City of Angels? More like City of Sweets
Growing up in a small New England town, variety was sometimes hard to come by. The same ice cream places I frequented (yes, that is plural) are still in business which is both impressive and slightly exhausting. There are at least four Dunkin’ Donuts within city limits so donuts were never an issue. And when society collectively decided to give up on ice cream for a while in favor of the serve-yourself, infinite toppings, trust-us-it’s-better-for-you phenomenon known as frozen yogurt, we got a couple of those shops too.
So, living in LA has kind of been like living in Candyland. Literally. Almost every day I think about how awesome it is to live in a city that is constantly discovering a new trend and then flying home a few months later and seeing it has spread to the other coast, filling me with the savage pleasure of being able to say “Oh my god, that was soooo three months ago.” And, when it comes to sweets, LA is no slouch.
The jackpot of all jackpots when it comes to interesting sweet treats is Smorgasburg LA. Tucked away in the Arts District, Smorgasburg is a weekly gathering of food trucks, up-and-coming vendors and artists that are inspired by international trends creating some truly interesting things in the culinary and art world.
One of these such places is Yellow Business, where they sell the Hong Kong delicacy, the bubble waffle. The bubble waffle looks just as it sounds, a waffle with bubbles rather than divots. The center of each of the bubbles are soft and doughy while the outside is deliciously crispy. You can have the waffle by itself, or try one of their daunting waffle sundaes with ice cream and various toppings. Currently, they have a cookies and cream sundae with an activated charcoal waffle as well as a unicorn sundae with a multicolored waffle.
The Ensaymada Project
If you’re feeling in more of a pastry mood, it’s worth checking out The Ensaymada Project. As my friend lovingly referred to it, “It’s like a danish had a baby with Hawaiian bread.” This Filipino brioche bun has a pillowy consistency covered with a buttercream frosting that’s slightly indented into the center. There are many flavors to try, from maple bacon, matcha, mocha Nutella and ube. Try one or take home a box!
Viva Los Cupcakes
This Mexican cupcakerie is most famous for their Tamal con Mole Cupcake, a sweet corn cake topped with a sweet and spicy mole topping. Other highlights are the deliciously sweet Churro con Cajeta cupcake filled with a goat milk dulce de leche, and the Jamaica hibiscus cupcake topped with a vanilla-Jamaica buttercream frosting. They also cater, either by the dozen or party packages. Check out their offers and other flavors here.
Chichi Dango is self described as “Japanese mochi meets Hawaiian shaved ice.” These brightly colored confections are topped high with natural fruit, homemade syrups, and of course fresh mochi. Currently they have Strawberry Passion Fruit and Pineapple Coco Cream flavors. Be prepared to share; not only are these treats huge but your friends will be so jealous they won’t be able to resist trying it as well!
And check out these brick and mortar shops based in LA for some more delectable desserts!
The Pie Hole
The Pie Hole started with a mission to bring back the popularity of the great comfort food known as pie along with one of the greatest trends of all time: the decent cup of coffee. They have really hit the bullseye on all fronts, but especially with their pies. Here you can find Pie Holes such as strawberry lavender (a personal favorite), pies by the slice such as Salted Honey Custard and Cereal Killer, and savory pies such as the Mac ‘n Cheese Pot Pie, Shepard’s Pot Pie and Chicken ‘n Cornbread Pot Pie. Originating in Los Angeles, The Pie Hole has since expanded to Pasadena, the Orange Circle and Glendale. Click here to see their full and seasonal menu as well as their coffee selection and catering options.
Ice cream may not sound too exciting but Wanderlust is in the game of changing that. Inspired by common flavors around the world, this isn’t your grandma’s ice cream shop. Wanderlust produces unique and amazing flavor combinations in each of their ice creams, from the Japanese Neapolitian combining matcha, Hojicha and Black Sesame ice creams, the Pretzel and Rúgabraud ice cream inspired by Iceland, a toasted pretzel-infused ice cream with caramelized Icelandic rye crumbs, and the sticky rice and mango ice cream (vegan) inspired by Thailand. Don’t be alarmed if you see people eating these delicious scoops from a deep purple cone, that is Wanderlust’s signature ube cone and is certainly worth trying. They have multiple locations as well as a residency at Smorgasburg LA.
FrankieLucy Bake Shop
If Wanderlust Creamery has the ube cone, FrankieLucy Bake Shop has ube everything else! This small Silver Lake coffee shop is known for their incredible combination of coffee and custard. Check out the ube horchata, caramel ube panna cotta and the ube upside down pie. Other custards include chocolate, bread pudding, salted caramel budino and vegan chia seed. They also serve a revolving door of pastries including s’mores and brownie bars, pavlova, and various scones and muffins.