tastebud time travel

It is the worst when a favorite item gets permanently eighty-sixed from the menu (RIP ginger cookie from Brite Spot and coconut cake from Coral Tree Cafe… I’ll never forget you!). What a treat (pun intended) when a bakery brings back a lost classic. Bless you Valerie Confections, the historical society of desserts owes you one!

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Valerie serves the long gone, but luckily not forgotten, Coffee Crunch Cake from Blum’s – a Cali department store that went out of business in the ’70s. You can special order a whole cake from them, or take yourself down to Grand Central Market for a single slice. This joy of joys is a lemon-vanilla sponge cake with coffee whipped cream layers encrusted in honeycomb candy (or sponge toffee, as some call it). Somehow the light lemon and coffee flavors both keep to themselves while also becoming besties. And how the honeycomb stays crunchy even in the interior layers is a dessert miracle. #blessed

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But Valerie didn’t stop there. Besides their signature rose petal petit four (vanilla bean cake with rose petal passion fruit ganache covered in white chocolate with a candied rose petal on top – precious!) and a billion other things, you can order and pay your respects to these other desserts of Los Angeles yesteryear:

*The Brown Derby Grapefruit Cake (only otherwise found at The Hollywood Brown Derby in Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida – I’ve had it – it’s pretty great!)
*Chasen’s Banana Shortcake (def not available at Bristol Farms)
*Bullock’s Wilshire Tea Room Coconut Cream Pie (def not available at whatever law school is there now)

Probably someone should order all these cakes and have an old-timey party. Thanks for the invite – I’ve already RSVP-ed “yes.”

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(Continuing with my self-guided 10 min historical tour of one block, I also stopped at the Bradbury Building. You might recall this building from “Blade Runner” or “The Artist,” I recall it from being stuck in traffic on Broadway. Just park and go in.)

Valerie Confections Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day

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Just a quick note to wish you all a Happy National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day!! This crispy-edged, gooey-centered delight brought to you by Coffee Commissary, where they use both milk chocolate and semisweet chocolate in their cookies, and teach you Hollywood history in their bathroom:

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PS: sorry I missed National Apple Pie day earlier this week, but what do you think I do? Sit around eating dessert all day??! (side note: I made my family call me “Apple Pie” for about a year when I was 3 and wouldn’t respond to anything else.)

Portland (visitor) prep

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My friend who lives in Portland is visiting tomorrow, so I thought: “Why not get in the Portland mood with dinner at Salt & Straw?” The fact that it’s also raining tonight makes it extra Portlandy, plus rain scares away the Cali crowd which is better for me/them as I was dining post-yoga.

Um, Salt & Straw doles out the biggest sample tastes of any ice cream place I’ve ever been. Like a sample so big I felt like a plumpy eating it in one bite. And also I had four samples.

I finally decided on a “split single scoop,” (because let’s be reasonable) of Stumptown Coffee & Compartes Love Nuts paired with Freckled Woodblock Chocolate. Sweet, crunchy, slightly salty, dinner replacement. And not to worry that the coffee flavor will keep me awake – the scooper said it makes him feel like going to sleep. Hmm? Maybe because it’s so dreamy.

Let me also take a minute to talk about Compartes – this chocolate place is melting its way into treats across Los Angeles. Not only in Salt & Straw ice cream, but also into my donut from Cofax the other day! Truly, the bag that this donut was given to me in smelled like a cocoa sachet:

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National Macaron Day

(I am overlooking the fact that today is the first day of Spring, and am focusing on the more-important-for-dessert-eating/excuses holiday: National Macaron Day.)


Coffee and tea are vital parts of any morning, and it only makes sense that on this day they are consumed in macaron form. Macaron ice cream sandwiches from Milk:  Thai Tea and Coffee Toffee. Both so perfectly flavored, and with the exact right texture to the macaron: airy yet nougaty, like the best, chewiest bit of a brownie. The Thai Tea tastes like Thai Tea! The Coffee Toffee has hidden bits of Heath bar! (I also sampled the Banana Dulce de Leche as bananas are also a breakfast food, plus it was the counter guy’s favorite. Verdict? Wonderful and tastes like real bananas, not Laffy Taffy yellow.)


Quick lesson: macaron vs. macaroon. They are not the same thing. Aside from looks and various ingredients, the thing to know is: macaron is pronounced mac-a-ron (like a guy named Ron, who is maybe running), and is made using almond powder or ground almonds. Macaroon in pronounced mac-a-roon (like crab rangoon), and is made using (unfortunately named but still delicious) desiccated coconut. Now you know and can confidently celebrate National Macaron Day!!!