Do you ever wish you could give up your day job and just do something totally different. There are times that the day seems to throw things into the mix and gets my footing off kilter. Well today is one of those days. I wish I could leave the office politics behind and enjoy a the aroma of sweet pastries in the oven. My hope would be to find tranquility and happiness, with a mix of creativity to brighten my day.
Platine Bakery. The cookies stacked in this tiny bakery span the spectrum. There are classics (chocolate chip, Mexican wedding), but take a chance on pastry chef/owner Jamie Cantor’s flights of whimsy (kalamata olive–dark chocolate chip). At just a dollar apiece, you can bring home a dozen or two for a dinner-party dessert tasting. Our pick: The platino, a fluffy sandwich cookie oozing rich vanilla cream filling. It’ll ruin you for run-of-the-mill Oreos forever. 10850 Washington Blvd.; platinecookies.com
Proof Bakery (pictured). This place feels likes the heart of the Atwater Village neighborhood. The morning rush comes for black sesame financiers; in the afternoon, it’s the flourless chocolate torte topped with cocoa nibs. Our pick: A buttery croque monsieur tartine on fresh-baked brioche. 3156 Glendale Blvd.; proofbakeryla.com
Sugar & Scribe Bakery. In a hipster-meets-surfer neighborhood, Maeve Schulz’s bakery is a charmingly Old World surprise. You’ll be greeted at the door by her pug before entering a haven of cupcakes and quiche, scones, and soda bread—served on delicate Irish dishes. Our pick: Schulz’s dense, buttery Guinness Porter Cake, spiced with cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, and packed with raisins and cherries. 1420 Garnet Ave.; sugarandscribe.com
La Monarca Bakery. For real-deal Mexican sweet pan dulce, grab a metal tray and tongs and serve yourself the traditional way. Everything in the bakery—from dulce de leche–filled croissants to vegetarian chorizo molletes (open-face sandwiches)—is made with all-natural ingredi-ents, including dairy and eggs from California, and guava, agave nectar, and organic coffee from Mexico. Our pick: A light and creamy caramel flan. 1300 Wilshire Blvd. (also in Commerce and Huntington Park); lamonarcabakery.com