Monday, October 05, 2009

Late night Los Angeles desserts: an ongoing investigation

Some things in life are inevitable. This includes dessert cravings that always strike after most bakeries have closed their doors for the night. It's a most unfortunate situation to find yourself in: perhaps it's 10 pm after a late dinner, and you're determined to take the edge off by satisfying that sweet tooth of yours. But everywhere you look, it's closed doors and mounting frustration. You think to yourself, "This is America. What kind of a country do I live in if I can't even get a quality piece of pie or chocolate chip cookie right now?"

But not all American city-dwellers are plagued by these night owl woes. While bakery hunters in New York are spoiled by an abundance of late night options (including cocktails & cupcakes sold by nocturnal bakery hunting-savvy establishments), Los Angeles seems to offer few late night dessert options. If I had the resources, I'd put an end to this madness. With a little political clout, I'd be able to tie public transportation initiatives to late-night bakery reform and we'd all be happier, greener, and more sugar-high Angelenos.

But until then, I'll be searching for late-night bakery hunting opportunities and will not rest until I find them. This is a work in progress at The Great American Bakery Hunt, so we'd appreciate any advice you can offer. (Please consider the baked good that will truly satisfy the late-night craving, all things fresh and worth savoring. Packaged apple strudels from the 7-11 don't count.)

The late night baked good timeline of Los Angeles seems limited to establishments that still close around 10 or 11 pm, including Mani's on Fairfax, Crumbs, & Urth Cafe.

But let's not forget the longtime LA landmark Diddy Riese. Simple, cheap, and undeniably appealing, you can snag a giant ice cream cookie sandwich for only $1.50 until 1 am on Fridays and Saturdays (12 pm the rest of the week.) You'll have to make it to Westwood Village at the end of your night to get one, and brave horrific parking scenarios to access these treats. But let's face it, there's nothing like reliving those college years via people-watching UCLA undergrads while butter pecan ice cream oozes out of your chocolate chip walnut sandwich and down your arm.

But let's just assume you've passed the 10 pm, 11 pm, 12 pm, or 1 am cutoff. Your heart starts to sink and desperation approaches. The bright yellow light of Denny's starts to beckon you, but you know their Oreo cheesecake will sit unsatisfactorily in your stomach, crushing your dessert dreams like a cartoon anvil. You consider buying a candy bar from the 24 hour grocery store and calling it a day, but it feels like giving up. Luckily, you've got until at least 2 am before you have to raise the white flag and sulk to your bed in defeat, nursing a sugar packet. So you head to Swingers, the late night diner establishment: You wouldn't expect it, but their butter pecan cupcake has the power to speak straight to your late-night baked-good lovin' heart (depending on the location, Swingers is open most nights until between 2 am & 4 am.)

A Special Note to our Readers: This is a part of our ongoing investigation into the void of late-night bakeries in Los Angeles. Want to help support the cause for late-night baked goods in our fair city? Send us some tips and we'll spread the word! Write your local Congressman! More importantly, always keep some homemade cookie dough in the freezer for nights when the craving hits hard.
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