One of the city's best new bakeries to open is an unexpected hit inside LACMA. C+M is Coffee + Milk, which they serve—Inteligentsia with Clover milk, if you're asking—alongside nostalgic riffs on pop tarts and Oreo cookies. Of course, being the Patina Group—chef Josh Graves also does pastry for the museum's restaurant, Ray's—you won't find ordinary retro throwbacks. Instead, familiar favorites include must-try, handheld pies—buttery, refined and irresistible—and delicate Meyer lemon curd and lavender-sprinkled pop tarts that showcase Graves' sophisticated hand and knack for pastry. The perennial goodie, chocolate chip cookie, is made with plentiful bits of chocolate and is one of the best around.
On the heels of the unveiling of the much anticipated burger destination Short Order, came the opening of its sweet counterpart Short Cake—both located in the Original Farmers Market and from Nancy Silverton and the late Amy Pressman. No La Brea Bakery 2.0, Short Cake offers its take on greasy spoon classics like fruit pies and classic yellow cake. Other nostalgic sweets include snickerdoodle—buttery, light and not too sweet—and peanut butter bars that are as satisfying as they are refined. We're happy to start the morning with the breakfast cookie—powdered sugar-dusted discs flecked with dried blueberries, Grape Nuts and crunchy bran flakes—while we can't get enough of the hazelnut croissant and seasonal pies crowned with an oat crumble. The secret ingredient: love. Baker Hourie Sahakian offers her goodies with heart (not sass) that's completely infectious.
The Westside's flour queen Zoe Nathan follows up the frilliness of the beloved neighborhood fave Huckleberry with Milo + Olive—an ode to all things wood-baked. Mini cupcakes, eclairs and lemon bars are replaced with (vegan) chocolate-banana and pistachio cakes, whole wheat croissants—they'll convert any traditionalist—and killer skillet bread. Housemade breads include multi-grain baguette, whole-wheat potato bread, ciabatta and bagels—a good effort, but they miss the chewiness of a New York deli round. Instead, opt for yeasted offerings like donuts that change daily and brioche that's filled with a tangy and creamy crème frâiche center.
Karen Hatfield takes a detour from her fine dining Hatfield's—Karen oversees pastry, while and her husband Quinn mans the savory side—with a casual bakery/cafe that serves the breakfast and lunch crowd with morning pastries and sandwiches served on housemade bread. Take home a loaf (or half) of rustic, country bread or stuff yourself silly with sugar from the wide selection of pastries. While the addictive salted caramel pecan bobka roll is a must and quickly becoming a signature favroite, other baked goods are hit or miss. Opt for dense, moist cake loaves (dark-ale-spice gingerbread, blackberry-lemon polenta cake), seasonal fruit tarts and cookies—we like the toasted pecan sandie and berries and cream. Bonus: Late afternoon sweet-seekers are rewarded with half-off pastries at 4:30pm.
This Downtown newbie opened last December, but owner and chef Sharlena Fong has years of pastry cred under her belt. Having worked at some of the most haute kitchens (Eleven Madison Park, Per Se, Bouchon Bakery), Fong amped up the baked goods selection at nearby Nickel Diner and made maple-bacon donuts a city-wide craving. Semi Sweet does a riff of the famed creation with a maple-bacon sticky bun made with light, albeit a bit dry, brioche. Stick to donuts—savory-sweet chicken fritters are battered, fried and glazed, while the best pastry award goes to the show-stopping strawberry shortcake donut. If Proust had his madeleine, then any good American had the strawberry shortcake Good Humor bar, which is just what the crumb-coated cake round tastes like.
Francophiles rejoice at Alain Giraud's Pacific Palisades restaurant, whose bakery turns out some of the best viennoiseries this side of the Seine. At the helm of the bakery program is wunderkid Noubar Yessayan, Giraud's longtime head baker who followed him from the now-shuttered Anisette. Take away freshly baked baguette—or slather it with butter and homemade seasonal preserves during breakfast service—and sample one of everything from the restrained selection of sweet treats. Our favorites include fruit-filled danish, rich and bittersweet chocolate-filled pain au chocolat, and the ubiquitous pâtisserie staple, croissant—buttery, flaky and one of the best in the city.