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Friday, July 18, 2008

rare days off in July lead TGABH to new frontiers!

That's right folks, on one recent day off, I made a plan to conquer unseen territories in the Hunt! After carpooling down to Santa Monica, I was left with only my wallet, my folding bike, and the strong desire to go on a quest for my next bakery discovery. With helmet on head and a plan to bungie cord my leftovers on the way home, I rode my Dahon, determined, down San Vicente Blvd. to none other than SusieCakes in Brentwood. This gem of a cupcake shop also sells cake by the slice, a true measure, in my opinion, of its "all American home-style bake shop" claims. Its cupcakes feature an ooey gooey extra shot of frosting in their cores, making for cupcakes as sweet, if not sweeter, than Yummy Cupcakes on Wilshire. The cake's moist factor was also solid. Among their other selections, they offer whoopie pies-- two chocolate cookies with a thick layer of frosting in the middle. Hard for anyone to resist-- and it seems that SusieCakes is being received well among fellow West side food bloggers.

For the sake of more material (and for the good of my readers!) the next day after my SusieCakes adventure I took a morning run along the beach, then cut up to Montana Ave. to reward myself with a pastry find. I found myself at Cafe Luxxe, and although not primarily a bakery discovery, it is a find I have to mention. If Cheers were a coffee shop (with a modern feel and a selection of pastries), Cafe Luxxe would be the place to grab an espresso where everyone knows your name. Perhaps my perception of this place just comes from my natural tendency to make friends randomly as I wander about the city-- but even still, it was such a friendly place to get a caffeine jolt. Very focused on quality, the fine folks at Cafe Luxxe gave me an encouraging nod when I inquired about the chocolate almond croissants (delicious and from LA's Breadbar). And when my excitement over great coffee led me to consider a 2nd drink, they knew just what I needed-- as if I had been a regular for years.

The best part of all was that it was a place I could sip my coffee, read travel journals for hours, and enjoy the decadence of a lazy day off. The funny thing about having weekdays off is that it's easy to feel that you're stealing moments of time from the world around you. It's an evil but satisfying feeling when you see people walking past in business attire, coming up for air during the lunch hour, and you have nothing else to do but to drink cappuccino and thumb through a newspaper. After several hours of a travel memoir, a pastry and two coffees later, I said goodbye to the fine coffee connoisseurs of Cafe Luxxe and took four Peruvian cookies to go (made, mysteriously, by a local Peruvian woman whose name I cannot confidently pronounce/write), and ran home. Some people run with Ipod's, or pets-- I prefer to run with baked goods in hand.

Later on that day, enjoying some Peruvian goodness on the way back to work...
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