McConnell's Ice Cream is finally expanding out of Santa Barbara with a new scoop shop and new flavors. We gave them a try.
'California' on Serious Eats
This stunning dessert of coconut tapioca topped with tropical fruit and dragon fruit sorbet also happens to be gluten- and dairy-free.
Jessica Entzel, pastry chef at Morimoto Napa (and nominee for Food & Wine magazine's "The People's Best New Pastry Chef"), fills us in on her favorite sweets and desserts in the Napa Valley, with a list of treats that run the gamut from a bucket of freshly baked doughnuts to a classic root beer float.
At Medera, the Michelin starred restaurant at the Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park, Chef Mellisa Root has started an ambitious in house chocolate program (smoked tobacco or pine cone syrup bon bons, anyone?)
I didn't expect to eat the best gelato of my life in Gualala, California, a tiny seaside town that hugs the Sonoma-Mendocino border. But I did.
The story of McConnell's Fine Ice Creams in Santa Barbara is definitely a charmer: Boy meets girl. Boy gets drafted into World War II. Boy tries amazing ice cream in France and wants to recreate it at home. Boy and girl (now married) move to Santa Barbara and boy uses his GI Bill money to buy an ice cream machine. Scoop shop is born.
At A.R. Valentien, inside the Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, Pastry Chef Jennifer Costa is making the most of what's fresh and local. Right now, that's berries. Juicy strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries star in many of the newest items, and there's also a very special mulberry tart.
In San Diego, gelato shops are surprisingly spare. Luckily, Pappalecco, a shop with three locations, is rife with delicious flavors, from stracciatella to cinnamon roll, and multiple variations on chocolate.
In Los Angeles, 'lette specializes in fine and dainty French macarons, with over a dozen flavors, ranging from classic to contemporary, it's best to get a box of at least 6.
The quarter-sized discs of TCHO chocolate really sold me on "Nancy's Favorite" (as in Nancy Silverton), the chocolate chip cookies at Short Cake in the Original Farmers Market in Los Angeles.
There's a ton of temptations at the Patisserie inside The Bazaar, José Andrés's tapas spot in Beverly Hills. Luckily, Chef de Cuisine Joshua Whigham has stepped in to give his top five picks for dessert.
Proof Bakery owner Na Young Ma says she went to pastry school to learn how to bake bread, and really doesn't have much of a sweet-tooth, which might be why her simple French-style pastries are so well balanced—especially her top 5 favorite items in the shop.
The fruited oatmeal cookie at Extraordinary Desserts is jammed with so many different types of dried fruit, you could make a case for it being a legitimate breakfast food.
Katherine Humphus does some amazing things with deep-fried veggies, but the 100 Wines and BO-beau chef also clearly loves her sweets. This season, she's tempting diners with Mediterranean-inspired sweets at 100 Wines like the pistachio and apricot baklava pictured above, plus French favorites like apple tart tatin and a crumbly almond torte to go along with the cozy bistro fare at BO-beau.
Sheep's milk has a nutty, sweet-grassy flavor. It's not at all sheepish (hah) and that's why it's the basis of so many flavorful cheeses we love. But sheep's milk ice cream? Could the sheepy-ness overpower the vanilla bean, fresh mint, and other ice cream flavors in Negranti Dairy's line of sheep's milk ice cream?
This soft meringue dessert at Monello looks like a sugar snowball, but is so light that it almost instantly melts in your mouth.
Cusp chef Donald Lockhart shows us how he makes his battered and deep-fried apple rings, a tasty treat that's surprisingly easy to make.
The search for L.A.'s best snack cakes began after spotting a few fancy-pants versions of childhood favorites around town—think decked out Ding Dongs and twee Twinkies. But as we started exploring, we noticed an array of other tempting mini-cakes that necessitated tasting, and so we expanded our survey to include smaller versions of cake classics that managed to pack as much oomph into their petite forms as their full-sized big sisters. Pretty was a plus, but they couldn't rest on their cuteness—they had to be moist, flavorful, and seriously delicious.
Decadent is a word that gets thrown around a lot when talking about food—particularly eats of the rich, sweet, chocolaty, creamy variety. But as overused as the term might be, it was a pretty fitting title for Decadence, the dessert-themed after party held Saturday night as part of Los Angles Food & Wine. The real stars were the sweets, which ranged from sarsaparilla chocolate "joints" to Fruity Pebbles funnel cake to L.A.'s favorite budino.
Is there a sweeter way to start a day than with cup of really good coffee or tea and a perfect pastry? On a particularly blah morning, this combination can be the gentle nudge you need to get your day going. And with a repertoire of sweet breakfast treats from meticulously constructed croissants to sloppy, ooey-gooey sticky buns, L.A.'s bakeries are fully primed to give you that needed morning lift.