the valley

hanhgry.com: close up of box of ponchik pastries from Papillion

sweet treats review: ponchik from Papillon International Bakery

hanhgry.com: close up of box of ponchik pastries from PapillionYou know what everyone loves? Fried dough. I’m pretty sure every nationality or culture has its own version of doughnuts/beignets/etc, usually covered in sugar or stuffed with sweet, creamy filling. And I am totally happy to try them all.

There is no shortage of various fried goodies here from different cuisines. The LA area has a large Armenian population and clustered in Little Armenia near Hollywood and in the LA suburb of Glendale there are lots of Armenian bakeries. Some are well known for making ponchik, which are basically Armenian filled doughnuts. Ponchik are made with a yeast based dough fried in oil and typically filled with custard cream, although there are lots of other fillings like Nutella and different fruit jams.

Ross and I went to the North Hollywood location of Papillon International Bakery, an Armenian bakery well regarded for its ponchik. This location is in a small strip mall. They have two tables inside but it’s mostly a take-out or pre-order and pick up type place.

hanhgry.com: menu of ponchik filling flavorsThe ponchik flavor menu displayed in the bakery

We ordered four pieces: two custard, one dulce de leche and one strawberry. The lady told us it would take about 10 minutes, since they make them to order, so they are fresh. They sell a variety of other baked goods as well as the usual cakes but we were there for the ponchik! After waiting a few minutes, she called my name and showed me the box of freshly fried pastries, and I was surprised at how big they were. Each was about the size of my palm. They smelled AMAZING. Just imagine being surrounded by the smell of fried dough/batter with sugar everywhere. She suggested eating some right then and there since they just came out of the fryer, so she gave us some plates and we took one of the two tables in the store.

I took my first bite and it was sooooooo good. Steam billowed out since it was still so hot. The ponchik is hollow, as you can see in the picture below, and filled with custard.  While an American-style doughnut is denser and filled the whole way through with dough, the ponchik has a thin outer layer that is slightly chewy and fluffy.


hanhgry.com: eating a ponchik from Papillion

hanhgry.com: close up of ponchik pastry

I only took a photo of the custard filled ponchik, but that was probably my favorite filling. I enjoyed the dulce de leche with its sweet caramel flavor. The strawberry tasted ok, but I probably wouldn’t order it again. I don’t really like jam filled doughnuts so it makes sense I didn’t love the strawberry ponchik. I preferred the creamy, thicker fillings like the custard and dulce de leche.

If you’re ever in the area and want to try some ponchik, I definitely recommend going to Papillon! At only $1.75 each, it was a delicious, inexpensive treat. Because it is fried to order, your ponchik will always be super fresh and warm. (However, I saved two of them to eat several hours later and even at room temperature they were still pretty tasty. I recommend eating them within the same day though; I think they would get too hard or stale after a day.)

 

Info:

Ponchik, various flavors: $1.75 – $2.00 each

Papillon International Bakery
2904 Victory Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91606
Other locations here

wanderlust creamery: ice cream inspired by travel

hanhgry.com | Wanderlust Creamery storefront

hanhgry.com | Wanderlust Creamery ice cream case

Ross and I are always up for trying new ice cream. We recently went to a new gourmet ice cream place way up in the Valley (in Tarzana, to be precise) called Wanderlust Creamery. I found them through their Instagram account and their unique ice cream flavors based on different regions of the world sounded really delicious. Also, they’re one of the few places I’ve seen that offers different flavored waffle cones besides the traditional waffle cones most places have. Green tea waffle cone?! Sounds great.

The parking lot was crowded but there is plenty of street parking as well. The line was long but it had only been open a few weeks when we went. I think this part of LA doesn’t have many upscale, gourmet ice cream/dessert shops compared to say, central or West LA so a place like this is in very much in demand in the Valley.

You can see the menu on their website and they rotate flavors. They also have a ton of different toppings that they make in house. It’s not just sprinkles and whipped cream. They have honey boba, homemade strawberry shortcake crumble, pandan flavored rice crispies, and so much more.

I got two scoops, one of Pretzel + Rúgbrauð and one scoop of Sticky Rice + Mango, in a brown butter vanilla waffle cone, with strawberry shortcake crumble.

hanhgry.com | Wanderlust Creamery - sticky rice+mango and pretzel+rugbrauo scoops

Pretzel + Rúgbrauð (bottom scoop): This was incredibly good, with a satisfying mix of textures. I am a big fan of ice cream with chunks or mix-ins (cookie dough, fruit chunks, you get the idea). It was reminded me of a salted caramel pretzel flavor I’ve had from other ice cream shops. The ice cream base itself was smooth and creamy, with liberal amounts of salty, crunchy pretzel bits. It also had caramelized crumbles of rúgbrauð, which is a type of Icelandic rye bread. The rúgbrauð crumble was really good and makes me want to try eating the actual bread. The ice cream base was not too sweet, but had a subtle saltiness that was accented by the pretzels and bread pieces.

Sticky Rice + Mango (vegan, top scoop): This was more straight forward. It’s based on a dessert you can get in almost any Thai restaurant. There was a mango swirl in the ice cream and it tasted like fresh mango puree, but I wish it had more mango in it instead of being mostly sweet cream with a few mango swirls. It was still really tasty though.

The waffle cone was freshly made (I watched them make the cones!) and it had a stronger depth of vanilla flavor than regular waffle cones. The strawberry shortcake crumble tasted just like the coating from the classic Good Humor strawberry shortcake ice cream bars (which I LOVE).

While Wanderlust Creamery is too far for me to indulge in regularly (it was about a 35 minute drive with no traffic), if I’m ever up in that part of the Valley, I would definitely come back again.

Prices: $4 single scoop, $6 double scoop. Toppings $1 each

Wanderlust Creamery
18511 Ventura Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 91356

Phone: (818) 774 – 9888

Hours:
Sun – Thurs: 12PM to 11PM
Fri – Sat: 12PM to 12AM