Executive Pastry Chef Carol Garcia
File Sugar Factory American Brasserie under the category of "pleasant surprises." The candy shop made famous by the lickers of Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton and friends for its haute lollipops has sprouted a sister restaurant which is, predictably, no slouch in the sweets department. In fact, they currently offer something like 40 different desserts, especially if you include such "breakfast" indulgences as their carrot cake pancake, chocolate French toast and "Fat Elvis waffle"--the latter topped with peanut butter mousse, bacon, caramelized banana and maple syrup, in case you were curious.
But that's not what's surprising. Rather, it's Sugar Factory American Brasserie's secret weapon, Executive Pastry Chef Carol Garcia. The Los Angeles native has the kind of resume that you might expect to see at one of Las Vegas' top restaurants (e.g. a former position at Jose Andres' renowned The Bazaar) and the desserts she shows up reflect her sense of expertise when applied to approachable classics. Take for example the symphony of texture, color and flavor in her red velvet sundae; the subtle smoothness of her lemon bar; the hidden extra steps to make her perfect ice cream sandwich stack; or her lovingly light "tres leches" coconut cake.
"We want to blend quality and quantity," says Garcia, always seeking to put extra touches on desserts that can be produced 24 hours a day for the thousands of Vegas visitors that fill their Strip-side patios across from the Bellagio fountains.
And now Sugar Factory is taking a further surprising step, about to become the very first place on the Vegas Strip to make their own chocolate from carefully sourced cacao beans right in the restaurant, destined for a limited series of artisanal dark chocolate bars. Demonstrating the process, Garcia is excited to be venturing into new territory. But she admits there's one type of dessert she enjoys making even more. "Making cakes is the most fun for me," says the chef. "I get to put my personal touch on every one."
Words and Photos: E.C. Gladstone
The Shops at Crystals Aria Las Vegas
3720 Las Vegas Boulevard South Las Vegas, NV 89158
Click Here to Purchase Tickets