When your army of Easy-Bake Ovens has been deactivated by Y2010K, a tragic pastry-sized void may consume your days. Today's Groupon plays dental assistant to your sweet tooth with $20 worth of cakes and pastries from Torrance Bakery for $10. Locations in Torrance and Gardena, the former housing its own sandwich shop as well, are eager to pack your cheeks with baked and hand-prepared delicacies more pristine than sculpted hedges sculpted by the lasers used for eye surgery.
Skinny Minny’s invites customers to control their own dessert destiny with self-service stations to fill cups with non-fat, low-fat, no sugar added, and sorbet swirls sprinkled with as many toppings as they see fit. A full hour of unlimited yogurt throws the doors wide for an onslaught of creations that combine pistachio and chocolate under a blanket of toffee or cheesecake mountains studded with a forest of blueberries, kiwi, and strawberries. Cap’n Crunch can scale to the frosty apex of premium low-fat peanut butter fro-yo or slide down the fudge-drenched slopes of non-fat Georgia peach yogurt. Yogurt’s natural colonies of beneficial active cultures make it a healthy alternative to soft-serve ice cream, and, much like colonies on Roanoke Island, mysteriously disappear after exposure to the elements.
Since 1910, Mikawaya has satiated sweet teeth with myriad mouthwatering Japanese pastries, including mochi, a rich dollop of ice cream swaddled in a sweet-rice dough cocoon. Tickle your taste buds with seven mochi ice cream flavors ($6 for five mochi balls), including tangy mango and soothing green tea, a zenful dessert experience akin to splitting a hot-fudge sundae with an enlightened butterfly. Indulge cocoa cravings with chewy chocolate mochi mouthfuls, nibble on scrumptious strawberry spheres, or bestow boxes upon friends or passersby, a perfect treat to win over the meter maid whose only weakness is rice dough.
As visitors devour spoonfuls of sweet, creamy frozen treats at Menchie’s, they may notice a string of ’90s-era sitcom stars arriving to sample the wares and chat with the man in charge. That’s because owner/operator David Lipper first made a name for himself on Full House playing D.J. Tanner’s boyfriend Viper. Today, Lipper proudly sits atop a local frozen-yogurt empire, edging out his fellow cast mates’ enterprises, including Dave Coulier’s network of Swiss banks and John Stamos’s ’50s-themed doggy daycare. Inside the shop, diners select from a colorful array of flavors, such as low-carb pistachio or fruity watermelon tart, and crown their creation with toppings including sprinkles, mocha, hot fudge, and locally grown fruits.
Blends Soft Serve Creations sets their frozen treats apart and puts the power of invention in the hands of the people by offering them the chance to blend individual flavors into their own new creation. Patrons can choose a base of ice cream or frozen yogurt or opt for a smoothie or fruit-juice freeze to sip through a straw. Next, they can infuse the treat with one or a combination of 30 available flavors, including watermelon, cinnamon spice, and peach, and top it off with candy and fruit mix-ins. Blends also lists its recommendations for tasty treats that have passed flavor-quality and brain-freeze-probability tests, including cake-batter ice cream topped with vanilla-wafer crumbles and sprinkles, and fruit punch with cherry and orange flavors, highlighted by cherry, strawberry, and raspberry mix-ins.
Ask Lourdes Limon why her raspados taste so good. She'll say, "Por que los hice con amor"—"Because they're made with love." Now that her sons have taken over the family business, they use the same secret ingredient, but they've added a few new specialties. Supplementing the shaved ice treats that give them their name are freshly squeezed juices, chili-imbued slush-drinks, and healthy fruit salads. But the raspados remain the main event. Flavors include exotic fruit such as guava, tamarind, kiwi, and jamaica, as well as more decadent flavors such as caramel, egg nog, cookies and cream, and plain water.