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 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.
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.
The kitchen staff at Got Kosher? sidestep preservatives when making their daily yield of international kosher cuisine that includes French, Moroccan, and Tunisian dishes. Under the watchful eye of the onsite mashgiach, they prepare pulled beef brisket, Tunisian couscous, rotisserie chicken, Neshama gourmet kosher chicken, and turkey sausages served on pretzel rolls. Their flavorful fare has caught the attention of LA Weekly's Linda Burum, who calls the brik a l'oeuf—a deep-fried crepe folded over egg, capers, and tuna—"one of the world's great feats of culinary alchemy." In addition to a full slate of Ashkenazi and Sephardic dishes and a well-stocked deli case, Got Kosher? dispatches its full-service caterers to serve meals and resolve family feuds during weddings and special events.
Combining a high-end chocolatier with a relaxing coffee spot, Lady Chocolatt Café serves both those in the market for fancy gifts – or treats for themselves – and a relaxing afternoon sipping drinks and reading or working. The front side of Lady Chocolatt is the chocolate showroom, where truffles, ganache and pralines line display shelves and the friendly staff is able to explain the differences between the available sweets. It’s also where the customer can order coffee and a sandwich or a Belgian waffle, before heading to the back room, a quiet oasis away from the bustle of Wilshire Boulevard. For an added treat, combine the café and chocolate sides of the business by ordering the store’s hot chocolate, then sip away at one of the café tables out front, under the fanciful maroon awning.