Features Sweets

Your Favorite Childhood Snacks Just Grew Up At This Whimsical Bakehouse

Sometimes, all we need to bring us back to our youth is for a nostalgic flavor to unlock the memories of our childhoods.

That’s what Hollywood’s Cake Monkey is all about. The bakery is home to desserts that tug on your sentimental heartstrings with its menu of high-end desserts inspired by childhood snacks and miniature layer cakes.

Essentially, it’s all of your favorite retro snacks grown up.

We spoke to head baker and co-owner Elizabeth Belkind to learn more about her pastry-driven journey and what led her to Cake Monkey.

“I was born in Mexico City, and my family was originally from Russia and Poland.” she said. “We moved to the U.S. in 1982.”

At the University of Michigan, Belkind got a masters in Russian studies.

“I got to travel to Russia and was fascinated with the country and the culture, it was so different from what we know here. I got hooked, and for a while, I was obsessed with it. It was a huge journey of self-discovery, but also discovering a world that’s completely different from ours.”

This eventually led to her work helping re-settle immigrants and Holocaust survivors who immigrated to the U.S.

“It was different from what I’m doing now for sure,” she told FOODBEAST.

While a noble career path, it just wasn’t for her and Belkind left Michigan immediately after she graduated.

“I loved my work, but did not like being at a desk in an office,” she explained. “I decided to move to California and start anew in a career that was much more dynamic, and where my days would be spent creatively.”

That career, it turns out, was in food.

“I liked being on my feet and the rush of working in a kitchen,” she laughed.

Belkind went to culinary school and began working as a line cook at Campanile — her first job in food. There, she met Roxanna Jullapat (now of Friends and Family) who inspired her to take up pastries.

“Her station was right next to mine, and I would watch her every night.” said Belkind.

Watching Chef Julepat work awakened something in her and Belkind asked herself:

“Why in the world am I doing what I’m doing, grinding lobster shells and veal bones and stinking, and she’s doing something so different, fun, and luscious?”

Belkind requested to change stations soon after and trained under Kim Boyce, the then pastry chef at Campanile.

Cue the passage of time.

After leaving her first restaurant, Belkind spent the next few years honing her pastry skills, working as the pastry chef at Grace restaurant.

“We started a Wednesday night donut shop at Grace, where we would change the dessert menu to just donuts,” she said.

“It was a humongous hit,” she told us. “It really helped put my name out there. It kind of became my trademark all of a sudden —  I was making donuts and kind of like American nostalgic desserts.”

When she left Grace, Belkind came across an ad on Craigslist that said:

Wanted: Chef who must love cake.

Already looking to start her own businesses and having saved up some money, Belkind answered the ad where she met her future partner Lisa Olin.

Six months after meeting, the two started Cake Monkey.

The idea behind Cake Monkey was thanks to Olin, who wanted to highlight refined pastries inspired by childhood snacks. Belkind, who was known for her creativity and elegance in pastry work, was tasked with bringing those snacks to life — a task which she pretty much nailed.

Popular items include: Pop Pies (a take on Pop-Tarts), Big O’s (Oreos), Miniature Cakes, El Rollos (Ho-Hos) and Inside Out S’mores.

It’s been quite a journey for Belkind since beginning her first job on the line. With her own team at Cake Monkey, Belkind told us her absolute favorite thing about coming into work.

“I love when I see my team excelling at what they’re doing and nailing the product,” she says. “It’s such a struggle to communicate your idea to someone else and have someone execute it perfectly and when it happens, it’s the best thing ever.”

Cake Monkey is currently based out of Los Angeles, with a production facility located in North Hollywood. Belkind says a second storefront is soon to open in Westlake Village. If you’re ever looking to rekindle the wistful tastes of your adolescence, you need to check Cake Monkey out.


Popular Bakehouse Creates Pastrami-Stuffed Croissants

Mr. Holmes has been one of my favorite bakehouses for a while now. The pastries are always phenomenal and because their menu revolves more than the front door of a great metropolitan hotel, my interest is always piqued when it comes to the debut of new items.

So imagine my excitement when the immensely popular bakehouse just added a new stuffed croissant they’re simply calling: Just Try It.

The new croissants feature pastrami made from a rub created by Mr. Holmes’ neighbor Tinfoil Deli. You may remember them from our sandwich speakeasy video a few months back. The tender smoked meat is wrapped in a buttery croissant pastry and filled with pickled mandarins and red onions, Manchego cheese, and topped with pepitas, fennel seeds, and more Manchego.


If all of these flavors have your mind in a pickle, trust me, the taste is incredible.

You can find the new Just Try It croissants at the Mr. Holmes bakehouses in Southern California and San Francisco.

Man, these were so good, I didn’t even need to throw mustard on it.

Fast Food Health Packaged Food Restaurants

Panera Bread Recalls Cream Cheese Nationally Over Listeria Concerns

Photo: WikiCommons | Miosotis Jade

Patrons who purchase their cream cheese from Panera Bread may want to check their fridge quickly. Like, real quick.

Panera Bread announced that they’re issuing a voluntary nationwide recall of two cream cheese products sold in U.S. bakery locations.

The company discovered samples of a variety of 2 oz. cream cheese tested positive for presence of Listeria monocytogenes. According to the company, the products to be recalled are the 2 and 8 oz. cream cheese containers with the expiration date that’s on or before 4/2/18.

Here’s what they look like:

Cream cheese flavors include: Plain Cream Cheese, Reduced-Fat Cream Cheese, Reduced-Fat Chive & Onion Cream Cheese, Reduced-Fat Honey Walnut Cream Cheese, and Reduced-Fat Wild Blueberry Cream Cheese.

Blaine Hurst, Panera’s President and CEO, said in the statement:

“The safety of our guests and associates is paramount, therefore we are recalling all cream cheese products sold in the US with an active shelf life. We have likewise ceased all manufacturing in the associated cream cheese facility.”

He added:

“Only one variety of 2-oz cream cheese from a single day yielded the positive result. Our intent is to go above and beyond for our guests. You should expect nothing less from Panera.”

Listeria can cause infection and illness in small children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems. Sometimes, this could be fatal. Luckily, Panera caught this early on and preemptively issued the recall.

Anyone who bought these cream cheese products are advised to chuck them out immediately and visit for a full refund.

Features Restaurants Sweets

Milk Bar’s Weekend Pop-Up Gives Us A Taste Of The New LA Location

Earlier this year, Los Angeles received some fantastic news as chef Christina Tosi announced that she would be opening a new West Coast location of her Milk Bar concept.

Milk Bar gained notoriety in New York nearly a decade ago for its innovative desserts like crack pie, compost cookies, and ice cream made with cereal milk.

Over the weekend, a pop-up was held in LA giving us a glimpse at what’s the come this following year.

In a collaboration with Jon & Vinny’s, Milk Bar held their first-ever LA pop up in the backyard of the Italian eatery.

Guests got to try desserts they wouldn’t normally be able to get their hands on here in Southern California, with Tosi herself there to talk about her menu.

It was divine.

Milk Bar then moved closer to downtown on Saturday and Sunday and set up shop at the popular 29 Rooms and Smorgasburg LA where a larger crowd was able to try Tosi’s dessert menu.

With Milk Bar’s first-ever California popup wrapped, residents now have something to tide them over a bit until the brick-and-morter spot officially opens up in the not-too-distant future.

Until then, Chef Tosi is welcome back anytime.

#foodbeast Brand Cravings Drinks Features FOODBEAST Products Restaurants SPONSORED Sweets

Blackberry Lemonade Stuffed Croissants Are The Next-Level Baked Good You Need To Try

For the past six months, the pastry-baking geniuses running Costa Mesa’s newest dessert hot spot, Dough & Arrow, have made a name for themselves as OC’s newest baker on the block, consistently whipping up colorfully decadent cookies, croissants and specialty coffee beverages.

Now, Dough & Arrow’s two newest creations enlist the help of a well-known sweet, summertime beverage that is sure to turn heads all winter long.

The Blackberry Lemonade Stuffed Croissant is made with purple dough, and stuffed with blackberry jam, and Dough & Arrow’s creamy custard filling. Then, this soft, flaky Instagram-worthy pastry is topped with a bright purple Blackberry Lemonade glaze, made with Hubert’s Blackberry Lemonade.

Another new addition to Dough & Arrow’s robust menu of coffee beverages, cakes, and pastries is the Lemon Cream Pie Tea. This creamy treat is made with mixture of Dough & Arrow’s popular Black Tea, Hubert’s Lemonade and is topped off with a thick helping of whipped lemon cream.  

Whether you want to warm up, or just chill out, a stop at Dough & Arrow in Costa Mesa will sweeten up your holiday season with some unique lemonade-infused creations you won’t find anywhere else.  

Photos by Pete Pham

Created in partnership with Hubert’s Lemonade

Feel Good Now Trending Restaurants Sweets

A Daughter’s Viral Tweet Helped Save Her Father’s Panaderia From Closing

After Hurricane Harvey wreaked destruction all across Houston earlier this year, businesses that were able to stay open still hurt due to a decrease in customers and foot traffic. For one panaderia, that meant the owner considered closing and selling his shop. Fortunately, his daughter wasn’t about to let that happen.

In a now-viral tweet, Jackie Garza posted a video of her father, Trinidad, preparing fresh pan dulce at La Casa Bakery in Houston. Attached to the video was an all-caps plea asking people to share and retweet the video. “1 RT could bring in a potential customer,” Garza wrote in her request for the internet to help out. And man, did the internet come through in the clutch.

Garza’s tweet has now amassed over 1.1 million video views and 58,000 retweets, and business at her father’s bakery is booming. According to ABC 13, crowds were packed into La Casa Bakery over the weekend to try out the made-from-scratch baked goods they’d heard about on Twitter. Garza, meanwhile, has been getting messages from all over the world in regards to her father’s business as a result of her single tweet.

Jackie Garza will now be running the social media accounts for her dad’s business, and hopes to go to college and get a degree in business and restaurant management. Then, she’ll be back to help her dad run La Casa, which Trinidad says she’s more than capable to do one day. In the meantime, he’s glad that the influx of customers will be keeping his doors open.

Fast Food Features Humor Restaurants

10 Crazy Tales of Servers Getting Revenge On Patrons, Coworkers, Or Upper Management

Have you ever had a frustrating dining experience and wondered whether or not you’ve pissed off your server enough to warrant some kind of food revenge? Did you have an off day and directed your decaffeinated aggression towards an undeserving barista? Maybe your boss or coworker has done you wrong. Well, you’re not alone.

We dug around Reddit and found some of the most epic, hilarious, and horrifying instances of server justice ever to be confessed on the Internet. While we remind you to try your best to not be an asshole to the food service industry, sit back and enjoy these tales of food revenge inflicted upon deserving patrons.

Like with an unseasoned steak, these stories should be taken with a pinch of salt.

[X-post /r/TalesFromYourServer] You fuck with my Work Fam, I fuck back. from ProRevenge

We’ve all had that boss that just makes your job miserable. However, this ramen girl got some well-deserved revenge on her tyrannical manager.

The time a coworker stole my tip. [Xpost from r/Talesfromyourserver] from ProRevenge

Never come between a server and their tips. This act of revenge took months, but the payoff was pretty generous.

Customer calls back every time we send him food and demands that we comp his order. Today was his last meal from our establishment. from pettyrevenge

If you cause a consistent ruckus as your local mom and pop pizzeria, you better believe they’ll notice.

If the customer before me was a bitch. I guess I should keep the ball rolling and be a bitch myself. from pettyrevenge

Everyone makes mistakes. Don’t flip out over them, just use your words.

Douchebag customer gets put in place from pettyrevenge

The bacon burger comeback of the century.

The Pettiest Barista Revenge from pettyrevenge

Coffee soaked fingers might be the most terrible act of revenge yet. Imagine the smell sticking around all day.

“Everything on the burger” from pettyrevenge

If you’re ordering “everything” on your burger, expect to pay for everything.

If you’re rude to me I’ll give you the shitty bananas. from pettyrevenge

Soggy banana tips are the worst.

Fast food revenge from pettyrevenge

A fast food server is like a genie, be careful with your words when you order.

If you are mean I’ll give you small chicken strips from pettyrevenge

This douche deserved tiny chicken strips.

Cravings Features Sweets Video

This Bakeshop Has The Cutest Inspiration For Their Filipino-Inspired Sweets

When Kristine de la Cruz and Annie Choi decided to join forces and combine their respective expertise in confections and coffee, the result became one of Los Angeles’ best bake and coffee shops. The secret to the sweet success at their endeavor, FrankieLucy Bakeshop, may lie in de la Cruz’s mastery of Filipino-inspired treats from her already established Crème Caramel LA and Choi’s knack and know-how with coffee at her own Found Coffee.

Or perhaps the secret could be the inspiration behind their new shop’s name. For those curious, FrankieLucy was inspired by de la Cruz’s and Choi’s two cute pups whose names are — you guessed it — Frankie and Lucy.

Adorable dogs, yummy and unique treats, and top notch coffee? Yeah, the formula for success is all there.

Clearly FrankieLucy Bakeshop has something for everybody at their Silver Lake neighborhood location in Los Angeles. From delicious custards, quiches, brownies, cookies, and cakes flavored with deft Filipino influence to a unique craft coffee program featuring Demitasse and boutique beans, it’s no wonder that FrankieLucy has come out the gate with great achievement in their first few months after opening.