By Gina Ruccione, Cuisine and Restaurant Writer
By the age of three, I knew where to get cookies and cake in the Harbor Area. Half the time I begged to go to the First Presbyterian Church of San Pedro, just so I could go to Polly Ann’s bakery after service. My family was Catholic, but I wasn’t going to let a little thing like that stop me. I was a chubby kid and a hell of a negotiator.
There are a lot of small businesses, family-owned bakeries and the like that have been around for decades, providing homemade deliciousness to the Harbor Area. We all love those. But here are some of the new kids on the block slangin’ sugary goodness to people itching for a fix. And they ain’t just cookies neither.
Drunken Cake Pops
I’m not a huge fan of taking flavored shots at bars or shoving huge pieces of cake in my mouth. But I suppose there should be a place where the two meet in the middle. Cake pops infused with liquor is that happy medium. And I do appreciate both cake and hard liquor in small doses, so Drunken Cake Pops inside the Crafted warehouse off 22nd Street in San Pedro works for me.
Yes, you can taste alcohol. Of course, they have a gluten-free option. But my favorites include the lemon drop martini, a lemon cake pop with vodka and a sugar coating, and the Southern Gentleman, which is slightly more potent than the others. Think Hennessy, whiskey, brandy and Southern Comfort in caramel and sea salt, then joined in a glorious dark chocolate cake pop. I’d take several Southern Gentleman — the cake pops and the literal translation.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday through Sunday
Drunken Cake Pops is at Crafted, 112 E. 22nd St., San Pedro
There is a lot of food porn on Instagram, and Snow Monster is practically a dream for ice cream lovers. I’ve been eyeing Snow Monster for a while. When I saw the adorable little bear face logo go up on an unassuming sign in Belmont Shore, I knew my prayers had been answered. The day the store opened (more than several months ago) there was a line around the block and the line is still there. They’re known for shaved ice cream that essentially looks like a mound of colored snow with varying flavors and adorning sundries to sprinkle over the top. One serving is enough to feed an entire family. They also do made-to-order ice cream sandwiches with fresh macaroon cookies, all baked in-house and ready to be devoured. But the true show stoppers are their Jar Drinks— huge glass jars that are filled with milky tea and boba balls, and wrapped in a cotton candy cloud. I know. “What the hell does that even mean or look like?” Jesus! It’s something magical and I have to say the first time I saw it, I giggled. My inner fat kid came out to play with diabetes that day.
Hours: 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. daily
Snow Monster is at 5211 E. 2nd St. in Long Beach.
Well, if this place isn’t just the cutest. Known for breakfast and brunch, the Yellow Vase also has tarts, cakes, pastries and plenty more to choose from. The staff is friendly, the food is good and it’s a nice place to sit and hang with a cup of coffee. One of several locations, the petite French-inspired eatery definitely brings a little bit of culture and class to the area. Although speaking of class, I did hear one lovely gentleman bitching about how he had to order at the counter. Sir, you just ordered several different pastries, so you could stand to burn a few extra calories by ordering at the counter and then walking to a table. Don’t be a petite dick.
Hours: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily
Yellow Vase is at 28902 S. Western Ave., Rancho Palos Verdes
Gina Ruccione is a Southern California Restaurant Writers Association member. Visit her website at www.foodfashionfoolishfornication.com. Got a food tip? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her food adventures Instagram @foodfashionfoolishfornication.