Devan and Reena Shah, and Tek Mehreteab are passionate about tea. By sourcing leaves from eight regions in India, China, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and Japan, they are able to proffer more than 300 standard and specialty varieties online and inside Chado Tea Room. The name Chado, taken from the Chinese cha, meaning "tea," and the Japanese do, meaning "path," speaks to the owners’ strict standards for their product. Many of their green, black, white, and oolong teas are USDA-certified organic; the Shahs also stock unique varieties such as Chinese pu-er teas and hand-tied blooming tea balls. In addition, they brew special house blends for morning, afternoon, and evening, helping customers find the right blend to start the day or serve to bats that have invaded their home.
Staffers pair teas with an array of cream-topped scones, cookies, cakes, and roasted savory sandwiches during teatime at Chado's three tearooms. Though each location is decorated differently, the same three-tiered sandwich platters and steaming pots of tea travel between panda paintings hanging in the Los Angeles location, underneath strings of holiday lights at the Pasadena location, and between ceiling-high wooden shelves stocked with mugs, filters, teapots, and bags of loose-leaf tea at the Hollywood location.
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.
FrozziYo’s frosty peaks of kosher frozen yogurt disguise their digestion-friendly probiotics with a deceptively creamy, luxurious texture. Customers self-serve spirals of flavor, including plain, blueberry, and chocolate yogurt, and crown their treats like heirs to a dairy-farm fortune with fresh toppings of fruit and candy.
The original Beard Papa’s began filling the airs of Osaka, Japan, with the warm, wafting smells of its original-recipe cream puffs. A double-layer puff featuring piecrust on the outside and a mixture of vanilla custard cream and whipped cream on the inside, the successful little treats have led the bakery to expand to more than 300 locations throughout Southeast Asia, Russia, the United States, and the moon. The venerable bakery has also graduated to other pint-size desserts and Asian-influenced treats, including mochi ice cream and mango ice showers, a fusion of shaved ice, layered sweet sauce, and mango chunks.
At Scarlet Tea Room and Fine Dining, the tea services represent both a treasured English tradition and a modern form of celebration. Here, groups gather beneath a chandelier flecked with vibrant red accents to indulge in five-course meals. Their loose-leaf steeped beverages—which range from a sweet and lemony French verveine to a smoky Chinese lapsang souchong—complement a selection of bite-size desserts and light sandwiches stuffed with savory fillings such as prosciutto, aged white cheddar, and sun-dried-tomato spread. The afternoon tea service also includes housemade scones and berries romanoff, a fruity dessert served in a dark-chocolate cup.
On Friday and Saturday evenings, the award-winning kitchen staff prepares small plates of shareable dinner fare such as grilled skirt steak with marinated mushrooms, sautéed gnocchi with walnut-arugula pesto, and Fijian kingfish crudo with grapefruit and green papaya. To celebrate special occasions, such as Valentine's Day or Father's Day, diners can order specialty cakes for pickup or visit the dining room for a romantic concert or saucy burlesque performance by Queen Elizabeth.