The last time I went to Susina Bakery, it was still called Sugarplum Bakery, and I had an outrageously good quiche that I still use as a measuring stick against all other quiche in L.A. Tonight, I wasn't craving quiche, but rather cookies and cake, so we set off on the short drive to Beverly and La Brea.
Susina is a remarkably pretty bakery with a friendly, psuedo-European feel. All the goodies are out on display, and my first impression is akin to the scene in Willie Wonka where all the school kids are unleashed on the village candy store. Rows and rows of cakes in all flavors and sizes, treats stacked high in beautiful wrappers, jars and jars of old-fashioned candy... it's a dieter's worst nightmare.
Well, not EVERY dieters' worst nightmare. My favorite "diet" book, French Women Don't Get Fat, actually condones this sort of place. If you crave sweets, the author rationalizes, journey to an exquisite bakery that makes fresh treats from the finest ingredients. Don't absent-mindedly stuff your face with garbage throughout the day, but make it an event: go, sit, breathe, bite, savor, relax, enjoy...
So I did. I started with a chai tea latte, which puts next-door-neighbor Starbuck's version to shame:
Brian had a slice of cheesecake, which was so light and fluffy, the filling must have been air-whipped. Each bite had a rich but light flavor and melted in your mouth - I dare say this is the best cheesecake I've had in L.A. With each bite, I giggled. It's like eating a bunny.
I had a plate of tiny Italian-style cookies...
The macaroons were pretty bad (no Boule, that's for sure), but I liked everything else, especially the dark-chocolate-covered candied lemon peel.
We also took a few treats home to enjoy later. In case you're wondering, yes, stuffing your face with cookies and candy when you get home from eating cake and cookies is part of the French woman diet too. It's the missing chapter they added to the second edition.
I'm a sucker for Sea Salt Caramels, and Susina's didn't disappoint - but they didn't really wow either. What did wow me is that they managed to repack Swedish Fish and charge a 500% mark-up. Who would pay that much for Swedish Fish, when you can buy a gallon at Bed, Bath & Beyond for a few dollars? Oh yeah, me.
I was going to run a little experiment to show you that these are the exact same Swedish Fish you can buy at the drugstore, but then I forgot. They're the same thing -I promise.
Susina also had some cute cookies themed for Mother's Day, so being the sweet daughter that I am, I bought some Mother's Day cookies... for myself. Sorry Mom - they fell into my mouth!
There are few things more invigorating than breaking the head off of a $4.50 cookie.
Well, one thing - the first bite:
Susina Bakery & Cafe
7122 Beverly Blvd. (near La Brea)
Los Angeles, CA
Hours: Mon-Fri, 7AM-11PM, Sat-Sun, 8AM-11PM