In honorable defeat, we share with you this video of a community ping pong tournament organized by Table of Contents we participated in. Proud to share a table and a laugh with such a rad group of people. Well played, everyone.
Sharon Wang is the chef/owner of Sugarbloom bakery and is responsible for the myriad of swoony Instagram pastry photos posted daily from our LA cafe. Her masterful and inventive baked goods are very photogenic and sound crazy good — Kimchi Spam Musubi Croissant, anyone?
You’d never guess that this is Sharon Wang’s second career. She seems completely born to do it. She started Sugarbloom only months ago — the name a nod to a process that occurs when making chocolate — and her food inspires followers to come far and wide to see what she’s got cooking.
One of those devoted Sugarbloom patrons was one of our first dudes on the ground in LA, Evan Dohrmann, who caught wind of her pastry pop-up at Taza and stopped in for weekly bites.
“Stumptown actually drove me to wholesale.” she says. “I wasn’t even ready! But I made it work.”
Before pastry was film: Sharon worked as an art director in the film industry for 10 years. She needed a life change, left the company on sabbatical, went to a ‘bootcamp’ at the Culinary Institute in Napa, and never looked back.
From there, she helped three-star Michelin chef Thomas Keller open all of his bakeries. She was the bread baker for Per Se and managed the chocolate room for both Per Se and Bouchon Bakery. She eventually worked her way up to pastry chef at Bouchon Bistro and Bakery Yountville and Beverly Hills.
She decided to take on a new challenge and her friends at Taza Coffee House in Arcadia invited her to do a bakery pop-up on the weekends.
“Sonny, the owner who’s Filipino, said to me, ‘Try whatever you want to try.’ So I started experimenting.” For the first time in her career, she explored all the wild ideas she had dreamed up while working in someone else’s kitchen. Which is where the Spam Musubi came in.
“I decided to take a kind of Asian-Pacific spin on things. Instead of a ham and cheese croissant, we went with the Spam Musubi, which is a Hawaiian delicacy. It’s like teriyaki-braised Spam. The kimchi adds a spicy pickled element. I say it’s kind of like Asian pigs in a blanket.”
She makes the kind of food she craves and prefers the savory and salty side of things, like pretzel croissants and maple bacon scones.
“Pastries enhance your life,” she says. “Taste is subjective, but there is an element of craftsmanship to this. And you can change somebody’s day.” Her pastries in our Stumptown LA cafe merge her classic French training with a bit of whimsy.
She tries to think of things to fit in with the times, not only based on what’s in season but also what people are doing in certain months.
In October, in honor of Oktoberfest, she started making a Hairbender Guinness Cake, “a hangover cake,” she calls it. When fall arrived and people started drinking more hot coffee, she created a pumpkin brioche designed to complement it. “It’s a must” she says. “You have to have coffee to complete the experience of eating it.”
With winter descending, she’s thinking about chestnuts, mint, and winter citrus. We’re looking forward to any- and everything coming out of that kitchen.
Photos by Benjamin Biros.
On view December 3rd - January 2nd
Opening reception 4 – 6 pm Sunday, December 8th
with music performed by Cary Novotny and Seamus Egan
“I entered a county fair art contest when I was 5 or 6 years old. My Grandmother had helped me with the watercolor painting. It was a hillside and a meadow with an old oak tree and a bunny rabbit. There were a few flowers and a little sign that said “bunny trail” and behind them was the big, round sun. The oak tree had a large hole in its trunk and looked as if the tree had once been cut to a tall stump and then had started growing again. There was a snail off to the side of the painting that was almost as big as the rabbit. The flowers were big and not in proportion with the rest of the painting. The bunny rabbit, however, was so damn good. It looked like a real rabbit sitting up in a meadow. The detail stood out against the other objects in the painting, almost as if it had been drawn and painted by another person. Oh yeah, someone else did draw it. It was my Grandmother who had helped me with the difficult task of drawing a rabbit. The picture received a second place ribbon for my age group and I always kinda felt like I didn’t really deserve it because I hadn’t painted the entire picture alone. Somehow though, years later I take images that usually aren’t mine and turn them into my art for which I feel 100% proud of.
This show is mostly a reflection of my younger years when the world felt wide open and experimenting with mind altering substances was fairly commonplace. When my rebellious attitude was coupled with freedom to take off with a one way ticket and $500 in my pocket to forget about things and to absorb what the open road had to offer me.”
– Tim Wenzel
Join the facebook event here.
The AeroPress is cool because it’s easy, fast, a breeze to clean and it’s unbreakable, making it a perfect pick for camping or traveling. Check out our on-the-go method for today’s installment in The Perfect Cup series over at Food52. Read all about it here and check out our Inverted Method here.
Think Tank Gallery in LA is known for creating an extra element of spectacle surrounding its openings, but its December show is getting downtown LA buzzed. In collaboration with Avi Roth’s show Coffeegraph, Think Tank and LA Coffee Club are going to great lengths to bring LA’s tight-knit art scene and burgeoning downtown coffee community together for a grip of events in the month of December.
For the duration, Think Tank is opening up a coffee bar installation, and hosting daily events ranging from coffee table conversations to workshops, live music and performance art, all ”with the goal of sparking creative discussion over a cup of craft coffee.”
We’re stoked to collaborate on such an innovative and interesting project — and we’re proud to help them kick things off for the opening on Sunday, December 1.
Think Tank coffee bar will be serving up Stumptown through December 5 on a La Marzocco Strada, and will host 5 other local roasters until December 21. See the full schedule here. For tickets and more information, go to http://thinktankgallery.org/coffeegraph.