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.
As a successful financial consultant, Sharlena Fong spent her days wearing buttoned-up business attire and roaming New York City's World Financial Center. Then came September 11, 2001. Her professional life shaken and her priorities reorganized, she said goodbye to the world of finance, trading her power suits for a chef’s toque. After finishing culinary school and working under experienced chefs at Eleven Madison Park and Bouchon Bakery in New York City, Fong teamed up with James Gonzalez and Dennis Hunter in 2007 to open Semi Sweet Bakery in Los Angeles. Today, they all continue to work together with the same goal in mind: morphing frowns into grins with the help of fresh-baked pastries, cookies, and cakes. Hunter explains it best on the shop’s website: "No matter how bad someone's day is, no matter how much heartache someone may be going through, I get to give them a slice of cake or a piece of pastry made with love, and they smile!"
Love is not the only ingredient in their baked goods, however. Inspired by his training under Chef Monica May at Nickel Diner, Chef Gonzalez believes in using local, sustainable ingredients, making everything in-house and from scratch all while balancing each morsel’s delicate flavor profile. In the kitchen each day, chefs bake their signature ding a lings in sweet flavors such as hazelnut crunch and red velvet alongside savory empanadas stuffed with mushroom and short rib. Samoa macaroons packed with coconut, chocolate, and caramel sidle up to mugs of drip coffee and loose-leaf tea from SerendipiTe. The shop also trades in larger treats: nine-inch cakes in flavors such as strawberry three ways with jam and lemon curd fly out the door for surprise birthday parties or surprise I-ate-your-birthday-cake-in-the-car parties.
Ms Ruby's Bakery & Grill offers customers a deluge of freshly baked goods and a grill menu that includes classics such as burgers and tacos. Forks dive into generous slices of red velvet cake and pies baked daily. Deep fryers reveal catfish, chicken tenders, wings, fries, and onion rings along with chicken burritos, shrimp sandwiches, and cheeseburgers.
The last words you might think you'd hear from a baker are "easy sugar." At Sweet Dreamery Desserts, however, owner Andrea insists on putting the cake at center stage, not the frosting. Inspired by her mother, who baked authentic goodies for the family's Belizean restaurant, Andrea set out on her own baking journey at the tender age of 8, putting her two Easy-Bake ovens to work. Today, the ovens are bigger and the recipes are more refined, but there's a bit of that early passion in everything she does. Andrea and her staff bake cakes, cupcakes, and cake pops to order, creating them all from scratch in small batches to preserve the home-baked taste and the friendships struck between like-minded chocolate chips. They use no preservatives or artificial additives in the batter, just wholesome, natural ingredients such as real vanilla extract and salt-free butter.
Since 2000, the baker at Sweet Red Peach has been churning out a mélange of treats from scratch, including custom cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and pies, with accolades such as an appearance on the Food Network's Cupcake Wars and winning third-place in the LA Cupcake Challenge. Cake flavors include white confetti, red velvet, german chocolate, and 7-Up—a bakery specialty featuring buttery, lemon-tinged pound cake. Southern-inspired desserts include peach cobbler, sweet potato pie, and banana pudding—a menu standout made with fresh bananas, homemade custard, fresh cream, pudding extract, and vanilla wafers. The bakery also doles out cookies in varieties that include chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, peanut butter, and classic sugar.
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.