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Bakeries

Venice's Intelligentsia Finally Opens, Debuts New Breakfast Pastries from Cake Monkey

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Tue, Jun 9, 2009 at 6:00 AM

click to enlarge At Intelligentsia's Venice location
  • At Intelligentsia's Venice location
Yesterday at noon, the long awaited, often delayed, opening of Intelligentsia's Venice location simultaneously marked the debut of Cake Monkey's new line of breakfast pastry.

Breakfast is a gear-shift for the Burbank bakeshop, famous for supplying clever desserts like miniature layer cakes to Barbrix, Umami Burger, and Gelato Bar, but the decision was prompted by demand. "We kept getting calls from the cafes we supply to asking us for breakfast pastry," explains Cake Monkey's co-owner Lisa J. Olin.

Noted for reinventing classic dessert treats by upping the quality of their ingredients, Olin and her partner, pastry chef Elizabeth Belkind, heeded the call to breakfast with the same stylish ingenuity.

The new pastries at Intelligentsia (and Oaks Gourmet Market, when it opens) aren't the dense coffee cakes, heavy croissants, and stale blueberry muffins found all too frequently at local coffee shops. "We always try to take things people love and make them more lush," Olin says. It's evident from first glance; Cake Monkey's banana wheat germ muffin is topped with house-roasted granola and, like all of their muffins, sits nested in lovely tulip liner. The entire new menu is imbued with similarly small details that combine to make their breakfast pastry qualitatively comparable to their desserts in both presentation and, more importantly, taste.

The line also includes brioche a tete filled with vanilla custard, currant scones with pistachios and orange zest, chocolate almond croissant, and lemon pistachio tea cake, to name a few. Though they're not all available at Intelligentsia, Olin assured us that a morning pastry gift basket packed with Cake Monkey's signature lushness will be available on the website shortly, and that she and Belkind are still searching for the perfect home to open up a retail store where all of their signature treats will be available.

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