As a successful financial consultant, Sharlena Fong spent her days wearing buttoned-up business attire and roaming New York City's World Financial Center. Then came September 11, 2001. Her professional life shaken and her priorities reorganized, she said goodbye to the world of finance, trading her power suits for a chef’s toque. After finishing culinary school and working under experienced chefs at Eleven Madison Park and Bouchon Bakery in New York City, Fong teamed up with James Gonzalez and Dennis Hunter in 2007 to open Semi Sweet Bakery in Los Angeles. Today, they all continue to work together with the same goal in mind: morphing frowns into grins with the help of fresh-baked pastries, cookies, and cakes. Hunter explains it best on the shop’s website: "No matter how bad someone's day is, no matter how much heartache someone may be going through, I get to give them a slice of cake or a piece of pastry made with love, and they smile!"
Love is not the only ingredient in their baked goods, however. Inspired by his training under Chef Monica May at Nickel Diner, Chef Gonzalez believes in using local, sustainable ingredients, making everything in-house and from scratch all while balancing each morsel’s delicate flavor profile. In the kitchen each day, chefs bake their signature ding a lings in sweet flavors such as hazelnut crunch and red velvet alongside savory empanadas stuffed with mushroom and short rib. Samoa macaroons packed with coconut, chocolate, and caramel sidle up to mugs of drip coffee and loose-leaf tea from SerendipiTe. The shop also trades in larger treats: nine-inch cakes in flavors such as strawberry three ways with jam and lemon curd fly out the door for surprise birthday parties or surprise I-ate-your-birthday-cake-in-the-car parties.
Spring for Coffee
The coffee experts at Spring for Coffee have one goal: brew a perfect cup of coffee. To that end, they carefully source organic beans from high-quality roasters, including local companies such as Intelligentsia and Handsome Coffee Roasters. Then, the impeccably detailed baristas grind the coffee, and use various brewing methods–-drip, pour-over, cold brew––to create everything from espressos, to lattes, to macchiatos. For a break from the standard cup, the baristas also brew loose-leaf teas and mix iced coffees, which make drinkers invisible to thermal sensors.
Syrup Desserts is the perfect place to cap off your meal with a sweet treat.
The menu doesn't include any low-fat items, so set aside some extra calories for your visit.
Big crowds can spread out in comfort at Syrup Desserts, which specializes in hosting large groups and gatherings.
Enjoy wifi here free of cost.
Enjoy the beautiful weather while you chow down — with outdoor seating, Syrup Desserts is a great summer destination.
Show up in sneakers or a suit at Syrup Desserts, where dining in comfort is of utmost importance.
Bring your car to dinner and easily find a space in the area — street parking is available, as is a nearby lot.
You can load up on the snacks and treats at Syrup Desserts since prices are so low.
Syrup Desserts accepts Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, and all major credit cards.
Cuisine Type: New American
Reservations: Not offered
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Number of Tables: 1?5
Parking: Free street parking
Most popular offering: American Grilled Cheese
Outdoor Seating: Yes
Pro Tip: We offer free WiFi.
Q&A with Hassan Del Campo, Co-Founder/Owner
What is one fun, unusual fact about your business?
The recipes for all of our original items were inspired by songs.
What?s the best reaction you?ve ever gotten from a customer?
A customer commented that our American grilled-cheese sandwich was the best thing she'd ever had.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
We love connecting with our community. We have plans to host art events, music, community forums, etc. We're very involved in our community. And we're actually a hybrid?half nonprofit organization, half for-profit organization. We're a "social caf?nterprise"?a term we coined.
In your own words, how would you describe your menu?
Our menu is a healthier, original twist on American food. It is inspired by the cultural diversity of Los Angeles.
For a flaky croissant or old-fashioned chocolate chip cookie, Big Man Bakes in Los Angeles' Downtown Los Angeles neighborhood is the best bakery around.
Big Man Bakes is perfect when you're craving a sweet treat, with a mouth-watering range of cakes and cookies.
Come prepared to feast at Big Man Bakes — with no low-fat options, any diets will need to be put aside for the moment.
With its spacious interior, Big Man Bakes is a great choice for big groups and celebrations.
Put the suit away when heading to Big Man Bakes — dress is casual, as are the vibes.
The bakery also offers catering if you want to bring the flavors of Big Man Bakes to your next party or event.
Patrons have access to free parking in the neighboring lot.
Prices at Big Man Bakes are super affordable.