Los Angeles is one of the greatest cities in the US for any foodie to experience. For the past several years the city has been exhibiting a growing culinary scene. Upscale restaurants, trendy cafes, bakeshops, ice cream parlors, and food trucks have been opening up all over the city adding something unique and exciting to the city’s food culture.
I personally believe that the best way to get to know a city is through its food. What cuisines are prevalent, what’s loved by locals, even what’s most popular and all over Instagram, shows the culture and diversity of a community.
Where new restaurants are opening up indicates growing neighbourhood hubs, so when I plan a day out, I plan around the food. It’s a great way to explore an area that always has more to offer than just satiate your hunger.
Months before I moved to LA where I was going to spend a semester, I created a list of cafes and eateries I needed to visit. Being only human I wasn’t able to check off every bullet point on my 100+ list, but I managed to experience quite a few. The ones that I loved the most I wanted to share with you through a new Top 5 mini series.
I’m starting things off with baked goods (having croissants on my mind for days now is what actually inspired me to create this series).
Los Angeles has an abundance of places that serve a delicious mix of pastries, cookies, bars, donuts, tea and coffee cakes. For some, baking is their special trade, while for others, eclairs and tarts are a sweet addition to their all-day and dinner menus.
Just a few blocks from Abbot Kinney is a bakery where you can buy a baklava croissant. Yes, you heard me right. Gjusta is the sister bakery to Venice’s famous restaurant Gjelina. Mostly known for their sandwiches, smoked fish, and cured meats, the shop also boasts counters and cases full of croissants, cookies, scones, bialys and breads. Their rye blueberry jam danishes are another big hit that shouldn’t be missed out on.
TWO) The Sycamore Kitchen
The Sycamore Kitchen is home to one of LA’s best chocolate chip cookies. Made with rye, the cookie is given a great chewy texture, as well as a robust aroma that works well with the addition of sea salt and caraway. However, limiting yourself to their most popular would be a crime, so consider picking up a fruit crostata, salted caramel pecan babka roll, or a brown butter date mini-bundt cake. Don’t they just sound like the best things ever?
Led by Zoe Nathan and Josh Loeb, veterans of the culinary world, this Santa Monica bakery is a bustling morning stop for many who crave incredibly flaky bacon and maple biscuits. Everything served is made on site using top-quality ingredients that are almost exclusively organic, GMO-free, and locally sourced. Other classics include the prosciutto croissant, blueberry ciabatta, salted caramel square, and many more delicious treats.
If you’re looking for a healthier version of a treat that is normally considered fatty, then Fonuts is the place to hit up. Their donuts are either baked or steamed and come in many different flavours. Some are more traditional like vanilla latte or banana cinnamon, while others are more out there, such as rosemary olive, coconut passion fruit, and savory chorizo cheddar.
FIVE) Erin McKenna’s Bakery
This adorable pink-themed bakeshop first opened in NYC and now has stores in Orlando at Disney Springs, and of course Los Angeles. Their focus is, as they say, on the underserved, the people with gluten, dairy, egg, and soy sensitivities. But don’t be averted by this, their vegan assortment of cookies, cupcakes, and donuts is as heavenly as any traditional baked good. Trust me when I say you will not be disappointed by their melt-in-your-mouth coconut donut.