Size Does Matter… Pie Size That Is.

Hearing the news that there would be a shop in LA devoted to pies and sandwiches I was instantly thrilled! I thought SimpleThings Pie and Sandwich shop just might be everything I was hoping for. You see, I love pies and find it a rather difficult task to find one worth getting excited about in this city. So I invited my friend Julie to join me on a pie date to check out this new shop.

SimpleThings is cute and quaint with muted colors in a tiny New York-size space. When you walk in the door, you are greeted by a bright glass case filled with pies galore. There was a large selection available – a huge plus! My mouth started to water at the sight of all the delicious-looking mini pies. My choices for the day were coconut cream, salted caramel, French silk, pumpkin, apple, and banana cream.  The selection varies daily.

Since we came specifically for pie we ordered five different mini pies – known here as “cuties.” Cute as these cuties were, they were too mini for my liking and after two mini bites they were gone. They are simply too small for their $2.50 price tag.

I started with the apple pie and was sorely disappointed. The crust was, in my opinion, under-baked and chewy. The texture was unappetizing and the filling completely bland. I went back on a separate visit to this pie shop and ordered the blueberry pie, thinking my disappointment in the apple pie was a fluke, but unfortunately this pie had the same soft crust. I asked a SimpleThings employee if the crust was supposed to be so soft and they informed me that the crust was in fact intentionally soft and that was the style of their fruit filled pies. Disappointing. I like my fruit filled pie to have a buttery, flaky, rich crust – not a soft and doughy one.

The cream pies, however, were delightful. The crust on these pies does turn to crumbles when you bite into it, but this I’m willing to forgive when the filling is so creamy, rich and sweet! The salted caramel was silky smooth with a subtle milky flavor. The coconut cream was creamy with an enjoyable, delicate sweetness.  The French silk was decadent and velvety.

All in all, the “cuties” are too expensive for their size and I will skip on fruit filled pies next time I go, but that salted caramel may have me coming back for more. I think my mistake may have been that I ordered mini pies rather than going for their simple pie size (medium/individual). I’m not going to write off SimpleThings just yet because I have a feeling the crust on the larger pies will hope up better, fingers crossed for my next pie date.

SIMPLETHINGS PIE AND SANDWICH SHOP

8310 West Third Street

Los Angeles, CA 90048

I Heart Pie (at The Village Bakery)

I heart pie. I really do. Especially fruit filled pies. The flaky, buttery crust and the sweet, sometimes-tangy fruit buried within its walls – I heart pie.

There is something sweetly nostalgic about pie. No, my mom didn’t bake pies all the time. I secretly have a soft spot for pies as a result of an almost daily after-school indulgence of McDonald’s apple pies. There, I said it. The secret is out. But if any of you Angelinos out there remember, back in the late 80’s/early 90’s McDonald’s used to have a different kind of apple pie: the apple pie in the green box. It was a super-flaky pastry crust with perfectly diced and spiced apples inside. When I was younger this truly was heaven in a pie shell. So here we are today and I’m still as enamored with fruit filled pies, especially of the apple variety.

Like donuts, it is hard to find a decent slice of pie in this city. House of Pies, which is in my neighborhood, offers mediocre slices that are hardly worth writing home about. Everyone waxes poetic about Apple Pan, but I thought the apple pie was pretty meh and on occasion pretty mushy. Then I discovered that my new favorite local bakery occasionally offers pie!

Village Bakery is an extraordinary little gem of a café in Atwater Village. Since discovering its wide array of pastries, baked fresh daily, I have become a bit of a regular. I try to find an excuse each week (ok a couple times a week) to drop in for a maple bacon scone or a sugar paw (croissant sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and cocoa powder) or maybe a donut muffin. When I am really lucky they have one of their hand pies and even on occasion they have an individual sized fruit pie; filling varies.

The apple hand pie is a classic apple pie in bite sized form, the perfect afternoon snach. Nice prominent notes of cinnamon and a gentle sweetness from the apples. The shell is baked just right, it crumbles delicately with each bite without being too dry or too buttery.

The berry hand pie is a tart and juicy while also retaining a sweet, juicy berry burst of flavor.

The blackberry pie is a recent addition to the ever changing roster of pastries at Village Bakery. Larger than the hand pies, this individual sized pie had a thick doughy shell that was studded with big juicy blackberries and crowned with rich butter crumbles. Each bite was delightful, subtly sweet and simply perfect.

Village Bakery

3119 Los Feliz Blvd, Atwater Village


Daily Dose of Donut!

Ever since returning from an overly donut-indulgent trip to Denver, I’ve had nothing but donuts on the brain. I keep trying to find an excuse to go to Blair’s in Los Feliz to treat myself to some deliciously overpriced donuts for dessert. I’ve been trying to find the time to make the trek to Culver City to try the much talked-about glazed donuts and jam from Waterloo and City.  I’ve even tried to convince R to drive to Glendora to get me some donuts from the famous Donut Man. I hear SK Donuts on West 3rd street is pretty amazing too. Or how about Bob’s Donuts in the Farmer’s Market? You can see how much I’ve been thinking about this and yet I haven’t been able to make it out to any of these places to satisfy my ever-growing donut desires. Then by chance, a conversation on Twitter with @CremeCaramelLA provided me with the perfect solution – Daily Donuts.

Daily Donuts provides just that – the perfect daily donut.  Appearance-wise this is your standard LA strip mall donut joint. Bare bones, minimal design and glass cases full of old fashioned cake donuts, glazed donuts, maple bars and the like.  I have to admit I was skeptical at first. I have high standards for my donuts. I know a donut is a donut is a donut, but then again it isn’t. A bad donut can be dry, crumbly, cloyingly sweet and utterly unappealing. A good donut on the other hand is one of the simple pleasures in life that never fails to bring a smile to my face, and Daily Donuts offers just that kind of perfect donut. Did I mention that Daily Donuts has been about a block away from me for the last two years? I had somehow overlooked or ignored this little shop not knowing that within its doors lay row after glazed, sweet, glistening row of doughy fried confections.

There are no fancy flavors or inventive creations – just the basics. I suggest sticking to the classic glazed or the glazed donut holes; both are ethereally light and doughy with a thin sweet sugar glaze that tenderly gives way with each bite. Not too sweet and not too fried, it is truly a challenge to exercise discipline and not eat an entire half dozen in one sitting.

While thus far nothing has filled the hole in my heart that was left when Friterelli’s in Beverly Hills closed, Daily Donut is a great neighborhood haven, a one-stop shop for that daily dose of donuts!

The Denver Donut Hunt

Hello? Anyone still out there? I’m not dead… just been busy running a food truck. So as you can imagine my time has been spent smelling like a fryer, driving a beast of a truck, and rolling lumpia to the point where I think I’m becoming a lumpia. I just haven’t had much time to share delicious adventures with sweets. But have no fear – it’s a new year and I plan on blogging more. On that note, I’d like to share with you about my unrelenting love for donuts!

On my last trip to Denver with R, we decided to spend the entire weekend in search of these delectable fried delights. I see some of you rolling your eyes back there, but hear me out. I know you may think donuts are so 2009 – and I’m sure everyone is tired of hearing about maple bacon donuts – but for me this is beyond a fading trend. I am absolutely, whole-heartedly besotted with donuts.  What’s not to love? It’s dough. It’s fried. It’s sweet. Done!

My journey can be broken down into three categories of donut shops.

1. You daily donut: LaMar’s

LaMar’s is a Denver staple. It wasn’t hard to find this shop since there are plenty of them scattered throughout the city. After talking to a few locals, it was evident that Denver loves LaMar’s.

LaMar’s has a large variety of donuts to choose from. Upon inspection I noticed that most of the donuts seemed to be of the old fashioned cake donut variety. While I do enjoy a good cake donut (it is cakey afterall) I prefer the fluffier fried variety. R on the other hand was in heaven preferring the dense delicious cake donut over the others. We decided to get a half dozen to fully enjoy the spectrum of offerings. We ordered a blueberry cake donut, a german chocolate cake donut, a red velvet cake donut, a pumpkin cream cheese cake donut, an apple spice donut and an original glazed.

The cake donuts were dense, moist, and packed full of flavor, exept the red velvet which was a dry crumbly mess of a thing. My favorite of the cake donuts was the apple spice cake: bursts of cinnamon, juicy apple sweetness and a perfectly spongy texture. The original glazed was everything I love about a good glazed donut. The glaze gently cracks with each bite revealing the soft semi-sweet dough below. All in all I can see how LaMar’s is Denver’s perfect daily donut joint. I only wish LA had something similar.

2. The creative and hip donut:  The Hole

When doing our research for donuts around Denver we came upon The Hole. A newer establishment in the hip, fun Highlands neighboorhood, The Hole is a beer and donuts joint ( yeah I know, awesome right?) They are open 24 hours on Fridays and Saturdays. While their menu isn’t limited to beer and donuts, those are the focus.

This isn’t necessarily the type of donut shop you would go to on your way to work like LaMar’s, but unlike LaMar’s it is a great place to hang out with friends or to satisfy a late night sweet tooth craving. They have a full counter display of freshly baked donuts in addition to their specialty donut offerings. Their flavors are anything but ordinary. Their elaborate inventions range from amaretto donuts and elvis donuts to pizza and churro donut bites. With so many mouth-watering options it was hard not ordering the whole menu.

We started from the menu and ordered the salted toffee bites. They are served in a paper cone sprinkled with salty toffee. They come to the table hot and fresh from the fryer. We popped these salty sweet bites one after the other without blinking, but then we realized while we loved their hot doughy texture, we found the salted toffee flavor to be missing. There was a sugary salty sprinkle on the bites, but that was about it.

Next we ordered from their selection of daily fresh donuts at the front counter. It was tough to narrow down only two donuts among so many, but now I have a reason to come back (the pina colada is calling my name). We ordered the Elvis donut and a lemon rosemary. Again, these donuts had the perfect texture. Nicely fried, not oily, and ribbons of dough that fold so softly and sweetly together. The lemon rosemary had a flavor profile that was a little too subtle for me. I expected a tart tangy lemon bite balanced with a verdant floral rosemary burst, but instead the flavors were flat. The Elvis on the other hand is a donut worth dreaming about! Thick and rich, it is filled with ooey gooey banana, coated in chocolate and sprinkled with crispy salty bacon. All of these ingredients formed the most harmonious marriage. The banana folds into the yielding dough, both enrobed in chocolate that adds bitter sweetness. The sweet notes are rounded out by the bacon which provides a salty, savory, meaty depth. I could have easily consumed 10 of these they were so addictively good.

3. The expensive donut you should probably only have once a year: Table 6

Table 6 is a well known eatery in Denver. It is a favorite among locals and visiting foodies. Table 6 offers a convivial American bistro style that has patrons coming back for more. R and I were full off of donuts already so did not have a chance to enjoy their full menu, but full or not we came for donuts.

The donuts at Table 6 are what I’m going to call the “fancy gourmet donut:” chocolate beignets. You have probably seen a version of these before on the dessert menu at many fine dining restaurants. However, these are anything but your ordinary gourmet $9 order of donuts. The chocolate beignet provided a fried shell of a donut covered in powdered sugar that gently collapses to reveal liquid chocolate heaven hiding inside. There was a passionfruit syrup spread across the plate upon which the beignets sat. The lovely contrast of citrusy tang with the oh-so-decadent melted chocolate inside each donut was divine. It is a very small order, but these lovelies are so rich you only need a bite to fully enjoy.

While this was a great start for my donut hunt, I can’t wait to go back and try Il Posto for their famed Italian donuts and the Sugar Lips food truck for their donut holes. Mmmm deep fried sugary heaven!


Heaven in a Waffle Bowl – Lake Street Creamery

Wow it really has been 1 month since I last blogged! And before that I had only blogged once in August! What a bad blogger I am. If you are still out there and you are still reading Let Me Eat Cake, well thanks! Running SoCal’s FIRST Filipino food truck with my blogging pal BurntLumpia has been no easy feat. We spend tireless hours prepping, planning, booking and working on the truck. It gets hot in there, it is tiring and to tell you the truth sometimes I want to cry. But at the end of the day I try to remember that I started my very own small business. I try to remember a smiling happy face of a customer that enjoyed our food. And I try to remember that this adventure is challenging and exciting not matter how hard it gets sometimes.

With that said, I do spend all my time on the truck and rarely have any time to go out to eat or bake anymore, but I DO now have the luxury of trying so many of LA’s delicious gourmet food trucks whenever they park near by. And so I bring you Lake St. Creamery which is by far some of THE best ice cream I have had in a long time. In fact they have officially resuscitated my once dying love of ice cream. Truly, this ice cream is the stuff dreams are made of! Don’t believe me? Go find them on the streets and see for yourself.

Lake Street Creamery is run by the gracious and sweet Beth and Tim. I’m telling you, you’ve never met nicer people. The truck is a beautiful and stylish azure with a charming old timey feel.

I want to have a favorite flavor after sampling all of their offerings, but I can’t say that I do. Their ingredients are carefully chosen and paired harmoniously.

The cake donut really tastes like biting into a cake donut but somehow in cold, smooth ice cream form.

The pancake breakfast tastes like a forkful of fluffy buttermilk pancakes dripping in maple syrup with a side of hot crispy bacon and a cup of strong dark roasted coffee!

The California zephyr is fresh and bright with meyer lemon and mint.

The Aztec sacrifice is luxuriously chocolatey with undertones of spice that sneak up on your.

The Holiday chocolate is winter in a cup. Silky sweet like a cup of hot chocolate with delicate notes of nutmeg and ginger dancing around.

Their elaborate inventions even included a creation for the season premier of Mad Men – the Don Draper. Vanilla, bourbon, caramel and smoke (yes smoke!) this sweet treat is boozy and rich. This flavor is spot on, if Don Draper were an ice cream he would definitely be boozy and rich wrapped up in an addictive charming sweetness!

Lake Street Creamery doles out creative confections. From their cake donut to their california zephyr the flavors will wow you. As each cold spoonful traverses your tongue, you will wonder why you ever ate any other ice cream before.

The Perfect Summer Drinks


Boy was it a hot one out today! So hot you can’t move, you can’t think and yet I somehow managed to bake, but that is another story all together. The one thing that really gets me through these hot hot summer days is an ice cold glass of lemon/or limeade.

Early in the summer when it wasn’t quite as hot as it was today in LA, I made two absolutely amazing and thirst quenching drinks. They were just what I needed to beat the heat today, but of course I didn’t have them. If you are in need of the perfect summer refreshment here are two recipes to keep you cool! I know that I will have at least one of these in the fridge for the rest of the summer. These summer drinks are sweet, simple and addictively delicious!
Fresh Peach Rosemary Lemonade
makes 1 quart
1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 cup fresh peaches pureed (skin off)
1 sprig fresh rosemary
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
2-3 cups cold water to dilute (measure water to taste)
In a medium saucepan combine 1 cup water and 3/4 cup sugar. Add rosemary and bring to a boil. Once this simple syrup boils remove it from heat and let it cool.
Meanwhile, peel 2 to 3 fresh peaches. Take peeled peaches minus the pit and place it in a food processor to puree. Set aside.
When simple syrup is cooled remove the rosemary. Add the simple syrup to 1 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Add peach puree. Begin adding cold water 1 cup at a time to dilute. Add as much water as you need. You make like your lemonade thicker or sweeter so do not add all of the water at once, measure to taste. Enjoy!
Mango Mint Limeade
1 cup fresh squeeze lime juice
zest of one lime
1 cup water
3/4 cups sugar
7 mint leaves
1 cup fresh mango pureed ( about 2-3 mangoes)
In a medium saucepan combine 1 cup water and 3/4 cup sugar. Add lime zest and fresh mint and bring to a boil. Once this simple syrup boils remove it from heat and let it cool.
Meanwhile, peel 2 to 3 fresh mango. Take peeled mango minus the pit and place it in a food processor to puree. Set aside.
When simple syrup is cooled pour it through a fine sieve to remove the mint and zest. Add the simple syrup to 1 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice. Add mango puree. Begin adding cold water 1 cup at a time to dilute. Add as much water as you need. You make like your lemonade thicker or sweeter so do not add all of the water at once, measure to taste. Enjoy!
Seriously could it be any easier? Hope you are enjoying your summer!

Savor Los Angeles – One Sweet Event You Don’t Want To Miss!


It is no secret that I love sweets! All shapes, flavors and sizes (espcially the cake kind). Finally there is an event that has me practically drooling. Friday at Miauhaus Studios on La Brea, Savor Los Angeles presents an exclusive best of the best sweet tasting event. From 7pm-10pm ticket holders get to enjoy endless amounts of delicious confections. The wash it all down they can enjoyed a steaming cup of Intellegensia coffee or a sweet sparkling Izzie soda or my personal favorite choice PAMA liquer cocktails. Savor Los Angeles is an intimate unique gathering all centered around sweets. Participating establishments are chosen for their emphasis on fresh and organic ingredients, alternatives to high-fructose corn syrup, vegan offerings, presentation & design, and good ol’ overall yumminess. The result is an environment that feels luxurious, genuine and exciting. Guests are invited to sample an assortment of delectable delicacies from Babycakes NYC/LA, Frosted Cupcakery, Gotta Have S’more, N’ice Cream, p.o.p. candy co., Plaisir, Popcakes, Pure Cheesecakes, Sweets For The Soul, The Crosby, and XT Patisserie.


So what are you waiting for! Tickets are only $35 for all of this goodness. I can’t wait to eat my way through my favorite brownies from Sweets For The Soul and some pineapple coconut cupcakes from Frosted and I’m excited to finally get to try Plaisir creampuffs and p.o.p. candy! I will be there enjoying as much as I can before I fall into a sweets coma, hope to see you there!

For tickets and more information on participating vendors check out www.savor-losangeles.com


Soul Satisfaction – Four Cafe’s Summer Menu

Four Cafe first opened its doors in April of this year. They offer fresh local organic ingredients using a slow food cooking approach. The menu changes with the seasons, offering only dishes at their peak of deliciousness. Since the restaurant’s opening days I have been an enthusiastic regular customer. Each visit never disappoints and my love for this neighborhood gem only grows stronger with time. You may remember my first post about it here; if that didn’t entice you to visit this Eagle Rock cafe the new summer menu certainly will have your jumping off of the couch and into the car!

True to form, Four Cafe has a list of mouth-wateringly delicious soups, salads and sandwiches, highlights of which are the shrimp and fennel soup, the southwest steak salad and the grilled fish burger. But be sure to save room for some of chef Michelle Wilton’s sweet confections. Coming from a girl who loves anything sweet, these are some of the best desserts I have had. This summer look for a rich apricot cobbler, blueberry cheesecake bars and raspberry pistachio buttermilk cake.

This is what I call a summer soup. Funny as it may sound, some soups can be summer-friendly without being gazpacho. Soft fennel flavors penetrate this silky pureed soup. The flavors are subtle until the first bite of shrimp. The shrimp pop with savory flavors. Salty and smoky, the shrimp compliment the delicate fennel and create an all too scrumptious starter.

The southwest steak salad is something at which to be marveled. The honey jalapeño lime dressing is maybe one of the best salad dressings I’ve ever tasted. The enchanting taste is so good you will find yourself frantically taking stabs of the crisp lettuce in an almost compulsive manner. The steak is medium rare with a nice charred taste. Juicy chunks of jicama and yellow bell pepper are scattered throughout. This is a hefty, hearty and addicting meal.

I am a huge fan of a good grilled fish burger, but I never eat them. The reason for this is that the only good one I have found in LA is at Houston’s. That is until now. Four Café has a grilled fish burger just as good as Houston’s. Perfectly seasoned fresh fish, topped with a crunchy slaw on a homemade bun. They do not skimp on the dressing either, so grab some napkins because this burger is a messy tasty treat.

Apricot cobbler. I come once a week now even if it is just to take home a slice of cobbler. This cobbler has a thick almost viscous crumble topping. Below lies the real jewels: apricot halves that are a rich syrupy delight. I also have Four Cafe’s berry crisp waiting for me in the kitchen – I couldn’t re
sist and took it to go. I’m sure it will not disappoint.

I could go on and on waxing poetic about everything on Four’s summer menu. You should just go to Four Café and enjoy it for yourself. This is soul satisfying, comforting food. Convivial atmosphere, amazing food and some of the best service you will find. Enjoy the flavors of summer!

FOUR CAFE

2122 1/2 Colorado Blvd

Eagle Rock CA 90041

323/550-1988

If You Don’t Know, Now You Know!


Have you heard the news!? Of course you have I can’t stop talking about it. But here it is again and I couldn’t have put it better myself! Straight from my partner Marvin Gapultos’ (aka BurntLumpia) blog! http://burntlumpia.typepad.com/burnt_lumpia/2010/06/heres-the-filipino-food.html


We are both so excited to have embarked on this amazing adventure! Together we are bringing Filipino food to the masses of Los Angeles with LA’s FIRST Filipino food truck! I hope I see you all out there on the road and please please help us get the word out! Tell all of you friends and follow us on Twitter @manilamachine! Find our weekly schedule on our website www.themanilamachine.com!

Our launch June 10th Downtown LA Artwalk…


people were lined up before we even opened…



and the line continued for three and a half hours until we sold out of everthing on the truck!
First night on the road check! Success check!



the next week we were invited as a special guest addition to the
Americana at Brand Streat Feast!


again never ending line! The excitement is awesome and we are so glad to be bringing Filipino food to the masses!

We are on the road now and the fun never stops! Hope to see you out there!

Eat My Ube Cupcake

It is that time again folks, a time to over indulge in sweets while giving back to your community. It is time for Eat My Blog, a charity bake sale hosted by fellow Angelino bloggers Cathy Dahn of Gastronomy Blog and Diana Hossfeld of Diana Takes a Bite. All proceeds from the bake sale go to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. The inaugural Eat My Blog bake sale was held last winter and was a huge success. Eat My Blog gathers food bloggers, restaurant owners, chefs, bakers and the like to contribute sweet goodness to raise money to help fight hunger. Last year I contributed Let Me Eat Cake oatmeal sandwich cookies. They were a hit and I had a blast being part of this amazing event.

For this year’s second annual Eat My Blog charity bake sale I will be donating ube cupcakes with a coconut butter cream frosting from The Manila Machine (LA’s first and only Filipino food truck- my food truck!). We are excited to contribute and hope that you all come down and share in the fun. It is going to be a sweet time for a good cause. Come enjoy a plethora of confections and meet some bloggers. I will be working 10am-1pm so make sure to say hi!

Now you can drool over this preview of the cupcakes I will be bringing…

 

You can find the Manila Machine ube cupcake recipe here, but why bake them visit us on the truck and you can enjoy theses plus many many more delicious Filipino eats!