LA Creamery

Suspect: Ice Cream

 

Scene of the Crime: LA Creamery

777 Americana Way

Glendale, CA 91210

818.552.CONE

http://lacreamery.com/index.htm

 

Officer: Jill

 

I was never a person who studied ingredient labels.  But two weeks ago my husband was diagnosed with a gluten allergy, so I’ve suddenly been reading a lot of ingredient labels.  And here’s the thing — there is a lot of weird stuff in the food we eat, especially the desserts.  Unpronounceable “ingredients” like propylene glycol monostearate and carrageenan and maltodextrin are everywhere.  It’s almost impossible to find delicious desserts made from simple, natural ingredients.

But that’s where LA Creamery comes in.  Located at the Americana Brand in Glendale, this little shop offers ice creams and sorbets that contain no preservatives and no artificial polysteararemumbojumbos.  Their artisanal flavors are made every day from scratch using locally grown, sustainable ingredients. They are also the first ice cream shop in Los Angeles to partner with Straus Family Creamery, which produces 100% organic dairy products. Yep, LA Creamery makes real ice creams and sorbets from real stuff.

The shop updates its flavors daily, depending on what’s in season and what’s currently inspiring their ice cream chefs.  Some of the more basic flavors include Oatmeal, Saffron Vanilla and Salted Caramel, but they’ve also got a whole bunch of unique flavors for those with a more adventurous palate.  Alcohol lovers can order up a scoop of Boozy Breakfast, which contains Kahlua coffee-flavored liqueur and crunchy Grapenut cereal, or Beer, a flavor made with Blue Moon that manages to perfectly meld the taste of the beer with the sweetness of the ice cream.  Spicy Chocolate is another distinctive flavor; it opens with the pure taste of chocolate and then finishes with an unexpected kick of spiciness.  

My favorite flavor was Honeycomb, which had the smooth taste of honey and crunchy chunks of real honeycomb folded in throughout.  Set between two chocolate chip cookies (also made fresh every day on-site by LA Creamery), my Honeycomb ice cream sandwich was a perfect sweet treat for a hot summer afternoon.

Other specialty flavors LA Creamery has scooped in the past: Brown Sugar Roasted Banana, Candied Ginger, Crème Brûlée, Goat Cheese and Currant, Milk Chocolate-Guinness, Olive Oil, Pistachio Rose and Tennessee Whisky Ice Cream.  You can get your ice cream in a cup or a homemade waffle cone, and they also make delicious milkshakes, sundaes, floats and even fudge pops. And if you like your ice cream with a little something extra, you’re in luck — LA Creamery has a variety of sauces and toppings, all house-made.

With great sweet treats, bright teal walls and fun photos of celebrities eating ice cream sprinkled around the shop, there’s a lot to love about LA Creamery.  As I sat there enjoying my scrumptious ice cream sandwich while looking at a picture of Obama eating his own ice cream, I felt a little bit inspired.  Maybe one day I too could become Commander in Chief.  Of ice cream, not the United States.  Commander in Chief of Ice Cream.  I’m getting emotional just thinking about it.

Verdict: YUMMMMM

*All photographs courtesy of LA Creamery because my camera has gone on strike.  Or it’s dead. I’m not sure which yet.

Unique LA

Suspect: Pies, S’mores, Candy, Brownies, etc.

Scene of the Crime: Unique LA

Officer: Jill

The Dessert Patrol got its Unique LA on this weekend!  Started in December 2008, Unique LA is the largest independent design and gift show in the country, bringing together local artisans, clothing designers and (lucky for me) dessert vendors. Saturday and Sunday marked the west side debut of Unique LA at the Barker Hangar in the Santa Monica Airport.

My first stop was P.O.P. Candy, which makes all-natural butter crunch candies in a variety of distinctive flavors that range from the sweet to the savory. I sampled a few flavors before deciding on the rosemary bacon flavor and the fire pistachio butter crunch, which were both unique and delicious. The P.O.P. Candy flavors come in 2 oz. packages, so it was the perfect sized treat to carry around with me as I toured the rest of the hangar.

I’ve been wanting to try Gotta Have S’More’s famous ‘smuffins’ for quite some time now, so when I saw their booth I was quick to snatch up a variety 4-pack. The variety pack, which will set you back about $10, had milk chocolate, dark chocolate, caramel and cookies and cream (my personal favorite!) flavored smuffins. The smuffin is such a creative, well-executed, incredibly delicious take on the classic s’more that you’ll find yourself craving one even when you’re not sitting next to a campfire.

This photo in no way does these smuffins justice…

As soon as I saw I Heart Pies’ adorable pie proffering octopus logo, I knew I had to have a taste. I sampled the Buttermilk Pie, which had a rich, comforting home-style flavor. I took home a mini Strawberry Fig Crumble Pie, which had fresh strawberries mixed in with local figs and topped with a cinnamon crumble.  I’m not always a fan of pies, but I thought that I Heart Pies’ were great.

Also on hand at Unique LA were delicious marshmallows and specialty caramels from Candy Method and decadent brownies from Embrace Sweets.  Immaculate Confections (which wins the prize for cutest name) was also there with a wide variety of liquor cakes that looked sinfully moist and delicious. Their website is adorable and filled with pop culture references (including a cheesecake that they’ve dubbed “The Lady Gaga of Desserts”) – I definitely recommend a visit!

Check out more pictures of some of the other fantastic finds at Unique LA below. The next Unique LA event will likely take place sometime this winter at the California Market Center in downtown LA.

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Delicious Wishes

Suspect: Cake Balls

Scene of the Crime: Delicious Wishes @ the LA Food Truck Festival
Company Info:
3606 Holdrege Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 900016
310.936.8856
http://www.deliciouswishesla.com

Officer: Jackie

There was clear message from the LA Food Truck Festival last weekend in Pasadena: balls are all the rage.

People like balls. I mean, REALLY like balls. Who doesn’t like a little bundle of rounded joy in their mouth? I had Great Balls on Tires’ Ballywood…well…balls and Tiara Cafe’s Mac N Cheese w/ Pulled Pork ball, and no one can forget Starry Kitchen’s Crispy Tofu balls.  Balls were out, you might say.

But the balls that garnered the most attention from me were those of the cake variety from Delicious Wishes. I was attracted from afar by their hot pink tulle-embellished booth, but as I approached I SAW THEM. A ridiculous assortment of tasty sugar balls lay before my eyes! They were each covered in a layer of chocolate and uniquely decorated. You can see balls here:



So, I said to these ball makers, “These balls are really quite lovely. I would like to taste your balls.” So, they obliged and offered me a stunning variety:

Pink Bubbly Velvet Champagne (SAY WHAT?!)
Bananas Foster
Espresso
Red Velvet
Hazelnut Crunch
Peanut Butter Ball of Love
and Diablo Spicy Chipotle Chocolate


AMAZEballs. For real.


Since I am an OFFICER of Dessert Patrol, I may or may not have broken festival rules when I put the balls in a baggy and brought them home for later consumption. My taste buds and stomach were over saturated at that point and it would have been a true crime to not have a clean palette and eager tummy.

So this morning, I took my balls out, photographed them, and then ATE THEM. All of the balls were so incredibly moist. I’ve been eating cake since the beginning of time and strongly believe proper moisture is the essence of wetness good cake.

First, I started with the Pink Bubbly Velvet Champagne. As Dessert Patrol’s resident champagne drinker, I HAD to have a bite while at the festival because I was so intrigued! Instead of exposing you to my teeth marks, here they are in their festival glory:

So the taste! Well, it tasted like a blueberry muffin base, but I’m going to go ahead and assume it’s a strawberry base given the bubble gum pink hue. The sugar crystals on top gave a great texture that reminded me of sparkling champagne. It was quite tasty and I think it would be super fun for a girl’s night!

I moved onto the Bananas Foster. For me, it tasted like banana bread infused with a smidge of banana Laffy Taffy flavor. I really like banana Laffy Taffy and thusly enjoyed this ball! The white chocolate cover with a walnut on top was a great touch!

I moved onto the Bananas Foster. It tasted like banana bread infused with a smidge of banana Laffy Taffy flavor. I really like banana Laffy Taffy and thusly enjoyed this ball! The white chocolate cover with a walnut on top was a great touch!

The Espresso ball was chocolatey goodness. Sometimes when you get anything with coffee in it, the flavor is overpowering. Here, it was NOT too much.  It was incredibly well done and complimented the dark chocolate well.


Dear Red Velvet ball,
You alone convince me of the existence of God. You are my favorite of all the little balls before me! So moist, tasty, and ridiculously good looking. A lot of other red velvets have a cream cheese exterior, however, I delight in your dark chocolate covering with (real) shiny gold dusting. When I think of you, I cry I am so happy. Love, Jackie


As a lover of all things hazelnut, Hazelnut Crunch did not disappoint. I loved the real hazelnut in the batter and as to be expected, really yummy cake! (Photo: Top, near)


Peanut Butter Ball of Love was different than your typical chocolate and peanut butter combination. The peanut flavor came from real peanut butter and real ground peanuts! It was more nutty, too! I liked it a lot and think you would too if you like things nutty!

Finally, the last ball and perhaps a lesson. I was asked if I like spicy. I even got a warning that it was really spicy. I eat hot food frequently and thought nothing of this request…and I didn’t want to look like a wimp. However, the Diablo Chipotle Chocolate ball was tooo spicy for me! Take heed! I would order this for my husband, brother, or step-father who find pleasure in eating the hottest things possible. However, I wouldn’t mix these together with other balls at a party, otherwise, you might have a very upset guests!

Overall, I would definitely seek out Delicious Wishes again for their cake balls and would love to try the other 8 flavors on the menu!

Verdict: YUMMMM

Cupcakes Couture of Manhattan Beach


Suspect:
Cupcakes & Cake Pops

Scene of the Crime: Cupcakes Couture of Manhattan Beach
916 Manhattan Ave.
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
(310) 372-9200
http://www.cupcakescouturemb.com/

Officer: Jill


The Dessert Patrol doesn’t venture down to the OC too often (we’re too afraid that Marissa Cooper might shoot us), but two weeks ago I attended a beachside baby shower for a friend and someone was kind enough to bring cupcakes and cake pops from Manhattan Beach’s Cupcakes Couture bakery.


Photos by Jackie Richey

The cupcakes, topped with mountains of perfect frosting swirls and little silver candies, are absolutely gorgeous. But you should never judge a book by its cover and cupcakes are for eating, not looking at, so it’s too bad that these cupcakes fall short in the taste department. The problem is that they are far, far too dry and a bit too basic in flavor. A few tweaks by the chefs at Cupcakes Couture are needed if they want these cupcakes to taste as good as they look (and they do look awfully good!). 


Mini Cupcakes

The cake pops from Cupcakes Couture fare MUCH better than the cupcakes do, though. No moistness troubles here — the cake pops are rich and delicious with yummy chocolate coating and sprinkles.  If you’ve been gobbling up the new Starbucks cake pops, you should definitely give Cupcakes Couture’s version a try next time you’re in the OC — I think it is even better.


Cake Pop

Cupcakes Couture also specializes in wedding cakes, celebration cakes and other desserts like macarons, cream puffs and chocolate covered strawberries. Their stuff is really beautiful and I would definitely recommend talking a whirl through the gallery section of the website.  They look like a great spot to pick up yummy gifts for parties, friends and other special events!


Verdict: YUMM

Happy 4th of July!!!

Happy 4th of July!!!

Nothing Bundt Cakes

Suspect: Bundt Cakes

Scene of the Crime: Nothing Bundt Cakes
Various locations in the Western U.S.
Full list of locations here
http://www.nothingbundtcakes.com/


Officer: Jill

"So yummy you’ll wish it didn’t have a hole!" 

Get your mind out of the gutter – we’re just talking about bundt cakes! Nothing Bundt Cakes, to be exact. This charming bakery started out in Las Vegas in 1997, but since then they have franchised into Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Nebraska and, lucky for us, California. The only sell bundt cakes (in a variety of sizes and flavors), so this is definitely the top spot to get your bundt on in L.A.

Before we dive into the blissful perfection of Nothing Bundt Cakes, here are some fun facts about the Bundt:

- The bundt pan didn’t become a kitchen must-have until a bundt cake won second place in a Pillsbury-sponsored a baking contest in 1966. This prompted a mad dash for the pans, which surpassed the Jell-O mold as the most popular pan in the United States. Jell-O lovers everywhere wept gelatin tears.

- Bundt cakes may have gotten their name from the German word ‘bund,’ which refers to a ‘gathering of people.’ Delicious cake: gathering people together, even in Germany.

- Want to check out some original bundt pans (you know you do)? Head on over to the Smithsonian, which acquired the cookware in 2007.

And now back to our regularly scheduled program: Nothing Bundt Cakes. In one word they are: exquisite. Magical. Extraordinary. Preposterously delicious. That’s two words, but you get the point. Incredibly moist and well-flavored, these are some damn good bundt cakes.


Carrot Cake Flavor

The cake flavors include: Chocolate Chocolate Chip, White White Chocolate, Red Velvet, White Chocolate Raspberry, Carrot, Lemon, Marble, Cinnamon Swirl, Pecan Praline and a monthly rotating flavor. All bundt cakes are covered with lush, thick fingers of cream cheese frosting, which also fills part of the signature bundt cake hole. I sampled the Chocolate Chocolate Chip, Red Velvet, White Chocolate Raspberry, Carrot, Lemon, Marble and Cinnamon Swirl and all were fantastic. The Red Velvet, with its tiny chocolate chips woven throughout, was probably my favorite.

  Lemon Flavor   

   Ooey Gooey Frosting Goodness


Nothing Bundt Cakes has four different sizes of bundt cakes, 10”, 8”, Bundtlets and bit-size Bundtinis (which come by the dozen). I took a Bundtlet to a four-person dinner party and a dozen Bundtinis to a baby shower, and both were a huge hit. The Bundtini option is particularly nice because it allows you to try a variety of different flavors. They also do special occasion cakes that are very cute:


Father’s Day Bundt Cake - Photo from Nothing Bundt Cake Website


With locations all over Southern California, you’re damn fool (or a “trottel” in German!) if you don’t dash on over to Nothing Bundt Cakes right now and treat yourself to some hole-y perfection!


Verdict: YUMMMMM

It’s the end of the world as we know it…and we’re eating lemon bundt cake from Nothing Bundt Cake.  Mmmmmmm!

It’s the end of the world as we know it…and we’re eating lemon bundt cake from Nothing Bundt Cake.  Mmmmmmm!

S’mores Cupcake from Sweet Lady Jane’s.

S’mores Cupcake from Sweet Lady Jane’s.

Little Flower Candy Company

Suspect: Marshmallows & Caramels

Scene of the Crime: Little Flower Candy Company
1422 W. Colorado Blvd,
Pasadena 91105 
(626) 304-4800
http://www.littleflowercandyco.com/

Officer: Jill

I never thought about marshmallows too much.  I mean, they are light and fluffy and taste delicious squeezed between two graham crackers and a piece of chocolate.  They also mildly terrified me as a child when they showed up on the big screen in the form of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters.  But for the most part these squishy little sweets went vastly unnoticed by me.

Maybe that’s just because I hadn’t eaten a REAL marshmallow from Little Flower Candy Company yet.  This candy company, hidden in the western corner of Pasadena next to the 134 Freeway, is run by candy guru Christine Moore and features hand-made, hand-wrapped sweets made with simple ingredients.  They offer a variety of sweet treats, but are particularly well-known for their marshmallows and specialty caramels.

They offer a variety of different flavors of marshmallows, including Vanilla (covered in colored sugar), Chocolate (covered in powdered sugar), Cinnamon Sugar and Coffee — during the holidays they also throw Mint into the bunch.  The Cinnamon Sugar flavor was my favorite, although all were great.  Check out the texture of these homemade marshmallows below - they contain no hydrogenated oils, no shelf life extenders and no artificial ingredients and you can definitely taste (and see!) the difference.

Little Flower Candy Company’s specialty caramels were just as amazing as the marshmallows, maybe even more delicious depending on your candy preferences.  I had the Sea Salt (AWE-INSPIRING, INCREDIBLE, MANY MORE POSITIVE ADJECTIVES), Vanilla (also great, very traditional caramel flavor) and Lemon (really delicious and unexpected!).  The texture of the caramel was truly incredible — soft and chewy with true melt in your mouth goodness.  The caramels run $7 for a 1/4 pound, but you can also get individual caramels if you want to try all of the different flavors.

They had a bunch of other Easter-themed treats when I visited, including adorable egg-shaped gummies.  I’m sure the candy gods at Little Flower are always dreaming up new and charming specialty goodies for every occasion under the sun (mmmmmm, what do you think they’ll make for Flag Day?).

So next time you’re out in Pasadena make sure you absolutely do not miss a chance to visit The Little Flower Candy Company, which will make you shun all other marshmallows and caramels for the rest of your days.  They also offer breakfast, lunch and other artisanal goodies, along with various gluten-free and vegan options.

Verdict: YUMMMMM

Little Flower Candy Company Cafe on Urbanspoon

Free Ice Cream at the LA Times Festival of Books!

I visited the LA Time Festival of Books yesterday and it was absolutely terrific! I perused the many (MANY) books, caught a glimpse of Thomas Keller, purchased a copy of Jennifer Egan’s Pulitzer Prize winning A Visit from the Goon Squad, listened to a panel of YA authors discuss the latest in paranormal YA fiction (ghosts are the new vampires) and met Aimee Bender, who was kind enough to sign a copy of her novel The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake.

But the most important part of the Festival was that Ben & Jerry’s was on hand giving away free scoops of their new ice cream flavors!  In conjunction with Target, Ben & Jerry’s is launching 4 unique flavors that aim to encourage ice cream lovers to volunteer in their communities.  The flavor names are predictably pun-tastic: Berry-Voluntary, Brownie ChewGooder, Volun-Tiramisu and Peanut Butter World.

I had a scoop of the Berry-Voluntary flavor, which consisted of delicious raspberry cheesecake ice cream laced with white-chocolate chunks and raspberry swirls.  It was fantastic, especially in Sunday’s scorching heat.  To learn more about the new flavors (available exclusively at Target) or the Scoop It Forward Volunteer Program, visit http://www.volunteermatch.org/scoopitforward/index.jsp?_sid=target-sif.