Valerie Confections, the gourmet chocolate and cake maker founded by Valerie Gordon and Stan Weightman Jr. that is popular with farmers market patrons, is making its way to Downtown's Grand Central Market in the coming weeks. In addition, a new location in Echo Park is planning a June 1 opening. Already, this latter expansion, which would replace Delilah Bakery, is making waves with the neighborhood, with the neighborhood blog Eastsider L.A. raising the inevitable question of whether seven-dollar chocolate bars will be welcome in a corner of the city once previously denied such delicacies that is edging on the verge of its gentrification saturation point. But is The Eastsider being unfair?
Perceived injustices in neighborhood food pricing is a favorite target of the blog, which attacked Miles Thompson's $175 steak last summer. The blog's initial headline called Valerie an import from the much maligned "Westside" (a word that usually leads to mass hysteria east of Western), when it actually had its start around the way in nearby Historic Filipinotown. It's easy to gain traction from readers with such alarmism, but the story's comments still seem split between those warmly welcoming the business and some wary vigilance over its intentions. In other words, it looks like the cheese may have been moved in Echo Park.
Elsewhere, The L.A. Times reveals that this new Valerie Confections is looking towards a June 1 opening date, with the aim to bring Echo Park Valerie's sweets, along with tea sandwiches and savory dishes developed by its catering arm that go great with tea in a collaboration with David Barenholtz's American Tea Room in Beverly Hills. The menu will not mirror those at the other location, with exceptions for her pastry and $2 drip coffee supplies. "The idea is taking afternoon tea and making it a bit less precious. It's just tea and a snack that you can have every day," Gordon tells journalist Betty Hallock.
Valerie Confections, 1665 Echo Park Ave. Echo Park.