Candy Is Dandy...But so Is Ice Cream!

Handcrafted doughnuts! Oh, what will they think of next? Established in 2012, Sidecar is the creation of Chef Brooke Desprez and Sumter and Chi Lin Pendergrast. Originally started in Costa Mesa, Sidecar is now open in Santa Monica. The sweet fluffy doughnuts are available with heavenly Stumptown coffee. Pop on in and try a few! One look in the case and you'll go nuts deciding what to order. Made daily from scratch and the freshest possible ingredients; these doughnuts are fried hourly in small batches to guarantee a fresh, warm treat every time. We love the Butter and Salt ($2.75), a vanilla bean cake with brown butter glaze and fleur de sel. It's moist and full of flavor. The salt adds just the right touch. The Maple Bacon ($3.75) is a raised, glazed type doughnut topped with pure Vermont Maple syrup glaze and crunchy Niman Ranch bacon. Saigon Cinnamon Crumb ($2.75) is a sweet, and slightly spicy cake doughnut topped with sweet glaze and a house made strusel crumble. Other daily doughnuts include the Huckleberry ($3.25), the Madagascar Vanilla Twist ($2.50), and Buttermilk Drops ($1.25/3 for $3). Check out monthly flavors too and don't miss the Strawberry Buttermilk ($3.25), Choc A Lot ($3.25) and Meyer Lemon ($3). Stumptown coffees include Forty Winks (with chocolate and raspberry flavor) and Colt's Tooth (sweet and savory). Or pick up a mocha, iced coffee, house made soda, cappuccino cold brew or tea and enjoy! Doughnuts never tasted so good! Sidecar Doughnuts 631 Wilshire Blvd. Santa Monica (310) 587-0022 Hours Daily 6:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Fri & Sat til 9.

If it's a quiet little dinner that you're looking for, or just a beautiful bar; The Independence in Santa Monica may be just the ticket! Drop in on a Saturday night or during the week for some upgraded pub food and discover one of Santa Monica's most well-kept secrets. Small plates include Rosemary Foccacia bread ($6) spread with herb mascarpone or Red Pepper Honey Chicken wings ($12). Market salads ($13-$15) include Kale Chopped, Farmer's Market greens, or Red and Gold Beet. For entrees try the Pan Seared Mary's Chicken ($22) with buttermilk curd, endive, and quinoa pasta. It's tender, juicy, and flavorful. The Angus Burger ($16) is caramelized onions, gruyere, and herb aioli on a toasted onion brioche roll. Order a side of brussels sprouts ($7) with sesame vinaigrette or Parmesan Truffle Fries ($9). The   The Independence 205 Broadway, Santa Monica (310) 458-2500 Hours: Tues-Wed: 12 pm-9 pm, Thurs: 12pm-10 pm, Fri: 12 pm-11 pm, Sat: 11 am- 11 pm, Sunday 11 am- 9 pm.

After an obligatory visit to the Santa Monica Pier (as one of my birthday presents), my husband and I decided to take a walk down Broadway. It was then we stumbled upon Stickhouse the Italian gelato cafe. The Sottile family started making gelato in Torino, Italy in 1972 and haven't stopped since! Using high quality ingredients, gelato is microcrystalized to make it pure without adding any air. The result: a thick, flavorful gelato served on a stick. But this isn't where the fun stops! Fruit Sorbettos and creamy gelato bars abound in this tiny Santa Monica storefront. At $4.50 a pop, this gelato is well worth the price. Try a raspberry, blackberry, black currant, cherry, grapefruit, kiwi, lemon, mango, peach, pomegranate, or watermelon if you're up for a fruity treat. Creamy flavors include almond, avocado, chocolate, coconut, coffee, hazelnut, licorice, mint, pistahcio, and of course vanilla. Get the bar dipped in rich milk, dark, or white chocolate, then add coconut, almonds, hazelnuts, or pistachios. If it's coffee you need Stickhouse has a delicious Ethiopian blend for $4. We love Stickhouse and you will too! Stickhouse 223 Broadway, Santa Monica (424) 744-8531 Hours: Sun-Thurs: 9:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m. Fri/Sat: 9:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m.

If you've never heard of Cool Haus ice cream, you're really, well just not cool! No seriously, you're missing out! Cool Haus started with an ice cream truck and now has a storefront in Culver City. Rich, exciting ice creams and decadent cookies combine to make outstanding ice cream "sammies." With inventive flavors like Chicken and Waffles, and Goat's Milk Caramel Marscarpone Rosemary; you are certain to find a combination you will love. With a rotating selection of ice cream flavors, you might find Beer & Pretzels, Brown Butter Candied Bacon (my fav) and even Tahitian Vanilla. the Tahitian Vanilla bean, at $5 a scoop/sandwich is the best the city has to offer. Sandwich it between the freshly made oatmeal cookies or Froot Loop cereal bars and you'll have yourself one of the tastiest desserts around! I love this place! Cool Haus 8588 Washington Blvd. Culver City. Hours: M-Th 12-10, F-Sun 12-11

Recommended: Oatmeal Cookies, Tahitian Vanilla Bean, Chicken and Waffles, Froot Loop Bars.

How about an ice cream shop that uses all locally-sourced ingredients and 17% butterfat as their base? Does it sound amazing? Well it is. If you're in the Larchmont Village area and in the mood for an innovative combination like Birthday Cakes and Blackberries (hunks of vanilla cake and swirls of blackberry jam,or Meyer Lemon Buttermilk with Blueberries ($4.90 a scoop) you'll most definitely find it here. Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons has to be my favorite. Rich vanilla ice cream is studded with thick sea salted carmel and is a winner in my book. Enjoy your ice cream on a bench out in front. You'll definitely want to come back for other interesting flavors like Black Olive Brittle and Goat Cheese, Freckled Woodblock Chocolate, and Salted, Malted Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough! Salt and Straw 240 N. Larchmont Blvd. Los Angeles (323) 466-0485 Open Daily 10 a.m.- 11:p.m.

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