I have never needed an excuse to have a good slice of cake, a stack of cookies, or some sweet, buttery bread. But if there's a holiday to encourage such behavior, I'm in. Over the next two weeks, millions across L.A. land are celebrating Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Start and end the feasts and fasts with one (or several) of these sweet treats from some of L.A.'s best bakers.
Walk into Beverly Grove's Joan's on Third today and you'll smell cinnamon sugar. The buttery, heady scent is coming from the bakery section, where you'll see tray after tray of fresh Rugulach. Studded with juicy raisins, and with a crisp exterior, the cookies are being sold individually and by the box. Call ahead to reserve larger orders. » 8350 W. 3rd St., L.A., 323-655-2285.
At Huckleberry in Santa Monica, pastry chef Zoe Nathan is making a menu full of treats fit for the season's sacred days. Her whole wheat apple butter cake is basically famous (and might sell out), so consider opting for a Pudwill Farms raspberry trifle ($55, serves 10) or Regier Farms peach crostata ($60, serves 8-10) instead. Also on offer are Valrhona chocolate dipped coconut macaroons ($2.25 each). » 1014 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-451-2311.
In Brentwood, FarmShop has a list of sweet and savory take-out dishes; one for Rosh Hashanah and one for Yom Kippur (well, the end of it, anyway). The Fig and Honey cake is sold whole ($18, serves 6-8) or by the slice ($3.50). Tired of apples? Check out the ripe black plum turnover; it serves up to 8 people ($32). » 225 26th St. Brentwood, 310-566-2400.
You're going to need to call right now if you want to pre-order an apple honey cake from Akasha in Culver City. It's part of the restaurant's dine-in Rosh Hashanah menu of specials, and is made to order. If you dine in tonight or tomorrow, a slice will be served to you with pear sorbet and candied walnuts. Consider having a nibble of Akasha's dark chocolate chunk rugelach while you're at it. » 9543 Culver Blvd. Culver City, 310-845-1700.
Don't forget the Challah! The rosemary-olive challah at Got Kosher! on Pico goes better with dinner than the classic version. Find some of L.A.'s sweetest in Beverly Hills at Bouchon Bakery (shiny loaves are coming out of the oven all week) and Barney Greengrass (where names like Shriver like to pick up their loaves along with the New York deli's smoked salmon, caviar, and chocolate-covered matzoh). Diamond Bakery and Canter's on Fairfax are slinging loaves that would be great for French toast.