1 Our first stop was Gjusta, a popular bakery and deli in Venice. Their expansive bread section includes a large array of baguettes, loaves and boules - all baked daily. http://www.gjusta.com
2 The bakery case also includes flaky croissants, scones and pastries - everything looked so delicious.
3 The artisanal bakery is located in a sprawling 5000-square foot warehouse space. Here are Thomas and I at the Gjusta counter meeting general manager, Greg Blanc.
4 One of our favorites was this "babka", but made with croissant dough and lightly flavored with finely grated orange rind. Pieces of dough were coiled or knotted and then placed in a loaf pan proofed and baked. So light, flakey and delicious.
5 And a really good carrot cake too - with almost equal parts cream cheese frosting and cake because isn't everyone's favorite part the frosting?
6 The baguettes look perfectly browned.
7 Shelves were constantly needing to be refilled.
8 Racks of freshly baked breads are lined up and ready to go.
9 Hallelujah was so helpful and friendly - he gave us a nice tour of the kitchen.
10 Stacks and stacks of flour sit in one area of Gjusta for all the delicious breads. They also sell flowers.
11 In the baking area, we saw oversized machines for big batch baking - everything was also incredibly clean and organized.
12 Gjusta is owned by Fran Camaj and chef-owner Travis Lett, the same people who created California's popular Gjelina. The Gjelina cookbook is for sale here, as well as many other products.
13 Gjusta sells a selection of jams and preserves.
14 Aside from bakery goods, Gjusta also has an extensive array of smoked fish. Another glass case houses cured meats and pickles.
15 In another case is an assortment of artisanal cheeses.
16 Gusto's owner and chef, Travis Lett, came by to say hello.
17 I put together a little snack for our driver - a baguette, with butter and cheese.
18 During our three-bakery tour, I decided to have a cappuccino at each establishment. My one shot cappuccino from Gjusta is being made here.
19 My one shot cappuccino - very tasty.
20 This is Milo and Olive, the second stop on our bakery "crawl". It serves bakery-inspired breakfasts and a menu that includes wood-fired pizzas and fresh salads for lunch and dinner. Breads and bakery items can also be purchased throughout the day. http://www.miloandolive.com
21 This is one of Milo and Olive's most popular desserts - a delicious and impressive lemon meringue pie. It was made in a springform pan and has a VERY thick layer of lemon curd filling - we just had to have a taste.
22 Here is a piece of that lemon meringue pie - so excellent.
23 One of my favorite items was the sour cherry crostata on the left. They also had kouign amman, and lemon pound cake. There were also gluten free and vegan baked choices.
24 So many lovely pastries - here are more fruit filled tarts. The one in the back is an apricot and custard tart with flakey crust made out of the same kouign amman dough.
25 The specials board is changed every day to incorporate what is fresh from the market.
26 They use the highest quality freshest local ingredients.
27 At Milo and Olive, they prefer to cook their pizzas at a lower temperature for a longer period of time as opposed to other places that cook at super high temperatures for only 90-seconds. Their pizzas were also very delicious.
28 Milo and Olive is known for this - it's called a garlic knot. A pizza or bread dough with tons of roasted garlic inside - pull the string on the side and the knot opens to reveal the delicious garlic.
29 Look how wonderful - filled with garlic goodness.
30 I loved this pasta dish. It is bolognese with homemade pasta - really delicious!
31 Here is my Milo and Olive one shot cappuccino - another wonderful cup.
32 Our last stop - Republique, run by Chef Walter Manzke. The focus is on using local ingredients in a relaxed and refined space. http://republiquela.com
33 Co-owner, Margarita Manzke is a pastry chef and the head of Republique's bakery.
34 Behind the counter at Republique, another scrumptious selection of cakes, pies and pastries.
35 This is their banana cream pie.
36 There kitchen and ovens are pristine.
37 These are baguettes and demi baguettes - they remind me of the light and fluffy baguettes I used to make.
38 Here are some fresh rolls - just out of the oven.
39 If you haven't been to République yet, it is in the space previously occupied by Campanile and the iconic La Brea bakery.
40 Thomas and I tried the baguette with homemade tart apricot jam - it was excellent.
41 This is the dining area at Republique, with shelves of books, spices and condiments - the decor is very simple, casual, and personal.
42 The shelves are very neatly organized, and the jars well labeled.
43 Open shelving allows for pretty displays of fresh breads, teas and other products for sale.
44 This treat is made with mulberries. There were also croissants and a raspberry kouign amman.
45 The pastry in front is a banana nutella treat. We also tried a mixed berry and custard pastry, a salted caramel bun and an apricot scone with sanding sugar - everything was so fresh and delicious.
46 And, who can resist donuts?!! My favorite was the raspberry jam filled donut.
47 There was also chocolate donuts - what kind is your favorite?
48 This is a pavlova - with a jelly roll twist.
49 There were so many treats in the display case - all so tempting.
50 We sampled this chocolate cake - it was so beautifully decorated with a swirl from an icing spatula.
51 Here is a slice - delicious chocolate cake with salted caramel. The chocolate frosting was decadent.
52 At Republique, they also serve fresh juices.
53 This was an amazing grilled cheese sandwich with tomato slices inside - it was very good.
54 This is a pistachio cherry danish.
55 I stopped for a quick photo with Margarita and two members of the Republique team.
56 Here I am with Los Angeles Times deputy food editor, Jenn Harris, and Thomas. We had so much fun visiting all these bakeries!