Candy

I know its Winter, and it’s cold. Typically, you don’t eat cold things in the Winter. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy something sweet. It’s Los Angeles we are talking here — its okay. Entering Manhattan Beach Creamery, I was a kid in a candy store. There was candy on display with every sweet thing you can think of. There is something magical about having ice cream or a snack at the beach. You feel young again. I had my eye on one thing and one thing only — the chocolate dipped ice cream sandwich.

The cookie part was quite sweet, a little too sweet. The dark chocolate that coated the sandwich cookie actually rounded out the sweetness a lot. The ice cream sandwich was thick over frozen. This helped in keeping things together. Once the cookie sandwich thawed out a bit, it was just a perfect ice cream sandwich. It was a bit large, and I don’t recall finishing the whole thing. I was just happy. Cookies and Ice cream? All in a sandwich? Covered in dark chocolate?

Manhattan Beach Creamery is in a nice location in one of the best beaches in Los Angeles. Any sweet lover can appreciate what they offer. From candy, baked goods and ice cream, this is a great pit stop for dessert and sweets. It’s fun to just walk around and look at all they have. I think it’s a nice way to kill time at the beach, and you get a sweet snack with that.

Manhattan Beach Creamery on Urbanspoon

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Chocolate and chocolate. Chocolate on chocolate on chocolate on chocolate. Chocolate. Everyone loves this stuff. Girls devour it after breakups. Guys say they don’t like chocolate, but secretly love this stuff. I am sure chocolate has some kind of chemical that makes us happy. That is we love it so much. Max Brenner, an Israeli chocolate shop, uses the powers of chocolate to entice their customers. From hot chocolates, chocolate pops, and monstrous chocolate chip cookies, chocolate is definaltey the name of the game at this restaurant. Upon ordering off of the dinner menu, my eyes were wide open for the dessert.

I wanted to try the mac and cheese, and I was surprised. Called the Really Cheesy, Really Crunchy Mac and Cheese, the taste was perfect, though not too cheesy. The noodles were al dente, something missed in a lot of mac and cheese dishes. Help from the applewood smoked bacon gave it that salty flavor. Baked in a large skillet, it was enough as a complete meal. The maranara sauce in the flask was interesting, and delicious – It transformed the dish completely, giving the dish a robust flavor profile. As for the diced tomatoes, I did not care much for it. This dish was delicious in itself. Sensing a lack of meat, I ordered some.

Another table ordered the Thai style chicken satay, and I thought it looked good. The chicken were grilled perfectly, and the meat was soft, almost too soft. The barbecue sauce was disappointing — it was like the ones from the dollar store. Fortunately, the hoisin like sauce was more of my liking. The best part of the dish was the That style slaw. Mixed with peanuts, peppers, lettuce, and a sweet sauce, it was a perfect compliment to the chicken.

Now that we had savory out of the way, I was excited about dessert. I decided to order the cold iced chocolate, chocolate pizza with the works, and as an after thought, the chocolate chip cookie.

I was utterly disappointed with the dessert I ordered. The chocolate chunks dessert pizza was lacking in every way. Topped with melted chocolate, hazelnuts, bananas, peanut butter, and roasted marshmallows, it was all a sugary mix. The ingredients would have been perfect if the pizza dough was better. The dough was just a thick piece of dough and didn’t resemble anything pizza dough like. Even frozen microwave pizza had better dough. I imagined and yearned for dough that was like that of a gooey Wetzels Pretzels or a doughnut. I wasn’t getting my chocolate fix at all.

The Pure Chocolate Truffle Granita was chocolate in ice cold liquid form. It was basically dark chocolate truffle blended with ice. At first, I was in remorse after finding out the drink didn’t contain any ice cream, but this turned into a blessing in disguise. The pureness of the chocolate shined with ever sip. A bit on the bitter side, it was a little drinking really good coffee without any creamer. Why ruin a good cup of coffee with creamer? In this case, the ice cream was perfect not in this drink. As for the DRINK ME cup, this was a play on the movie Alice in Wonderland. These whimsical accents made this drink fun and exciting.

The chocolate chip cookie is such a classic, it’s the favorite among the masses. The cookies at Max Brenner are monstrous. Each one costing $5, they are well worth it. Warm and fluffy on the inside, and crispy on the outside, there is no doubt that they were bakes not too long ago. Each bite was perfectly chocolatey and delicious. The chocolate was of the highest quality, and each bite had mostly chocolate. In hind site, these would have been perfect with the iced chocolate drink. How perfect would that have been?

Honestly, this place is all about the dessert. If you plan on eating dinner here, eat elsewhere. Yeah, you will get some good eats, but save this place for a dessert only. Do get their interesting desserts, do skip the dessert pizza, and opt for their chocolate chip cookie. You can get a chocolate over load, and buy some stuff for a chocolate overload for another time. The Israeli know their chocolates. Max Brenner is a true testament to that. Check out their online store here, and maybe you can get a chocolate overload as well.

Max Brenner on Urbanspoon

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No, I didn’t eat here.  I just visited the store that was right across from Earl of Sandwich, inside Planet Hollywood.  It was cool to see all of the interesting candies they sold.  I’m not going to lie, this store is for chicks, not me.  They had clothes for girls, candies, cupcakes and such.  They even bragged that famous people walk in there all the time. It looks like they do get a lot of endorsement from people in entertainment. One of their popular items were these lollipops that swirl.  I think they even had glitter.  Who knows.

I wanted to try their pastries and gelato, but I had already eaten lunch.  This is a cool spot just to see all the types of treats that aren’t at your ordinary candy store. Maybe next time I will eat at the actual restaurant at the Paris Resort.  Until then, enjoy all the candy!

Sugar Factory on Urbanspoon

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Upon reading the post title, you’re probably wondering what the heck this is.  Well, the story is, about 2000 years ago, the Emperor invented the Long Xutang candy.  He got maltose cut into sections and extracted them into fine filaments of thread-like candy and wrapped them together.  At the time, it was only served to the elite and royalty.  The finished products looks like a cotton ball with literally thousands of hair like strands.  Hence, the name — dragon beard candy.

As I was walking into a Chinese convenience store / boba shop, I was captivated by a video loop of how this candy was made.  The candy maker had some kind of dough (maltose), and kept on stretching it (kind of like how the Chinese make noodles).   He did this over and over, and over until he had so many string like strands. The candy maker handled it with lots of corn starch or some kind of powder to prevent the strands from sticking to each other. It was interesting and I just had to try some.

The texture and feeling was a bit weird in the mouth.  The white “beard” part melted in the mouth, kind of like how cotton candy does.  The center had some candied peanuts of some sort, thought there are other flavors to choose from.  The candy tasted good, but I could not get over the texture of it.   It was quite an experience.  Check out the video to see how it is made.

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