If you've shopped at any of the farmers markets in Silver Lake, Monrovia, Mid-City or Playa Vista, you may have come across Crème Caramel L.A., a line of desserts made by Kristine de la Cruz and partner (and boyfriend) Sean Gilleland. In a little over two weeks, on Monday, Sept. 9, the two will open a shop by the same name in Sherman Oaks.
As de la Cruz describes it, the brick-and-mortar version of Crème Caramel L.A. is only going to expand what's been associated with their company. Their version of crème caramel is modeled after a family recipe for Filipino leche flan, which has a higher proportion of cream than milk.
In addition to flans, bread puddings, custards and pies, there will be a savory menu with Spanish tortillas and pastries such as a Chinese sausage and scallion biscuit. They also plan to introduce BenTea boxes, afternoon tea bentos that includes options such as finger sandwiches, arugula salad with aged goat cheese, and a steamed egg crepe with Spam and green onions and dessert.
The store will have Cafecito Organico coffees on the drinks menu, alongside house-made aguas frescas such as Manila Mango and Ginger Beer. Aside from its own products, the shop will carry goods from Mother Moo, Hazel Dream, Coldwater Canyon Provisions and Pete the Baker. It's no wonder the motto of the store is “Coffee, Sweets & L.A. Eats.”
The last part of the motto is also in reference to an ongoing incubator program hosted at the store. “We wanted to support local startups in their efforts and potentially sell their products at our store,” de la Cruz says.
As for the namesake dessert, de la Cruz says they'll continue to offer what they've been selling at farmers markets. This includes flavors such as vanilla, Thai tea, green tea white chocolate, buko pandan (young coconut mixed with a popular plant known as pandan) and honey espresso (an ode to Short Cake's version of the iced shaken espresso drink, called a shakerato). There also will be seasonal flavors, such as Emerald plum, mixed berries and strawberry shortcake.
There's also a customer favorite, an upside-down ube (purple yam) pie — a “happy accident” that occurred when de la Cruz improvised a bruléed crust made of graham cracker and brown sugar on top of a creme caramel baked overlong. “It's ended up becoming our biggest seller,” she says.
The grand opening will be the only time the store is open on a Monday. Regular store hours are Tuesday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. As a result of the store opening, they'll be scaling back their presence at farmer markets. Check their site for an updated listing of markets they'll visit.
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