Los Angeles is a colorful mix of pretty much every ethnicity, religion, race and sexual orientation. This geographical gift translates into the ultimate foodie scene, a complex fashion portfolio and a Babylon of neighborhoods living side by side. Some business owners are aware of this and some go out of their way to embrace and even celebrate the complexity of L.A. culture. We found the sweetest businesses around LA that go out of their way to make everyone, especially LGBTQ+ families, feel appreciated.
Owner Jeni Bauer redefined ice cream making and the art of business when she opened her first shop in 2002. Her ice cream is a Fourth of July fireworks sensation gliding down your tastebuds. It’s whole food ingredients, grass-fed cow milk and relationships with every family-owned company that provides her the magical ingredients to create her unique flavors.
#TeamJeni marches in Pride parades and donates a percentage of the profits to organizations that support the LGBTQ+ community. She has four locations in Los Angeles: Calabasas, Los Feliz, Venice and Larchmont Village.
First inspired by a little girl who couldn’t eat desserts because of allergies, Celine Ikeler became determined to help and created a garbanzo bean brownie that quickly became a hit in her neighborhood. Ikeler herself started eating a purely plant-based diet and opened her bakery using only vegan, high-quality, gluten-free ingredients that are surprisingly amazing. Her Karma Cakes look like the Hostess Cupcakes of childhood memory but taste insanely good and are much better for you. She also makes pizza rolls and bread with the same high standards. Her husband, Arek’s godfather, already made the Oscar-winning movie, Trevor, about a teen who realizes he’s gay and contemplates suicide. Both now support the Trevor Project and GLAD and regularly make unusual cakes by request of their LGBTQ+ customers. The bakery borders LA in Oak Park.
They’re not only about donuts and equality, they’re about making sure the donuts are Instagram-able hits! The unicorn and mermaid donut collections are the envy of cover models and they make a special rainbow donut for Pride month. Even though the donuts are made mostly of potato flour, they do have a smidge of wheat. So, if you’re gluten-free, make sure to special order in one of the two locations around Los Angeles, Canoga Park and, LA adjacent, Newbury Park.
Astro Doughnuts and Fried Chicken
It started on the ice rink where games were followed by good old-fashioned doughnuts and, years later, Elliot Spaisman and Jeff Halpern turned their love of comfort food into accolades for their fried chicken and unique doughnut flavors. Although Halpern is still heavily involved in the business of hockey, Spaisman keeps a watchful eye on the development of the three nationwide shops, one in Downtown LA. They make a rainbow donut for Pride month, too. Some guests like to put rainbow sprinkles on the chicken, too.
Many know of the great social strides the company makes to promote awareness of the many issues plaguing society as well as their effort to save the planet by sourcing only the most wholesome ingredients for their ice cream. They also have a movement specifically addressing LGBTQ+ rights and were the first employer in their home state of Vermont to give health benefits to same-sex domestic couples. After the Supreme Court ruled to recognize same-sex marriage, Ben & Jerry’s temporarily renamed the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream to I Dough, I Dough. Nice work, guys. They have five shops in Los Angeles.
While large areas of Colorado are experiencing exponential growth with far too many trees being clear-cut (it’s one of the fastest-growing states in the country), it’s still the home for great businesses striving to make the world a little greener. Those businesses include Sherpani, creators of women’s day bags, backpacks and travel bags, including a line of sophisticated, beautifully crafted items made from recycled plastic.
While urban wine country might sound like an oxymoron, it’s actually a reality at the stunning City Vineyard in New York City’s Tribeca neighborhood. The water-side venue is the perfect host for your next event — whatever that may be, from 20 to 200 guests and from cocktail party to plated dinner.
It’s been almost three years since Category 5 Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico, wreaking havoc on the island and leaving most residents without electricity and clean water. Tourism, which accounts for 6.5 percent of Puerto Rico’s gross domestic product, took a beating, with hotels closed for year-long repairs, airlines cutting service and cruise lines shifting itineraries to other Caribbean destinations. Timing for the hurricane couldn’t have been worse, coming on the heels of the government’s announcement in May 2017 that it was unable to pay more than $70 billion in public debt and thus forced to file for bankruptcy. Large protests and a change of government would follow. Then, in January 2020, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake rocked the south side of the island, forcing San Juan restaurants to close while power was restored. And as we write this story, coronavirus runs rampant across the globe with severe economic implications for all destinations, including Puerto Rico.
By Hainan Airlines
My youngest daughter and I arrived from Barcelona on the high-speed AVE train (in less than three hours) and entered Westin Palace Madrid in time for the Sunday Opera Brunch — which takes place under the stained-glass cupola of La Rotonda, where daily breakfast and cocktails are served. I’d heard about this event on several occasions when I toured the hotel in 2015, and when my granddaughter and I stayed there in 2017.