Featured on Good Day LA and ABC, as well as the occasional celebrity snapshot in Star, chocolatiers at ChocolateBox Cafe cloak tongues with artisan chocolates, gelato, and hot cocoa crafted with Belgian expertise. Visitors can also fuel up with a savory mélange of crepes and wraps stuffed with French words. Whether nabbing a gift box of pralines, sniffing out a truffle as an afternoon snack, or arranging a catered wedding or event, chocolate fiends can get their fix in the form of finely, ornately decorated candies and gourmet hot chocolate.
Goldstein's fresh bagels are made by hand daily, dipped into a boiling bath and hearth baked for a glossy sheen and hearty interior. A bevy of circular creations await your mouth hub, including specialty bagels like cinnamon-raisin, asiago cheese, and delectable peanut butter chocolate chip, as well as classic favorites such as egg, poppy seed, and pumpernickel (usually $6 for six bagels). Upgrade doughy disks with schmears of herb, strawberry, or lox cream cheese, or pair with fresh-squeezed orange or coffee.
The dessert designers at Penguin's Frozen Yogurt ameliorate sweet deficiencies with twice-weekly rotating yogurt and ice-cream flavors. Decorate a large soft serve cup of fro' yo' ($3.95) with fruit toppings ($.95), sundae toppings ($.90), or dry toppings ($.80). Insufficiently frigid palates can achieve cold-stasis with a double-scoop of ice cream ($3.95) or a custom shake ($4.95), and humans can pull all-dayers with a pastry and Peet's Coffee & Tea cappuccino or latte (available only at the South Pasadena location).
There are no mystery ingredients in the smoothies and juices at The Smoothie Stop. Instead, customers can watch as the staff pops only the fruits, vegetables, and yogurts they desire into blenders to create a range of healthy drinks. For those looking for a nutrient-rich treat, the staff can squeeze the juices from complementary fruits and veggies, such as apples, celery, and carrots. But for those who desire a bit more indulgence in their drinks without having to use three straws, the staff can whir together creamier options. These include drinks such as piña-colada smoothies and honey-milk tea or green tea served with a layer of chewy tapioca pearls. The staff also creates bowls of snow fluff ice, which can be customized with a range of fresh fruit and candy morsels at the toppings bar.
Revolutionaries sling their bandoliers over the backs of their chairs and raise an intrigued eyebrow at the menu of tacos, enchiladas, tostadas, burritos, and salads. Dispatch fresh cilantro to the rich guacamole, mixed tableside and pounded smooth with a maraca ($8). Mole enchiladas with succulent chicken and queso fresco ($12) and shrimp tacos with bell pepper, tomatoes, and pineapple ($13.49) pique appetites and perk mustaches. The grilled flautas are served sizzling with rice and beans ($12.49), and when the season allows, Los Gringos' expert chefs prepare green corn tamales ($10).
"To be honest, when I opened DISH I was just looking for a place where I could get a good grilled cheese sandwich for my kids, and a decent cup of coffee for me," says Kevin Finch, the founder of DISH. The idea grew exponentially over time; Kevin had spent the late 1980s working the culinary boom of Sonoma County, so he naturally was inclined to include great wines and slightly more sophisticated menu items. But not too sophisticated: the hallmark of DISH that it's comfortable, a place where you can eat food that might remind you of what your grandmother used to make. In that spirit, the restaurant itself has an antique vibe LA Weekly described as "an old-fashioned, slightly rustic feel, like a farmhouse kitchen in an orange orchard, 1925."
The magazine went on to say that, "At breakfast, the room is as bright and sunny as a conservatory." The dishes are bright, too, such as yellow omelets studded with avocado and red potatoes and made from cage-free eggs from the smartest chickens. The five-page breakfast menu is also popular for the jonnycakes––cornmeal cakes that conceal whole kernels of sweet corn. Later in the day, guests can order an old-school cobb salad adored by LA Times food critic Merrill Shindler, Black Angus sirloin burgers, and pork belly paired with macaroni and cheese. The dishes are made using ingredients from local farmer's markets and food purveyors, a touch that no doubt helped the restaurant land its Three-Diamond Award from AAA.