Pasadena, once the closest thing L.A. had to a food desert, finally is going through something of a renaissance. With the recent additions of Umami Burger and Float, there's also a lovely new dessert shop. Danielle Keene and business partner Linda Chen quietly opened Bittersweet Treats last Tuesday.
Keene, whose credits include pastry chef at Wilshire, Little Door and BLT Steak and a stint on Top Chef: Just Desserts, has had an online business, also called Bittersweet Treats, where folks could order her stellar cakes, pies, cookies and pastries. But now there's a retail shop to go with the business, which Keene has moved into the East Colorado Boulevard location.
The shop is a cheery space, as befits a dessert shop, with loft ceilings, lime green walls, pretty old-fashioned bundt tins on the walls and open cases displaying Keene's red velvet whoopie pies, coconut macaroons, figgy bars, lemon tarts, coffee toffee chocolate chip cookies and "barreo" cookies ("like an oreo, only better"). Keene also makes her own ice creams (candy cane, Earl Grey, chocolate chai, salted caramel, etc.). The shop brews LAMill coffee, including espresso drinks and coffee made with a special South and Central American blend that LAMill made for the shop. (Parent alert: If your kids like tea, they make an excellent decaf Rooibos tea latte.)
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The shop is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., six days a week (closed Sunday). Just in time for the holidays -- and the Rose Parade, during which Keene is planning to be open. Bring your lawn chairs, blankets and some ice cream (and espresso) money.
Bittersweet Treats: 1731 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; 626-796-8655.