There are lots of things that may come to mind when you think of Los Angeles—bars and nightclubs, celebrity spotting, amazing bakeries… Wait. Say what?
Yes, amid all the must-dos and must-sees in LA, there are some fantastic Los Angeles bakeries, far off the typical tourist track. Last year, our Los Angeles Urban Adventures team was approached to run a surprise 65th birthday bakery tour. The birthday boy’s hobby was baking and his wife wanted him and 24 friends to ride around town checking out LA’s best bakeries.
Well, we just so happen to have a best friend baker with an industrial bakery up in Sunland—so we thought, why not begin there? They bake loaves for Trader Joe’s and have a sourdough starter created over 35 years ago up on Angeles Crest by my best friend’s dad.
This was the start of a true adventure. LA being as immense as it is, we couldn’t just jet off to any old area of the city if we were going to do this in a half-day. But it turns out the North Valley area is rich with traditional, family-run bakeries perfect to include in our itinerary.
After a tour of the Wheatland Baking facility, our host indulged us in homemade duck prosciutto, olive oil toast, and a free loaf of bread for each guest. Then it was off in a big open air bus to Martino’s Italian Bakery for its famous tea cakes. This family-run business has been serving Burbank since 1926!
Next up were a delicious selection of empanadas, salsas and aguas frescas from our friends at World Empanadas. They may run out of a liquor store, but their simple empanadas are bursting with flavour, plus they offer vegan and gluten-free options!
We were starting to get full at this point, but we just had to indulge in the famous falafel wrap and fresh-out-of-the-oven zaatar “pizzas” from the Sipan Armenian Bakery in Glendale. This finished off our savoury tastings and we were able to head to the charming Kenneth Village in Glendale to finish off the whole shebang with a chocolate mousse birthday cake and cappuccinos all around.
The day was a true urban adventure. We discovered offbeat, locally owned bakeries where owners and workers shared their stories and delights with us, we ate well and, most importantly, surprised the birthday boy!