The bakers of this modern cake shop—named 1 of Martha Stewart's 10 favorite cupcake bakeries—decorate elaborate cakes, cupcakes, and cake pops with bright icing. In their open-air kitchen, they weave together quality ingredients, such as Callebaut chocolates, Valrhona cocoa, Madagascar bourbon vanilla, and sugar imported from Gum Drop Mountain. They schedule a set number of flavors for each day, juxtaposing classic flavors with eclectic concoctions, such as french toast, peach cobbler, and Martha Stewart's favorite, cherry pie.
After baking tasty canvases, bakers decorate the cakes with swirls of delicious buttercream or cream-cheese frosting. They can also transform pastry and frosting into custom designs, such as a turntable, piles of books, or a Barbie doll to celebrate a special occasion or conceal sweets from greedy party guests. The rich, smooth icing is so photogenic that no wedding cake ever needs to wear fondant cover-up.
It started as a simple idea shared by two moms. Karen Bain and Lisa Kudrika wanted to make their favorite dessert, shave ice, “hip and trendy,” according to 805 Living magazine. So when they opened Shave It—which recently celebrated the grand opening of its new Tarzana location—they made sure to express their sense of style with chic interior design inspired by water, ice, and snow. Inside the shop, blue plexiglass hangs like icicles over steel tables and chairs. Flat-screen TVs broadcast shots of surfers and snowboarders, and a colorful floor changes design with every step.
Each cup of fluffy shave ice comes drenched with fruity “flavas” flown in from Hawaii, such as mango, guava, or green tea, or a combination, such as root beer ice over vanilla ice cream. Beyond the storefront, Shave It also purveys the frozen concoctions on the go, thanks to a mobile truck that is often spotted at beaches and parks, unless its cloaking device is turned on. They also donate a percentage of their sales to their foster-child foundation, Foster a Miracle.
Western Bagel has captured local tongues and breadbaskets since first exporting its circular treats to the bagel-barren West Coast 63 years ago. The freshly baked dough-discs cover a wide range of flavors and styles. Recruit a seasoned trio of sesame, poppy seed, and everything varieties from the stable of original recipes and erect a fort by spackling them with rich cream cheese. Meanwhile, each of the six alternative selections, all nearly fat-free and 110 calories, pack a flavorful punch without fostering paunch.
Some first dates are so magical they’ll change your life, and this was the case for Danna and Adam Caldwell. The lovebirds had their first date at a frozen-yogurt shop where they discovered a mutual passion for frozen yogurt (and each other). In 2007, the now husband-and-wife duo created Menchie’s along with a colorful cast of mascots that includes Menchie the frozen-yogurt swirl, P.B. the peanut-butter cup, and Mellow the marshmallow.
Today, the frozen-yogurt franchise has grown to more than 200 locations around the world. Each one offers an assortment of self-serve yogurt flavors and toppings, which customers can mix into a yogurt cup or waffle bowl. The yogurt is made from California dairy cows raised without artificial growth hormones or video games; many flavors are nonfat, no sugar added, even vegan.