B Sweet Dessert Bar balances innovation and authenticity with classic fresh-baked treats

By Bethney Bonilla (bethney.bonilla@gmail.com)

B Sweet’s hipster-friendly exterior belies the homemade goodness inside

B Sweet’s hipster-friendly exterior belies the homemade goodness inside

Los Angeles is flooded with innovative dessert shops. From decadent cupcakes to gourmet candy, there is something to keep the sweet tooth happy popping up on every corner. In the midst of this sweet treat renaissance, some say there’s been a loss of appreciation for good old-fashioned baked goods.

Those people probably haven’t been to B Sweet Dessert Bar yet.

B Sweet fits right in with the stylish and eclectic storefronts that give the recently christened Sawtelle Japantown its unique energy. A true foodie oasis, Sawtelle Boulevard is often buzzing with hipsters and Pan-Asian culinary explorers.

The term “dessert bar” may have a boozy, contemporary flare, but the pastries at B Sweet are filled with timeless homemade flavors. Walking through the glass door under the lights of a rusted-metal sign that would fit right in on Abbot Kinney Boulevard, I was greeted with pleasant fragrances of vanilla and sugar.

Underneath the shop’s industrial-meets-rustic veneer is a quaint, simple and very cozy bakery interior. A holiday fanatic, I was thrilled to see holiday décor dressing every wall. It was as though I had traveled home early and headed to grandma’s house for the holidays.

Others probably had the same feeling. Millennials — those confounding twentysomethings every other generation is always trying to figure out — packed the place from wall to wall, and there wasn’t a frown in site.

This was my first visit to the shop, though I have been in withdrawals the past few months after tasting treats from the affiliated B Sweet Truck. I’ve been eager to sample the house specialty:
bread pudding.

After waiting in a line that looked like a couples retreat, I was ready for my moment with my special someone — my dessert. My order: one “Being Bad” sized banana chocolate bread pudding ($6). I refused to let the healthy eating oath I had made earlier in the week stop me, though I did refrain from adding a scoop of ice cream and extra glaze on top (a customer favorite).

Served hot in a compact box that looks like it could double for Chinese takeout, the bread pudding is quite possibly the greatest dessert in Los Angeles. Biting into it is absolutely delightful, as the thick consistency gushes with warm, authentic flavors. My banana chocolate had a strong taste of the fruit that was seamlessly matched with the chocolate glaze.

I tried two others flavors of the six options for the day (B Sweet rotates up to 40 variations), and each one had a high-quality taste complemented by rich, old-fashioned savors.

The glazed donut bread pudding took me back to Saturday morning cartoons, when the most extravagant dessert came in a foldup pink box. If you love donuts, definitely try this one and pair it with a serving of B Sweet’s coffee on tap ($3 to $4). The nitro cold brew coffee and the nitro cold brew matcha are both super smooth and creamy.

Though I had made up my mind to have the banana chocolate, I had to get a taste of the red velvet. I know how red velvet lovers think, and this is a flavor that will not disappoint. It’s moist, fluffy and rich in cocoa, not to mention oozing with cream cheese glaze.

I didn’t want to be “that” customer, so I stopped my sampling there, but the scent of the churro and spectacular color of the ube with buko pandan glaze would have me back
next week.

Menu options of the day sit in a glass display case, sinfully tempting customers to get more and more.

In addition to the bread pudding, the menu features classic baked goods such as B Sweet’s original chocolate chip banana bread. This was B Sweet founder Chef Barb’s first masterpiece for sale.

Other contenders include the Fudgiest Brownie and her take-it-to-the-next-level sister, the Sluttiest Brownie, with five layers of delectable goodness (chocolate chip cookie, Oreo cookie, graham cracker, marshmallow and brownie).

Eggless cookie dough and the 8-inch chocolate chip cookie monster also make my shortlist.

But don’t overlook the frozen treats. There are the Angel and Devil Floats, filled with the beloved Thrifty’s ice cream, and the Halo, a hot-pressed ice cream sandwich with your choice of ice cream inside a hot glazed donut.

With all that good stuff, there isn’t much space to hang around and eat, but I didn’t need to sit down to enjoy my bread pudding. Its container really is the perfect to-go box, but the people at the counter will tell you it is just as yummy warmed up. I wouldn’t have to find out: I was already about halfway done with my box before I reached the door.

This is a small spot filled with big indulgences in hefty portions for a fair price. Chef Barb notes that her philosophy is to make treats “homemade, like grandma used to,” and she delivers. One visit may turn you into a regular. As soon as I was out the door, I already missed the comfort and nostalgia of its warm sugar and vanilla fragrance.

Note: B Sweet will be closed during Christmas weekend.

B Sweet Dessert Bar 2005 Sawtelle Blvd.,  Sawtelle Japantown (310) 963-9769 mybsweet.com