The First in a series of Restaurant Reviews on my trip to Orange County, and Los Angeles, California
A Trip to Babycakes Bakery
Los Angeles, Downtown, Sunday, mid-morning. The streets are crowded, and we are driving in circles, looking for a parking place. Around, and around. I’m seriously getting dizzy. I didn’t know there would be that much foot traffic in Downtown L.A. on a Sunday morning, blocking my ability to make a right turn before the light changes and the oncoming traffic starts. Half an hour of this.
Waiting for lights, waiting for cars. I wonder, is a gluten-free, dairy-free pastry worth this much trouble? Apparently I used my out-loud voice without realizing it. The partner glares at me. “Yes.” She growls.
I continue, in circles. Until, two blocks down and one block over, there is a parking space. We are in the Garment district. I know so because the signs say so. It’s a working class section of town, thus all the foot traffic.
We park and lock, feed the meter, and hike it up to Baby Cakes. Once upon a time just a New York City operation, Baby Cakes has opened a bakery in LA. A small, tiny, 32 by 54 square foot bakery. We walk in and look around at the one table with two chairs, an ordering counter, a cash register, three display cases, and a window with shutters that are opened, facing into the “bakery.” And there’s a board to hang up cards and other miscellaneous flyers and event information.
The bakery consists of two ovens, a counter for processing dough and cake-like substances, and a mixer. My trained culinary eye takes it all in. I look down the hallway and see stacks of flour and other chemist-like products that bakers dare use to coax dough and batter into lovely, yummy sweet-tasting food.
The smell is well, heavenly. It’s a bakers haven. The one girl who takes our order multiplies into three as we sit eating our agave-sweetened goodies. The girls stand at the “Icing” station, icing cookies, and idly chatting about their lives, terribly unaware that two total strangers are listening in. When you work in an environment like Baby Cakes, who cares what strangers think. The bakers change shifts. The short but slender, long-haired boy turns into an older, smiling woman with slightly greying hair.
I’ll have to say that Baby Cakes wasn’t quite as small as the Wine bar next door, which was closed until 5 p.m., and looked to be half the size of the bakery.
Was it worth the trip into Downtown L.A. for those wheat free, dairy free pastries? You betcha. How ever the originators of Babycakes figured out the chemistry behind the cupcake, they are geniuses. It was worth it just to see the frosting smile on the Partner’s face. Is it worth another 7 hour drive just to get that smile again. Oh, hell yes.
Now, can we have a Babycakes in Phoenix, Arizona, please.