Thanks to homegrown talent, Arcadia’s merits are starting to extend beyond Santa Anita Park and Din Tai Fung Dumpling House. The next generation is in evidence at Taza, a “social coffee house” that former entertainment executive Sonny Mediana opened with his wife along Huntington Drive. Taza is the first specialty coffeehouse in the area, featuring premium equipment, multiple roasters and inviting decor, complete with refurbished wood, exposed bulbs, and decorative Andy Warhol skateboard decks. On weekends, they also have some of the most innovative pastries in L.A., courtesy of Sugarbloom founder Sharon Wang.
Sharon Wang is Taza’s weekend pastry chef. She graduated from The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone and spent eight years working for the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group. The company relocated her from Yountville to New York and Los Angeles, so you know she’s got skills. She recently returned to her hometown of Arcadia and started an entrepreneurial endeavor called Sugarbloom, with Taza as her weekend showcase. She’s also working on a trial basis at n/naka with Niki Nakayama, another chef with a connection to Arcadia.
During visit to Taza in the previous week, a Mediana mention of spam musubi croissants ($3.75) convinced us a weekend return was imperative. The fun riff on a Hawaiian classic combined buttery pastry, strips of spam accented with kimchi, and a dusting of nori.
Not all maple bacon pastries are created equal, but I really enjoyed Chef Wang’s take on the flavor combo. Her supple scone supported a juicy strip of bacon and an icing of maple syrup and powdered sugar, which she applied judiciously.
Apple cider cake was a pastry knockout punch, with yellow cake, toasting almond scales and a sweet, tangy apple layer up top. Since the slabs are so substantial, I’d recommend splitting this cake with other people…if it’s even there. Chef Wang switches up her pastries each week, to keep the selection fresh and original. Check the Taza Facebook Page for updates.