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.
Primera Taza cultivates an international atmosphere with a menu replete with Central American coffees, gourmet teas, healthy sandwiches, and Mexican-inspired pastries. Complimentary WiFi streams through the airwaves of the cheerily lit café as multitalented baristas plate wholesome breakfast sandwiches, whose toasted croissant might enclose layers of egg, bacon, and cheese. Fostering a sense of community⎯which staffers also support with fundraising events and participation in a weekly farmers' market⎯Primera Taza’s active art gallery showcases the creations of local artists, and free parking in the rear spares customers the hassle of trying to parallel park a flying hovercraft.
With nods from DailyCandy and L.A. Foodie, B1 Breadshop has earned street cred among locals and visitors alike for its boulangerie-style pastries and organic-flour baguettes. Here, you can nosh on sweet treats including buttery chocolate cookies, apple turnovers, and Valrhona-chocolate croissants. If you’re in the mood for savory, dig into an organic spinach-and-feta croissant or café sandwich.
The original Beard Papa’s began filling the airs of Osaka, Japan, with the warm, wafting smells of its original-recipe cream puffs. A double-layer puff featuring piecrust on the outside and a mixture of vanilla custard cream and whipped cream on the inside, the successful little treats have led the bakery to expand to more than 300 locations throughout Southeast Asia, Russia, the United States, and the moon. The venerable bakery has also graduated to other pint-size desserts and Asian-influenced treats, including mochi ice cream and mango ice showers, a fusion of shaved ice, layered sweet sauce, and mango chunks.
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.
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.