Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Cafe Dulce, Los Angeles

Cafe Dulce is a Japanese bakery cafe located in Japan Town in Los Angeles, in Japanese Village Plaza.  I didn't intend to seek it out, but during my recent visit, it was right next to somewhere else I was visiting (stay tuned, ZOMG, amazing soft serve), and when I saw the baked goods lineup, I *had* to grab something, even though I literally had a huge soft serve ice cream sundae in my hand.  Never too much dessert for this girl ...

Particularly with a lineup like this.

The beverage selection has classic espresso based drinks, hot and cold, trendy cold brew, etc, but they also had a very impressive matcha lineup (iced blueberry matcha latte anyone?)  And they have a slew of sandwiches, ranging from basic turkey and swiss on a baguette to exciting creations like a spicy korean cheesesteak.  And salads, breakfast burritos, etc.  But I wasn't there for any of that.

I was there for the baked goods.  Because, wow.  Sure, what draws in the crowds is signature items like Fruity Pebble donut holes, bright and colorful, or other crazy donut creations.  They are known as one of the top 10 donut shops in the entire LA metro area (which I only learned later).  Don't get me wrong, these did look great, but I was interested in the more unique items.  Like the "Dinosaur Egg", a sweet roll with walnuts, black sesame seeds, and other goodies, a vibrant green from spirulina, made with tapioca flour for some serious chew.  They look like ... well, what you might imagine a dinosaur egg would look like.  They also fry that same dough, and make a "Dino Churro".    So many fascinating choices.
Packaging.
Given that I had my hands full of other dessert, I settled on one item.  I went for one of the roti, which was not anything like a Indian roti you may be thinking of.  It was a bun-like baked good.  I had never seen anything like it before, hence, my selection.

The roti come in nearly as many flavors as the donuts, ranging from Japanese influenced matcha or red bean, to clearly ones aimed at the masses like peanut butter cup.

My treat was handed over in a bag, and I quickly put it away, and focused on my rapidly melting ice cream.  Until later.
Red Bean Roti. $3.25.
I went for the red bean roti, which, was green on top.  Just go with it.

While the bun sorta looked like melonpan, it wasn’t actually crispy on top as it looked, the green top was soft.  The green bread had a very, very light matcha flavor, only detectable when I specifically peeled off the green and ate it alone.

The bread for the rest of the roll was soft and sweet, basic Japanese style sweet milk bread.
Red Bean Roti: Inside.
Inside is where the magic was.

A really unique filling of red bean (paste and some bits of red bean), bits of walnut, and chestnut.  I really liked the mix of textures and flavors, and it was sweetened just enough to offset the red bean, not too much to turn it into a dessert (or so I convinced myself? I was totally being healthy, eating a bun with “protein” inside like red beans and nuts … right?).

It was fine at room temperature as a snack, although I think it would have been better warmed up, and paired with one of their creamy drinks.  I may have had a few bites topped with whipped cream, and that was pretty great too.

Overall, it was good, and I’d gladly try more of their items.  Next time I'm in LA ...
Café Dulcé Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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