Malva Pudding Cake
720 Virgil Avenue #4
Los Angeles, CA 90029
Sqirl’s Malva Pudding Cake looks like just the messy, gooey sight you want to stick a fork in. The cake has roots in South Africa by way of Dutch colonizers who brought the traditional dessert with them. It’s easy to find in South Africa, but Sqirl may be the only place in L.A. with malva in its pastry case. Apricot jam and just a touch of vinegar are the secret ingredients that add flavor to the base, and it’s filled with a cascade of cream, butter and sugar as soon as the cake slides out of the oven.
621 South Western Avenue, Suite 208-A
Los Angeles, CA 90005
Somi Somi is an ice cream shop serving ah-boong, the Korean version of a Japanese treat known as taiyaki. Soft, chewy, nearly pancake-like cones with a lightly crisp exterior, are filled with sweet red bean paste, custard or Nutella, then a fat swirl of soft serve of your choosing and sprinkled with a smattering of free toppings. For those racked with indecision, Somi Somi’s menu lists varieties that pair well like the G’Lovers Boong with green tea soft serve and red bean or the Greenpuccino Boong with true milk and green tea ice cream and red bean.
The Americana at Brand
757 Americana Way
Glendale, CA 91210
Bacari’s third location in Glendale recently opened with a menu quite different from its sister properties in Downtown and Playa Del Rey. The menu boasts a latch-top jarred dessert called malabi. It’s a creamy, soft Israeli pudding with roots in Turkey. Unlike a custard, malabi is egg-free, and with less milk than a cream-based dessert, the consistency is thinner than a custard. Bacari’s base is flavored with floral rosewater, then topped with a layer of hibiscus syrup, sweet coconut, and candied pistachios.
There’s a new kid in town at our Sunday Smorgasburg in DTLA, and it goes by the name Chichi Dango. The folks behind Shrimp Daddy bring another taste of Hawaii to L.A. in the form of shaved ice topped with chichi dango–little “dumplings” of Japanese mochi baked in the oven. The menu is limited to two flavors, Strawberry Lilikoi Hawaiian and Pineapple Coco Cream, and they offer three chichi dango flavors–milk, matcha, and strawberry. Chichi Dango’s chewy rice flour candies are handmade, and they sit alongside a pyramid tower of ice cream, soft shaved ice and fresh fruit purée.
11648 San Vicente Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90049
Kataifi resembles a spool of golden pastry or a crispy, baked bird’s nest due to it’s shape. It’s the perfect vessel for holding beautiful fruits or custard and cream. Kataifi is popular in Greece, Turkey and the Middle East and is often paired with nuts and a sweet syrup similar to baklava. Tavern’s Golden Kataifi fills a round, thread-like pastry with vanilla ice cream and dots the plate with candied mandarinquats and crunchy pistachios.
Tres Leche Birthday Cake
3510 Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Trois Familia’s France-meets-Mexico by way of California menu opens the door for the food to express itself in many ways. One item on the menu provides an opportunity to celebrate any day of the week. Trois Familia’s tres leche-style birthday cake is a classic play on the Latin American dessert that features a white sponge cake soaked in three types of milk. The frosting is dusted with multi-colored sprinkles like an explosion of confetti. Eat like it’s your birthday, even when it’s not.
6266 Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Farida’s menu includes an Arabic semolina cake that goes by many names depending on where you may be eating it–perhaps namoura in Lebanon, harissa in Syria, basbousa in Egypt or revani in Greece or Turkey. The traditional cake is always topped with almonds, and draped in a syrup often flavored with rosewater or orange blossom water. At Farida, this cake receives a fenugreek syrup drizzle. Drop of dollop of rosewater yogurt onto each bite for a bit of smooth, tartness that will balance the sweet.
9405 South Santa Monica Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
You’ll find French-inspired crepes in the streets of Japan, but they’re a bit different, making them a crepe of their own. Harajuku Crepe adds mochi powder to their crepe batter, which gives them a light chewy pull along with that outer crisp from the griddle. They’re also rolled into a conical shape, just as they are in Japan, which makes them much easier to get on the run. The batters also come in several flavors, such as buckwheat and green tea. There are an array of fillings and toppings, including green tea ice cream, black sesame ice cream, red beans, mochi and more.