Shop the Block: For Valentine’s Day, Mignon chocolates are anything but boring

49387-11-23-10-11 R-MIGNON08.jpg
39792-RBLOG-SHOP-SECTIONHEADER.jpg
49389-RBLOG-MIGNON-TITLE-thumb-320x72-49388.jpg
As authentic as family-run businesses come, Mignon Chocolate was founded in 1910 and has been run by the Ter-Poghossians ever since.
For three generations, the family has manufactured its own fine chocolates, and original recipes are what make Mignon truly exceptional.
49926-RBLOG-SHOPMAP-JAN11-new.jpg
Conduct your own taste test, starting with two selections from the M Collection: ginger sea salt chocolates (a dark-chocolate shell filled with luscious ginger dark chocolate ganache and topped with lime-infused sea salt) and lavender chocolates (also a ganache-infused dark-chocolate shell with the complex sweetness of woodsy lavender).
Mignon’s signature treat is its box of orange-peel strips, baked in heavy syrup and coated in dark chocolate. Another favorite is the saffron marzipan, which is created in-house with diced orange peels and infused with saffron. The family has been handmaking the latter since the 1930s.
In the Los Angeles area, Mignon also runs locations in Glendale and Van Nuys. An international outpost is located in Tehran.
6 E. Holly St., Pasadena. Open Tue.-Sat. 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun. noon-5 p.m.; closed Mon. (626) 796-7100, mignonchocolate.com
More photos after the jump:

Continue reading

Shop the block: Build up your Halloween reserves at Montrose Candy Co.

 
47107-9-2-10-11 R-MONTROSE03.jpg
39792-RBLOG-SHOP-SECTIONHEADER.jpg
Who, really, can resist the old-fashioned candy shop, with gleaming rows of clear plastic bins and shovel-sized scoops standing ready to deliver sugary goodness?
If that sounds romantic, you’re due for a visit to the Montrose Candy Co., which specializes in your childhood favorites, from the nostalgic to the hard-to-find. The store also stocks imported candies, including some that arrive from as far away as Britain, Italy, Belgium, France, Japan and the Middle East.
While holidays like Halloween and Easter are a boon for business, the shop is always a popular stop-off for patrons headed to catch a flick, and also for bakers and confectioners looking to candy-coat their creations.
Owner Linda Eaton says the candy boutique is also known for its salt-water taffy selection — more than 40 flavors — from Utah’s Taffy Town, and for its frozen treats, like Balboa-style ice cream bars and frozen bananas.
“Our goal was to bring a favorite vacation treat to the foothills and ensure it was authentic,” Eaton says.
More photos after the jump:

Continue reading

Photos: Get the scoop — or two — on area’s best frozen sweets

42634-R-BULGARINI4.jpg
39798-RBLOG-EAT-SECTIONHEADER.jpg
From our summer dining issue, here’s a round-up by Emma Gallegos of the area’s best chilly treats — now with extra photographic goodness:
  • BULGARINI GELATO
42648-R-BULGARINI2-thumb-300x235-42632.jpg
Leo Bulgarini ships the high-quality ingredients for his gelatos all the way from Italy if he has to, but it’s all made on site in Altadena and offered up with these irresistible words: “Try this, I just made it this morning.” Some of the flavors are straight-up delicious — fruit sorbets and granita flavored with the real melon, citrus and pineapples, a hazelnut gelato that’s more nutty than nutella. Some of the flavors are strangely delicious, like the goat cheese with chocolate nibs: creamy, slightly sweet and then there are these little flecks of hardened goat cheese and bitter chocolate. How about yogurt with celtic salt or olive oil? It’s just pazzo enough to work. 749 East Altadena Drive, Altadena, (626) 791-6174, bulgarinigelato.com

Continue reading

Photos: At Pasadena’s POP Champagne Bar, dessert is the most important meal of the day

42168-5-14-10-12 R-POP2.jpg
39798-RBLOG-EAT-SECTIONHEADER.jpg
A traditional Spanish dessert — these days, corrupted by an explosion in popularity and en masse distribution at theme parks and even fast-food joints — the churros at POP Champagne and Dessert Bar are on the high end of the doughy spectrum.
Chef Ray Vasquez rolls his fresh churros in sugar and serves them up with a trio of sauces: warm chocolate, dulce de leche and cinnamon.
POP Champagne and Dessert Bar, 33 E. Union St., (626) 795-1295, popchampagnebar.com
More photos after the jump:

Continue reading

UPDATED: The house that cake built

41645-6-9-10-4 CITYCAKE04.jpg
39798-RBLOG-EAT-SECTIONHEADER.jpg
41647-6-9-10-4 CITYCAKE10-thumb-250x215-41646.jpg
ANSWER: Pasadena City Hall. More photos here.
Students at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Pasadena are building a very special confection that, when finished, will be a cake-and-icing replica of a local structure.
Can you guess which it will be?
(Hint: It’s not actually a house. The headline is just a clever diversion.)
(Photos by Walt Mancini / Staff)

Nose Diving: It’s a wine world (after all) at Disney’s California Food & Wine Festival

40147-RBLOG-DISNEYWINE2.jpg
39798-RBLOG-EAT-SECTIONHEADER.jpg
39135-RBLOG-NOSE-DIVING-small.jpg
Nose Diving is a feature column, in which a novice wine writer fumbles toward grace.
My feet are dangling freely as we coast, hang-glider style, over the vast expanse of California below us. It’s a gloriously sunny day as we float by the majestic Golden Gate Bridge; seconds later, we’re looking down on the winding Redwood Creek watershed.
Then, it’s on to Napa. I think, “Mmm, let’s stop for a drink.”
And how fortuitous: Outside this popular simulator ride at Disney’s California Adventure — Soarin’ Over California, it’s called — the theme park’s fifth annual California Food & Wine Festival is just kicking off.

Continue reading