As the weather takes a turn for the chillier and nightfall hits earlier, the Peninsula has come through for locals with a number of new outposts offering innovative baked goods and sweets, from cardamom croissants at Menlo Park's Canteen to mille-crepe cakes at Los Altos' Lady M; from petit fours at Lavender 'n Cream to ube pandesals and barfi at K&B Cafe.
Canteen, Menlo Park
Canteen Coffee Shop, located inside the Springline development in downtown Menlo Park, has officially opened. The cafe, by Greg Kuzia Carmel, the chef behind Camper on Santa Cruz Avenue, is located inside CANOPY, a co-working office space at the new 6.4-acre housing, office and retail complex.
It's the first restaurant in Menlo Park's new Springline development to open to customers.
At a visit last week, the coffee shop offered a range of espresso and specialty drinks and baked goods by Mountain View's The Midwife and the Baker, including cardamom and almond frangipane croissants, cranberry and roasted apple scones, and pumpkin muffins.
Food items coming soon include a quiche with honey and mint-spiked yogurt, a tuna salad niçoise, a Japanese-style egg salad croissant-wich and a truffled grilled cheese sandwich. Open daily on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Canteen also has a part two in the works: a separate restaurant in the same development situated along Oak Grove Avenue that will offer wine, cocktails and snacks.
Other offerings coming to the development are Andytown Coffee Roasters, Barebottle Brewing Co., Burma Love, Che Fico, Proper Food, Robin and Mírame.
Lady M, Los Altos
After a trial run with a Los Altos pop-up, Lady M is putting down roots there, and the high-end cake boutique's mille crepe cakes are now on permanent offer.
The popular New York City-based confectioner launched a pop-up at 4598 El Camino Real in Los Altos in late 2019.
As of Oct. 22, the space has been transformed into a dine-in boutique, offering a variety of mille crepe cakes in flavors like pumpkin nuage, checkers, green tea, tiramisu and butter pecan. The cakes are made from layers of cream and crepes stacked on top of each other, creating a moist, rich texture.
Cakes are sold whole or by the slice and are not cheap, with each slice coming in at around $10 and most 9-inch cakes priced at more than $100.
People are encouraged to come earlier in the day for a larger selection of cakes because they often sell out, according to Lady M spokesperson Monica Kenny.
"We are excited that our customers at Los Altos can have the elevated Lady M experience of sitting down and enjoying our luxury confections with their choice of signature Lady M beverages," Kenny said in an email.
Beverages include Harney & Sons teas, coffee and espresso drinks, and rose and green tea lattes.
Since it was founded in 2001, Lady M has expanded to more than 30 locations globally with locations in San Jose, Southern California, the East Coast, and Singapore, Hong Kong and Beijing.
Lavender 'n Cream, Redwood City
Now open for breakfast and lunch, Lavender 'n Cream is a cozy patisserie with light-purple accents nestled in Redwood City's Marsh Manor shopping center in the former location of Eva Sweets.
The bakery opened last month, according to Joseph Petraki, who runs the patisserie with his parents, Lara Faddoul and Edgar Petraki. Edgar Petraki is a trained pastry chef who worked for the past couple of decades in various pastry shops and bakeries before he opened his own family patisserie in Montreal called Sprinkles. The family recently moved to California from Montreal, Joseph Petraki says.
The bakery offers French pastries, cookies, croissants, cakes, mousse, cupcakes, eclairs, tarts and petit fours — plus custom orders. For customers who eat in, the patisserie also serves French-press coffee and tea in teapots so that customers can serve themselves at their tables.
The menu includes items such as breakfast croissants with fillings like egg, ham and cheese, plus salads, sandwiches and Mediterranean pies stuffed with spinach, cheese or ground beef, according to Petraki.
Two specialty items that he expects to stand out to customers are a lavender-flavored cake and a Cortina cake, a chocolate cake with Diplomat cream. Also on offer are birthday kits, which include all the sweets one would need to celebrate a birthday like cake pops, Rice Krispies treats, cookies, macarons and cupcakes, he adds.
They also plan to have seasonal specialty items, such as a yule log or a tree made of cookies for Christmas and chocolate bunnies for Easter.
So far, the patisserie has earned positive feedback from the community, Petraki says. "They seem very enthusiastic to see what we have."
K&B Cafe, San Mateo
Sisters-in-law Kamal and Bianca Johal are bringing Indian and Filipino flavors with a California twist to their new San Mateo cafe, K&B Cafe. The eatery offers a range of Indian sweets made in-house, as well as Filipino pastries, breakfast foods and espresso drinks.
The family has a long history in the 25th Avenue neighborhood. Kamal says her mother-in-law retired from the post office on W. 25th Avenue, while her father-in-law previously ran a liquor store on the same street. Meanwhile, Bianca grew up just north in South San Francisco.
"There's a lot of family history here for us," Kamal Johal says.
One of their vendors is Wyldflour, a mother-son Filipino baking business that began during the pandemic. Amiel Baesa of Daly City says that after he graduated from culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu's Los Angeles campus, he started working with his mom, Myrna, who had influenced his cooking since he was a kid. They began to make empanadas together, which they sold to friends and family.
"I'm really happy she's my business partner," Amiel Baesa says.
It wasn't until 2020, when Baesa decided to bake ube pandesal, that their business began to really take off. He posted a photo of the bread on Instagram and the next day, someone asked to buy 200 pieces of it. After that, they were booked with requests every day for six months, he says. From there, he and his mom started going to festivals, pop-ups and markets to spread the word. Now they've got their first gig as vendors, supplying K&B Cafe with Filipino pastries on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
The ube pandesals are made with three fillings — Nutella, cheese and matcha cream cheese, which are hard to find elsewhere, he says.
Their empanadas are filled with pork sisig and wagyu garlic beef. Their newest flavor is an ube empanada with Filipino sweet pork sausage, egg and papaya relish.
"It's cool to see that Filipino food is being more exposed to the national scene," he says. "Being Filipino, it's an awesome feeling. I'm happy that people are enjoying our food."
For Kamal Johal, Amiel and Myrna's family-oriented focus at Wyldflour resonated with her family business' mission at K&B Cafe.
K&B Cafe also offers Indian sweets including barfi, which, she says, has a fudge-like texture but is not as rich or sweet.
"It's a homey environment, all about the community, small businesses and helping each other out," she says.