WHERE: 236 N. Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90004
OPEN: SUN: 8-6; M-F: M-TR: 8-9; F/SAT: 8-10
PAY: Cash or Charge
East of Hollywood. South of Paramount studios. Larchmont - a little several-block island of boutiques and Starbuckseses and eateries, all in a row.
Very cute storefront, but also very discreet - didn't see it the first few times by. Their logo is only on the window, and a truck was parked in front (also blocking their address). Once I parked and ventured out on foot, easy to find. If you haven't been this way before, Larchmont parking is ALWAYS the Durst. ALWAYS. After a few laps around a few blocks, found a spot right across the street.
Outdoor seating as well as indoor seating, though both still total not-too-many places to hunker down and devour cakey goods. No public restrooms, either. I wouldn't make a point of it if they hadn't made a point of it with a sign. Now we've all made a point of it!
Babycakes has a few other locations in New York and Los Angeles - all locations, all VEGAN and GLUTEN-FREE.
Another gourmet donut spot... and another Sunday without a simple, glazed donut. It's a crime, really. So... what else did they have? Let's find out:
VANILLA SPRINKLE - Of the box I brought home, this was definitely the "lightest" of the donuts, but still quite heavy. Icing was a little on the thin side. Flavor-wise, the vanilla was very slight.
BLUEBERRY - Best moisture out of the whole batch. Nice distribution of blueberries in the dough. Nice flavor, in no way overwhelming. This one definitely presented as the most traditional of the donuts sampled.
CHOCOLATE-DIPPED - The donut itself was a simple cake, but the icing was quite a treat - tasted VERY much like Dairy Queen chocolate dip. Only one of the batch I ate in its entirety. It should also be noted that I felt like I had eaten a brick afterwards. This one, as well as the rest, are incredibly dense.
COFFEE CRUNCH - The one I was perhaps most-excited to take a bite out of - I LOVELOVE coffee-flavored ice cream, and I LOVE LOVE donuts. And, of course, I LOVELOVELOVE coffee itself. This was fine, as far as the rest of the options went. Coffee flavor was nice, not overwhelming, but on the whole, this round really wound up tasting like very literal coffee cake.
SALTED CARAMEL - Salted caramel things are the bestest, aren't they? Unfortunately, this specimen is not the bestest. It's a cakey, sticky piece. Perhaps other ones in the batch had more flavor, but there didn't seem to be any salt present, and the caramel itself didn't seem to translate very well. Big disappointment, this one.
TOASTED COCONUT - As I was reminded with my adventure last week to Fonuts, where I procured (and subsequently consumed) a coconut donut... I hate coconut. That said, this one wasn't all that bad. Light, think layer of coconut icing up top. Cakey inside, hint of coconut flavor. Slivers of toasted coconut as garnish, but none of my ever nemesisical (nemesistical... nemesisinessty) coconut shavings to be found anywhere. As far as the donut beneath the icing, second best flavor experience after the blueberry.
OVERALL - Should anyone put Babycakes in the corner?
Awesome as it is that there's an all-Vegan source for gourmet donuts in the neighborhood (relatively speaking), these donuts just aren't... donuts. As little flavored cakes, thumbs almost-up. This branch of bakery may be worth the trip for any of the dozens of other confections available (tons of stuff, all of which looks delicious), but, as far as donuts are concerned (and considering the steep price tag of almost $4 per donut), grab a dozen closer to home.
And here's the other thing, and it might not seem like much, but it matters: I used to work retail, and I know how hard this can be to pull off when it's busy, or there's a line, etc. I dropped $28 on donuts. It would have been nice to get a smile with my service. Not a deal-breaker, but definitely something that stuck with me as I walked out the door.