When I was invited to a tasting event at Bittersweet Treats in Pasadena, I was expecting to have a pleasant evening tasting some decadent nibbly things, socializing with a few blogger friends and enjoying a rare night out on a Monday but I got even more than I expected, I got inspired: Bittersweet Treats is a women owned and operated establishment.
As a woman about to embark on my own business, a simple night out became a source of motivation – owner Linda Chen is a dynamo. You’d think the yoga enthusiast and mother of 3, might be cranky with a her commute from the beach community to the Pasadena area but her passion for food, decor and the experience at Bittersweet Treats shines through the minute you meet her. Linda’s desire to make the warm, modern but retro feeling bakery/cafe part of the community is admirable. She has even given her personal cell phone to customers to contact her when they want to know the availability of their favorite menu items.
Bittersweet may have made recent news due to the departure of a high profile pastry chef but the establishment is in more than capable hands with current General Manager and Head Baker, Ali Anderson.
While I hadn’t visited Bittersweet before, Anderson’s love for brown butter and savory items is evident and absolutely delicious. I’m not a bacon fan but I needed something savory (to balance all of the sweets I tasted) and the bacon, cheese and pepper scone might have lured me one step closer to the bacon dark side. The two other bakers associated with Bittersweet are also female – Robyn Smith, who specializes in gluten-free items and Paige (whose last name I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t catch) from Angel Cake Pops were personable, dedicated and had culinary talent.
At a time while I’m ramping up to launch a nutrition private practice, I was thrilled to find a little “Independent Woman” business motivation while I stuffed my face with delectable goodies including truffles, cookies, cakes, confections (including gluten-free items) and homemade ice cream.
The standouts for me were the Lavender Truffle (very Vosges-like), the Goat Cheese Tart topped with Figs and what Bittersweet called the “Man” Scone described above. One of the other fantastic offerings at Bittersweet is their own special blend of LAMILL Coffee.
This uniquely strong coffee was astoundingly good! I couldn’t get over how the nuances of the coffee were further enhanced by some of the sweeter treats. A LAMILL with Bittersweet Treat is a combination not to be missed. I can’t wait to take my coffee adoring husband to this place!
Bittersweet Treats is more than your average bakery/cafe. They host themed events like Ice Cream Socials and weekly Throwback Thursdays (when old-school treats like Twinkies and Ding Dongs are featured) and Test Kitchen Fridays (when newly developed items are given a debut). If themes aren’t your bag, they also offer a daily Happy Hour from 4-5pm where items are discounted.
The future looks bright for Bittersweet – they have plans to not only expand the specialty menu items to include more savory choices and paleo-friendly treats but also to offer cooking classes for children and adults. If the quality of food, service and passion continues for the foreseeable future, I’m certain Bittersweet will become an anchor of modern kitschy treat food in East Pasadena.
My Valentine’s birthday is coming up soon and I just might find myself at Bittersweet Treats in the near future not only to use their free WiFi but to soak up some more inspiration, motivation and sustenance (read: ideas for a future birthday cake/cupcake/truffle etc.) while I gear up to launch my own Girl Powered business.
Bittersweet Treats is located at 1731 East Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena, CA 91106, for hours and more go to www.bittersweetla.com or follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You’ll have to ask Linda for her cell phone number yourself. 😉
Disclaimer: I was invited to a tasting at Bittersweet Treats but was under no obligation to write this post. All opinions are purely my own.