Serious Eats Neighborhood Guides: Zoe Nathan's Los Angeles

Editor's note: Over on Serious Eats: NY, we've heard from chefs and food personalities about their favorite neighborhood eats. Now it's time to answer that age-old question: What's for dessert?


View Zoe Nathan's Guide to L.A in a larger map

As Executive Chef of Huckleberry Bakery and Cafe and co-owner and Head Baker for all of the Rustic Canyon family of restaurants (that'd be Rustic Canyon Wine Bar & Seasonal Kitchen, Milo & Olive, Huckleberry Cafe & Bakery, and Sweet Rose Creamery), Zoe Nathan has definitely put her stamp on L.A. A native of the city, she honed her cooking skills at Lupa in New York City and learned to bake at Tartine Bakery in San Francisco before returning home.

At Huckleberry, Nathan makes her own breads, breakfast pastries, and desserts. She puts a premium on her ingredients, sourcing the best local products and changing the menu to reflect her finds. Where does she eat when she's not in one of her own kitchens? Read through the list to see her favorite spots in L.A.

Zoe's Picks

Toffee at Pop Candy: Bill and Rachel make the best toffee around. We don't sell anything from outside vendors at Huckleberry except for Pop Candy because there's no way to make it better than they do. I just have to forget that it's there or I'll eat it all up.

Desserts at Cook's County: Roxana is super talented and bakes with her heart and soul. Her stuff is not too sweet, but salty enough, and unpretentious but delicious.

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[Photograph: Damon Gambuto]

Hot Chocolate from Choco Vivo: Patricia is the real deal when it comes to chocolate. She's obsessed with it, and I'm obsessed with her chocolate powders. It makes such a rich and flavorful cup of hot chocolate and tastes so grown up at the same time.

Chocolate Chip Cookies at Farmshop: Brittany is a really talented baker but my son and I focus on one specific treat when we go in to Farmshop: her chocolate chip cookies. She bakes them throughout the day, so at any point you can stumble into a warm chocolate cookie. They're amazing.

Vanilla Ice Cream at Sweet Rose Creamery: Shiho is the best, and I'm not just saying that because we're best friends and business partners. You can judge an ice cream shop by its vanilla just like you judge a pizza place by its Margherita pizza, and Shiho's vanilla is creamy and salty and delicious.

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[Photograph: Katie Robbins]

Scones at Axe : My husband and I love Axe for breakfast. The ingredients are great, the preparation is simple, and there's always a good sweet treat to work in. People rave about the pancakes, which we love, but the under the radar sweet that I prefer is the scone. It's earthy and buttery and is served with softened butter alongside of it. It's a great bridge between coffee and eggs.


Maple Bacon Pie at Rustic Canyon: Yes, I know this is one of my restaurants, but I turned the desserts at Rustic over to my Sous Chef Laurel Almerinda a year ago and she's doing an amazing job. I love bacon in dessert when it's used right, and this combination with maple syrup is perfect.

Butterscotch Budino at Mozza: Ok it's almost a bit embarrassing putting this on my list because it's everyone's favorite, kind of like saying Bob Marley is your favorite reggae musician, but this dessert is really delicious. It's been ripped by numerous LA restaurants but this one is the real deal.

Shaved Ice at Blockheads Shaved Ice : This place is really fun and kind of addictive. I love the strawberry with condensed milk and topped with Mochi. Yum.

Anything from Marge Manske: I know that it's not opening until next year, and I know we're all excited about eating Walter's food again, but I'm equally excited about eating Marge's desserts and baked goods. Everything I've ever tasted from her has been amazing!

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