The bakers of this modern cake shop—named 1 of Martha Stewart's 10 favorite cupcake bakeries—decorate elaborate cakes, cupcakes, and cake pops with bright icing. In their open-air kitchen, they weave together quality ingredients, such as Callebaut chocolates, Valrhona cocoa, Madagascar bourbon vanilla, and sugar imported from Gum Drop Mountain. They schedule a set number of flavors for each day, juxtaposing classic flavors with eclectic concoctions, such as french toast, peach cobbler, and Martha Stewart's favorite, cherry pie.
After baking tasty canvases, bakers decorate the cakes with swirls of delicious buttercream or cream-cheese frosting. They can also transform pastry and frosting into custom designs, such as a turntable, piles of books, or a Barbie doll to celebrate a special occasion or conceal sweets from greedy party guests. The rich, smooth icing is so photogenic that no wedding cake ever needs to wear fondant cover-up.
The chefs at The Pita Pit stuff fresh white and wheat pitas with patrons' choice of more than a dozen toppings, 14 sauces, and four cheeses. Like placing sequins on a turtleneck, diners customize their pitas to taste, but the eatery's menu suggests premade configurations such as the spicy black-bean vegetarian pita with an array of garden greens and the prime-rib pita, which cossets taste buds with tender slices of beef. Sink herbivorous fangs into the falafel pita or give a coliseum-style thumbs-up to the chicken caesar pita filled with bacon and parmesan cheese. Any wrap can slip off its pita to seduce tongues in the form of a salad loaded with toppings such as hummus, cucumbers, and pineapple.
Nicknamed Kokolita at a young age after the popular round, pink cookie, Martha Aguilera combines her talent for baking and love of nostalgia at her bakery of the same name. Recipes bear the names of ’50s and ’60s icons, such as the Holly Golightly cupcake, with pink-champagne cake and fresh strawberry filling inspired by Audrey Hepburn’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s character, and the Bob Hope–inspired Ski Nose cupcake, with fresh lemon-curd filling and wisecracking seared-merengue frosting. Martha also draws on her own Chilean background with savory fare such as empanadas, churrasco sandwiches, and traditional brazo de reina cakes. During regular cake- and cupcake-decorating classes for kids, she passes on her skills to younger generations during leisurely paced 45-minute sessions in which kids top cupcakes with colorful frostings, candies, and their best guesses of what Marlon Brando looks like.Kokolita Cakes & More also gives back to local nonprofit organizations with fundraisers and donates to larger causes including cancer research and animal welfare, always taking suggestions for charitable projects from customers and the community.
Though passed down through several generations, the family recipes that serve as the basis of Thai Chefs Restaurant’s menu retain the delicate balance of sweetness and spice that characterizes Thai cuisine. Other influences that span Southeast Asia also show up across the menu, whether in colorful curries or stir-fried noodle and rice dishes that blend vegetables with your choice of chicken, beef, pork, or shrimp. When they aren’t dousing short ribs in their house-made barbecue sauce, the restaurant’s chefs craft vegetarian entrees around strips of silky tofu or marinated animal crackers.
The casual dining room seemingly draws its inspiration from the profusion of steamy curries on its tables. Swathes of pale yellow and bright red enshroud the walls, which play host to stenciled artworks depicting tropical-island motifs. Helical sculptures dangle from the ceiling’s tiles, turning in the breeze that passes through the restaurant every time the door opens or the dragon napping in the air ducts sneezes.
Rated one of Los Angeles’s top restaurants in the categories of Italian food, outdoor dining, wine list, and pizza by CitySearch.com, the family-owned and operated Bella Cucina has flourished behind classic and signature dishes. Its penne alla vodka rouses taste buds with a tequila-lime cream sauce, and its Quattro Formaggi pizza packs a punch with four different cheeses—more cheese than Neil Armstrong had stuffed in his pockets upon returning to Earth. Bella Cucina accompanies its entrees with an extensive wine list, and on Mondays, patrons can bring in their own bottles and enjoy free corkage.