Assisting everything from relaxation to energy boosts, Muse Tea House's tea gurus blend black, green, and oolong leaves with flavors that range from blueberry and passionfruit to lavender and rose. Chewy boba and aloe pearls nestle at the bottom of almond and taro milk teas, and royal sparkling sodas—started with San Pellegrino mineral water—tickle tongues with bubbly flavors of peach and pomegranate. For something more filling, patrons can opt for a fruity, syrup-free yogurt drink made with organic ingredients from France and Japan or toss back items from the kitchen, such as macarons, squid balls, and sliced barbecue pork on dry noodles.
Muse Tea House cultivates an intimate, hushed atmosphere with a row of low-set tables and cozy booths shaded by patterned gossamer curtains. Thick, burgundy drapes frame each sun-drenched front window, which cast natural light on a smooth, stone floor so that customers can draw perfect hopscotch courses in chalk.
The first Kee Wah Bakery appeared in Hong Kong in 1938, where its moon cakes, bridal cakes, and other pastries gradually generated a loyal clientele. In 1985, when much of that clientele had migrated to the United States, Kee Wah set down new roots in LA to offer its signature floury goods to Californians. Patrons pick from crispy egg tarts, red-bean swirls, and pineapple crust buns using a self-serve bakery system, which is refilled with fresh breads baked three times a day. During the autumn, when the Chinese Lunar Festival is in full swing, the bakery churns out moon cakes filled with lotus seed and red-bean paste. The shop's three locations in the San Gabriel Valley—Monterey Park, San Gabriel, and Rowland Heights—help meet the demand for Chinese wedding cakes and almond cookies throughout the valley.
Using cake as their canvas, the creative bakers at Kelley's Bakery turn treats into sculpted works of art. Whether building three-tiered wedding cakes or other special-occasion desserts, they spread on colorful layers of frosting in nearly a dozen flavors, including mango, chestnut, mocha-royale cream, and passion-fruit. Not content with a flat dessert landscape, they also add rolled fondant sculpted into designs ranging from flowers and leaves to seashells and ribbons. Children's birthday cakes, meanwhile, get an air-brush treatment—complete with figurines of popular characters to distract kids from the fact that they once again didn't get a cartoon dog this year.
Goldstein's fresh bagels are made by hand daily, dipped into a boiling bath and hearth baked for a glossy sheen and hearty interior. A bevy of circular creations await your mouth hub, including specialty bagels like cinnamon-raisin, asiago cheese, and delectable peanut butter chocolate chip, as well as classic favorites such as egg, poppy seed, and pumpernickel (usually $6 for six bagels). Upgrade doughy disks with schmears of herb, strawberry, or lox cream cheese, or pair with fresh-squeezed orange or coffee.
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.
Though you can browse through the selection of cream puffs at the counter of Puffilicious, you can't pick the exact one you'll eat. That's because the rows of cream puffs are only for show. Instead of prebaking a supply in the morning, the chefs here make each puff fresh to order so that the flaky exterior is still warm—and the interior cool—when customers take their first bite. Chefs pipe cream puffs with a choice of flavorful custards, including vanilla, chocolate, green tea, yogurt, and taro, before decorating the tops with a smear of cream cheese, strawberry, blueberry, chocolate, almond, and nuts. These fillings and toppings can be mixed and matched for flavor combinations as unique as a fingerprint with a mohawk.