For 36 years, Cake and Art's kitchen has yielded batch after batch of imaginative desserts, including birthday cakes for celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Bill Clinton, Jay Leno, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, and Justin Bieber. Behind the scenes at the acclaimed shop?whose work has graced the cover of Life magazine?the skilled staff churns out a surfeit of cupcakes, cookies and brownies, and chocolate bars with creatively customized labels. Their specialty cakes boast foundations of vanilla, chocolate, carrot, red velvet, or lemon, and they often personalize the ubiquitous party treats with customer's photographs and themed designs. The shop's cupcake artist, Kody Christiansen, hosts cupcake-decorating classes and private parties that teach attendees a tier of skills, such as how to create a buttercream flower and how to profit from buttercream botanic gardens.
The gifted tart architects at Früute incorporate myriad fresh and organic ingredients inside handcrafted modern incarnations of the classic French treat. During the 60-minute tart experience, paired patrons can whet their whistles with coffee or tea and admire the harmonious construction and aria-inspiring tastes of a flight of signature tarts. Each flight includes an arrangement of six of Früute's 16 miniature varieties—which range from the classic passion fruit, a vanilla crust donning a tropical macaroon hat, to the curiously flavored wasabi, spicy Japanese horseradish housed in a pistachio crust and topped with a tempura mint leaf. As guests sample the wares, knowledgeable tartists will thoroughly explain each square-shaped selection's ingredients, core flavors, and unsuitability for use as earrings. Guests can conclude their experience by relaxing in Früute's sleek, minimalistic interior and heading off with a quartet of to-go tarts, tucked into a stylish box made from recycled paper.
Inspired by Taiwanese frozen-ice treats, Snobar flash-freezes flavor-infused water to create chilly, low-cal desserts known as Sno. The shop trades gooey syrups for purified water and crisp, natural flavors such as chocolate-strawberry and honeydew, making each bite cooler and creamier than a stick of butter wearing a leather jacket. Unlike standard shaved ice, each cup of Sno boasts a consistent flavor and a light, ribbon-like texture. Though Sno enchants sweet teeth on its own, its charm multiplies when paired with toppings such as Ghirardelli caramel, crunchy granola, and unsolicited compliments.
A connoisseur by birth, Mark Ukra comes from a family of Middle Eastern tea merchants dating back 400 years. Mark, who was dubbed the Tea Doctor by a pair of brew-sipping toddlers, continues in his forebears' footsteps by searching teahouses and stalking wild teapots around the world. He and his wife, Julie, bought the Tea Garden & Herbal Emporium to educate patrons about tea’s health benefits and share its subtle taste in the outdoor zen garden. The venture was a success, and the business has popped up in all sorts of media—The View, The New York Times, and Los Angeles Confidential magazine, to name just a few.
Dr. Tea’s library of more than 50 varieties of loose-leaf teas and more than 60 varieties of Chinese herbs includes award-winning CapaTeano drinks and Chinese herbal tonics. Its earthy blends range from standard Earl Grey, Darjeeling, and jasmine teas to tempting flavors including herbal caramel dream and black-label teas such as the rare Huo Shan Huang Ya tea. During monthly tea tastings, patrons can sip from samples of white, green, oolong, and black teas, followed by discussions of the four tea groups.
When Millions of Milkshakes introduces a new milkshake or smoothie, paparazzi and screaming fans usually attend the event. That’s because these drink exposés often dovetail with a celebrity appearance—stars such as Miley Cyrus, Kim Kardashian, Lindsay Lohan, and Albert Einstein have hand-crafted desserts that now appear on the creamery's menu.
In addition to serving celebrity-endorsed desserts, Millions of Milkshakes prepares custom-made creations. It does so in three steps, scooping a base (dairy or non-dairy ice cream), tailoring the dessert to a size, and mixing in toppings. Its roster of nearly 60 toppings includes everything from candy and hot fudge to fresh fruit and protein powder.
Between the celebrity following, the DIY process, and the bright-colored shop with plasma screens and modern music, Millions of Milkshakes has attracted the attention of many national news outlets, including E! and NBC News.