Red, blue, and yellow globes of light dangle from a white ceiling, bathing Frog Frozen Yogurt Bar in a cheery, summery glow even as the darkness of the evening creeps across the sky outside. All day and late into the night, patrons sidle up to the frozen-yogurt bar to fill their cups and bowler hats with swirls of frozen yogurt from a choice of 10 or more rotating flavors, earning it fans at Grub Street Los Angeles for both its treats and décor. Beneath the glass awning of the toppings bar, containers holding dozens of vibrantly hued nibbles, including chopped fruit, sprinkles, and chocolates, wait to be scooped atop the frozen treat’s peaks.
Bakers at Beard Papa Sweet Cafe fill flaky Japanese double-layer cream puff shells with rich, preservative-free custard in a variety of flavors. Choose an original vanilla cream puff ($2.19), stuffed with velvety custard flavored with imported vanilla beans as sweet as the smile of a baby robot, or stock up on regular pastry spheres by the half-dozen or dozen ($11.55–$21.59). Customers can opt to add a specialty flavor ($2.55 each) to custardy cores, such as green tea made with premium Japanese tea or chocolate crafted from a blend of two high-quality European brands. Patrons may gather specialty puffs in groups of six ($13.55) or 12 ($25.50) to share with friends or presiding judges. Or peruse additional decadent sweets, including a personal-portioned cheesecake stick or fondant au chocolate, a single-serving cake made with Belgian chocolate and filled with an equally cocoarific center.
The bakers at Frosted Cupcakery employ old-fashioned elbow grease and quality ingredients to condense gigantic gourmet-cake flavor into tiny bite-sized confections. With 14 daily flavors, a handful of seasonally rotating specialties, and a constantly replenished fresh-baked stock throughout the day, Frosted Cupcakery features ample treat opportunities. Royal white cupcakes are crowned with a choice of chocolate, vanilla, nutella, or coconut vanilla buttercream, and red velvet cakes are shrouded in rich cream-cheese frosting. Seasonal flavors such as pumpkin, orange, strawberry, and October flavor-of-the-month orange chocolate chip, topped with orange chocolate buttercream, are only available until the weather cools, forcing cupcake trees to hibernate for the winter.
The hardest workers at Bagel Broker aren't allowed a lunch break or time to sleep—they bake bagels continuously throughout the day. However, because they're ovens, they aren't aware of their own work ethic. They produce 18 varieties of bagels, from plain to pumpernickel to the popular cheese onion, whose doughy rings satisfy even "New York transplants," according to Epicurious. Guests can decorate their bagels with whipped cream cheese and several types of spreads, or opt for heartier sandwich options, such as breakfast combinations of eggs and meat or slices of nova lox. The Tarnol family—owners of the shop since its 1987 inception—steers clear of added fats, preservatives, and oils when creating the signature food. The shop also compiles catering platters for group functions such as corporate complaining parties.
Tucked away in the kitchen of each Paris Baguette, bakers trained in French techniques craft buttery, flaky croissants and tart crusts, and their success at this has earned attention from the likes of the New York Times. In addition to pastries and sweets such as mocha rice balls, the bakers knead bread for their namesake baguettes and yeasty creations that hold an Asian twist, such as red-bean-paste-filled donuts. The experts also create fondant-cloaked cakes that venture beyond classic flavors into green tea, cappuccino, and sweet potato, delighting partygoers bored of the same laminated sheet cake that makes its appearance at each year’s birthday celebration.
To wash down these treats, patrons sip cups of java or more exotic drinks such as wheatgrass and black-sesame lattes, persimmon smoothies, and bubble tea. At lunchtime, many locations layer sandwiches, filling hungry stomachs with croque monsieurs and baguettes stuffed with chicken and pesto.