Inventive sweets that aren’t too sugary are what it’s all about at this Downtown bakeshop. The lovely lady behind the operation is Sharlena Fong, a one-time New York City consultant who left the corporate world to pursue her true passion: desserts.
After refining her palate and techniques at Eleven Madison Park, Per Se, and Bouchon Bakery in New York City and at Nickel Diner in Los Angeles, she teamed up with Dennis Hunter and James Gonzales to open Semi Sweet Bakery.
My first visit to the bakery coincided with an early morning photo shoot. I’d been snapping away since the wee hours and wanted nothing more than to be comforted and re-energized with a suite of sweets.
Quite predictably, I zeroed in on the doughnuts first. Semi Sweet’s cake doughnuts are baked rather than fried, and the results were damn good. The “Strawberry Shortcake” had a delicate crumb and terrific texture; I didn’t miss the deep-fried oil bath one bit. Fonuts: take note.
Continue reading ‘Semi Sweet Bakery – Los Angeles (Downtown)’
There was much to love about our accommodations in Seattle, the Mayflower Park Hotel, but the amenity I relished most was its proximity to Dahlia Bakery. I appreciate graceful service, plush beds, and luxurious bathrooms as much as the next out-of-towner, but my passion for amazing baked goods trumps all!
I’ve dined at a handful of Chef Tom Douglas’ restaurants over the years—Dahlia Lounge, Serious Pie, and Seatown—but this was my first visit to the hearth of the operation: Dahlia Bakery.
While the lunchtime menu consisting of salads, soups, and sandwiches sounded quite lovely, I was particularly drawn to the breakfast offerings that are served until 10 AM on Mondays through Fridays and until 2 PM on weekends. Breakfast sandwiches and fried-to-order doughnuts? Yes, please.
I came into the bakery with a solid game plan, but couldn’t resist one impulse buy: the Creamsicle Whoopie Pie ($3). What can I say? I get weak around glittery sprinkles. This unplanned purchase proved to be a great one—the luscious cream center tasted orangey to the core, while the cakey cookies were definitely zesty.
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Chefs Quinn and Karen Hatfield can do no wrong in my book. Their restaurant Hatfield’s in Hollywood is one of the loveliest spots in town, serving desserts that dazzle and a Croque Madame worthy of being my deathbed meal.
The two Hatfields debuted The Sycamore Kitchen, a fast-casual bakery and sandwich concept, last summer, and I’ve been eager to check it out ever since.
The Astronomer and I made our way to The Sycamore Kitchen late one Saturday afternoon. The daily special, a Vietnamese steak salad, was unfortunately sold out at this hour, as were the famous Salted Caramel Pecan Babka Rolls, but most everything else was still available.
We placed our order at the counter, grabbed a seat nearby, and awaited our spread.
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With our bellies full of chicken livers and smoked meat, The Astronomer, my sis-in-law Sonia, and I strolled over to Dominique Ansel Bakery for one final sugar rush.
Chef Dominique Ansel opened his eponymous bakery at the end of last year after toiling at Daniel for six years and at Fauchon in Paris before that. Even though the shop has been open for only a short while, there’s already buzz that it’s the best bakery in town. Hype in these here parts can be intense.
I had my sights set on the “Perfect Little Egg Sandwich” ($5) this afternoon, but unfortunately it is only available before noon on weekdays. I quickly switched gears and perused the pristine pastries on hand.
In addition to croissants, ice creams, sorbets, and sandwiches, the bakery offers an array of jaw-droppingly beautiful tarts and cakes. Each one was assembled with precision and was far too fetching to eat, really.
Continue reading ‘Dominique Ansel Bakery – New York City’