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Coffee and Dessert 

Thursday, Apr 14 2005
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Donut Hole. La Puente may not be on the way to anything in particular, but it is home to the renowned Donut Hole, a drive-thru doughnut shop anchored by a giant hemi-doughnut at either end, a 1947 architectural triumph. It’s a living doughnut museum that includes Tiger Tail Twists and baroquely frosted French crullers. 15300 Amar Road, La Puente, (626) 968-2912. Open seven days, 5 a.m.–9 p.m. No alcohol. Street parking. Cash only. 10 cents–90 cents. Donuts. JG ¢

Europane. Pastry savant Sumi Chang runs this inspired bakery/café. Her croissants are like crispy butter, her chocolate biscotti a study of cacao’s dark, sweet depths. And the egg-salad sandwich — soft-center boiled eggs in homemade mayo on sourdough toast smeared with sun-dried tomato paste — is worth a drive from any corner of the county. 950 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, (626) 577-1828. Mon.–Sat. 7 a.m.–5:30 p.m., Sun. to 2:30 p.m. No alcohol. Parking in structure behind restaurant and on the street. MC, V. Pastries and sandwiches $2–$8.50. European Bakery. MH

The Kitchen. Here is the quintessential Silver Lake canteen. The service tends toward the casual and offhand, which belies the big-hearted, darn good food. Desserts are made daily — try the sweet banana cream with berries, flourless chocolate cake or the mean crème brulee. 4348 Fountain Ave., Silver Lake, (323) 664-3663. Open Mon.–Fri. 5 p.m.–mid., Sat. noon–2:30 a.m., Sun. noon–10 p.m. No alcohol. Lot parking. AE, D, MC, V. Entrées $10–$18. American. MH ¢

Le Pain Quotidien. Coffee here is served in cunning footed bowls and the bakery features huge disks of artisanal breads, crusty baguettes and straightforward pastries. 9630 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, (310) 859-1100. Lunch and dinner Mon.–Fri. 7:30 a.m.–7 p.m, Sat.–Sun. 8 a.m.–7 p.m. Beer and wine. Takeout. Street parking. AE, MC, V. Entrées $6.50–$18, pastries $3–$6. French. MH ¢

Minibar. The snack-food-intensive menu at Minibar is as cross-cultural as they come: crisp cheese-stuffed yuca puffs; Indian-style curried lamb; Shanghai-style spring rolls stuffed with French duck confit and served with a Thai-style peanut sauce. Instead of an after-dinner coffee, try the marshmallow stew, served in coffee cups one-third filled with viscous white fluff, hot chocolate so concentrated as to seem almost venomous in its intensity. 3413 Cahuenga Blvd., Los Angeles; (323) 882-6965. Sun.–Thurs. 5:30–1 a.m.; Fri.–Sat. 5:30 p.m.–2 a.m. Full bar. Takeout available until 9 p.m. (8 p.m. Fri.–Sat.). Valet parking. AE, D, DC, MC, V. Price range: $35–$45 per person. Global tapas. JG $$

Monsieur Marcel. Imagine one of a thousand small Parisian cafés or wine bars with sidewalk seating and classic plats du jour – but in the southeast corner of the Farmers Market on Fairfax and Third. Grab a stool in the bar area and order a Nespresso – slightly stronger than a regular espresso – along with a light mousse au chocolat. 6333 W. Third St., Los Angeles, (323) 939-7792. Mon.–Sat. 9 a.m.–9 p.m., Sun. 9 a.m.–8 p.m. AE, MC, V. French. MH $

Le Petit Beaujolais. This charming bakery and lunch spot is the offspring of Café Beaujolais, a small French restaurant that opened several years ago on the south side of the street. The lunch menu offers an appealing selection of soups, quiches, sandwiches and meal-size salads. A central display case of desserts lures you in with jewel-toned fruit tarts, miniature cheesecakes and glassy-topped crème brûlée. 1661 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock, (323) 255-5133. Tues.–Fri. 7 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat.–Sun. 8 a.m.–4 p.m. No alcohol. Takeout. Street parking. Nothing over $11. MC, V. French. MH ¢

Pie ’N Burger. When compressed by the act of eating, a Pie ’N Burger hamburger leaks thick, pink dressing, and the slice of American cheese, if you have ordered a cheeseburger, does not melt into the patty, but stands glossily aloof. When the fruit is in season, don’t miss a cut of the epochal fresh-strawberry pie. 913 E. California Blvd., Pasadena, (626) 795-1123. Mon.–Fri. 6 a.m.–10 p.m., Sat. 7 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun. 7 a.m.–9 p.m. Beer and wine. Street parking. Cash only. Entrées $5–$10. American. JG ¢

Soda Jerks. The ice cream served at Soda Jerks, an old-fashioned soda fountain in Pasadena, is Fosselman’s — an excellent local brand that’s been made in Alhambra by the Fosselman family for the last 80 years. You can order lunch (great hot dogs!) before your ice cream, or you can cut to the chase: unwieldy scoops of toasted almond, coconut-pineapple or rocky road in a sugar cone. 219 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena, (626) 583-8031. Open weekdays 8 a.m.–9:30 p.m., weekends till 10 p.m. No alcohol. Takeout. Parking lot. $3–$7. AE, MC, V. Ice Cream. MH ¢

Starbucks. What could be better than an iced double-tall decaf caramel soy macchiato with double foam? Plenty of things, actually. But even a few minutes in Westside traffic can lead to all kinds of inappropriate yearnings, and a caffeinated visit to the drive-thru window, the only one of its type in the 310, can suddenly seem like the most rational thing in the universe. 3020 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 392-0134. Weekdays, 5:30 a.m.–9 p.m.; weekends, 5 a.m.–9 p.m. No alcohol. Lot parking. AE, MC, V. $2 and up. Coffee. JG ¢

Susina. The smell of cooking sugar greets you as you enter the perfect, twinkling world of Susina (formerly the Sugarplum Bakery). Candies! Cakes! Cookies! Tarts! The assortment of house-made and imported sweets will make anybody a kid in this candy store. Must-haves include the berry-blossom cake, and the bite-size fruit tarts. 7122 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 934-7900. Open Mon.–Thurs. 7 a.m.–7 p.m., Fri. 7 a.m.–10 p.m. Sat. 8 a.m.–10 p.m. and Sun. 8 a.m.–9 p.m. No alcohol. Takeout. Street parking. AE, MC, V. Sandwiches $7. European Bakery. MH $

Vermont. Anchoring the commercial corridor of Vermont Avenue north of Sunset, Vermont is like a stalwart, reliable friend. The stylish bar is one of the neighborhood’s few upscale spots for cocktails; signature desserts include the chocolate-chip bread pudding, lemon soufflé tart and, in the words of one staffer, a “to die for” apple tart. 1714 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz, (323) 661-6163. Lunch Mon.–Fri. 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m. Dinner 5:30–10:30 p.m. (until 11:30 p.m. Fri.–Sat.). Full bar. Parking in rear. AE, MC, V. Entrées $13–$18. California. MH $

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