Row upon row of baked, fried, and shredded dough line the glass case at Baklava Factory, tantalizing customers with a bounty of honey, walnuts, and custard cream. The factory?s pastry experts concoct more than a dozen kinds of baklava each day alongside other European and Mediterranean sweets, such as fried balls of dough dipped in honey. Customers can sip espresso or cappuccino as they peruse these confections and the bakery?s array of elaborate gift boxes and baskets filled with Belgian chocolates, cookies, and, of course, baklava. Baklava Factory also does corporate gifting and enlivens events with custom cakes embellished with edible butterflies, cartoon characters, and rhinestones capable of fooling amateur jewel thieves.
Parking can be tough to come by at this smallish Eagle Rock sandwich shop, which specializes in Americanized versions of the popular döner kebab. So named because of the rotating vertical spit that holds its cooked meat, Spitz is the result of two friends who fell in love with the ubiquitous European snack food, but couldn’t find it anywhere in America. The sandwiches – mostly layered with roasted slices of beef and lamb, though chicken is also available – come topped with a variety of fresh ingredients and a tangy white cucumber sauce. Vegan and vegetarian items are available, while regulars opt for the messy street cart fries, topped with garlic aïoli, feta, onion, green pepper, tomato, olives, pepperoncinis and chili sauce. The tight, colorful dining area holds only a few wooden tables, making takeout a popular option.
This independently-owned, family operated, full-service grocery store is one of ten located in Southern California. Super A Food is a clean neighborhood store that caters to its Latino-leaning clientele, offering a wide variety of chile peppers, unique fruits and ready-made items. With competitive prices that often beat the national grocery chains nearby, the Super A Food on Yosemite Drive is a great local spot to pick up a week’s worth of groceries, or find that hard-to-source regional item. Items like nuts, rice and beans are sold in bulk, and some packaged items provide a bit of Philippine flair, a nod to the small but growing population scattered nearby. A fresh butcher shop, well-stocked produce section and liquor department help make Super A Food more than just a local necessity. Just be sure to bring your reusable bags when you shop.
Yogurt Haven is a popular stop for Angelenos looking to cool down with a sweet frozen treat. The concrete-floored space offers wooden picnic tables to accommodate larger groups of casual eaters, plus an array of smaller tables for groups of two to sit and relax over a cup of pay-by-the-ounce frozen yogurt. The concept is simple: locals, including lots of high schoolers, grab a dish and fill it with their choice of nine different yogurt flavors, then customizes to their liking with roughly 35 different topping possibilities, from gummy bears and freshly-cut fruit to mocha balls and candy bar pieces. With an artistic rendition of a hilly landscape adorning the walls, Yogurt Haven plays true to the name as a frequent respite for this side of town, which often gets quite hot in the summer time.
Foster’s Old Fashion Freeze has a long history in Southern California. Originally begun in 1946 in Inglewood, California, the long-lasting ice cream stand quickly proliferated throughout the southland, with many of the original shops still standing. Luckily, the menu hasn’t changed much over the years either; soft serve ice creams, milkshakes and other cold desserts dominate, but hot food possibilities at this Eagle Rock Boulevard location run from hamburgers and hot dogs to fish filets, sweet potato puffs and fried green beans. Though a little weathered around the edges, the picnic tables and benches that serve as seating are a nice summertime treat, where kids and adults alike can enjoy the sunshine and relax with a simple vanilla cone. Or, opt for the recently-added dulce de leche soft serve, a sweet twist on a longtime favorite, and a nod to the region’s extensive Hispanic community.
Swork Coffee is a casual neighborhood bistro with a big love of strong coffee. The shop brews the stuff all day long for hurried morning commuters and afternoon loungers, looking to relax inside the comfortable space. There are exposed brick walls and ample outlets, including an individual laptop bar with ample electricity sources from both USB plugs and traditional wall sockets. The free WiFi is always in use here, mostly by scruffy local writer-types who nosh on the assorted pastries, salads and sandwiches when not downing their next cup of coffee. The open layout also invites lingering, with a small sidewalk patio that’s partially shielded from the street by boxes of bushy bamboo. Grab a popular Mayan Mocha and sink into a seat while the kids play in a separate back corner area designed specifically to keep them busy.