Row upon row of baked, fried, and shredded dough line the glass case at Baklava Factory, tantalizing customers with a bounty of honey, walnuts, and custard cream. The factory?s pastry experts concoct more than a dozen kinds of baklava each day alongside other European and Mediterranean sweets, such as fried balls of dough dipped in honey. Customers can sip espresso or cappuccino as they peruse these confections and the bakery?s array of elaborate gift boxes and baskets filled with Belgian chocolates, cookies, and, of course, baklava. Baklava Factory also does corporate gifting and enlivens events with custom cakes embellished with edible butterflies, cartoon characters, and rhinestones capable of fooling amateur jewel thieves.
Sipan Bakery and Cafe's cooks stuff pita bread with falafel balls, hummus, and authentic Lebanese spices and fill crispy boerek pastry crusts with potatoes, meat, and feta cheese. After meals, customers can sweeten palates with baklava morsels and fashion radio-antenna helmets from leftover scraps of tinfoil.
Berolina crafts artistically shaped, freshly baked breads every day in addition to a sumptuous lineup of pastries, croissants, and small plates. The bakery boasts a rotating list of loaves, each of which flaunts elegant scoring and shaping. Prepare satisfying sandwiches with the sourdough ($3.50) or black forest breads ($3.75), available Tuesday through Saturday. For sweeter eats, dig into a croissant or danish, such as a buttery almond paste croissant or one filled with dark belgian chocolate ($2). For a fuller meal, nosh on small, cafe-style dishes such as homemade soup ($4.25), paninis ($6.25), and fresh quiche ($5.95).
Karen and her three sons craft Cheesecake Company's 120 flavors of cheesecakes in mini-cup and sharable portions using fresh, local ingredients and a made-from-scratch approach. Appease lovers of desserts with miniature cakes shaped into bite-size masterpieces in flavors such as black-forest vanilla and caramel pecan turtle vanilla. Mini cheesecakes with no added sugar fit neatly into mouths bringing flavor tidings of pumpkin, chocolate fudge, and lemon basil. Ten-inch cheesecakes fill bellies with classic flavors such as vanilla, chocolate, espresso, and red velvet—a slab of vanilla cheesecake caught in a hug between red velvet cakes, topped with cream-cheese frosting that’s as velvety as a Bing Crosby record in a velour jacket. Pacific Cheesecake Company is actively involved in the community, and is a loyal partner with a handful of charities.
Tucked away in the kitchen of each Paris Baguette, bakers trained in French techniques craft buttery, flaky croissants and tart crusts, and their success at this has earned attention from the likes of the New York Times. In addition to pastries and sweets such as mocha rice balls, the bakers knead bread for their namesake baguettes and yeasty creations that hold an Asian twist, such as red-bean-paste-filled donuts. The experts also create fondant-cloaked cakes that venture beyond classic flavors into green tea, cappuccino, and sweet potato, delighting partygoers bored of the same laminated sheet cake that makes its appearance at each year’s birthday celebration.
To wash down these treats, patrons sip cups of java or more exotic drinks such as wheatgrass and black-sesame lattes, persimmon smoothies, and bubble tea. At lunchtime, many locations layer sandwiches, filling hungry stomachs with croque monsieurs and baguettes stuffed with chicken and pesto.
When asked by Jim O’Conner on the Food Network's “Secret Life of Cookies” how many thousands of years old his mamoul cookie recipe is, Panos Zetlian could only guess: “Maybe six, maybe five, maybe eight.” At his self-named bakery, his daughter, Jovina, and her husband, Nick, churn out this and other recipes that her father perfected as a baker in Beirut, Lebanon. They make all of their baklava from scratch—the dough is free of trans fats, additives, and preservatives—and fill some varieties with freshly ground pistachios, walnuts, almonds, or cashews. Their repertoire also includes coconut macaroons, butter cookies, and chocolate truffles, along with other Middle Eastern specialties such as the atief ashta, a bundled, pancake-like dessert filled with milk crème, dipped in pistachios, and used to make taco vendors jealous.