In and around the Arts District are lots of places that sell wonderful edible holiday gifts. Here’s just a few ideas to consider:
Frances Bakery & Coffee: In Honda Plaza next door to the Arts District’s nearest (and favorite) post office is Frances Bakery & Coffee where I just had my first (followed by my second, then my third, then …) canelé, a French pastry with a moist, spongy custard center and a dark, thick caramelized crust. It is my NEW favorite dessert (at least, until I walk by The Pie Hole, and then run inside to get a slice of their amazing maple custard pie!). Shaped as a striated cylinder only two inches in height, while found often in Parisian pâtisseries, it is actually a specialty of the Bordeaux region of France. Made from egg, sugar, milk and flour flavored with rum and vanilla, the custard batter is baked in a mold, giving the canelé its characteristic shape, crust, and texture. While I’ve not yet tried the bakery’s own unique take on the popular cronut (a flaky fried croissant in the shape of a donut), I’ve heard that their Nutella version is the best!
Bread Lounge: Bakers Ran Zimon and Ziv Wagner deliver their own unique Mediterranean take on classic French and European baking that work well with the American palate. Every day, it seems, I’m surprised with one or more new creations. Perfect for the holidays, their shelves are currently filled with great gift items: Eggnog Cake with Dried Cherries; Banana Bread with Chocolate & Pecans; Valencia Chocolate & Orange Biscotti; Almond Squares; Feta Crackers; Going Nuts crackers; Sablé au Beurre (butter cookies); several flavors of their Natural Fruit Confiture (I like the peach-and-raspberries version); and jars of my favorite spice, Za-atar. Of course, their crusty, chewy baguettes, seed and olive sticks, multigrain loaves, ciabatta, brownies, rolls, and pastries (my current fave is the Kouign Amann!) are a welcome addition to any holiday gathering! They even have wonderful flavored butters and spreads, quiches, salads, soups, and sandwiches!
The Pie Hole: You and your loved ones deserve the very best pies in Los Angeles. Pre-order your holiday pies NOW from The Pie Hole. Normally closed on Monday, the shop will be open on December 23 for pre-order pickups only during 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Note that, while open on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve from 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM, The Pie Hole will be closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
Urban Radish: I just shopped this morning at our local grocer and Urban Radish’s “Made In LA” gift baskets look great! Prices are reasonable, starting at $25, and if you ask at the register, the always-smiling staff can help you make your own.
There are many other great places in the Arts District to buy edible holiday gift items, too. How about gifting your favorite beer in a growler from Angel City Brewery? Pour Haus Wine Bar also sells bottles of wine, as does Joe’s Downtown Market. Get a bag of coffee from Handsome Coffee Roasters, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Novel Cafe, and The Pie Hole. Most also offer commemorative merchandise for sale, too.