L.A. Insider: West Hollywood's 'Dessert Flirt' Holly Barnes

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To some people cheesecake is just a dessert, but for owner and chef of The Dessert Flirt, Holly Barnes, it's an art form.

Barnes shares with us why she enjoys living in West Hollywood -- with it's hidden Farmers' Market and pickles-and-chips shop. And she gives a good argument for not skipping dessert.

Name, Age, Occupation: Holly Barnes, 30, Founder/Chef of The Dessert Flirt

Neighborhood: West Hollywood, Calif.

Abode: Junior one-bedroom, but I have a dining room.

How long have you lived in West Hollywood? Eight years.

What do you love most about your neighborhood?
I love that there's Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, bars, restaurants, dry cleaning ... everything you could possible need is in walking distance. Breakfast places. Flower shops. It's close to my gym. It's got it all.

Best kept secret in West Hollywood?
On Mondays they have a Farmers' Market on Fountain Avenue by Plummer Park that not many people know about. There is also Soda Pops, a sandwich shop on La Cienega that has homemade chips and pickles. Oh, and I can't forget Irv's Burgers on Santa Monica Boulevard. It's amazing! It's the best cheeseburger ever. The lady draws a picture on your burger plate of you and she is so nice. I just realized everything I picked is food, oh well!

Favorite way to spend a Saturday night in your neighborhood?

Opening up wine and making dinner for friends, and having great conversation and laughs. A great small group of friends with maybe a board game, too. Play a little "Catch Phrase!" -- have you ever? It's so fun!

How did you come up with a cheesecake business?
I've been making cheesecakes for about 10 years, and whenever I do people would tell me I should sell it, they were really wowed by it. So about a year ago I said, "Why not?" It started by word-of-mouth marketing and I sold in restaurants all around Los Angeles and the Valley, including Tart. I was shocked when places sold out of multiple cakes in days. I also cater different events like birthdays, dinner parties, holidays.

The name is so fitting for me: It's fun, and when I deliver the cheesecakes they are in a white box wrapped with some black lace. It's got a flirty vibe and the cheesecake is delicious. Cheesecake to me is something that should be savored and really appreciated. It's so elegant and light, and the prep is detailed -- it's like a souffle. And my cheesecakes will last. They actually get better when they are in the fridge day after day.

In a weight-conscious, no fat, no gluten, no meat, no sugar, Master Cleanse city like L.A., why have your cheesecakes caught on?
How do you indulge in cheesecake? Because it's worth it! Plus, there's not a lot of sugar in it, and the fruits are organic. Everyone needs to indulge at a certain point. It's part of life. I think life should be savored.


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