Though we don't get as many seasonal changes as some other parts of the world, Angelenos certainly can pretend there's a nip in the air — especially if that means we get to eat some rich desserts. It's time for squashes and chocolate, and a ton of pies. Read on to discover some of the best autumn desserts available in Los Angeles.
COD Seafood House & Raw Bar
COD Seafood House certainly has the courage of its convictions: it's serving yams for dessert. The Okinawa purple yam is caramelized and served simply cut in half, with a dusting of powdered sugar and a generous side of butter. It's an unusual preparation in the United States, but it's basically a slightly less sugary sweet potato casserole.
8408 W. Third St., Beverly Grove; (323) 658-9188, codrestaurant.com.
Small Batch Ice Creamery
Brooke Williamson and her husband and culinary partner, Nick Roberts, recently opened Small Batch, a modern ice cream parlor, in Mar Vista. They’ve just added a new take-home item to the menu: pumpkin cheesecake ice cream pie, with a graham cracker crust. That's the best of every dessert world in one 8-inch tin.
12222 Venice Blvd., Mar Vista; (424) 289-9552, smallbatchicecreamery.com.
Blacksmiths is a flashy new joint downtown with a greatest-hits type of menu — bacon-truffle mac and cheese, burrata, meatballs — and the desserts also are designed with pleasing crowds in mind. To wit: the apple pie milkshake. The kitchen just shoves a slice of apple pie into a vanilla milkshake. That it tastes good is really no surprise.
117 Winston St., downtown; (213) 628-3847, blacksmithsla.com.
Making cake from a boxed mix is pretty easy, but the range of flavors available isn't very interesting. Better to make one from scratch or, even better, buy someone else's from-scratch cake. Downtown's the Mighty is especially good at baked items (co-owner Karen Hatfield is a pastry genius), and the huge slices of cake are testaments to her craft. The chocolate-Nutella variety is especially recommended.
108 W. Second St., downtown; (213) 278-0025, themightydtla.com.
Pastry chef Chris Ford is creating some stunning pieces of edible visual art at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. The image at the top of this article is his "Autumn Leaves" cake, with cinnamon sugar mousse, pumpkin cake, pecan caramel, pecan crunch ganache and hibiscus leaves glazed with vanilla glaze. The Halloween-perfect work above is the "Black Skull" cake, made with bitter chocolate mousse, cocoa-almond sponge cake, chocolate ganache, caramel crunch and vanilla skulls sprayed with black cocoa butter. These can be ordered to go.
8400 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills; (310) 909-7549, fourseasons.com/beverlywilshire.
Cake Monkey Bakery
Cake Monkey's goods can be found in many restaurants and grocery stores around L.A., and it has a dedicated storefront in the Fairfax area, too. The bakery recently debuted its fall items, including a butterscotch pudding pie, made with butterscotch pudding in a graham cracker crust, topped with whipped cream and pumpkin seed brittle. A gluten-free version can be requested as well.
7807 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax; (323) 932-1142, cakemonkey.com.
American Tea Room
The American Tea Room specializes in specialty teas, those rare finds that are meant to be treated with care and sipped slowly in water heated to the perfect temperature. But the store owner has a sense of humor, too. Three outrageous drinks have been added to the menu, all of them sweet and highly calorific. The "iced chai latte royale" is a combination of masala chai–spiced black tea, milk and vanilla syrup, topped with whipped cream, vanilla wafer cookies, a chocolate Kit Kat Bar, a rolled chocolate hazelnut cream–filled wafer cookie and a cinnamon sprinkle. The "iced matcha latte royale" is a matcha latte topped with whipped cream, a matcha Kit Kat bar, matcha Pocky sticks and a matcha sandwich cookie. And the "Thai iced tea royale" is a blend of black tea, spices, sugar and cream topped with whipped cream, a Hello Panda cookie, vanilla wafer cookies, chocolate Pocky sticks and whipped chocolate sandwiched with a cookie and gaufre. Can you even finish one?
Multiple locations. americantearoom.com.
Valerie Gordon is making her mole brownies once again this year. These brownies are spiced with mole — the traditional Mexican paste of chilies, chocolate, nuts and spices — and made with bittersweet chocolate. Give her enough time and you can order as many as you need — which is probably a lot.
Grand Central Market, 317 S. Broadway, downtown; (213) 621-2781, valerieconfections.com.
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Craft's pastry chef Shannon Swindle, who is a produce wizard, is playing with the classic pumpkin pie this season. His version is a bit of roasted pumpkin, topped with pine nuts, rosemary and Parmigiano-Reggiano ice cream. Yeah, cheese ice cream. It sounds suspicious but, despite his name, Swindle can be trusted.
10100 Constellation Blvd., Century City; (310) 279-4180, craftlosangeles.com.
Despite its Brentwood location, Pizzana is drawing food fans from all across the county to try out its signature offering (pizza, of course), which is getting nothing but rave reviews. The desserts aren't too shabby, either. The chef has incorporated pretzels into the best one: salted caramel panna cotta, topped with said pretzels.
11712 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood; (310) 481-7108, pizzana.com.