I'm no gourmet and I usually eat in the cheaper places, but I happened upon Vanille de Patisserie in Gardena (in the Pacific Square shopping center). This is a serious contender.
I searched and they've not gotten much mention, but this is somewhat in the Chantilly (of Lomita) vein. Only they are even slightly more elaborate in their presentations. I wish I had my camera with me but the eating was excellent. The decoration was really beautiful. Turns out there are 3 stores and the Gardena one is the newest. The gorgeous creature who decorated my cake told me this store has been open 3 months. The other 2 are in San Marino and Rowland Heights. They have some tables and many choices of various coffee concoctions. Plenty of small pastries ranging from $3.50 to $5.95. The diplomas on the wall were for some asian name from a cooking school in Switzerland. Don't know if it was a male or female, although one referred to a "Mr...." but the name was spelled differently on the diplomas, so perhaps even the gender is in question. It's posted in the window that no photography is allowed. I hope a few of you familiar with some of the better bakeries (like Chantilly) check it out. I did buy a chocolate ganache cake and the lovely lady behind the counter told me they would make me a new one since the one on display was just a display sample. It takes about 10 minutes (since it's basically decorating their masterpiece). They gave me a smart card which shows you you can keep track of how much discount you've built up. You get 5% credit as you buy your goodies. I forgot to check their hours of business. Here's the other pertinent info though. Oh yeah, they don't make any thing like those cream puffs so well known from Chantilly.
Vanille de Patisserie
1610 West Redondo Beach Blvd., #11
Gardena, CA 90247