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Itinerary: Decadent Desserts

November 29, 2001|TRACY JOHNSON | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The season to eat, drink and be merry is upon us. So, in the spirit of indulging, why not overindulge?

Friday

Start this detour to decadence at the Regent Beverly Wilshire (9500 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, [310] 275-5200). Each Friday and Saturday from 8 to 11 p.m., this elegant hotel offers a $9.95 dessert buffet that allows you to fill up on as many treats as you can eat. Through December, the Friday buffet will cater to chocoholics with an assortment of cakes, tortes, truffles and more. The menu rotates on Saturday nights, giving you a chance to try different desserts each week.

If you're craving cheesecake, the most obvious place to get it is the Cheesecake Factory (364 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, [310] 278-7270). This national chain is one of the most highly trafficked restaurants in L.A. The menu features more than 200 items and 50 cheesecakes, including chocolate mousse cheesecake, passion fruit pina colada, key lime cheesecake, brownie sundae or a cheesecake made from your favorite candy bar. If your sweet tooth craves it, chances are the Cheesecake Factory makes it.

Additional locations: 11647 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood, (310) 826-7111; 4142 Via Marina, Marina del Rey, (310) 306-3344; 2 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, (626) 584-6000; 605 N. Harbor Drive, Redondo Beach, (310) 376-0466; 6324 Canoga Ave., Woodland Hills, (818) 883-9900; and 15301 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, (818) 906-0700.

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Saturday

If you're looking for sweets with that personal touch that mom use to add, head for Sweet Lady Jane (8360 Melrose Ave., L.A., [323] 653-7145). Established in 1988, this dessert institution prides itself on using only the finest imported chocolate, the freshest butter and cream and the highest-quality in-season fruit. At Sweet Lady Jane (named for owner and head baker Jane Lockhart) they break their own eggs, peel their own apples, roll their own pastry dough and squeeze their own lemons. The dessert menu includes everything from chocolate raspberry cake to orange chiffon, scones to fresh fruit pies and tiramisu. Open Mondays to Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

At Mani's Bakery (519 S. Fairfax Ave., L.A., [323] 938-8800; also 2507 Main St., Santa Monica, [310] 396-7700) you might find a dessert more forgiving to your waistline. Mani's, a gourmet bakery in the Fairfax District, uses raw and natural ingredients for its delicacies.

The wheat is organically grown, the chocolate is sweetened with barley malt, and many of the items include fruit juice concentrate in lieu of sugar. Be sure to try the dipped chocolate chip cookies, the chocolate raspberry fortress cake and the carrot raisin cake. Open Mondays to Thursdays, 6:30 a.m. to midnight; Fridays, 6:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Saturdays and Sundays, 7:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.

If it's coffee-shop-style desserts you want, check out Swingers (8020 Beverly Blvd., L.A., [323] 653-5858). The menu at this trendy diner and popular late-night hang boasts a long list of delicious desserts that can be ordered morning, noon and night. Popular choices include the brownie sundae, apple pie a la mode and the rocket shake: chocolate ice cream, espresso and espresso beans shaken and served. Open daily to 6:30 a.m. to 4 a.m. Closes Tuesdays at 2 a.m.

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Sunday

Craving pie? The obvious answer: The House of Pies (1869 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz. [323] 666-9961). Whether it's the middle of the night or the end of the day, you can take comfort in the fact that you'll find apple, cherry, pecan, lemon meringue, chocolate cream pie and other favorites at this Los Feliz greasy spoon. Open Sundays through Thursdays, 7 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 2 a.m.

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