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.
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.
For three decades, the bakers at Melrose Baking Company have used all-natural ingredients to lovingly create fresh, crusty breads from scratch, and without the use of preservatives. Today, the bakery crafts more than 200 different doughy creations, from rosemary-garlic focaccia to soft and salty pretzel rolls disguised as non-pretzel-shaped loaves.
It started as a simple idea shared by two moms. Karen Bain and Lisa Kudrika wanted to make their favorite dessert, shave ice, “hip and trendy,” according to 805 Living magazine. So when they opened Shave It—which recently celebrated the grand opening of its new Tarzana location—they made sure to express their sense of style with chic interior design inspired by water, ice, and snow. Inside the shop, blue plexiglass hangs like icicles over steel tables and chairs. Flat-screen TVs broadcast shots of surfers and snowboarders, and a colorful floor changes design with every step.
Each cup of fluffy shave ice comes drenched with fruity “flavas” flown in from Hawaii, such as mango, guava, or green tea, or a combination, such as root beer ice over vanilla ice cream. Beyond the storefront, Shave It also purveys the frozen concoctions on the go, thanks to a mobile truck that is often spotted at beaches and parks, unless its cloaking device is turned on. They also donate a percentage of their sales to their foster-child foundation, Foster a Miracle.
Devan and Reena Shah, and Tek Mehreteab are passionate about tea. By sourcing leaves from eight regions in India, China, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and Japan, they are able to proffer more than 300 standard and specialty varieties online and inside Chado Tea Room. The name Chado, taken from the Chinese cha, meaning "tea," and the Japanese do, meaning "path," speaks to the owners’ strict standards for their product. Many of their green, black, white, and oolong teas are USDA-certified organic; the Shahs also stock unique varieties such as Chinese pu-er teas and hand-tied blooming tea balls. In addition, they brew special house blends for morning, afternoon, and evening, helping customers find the right blend to start the day or serve to bats that have invaded their home.
Staffers pair teas with an array of cream-topped scones, cookies, cakes, and roasted savory sandwiches during teatime at Chado's three tearooms. Though each location is decorated differently, the same three-tiered sandwich platters and steaming pots of tea travel between panda paintings hanging in the Los Angeles location, underneath strings of holiday lights at the Pasadena location, and between ceiling-high wooden shelves stocked with mugs, filters, teapots, and bags of loose-leaf tea at the Hollywood location.
The recipe for the typical crepe is simple—a bit of flour, milk, water, a few eggs, some butter, and a dash of salt. Yet, transforming that batter into the golden, paper-thin canvases found in classic Parisian cafes—and more importantly, deciding what to put inside the crepe—requires real talent. Luckily, The Crepe Kitchen‘s master chef Yafit Barades eliminates the guesswork with her menu of made-to-order dinner and dessert crepes. With a flick of her wrist, Chef Barades creates edible envelopes for her complex and globally inspired flavors—such as the Italiano, which embellishes melted mozzarella and cheddar with pesto, turkey, and fresh basil. To satisfy their sweet hankerings, guests can enjoy butter-and-sugar, cinnamon-sugar, and Nutella crepes. For a supremely indulgent treat, patrons can tuck into the Oui Oui—a crunchy and sweet collaboration of caramelized walnuts, fresh fruit, and honey that’s more satisfying than watching your ex accidentally marry a mannequin.