Sunday, December 30, 2007

Scandinavian film festival returns to LA!

For all of you Scandinavia loving readers out there, don't forget to check out the lineup for this year's Scandinavian Film Festival in Beverly Hills. What better way to pay homage to such a great bakery country than to watch some Scandinavian film?

I don't know of any other place you can access such a variety of recent Scandinavian films, so I'll surely be checking it out. As tradition dictates, my friend Hae Jin will attend with me and we will drink one honorary Carlsberg to celebrate and relive our glory days studying in Copenhagen.

Sipping away on imported memories, we'll chatter about the films and try to resist staring enviously at people when they speak Danish. As we watch the films, squinting at subtitles, we'll dream of one day returning to that chilly city that won our hearts.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Where to partake in some tarte au citron

Following a delicious dinner at Cafe Stella in Silver Lake, I savored the tarte au citron and found it the perfect light dessert with which to conclude my meal. Just sweet enough and with a softly crumbling crust, the tart lingered in my mouth perfectly.

Before going to Cafe Stella, I read numerous reviews of the restaurant, which I will assume were written by a variety of hip and extremely opinionated LA locals, and perhaps a Vespa-driving Silver Lake resident or two: The tables are too close together, they say. The wine selection is too limited. After eating there myself, I had to wonder: why all of this pressure to criticize?

Perhaps these patrons don't know how to enjoy an evening free from the pressure of having to decide what scathing criticisms they will write on Chowhound or Yelp after the fact. How do you even have the energy to chew your food as your lips simultaneously form dissertation length complaints? Has web 2.0 made us more cynical and harder to please? I'm all for customer empowerment, but some folks are out of control.

I, for one, had a lovely time and a mouth-watering tarte au citron and I'm not afraid to say it.

Montana Avenue: friend to the baker hunter

Having recently moved to Santa Monica, I'm still trying to find the coziest, closest place to curl up with a pastry and a good read. I'd like to establish myself as a bakery regular somewhere, but I haven't yet found a resting stop that feels completely right. I thought I'd try out Jack and Jill's on Santa Monica Blvd since it seems rather inviting from the outside. However, I discovered upon consumption of their red velvet cupcake that Jack and Jill's is a more favorable lunch spot than a bakery destination. With so many cupcake stores populating this land, you have to sell me hard on a cupcake to become one of my destination bakeries, and their Red Velvet just couldn't close the deal.

Luckily, I woke up groggy the other morning and with a particularly intense bagel craving-- and discovered Ambrosia Via Dolce on Montana Avenue. Armed with a craving so strong that I felt as if the productivity of my day depended on obtaining a freshly toasted cream cheese- slathered breakfast, I drove up Montana, the street of many-a-cafes.

While often hyped as a pricey shopping district, Montana Avenue serves the bakery hunter well. I arrived at Ambrosia Via Dolce and fell in bakery love. It had just the neighborhood feel I have been searching for, and best of all, a fresh bagel within just a few moments of my apartment. This bakery rated high for coziness, morning atmosphere, bakery culture (streetside seating), and visual appeal. The displayed selection of baked goods tempted me so that for research purposes, I ordered a few cookies for my after lunch chocolate craving. I might just become a regular here...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

the President of TGABH's Pasadena Chapter takes us on a visit to Europane

Mmm Europane Bakery in Pasadena. I recently accompanied the President of the Pasadena chapter of The Great American Bakery Hunt to hunt at Europane the other day. Nothing like a blueberry tart, a cupcake, and some piping hot tea while sitting in the crisp air of the California quasi-winter. And it's a good people watching spot too. Thanks for introducing me to this one, Kim.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Nordic Bakery, a hop, skip, and a jump across the pond.

Any bakery hunters in the London Area? I would love to visit Nordic Bakery over in the UK!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

love for gmail=love for bakeries

I love gmail like I love a good bakery.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Burgeoning Korean Bakery Scene in Georgia

Check out this article to read about the burgeoning Korean bakery scene in Georgia. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Georgia is home to the nation's third fastest growing Asian consumer market, which has interestingly led to particular success for Korean bakeries. The bakeries fuse Korean ingredients with European styles, and serve as community and social gathering spaces. Some even maintain later hours than the local Starbucks Coffee. Another win for the late night bakery hunter!

The system is down...

Readers: You may have noticed that I haven't been diligently recording my bakery conquests through photo journalism in addition to the written word. Unfortunately, my digital camera is broken, so it may be awhile before you'll be feasting your eyes on photo capabilities here at The Great American Bakery Hunt.

To cheer ourselves up, let's sit back and reflect on the bakery find of the week: the variety of baklava at Papa Cristo's, a Greek restaurant and market on West Pico in Los Angeles. Delicious food and sweet desserts, all in one location.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Late night bakery hunting

For any nocturnal bakery hunters out there, finding desserts after 7 pm or so can sometimes pose a daunting challenge. Of course, there are restaurants open past 7 pm that include desserts on the menu-- but all too often the dessert is secondary to the meal itself, an afterthought. Quality late-night desserts are a rare treasure. While Los Angeles does have its 24-hour bakery gems (take our landmark Canter's Deli as an example), I found New York to be a much friendlier city to late-night dessert junkies-- Not only were bakeries open late, but other late night business owners were wise to the bakery-lover's moonlit sugar cravings: several bars featured dessert cases with the cupcakes and sugary delights that dreams are made of. I only wish their West Coast counterparts would learn.

So if you find yourself with a quasi-late-night hankering for some baked goods and you're wandering the streets of Santa Monica, take a gander at the display case over on Main Street at Urth Caffe. Urth Caffe has a generous selection of desserts including cheesecakes, mini-pies, cakes, and fruit tarts, with the extended business hours of a coffeehouse. Urth Caffe's hours are not that late, but they certainly do the trick. While the prices are high in this trendy organic latte sippin' scene, their desserts are so darn good I cannot complain too much: try the peach pie, the pistachio strawberry tart, the berry tart, the pecan pie...I've tried many of their goodies over my first few months on Santa Monica, and I've rarely been disappointed.

If anyone else has any good late night Los Angeles dessert tips, please call The Great American Bakery Hunt late night dessert hotline. Night owls need bakeries too.