’s life – the Strawberry Crown Cake from Joan’s on Third. Delicate white cake, fresh whipped cream and fresh strawberries. It is simple and it is perfect. What I love most about it is that it reminds me of my birthday cakes growing up. My mom would always buy me this flavor of cake. She would get it from various Valley bakeries, but that combination of white cake and a light whipped cream frosting and strawberries is a flavor that I not only love, but also crave. I spoke lovingly about it last weekend when I was on KFI 640 AM’s The Fork Report and you can list to the broadcast here (start at 01:11:04).

Joan’s on Third
8350 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

Joan’s on Third – Studio City
12059 Ventura Pl, Studio City, CA 91604
@joansonthird

Best Desserts in Oaxaca City


It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with Oaxaca City on my first visit to this charming colonial town. There is no question that Oaxaca is for food lovers. The options for delicious eats seems limitless. So many amazing street vendors, restaurants, and mercados. After four days of non-stop eating, I still felt like there was so much more to consume. And to my surprise not only does Oaxaca have great savory food, it also has a sweet tooth that might rival my own. Here are five desserts you shouldn’t miss when visiting Oaxaca City.

Raspados in the Zócolo 

Take a break from the heat to enjoy a piña raspado in the Zócolo as you watch the buzzing city around you. Raspados (shaved ice) come in a range of fruit and classic Mexican flavors that are poured over the shaved ice. You can add sweetened condensed milk or lemon and chili as toppings. There are so many raspados vendors around this square just pick the one that speaks to you and enjoy your icy treat.

Meringue Treats

Walking the vibrant streets of Oaxaca, I came across the street-food stand of my dreams. This sweets cart was filled with beautiful treats with creamy centers and meringue tops. I got the meringue with rainbow sprinkles and pink wafers and (not pictured) the casquito, a small, crispy pie shell filled with meringue and topped with pink sugar. You can find regional sweets of the baked and fried varieties all around Oaxaca City just about any day of the year, but it’s during festival weeks that these treats take center stage.

Flan 

I always have and always will be a lover of flan. I do acknowledge though that it is one of those things like coconut or cilantro that people either love or hate. Being in the love camp I was so excited to find an all flan based dessert cart on the street between the Zócolo and the Mercado de 20 Noviembre. This sweet girl was selling every form and flavor of flan you could dream up. If you spot her and you love flan, be sure to stop for a treat.

Pastries from Boulenc 

Boulenc sells fresh baked bread, pastries, and pizza in the heart of the city. I didn’t expect to find myself here because I generally tend to want to eat things unique to the region, but I received so many recommendations I had to see what all the hype was about. The pastries were on par with some of the best I’ve had. If you love carbs as much as I do, Boulenc is the spot for you.

Helado (ice cream) 

Because you can never have too much ice cream you should enjoy it whenever possible. From a ice cream man pushing a cart filled with ice and small batches of home made ice cream or from a storefront like Museo de Nieves Manolo for a scoop of their signature manolo flavor.

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
@pontela

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!

Gwen
6600 Sunset Blvd Los Angeles 90028
@gwenla

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.