Now that Thanksgiving is over, the kitchen cleaned, the football binge done, the relatives sent back over whichever river they came by, it's time to think about baking. Lots of baking. Which, in turn, means baking supplies. If you live close to Surfas, well then, lucky you. If you live in or closer to the San Fernando or San Gabriel valleys, there's probably a Sur La Table somewhere nearby. Or you might want to check out Jane's Cake and Chocolate Supply in Montrose.
If you're familiar with the shop, good for you. If you're not, imagine something halfway between Surfas and Sur La Table, set back into a comfortable strip mall under the looming mountains of the Angeles National Forest. Family-owned for the last 33 years and in its current location for the last two, Jane's has row after row of baking supplies and cookware, chocolate and candy molds and cake decorating gizmos. Stacks of parchment paper. Almond paste by the pound. Bags of King Arthur flour. Fondant and Maldon salt. And an entire wall of cookie cutters.
Thomas Samaha bought the shop from the original owner a few years ago -- yes, her name is Jane, and we're told she's now in her 80s and still gets her baking supplies there. Not only does the shop have all those supplies but the folks there will also teach you what to do with them, as they have cake-decorating classes during the year. As this, unsurprisingly, is their busiest season, the classes are on hold until January. Also on deck for 2014 is an expansion of the store, or at least the products in it.
Samaha says he's planning on stocking up on more items in the coming months: more All-Clad, USA Pans and Berndes cookware, as well as more of what they have now. Just where they'll put all that is hard to say -- maybe up, like on hanging racks. Not a bad idea, as walking into the place already makes you feel like a kid in a candy store.
For updates, check out the store's Facebook page. Samaha says they're currently building a nice new website, so that you can window-shop from the comfort of your laptop, but it isn't quite ready yet. Maybe just get in your car.
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