When your army of Easy-Bake Ovens has been deactivated by Y2010K, a tragic pastry-sized void may consume your days. Today's Groupon plays dental assistant to your sweet tooth with $20 worth of cakes and pastries from Torrance Bakery for $10. Locations in Torrance and Gardena, the former housing its own sandwich shop as well, are eager to pack your cheeks with baked and hand-prepared delicacies more pristine than sculpted hedges sculpted by the lasers used for eye surgery.
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.
Whether perching underneath an umbrella on the patio, or admiring the eatery’s display case of freshly crafted treats, visitors at Western City Bagel can bask in the comforting scent of baked goods and deli sandwiches. Unlike firecracker sushi rigged with live pyrotechnics, the shop’s bagel sandwiches are a culinary experiment gone right, making the traditional sandwich even better with stacks of turkey, tomato, albacore tuna, and bacon between two halves of a toasty, chewy bagel. The bagels themselves come in a variety of flavors, such as everything, poppy seed, and sprouted wheat. The shop opens at 6 a.m., filling quickly with steam from an espresso machine as early risers dine on open-face bagel feasts smeared with cream cheese and topped with lox.
Contrary to its name, the signature item at Rita's Ice is a sandwich. Well, sort of. Known as the gelati, the tasty creation consists of a mound of italian ice—made from scratch every day using fresh fruit—crammed between two giant dollops of frozen custard. The gelati, along with a construction team that demands to be paid in sprinkles, has helped Rita's expand to more than 500 italian ice stores in the United States over nearly three decades. The franchise has become so popular that it even made the top of Zagat's list of Best Quick Refreshment chains in 2012.
But the expansion would mean nothing if the desserts themselves weren't delicious. Thankfully, Rita's carries more than a dozen flavors of italian ice, which run the gamut from cantaloupe and guava to cotton candy. The shop also serves gelato, cream ice, milkshakes, and sundaes awaiting to be piled with limitless toppings. To keep taste buds tempted, Rita's consistently adds inventive and seasonal flavors to their menu. Among these are strawberry Starburst italian ice, marshmallow peanut butter cream ice, and pumpkin cheesecake cream ice.
Capicola's Gourmet Sandwich Co. and the in-house illy Cafe combine to create a modern Euro deli, specializing in a menu of gourmet sandwiches and pizzas, up to 80% of which are organic. Guests gather around rustic finished wood tables in a dining room awash in natural light for such bread-borne meals as the baked muffuleta: a pile of capicola, prosciutto, salami, and mortadella cuddling under a blanket of olive tapenade and melted provolone. Or they might opt for a pulled pork panino, slow-roasted in chipotle-barbecue sauce and topped with a choice of shoestring onion rings, carmelized onions, or invisible emperor's new onions. For a gourmet kick to start the day, the cafe illy serves gourmet coffee and sweet baked goods such as croinuts and and cannoli. And the lineup of two dozen bottled beers and international wines by the glass helps cap the night.
Lox of Bagels is breaking the bagel out of breakfast-food prison. While they still serve up bagels loaded with egg and cheese, or bright slices of fresh lox, come midday they build out all sorts of lunch-time delights. In fact, customers might find that the density of bagels better for supporting the hearty slices of ham and generous dollops of mayo than the alternative—wheat bread or their bare hands. To wash it all down, customers grab a bottled drink from the cooler or fill up with hot coffee from the urns lining the wall.