Cotton candy, fairy floss, fluffy stuff. Whatever you call it, the spun sugary treat is so popular it has its own holiday. But that’s not until December 7 and there’s no reason to wait that long to indulge. It’s summertime and the sweet treat is in full swing not only at carnivals and county fairs, but it’s also showing up at some of LA’s hottest bars and restaurants. So go ahead. Enjoy a taste of nostalgia. (And feed that Marie Antoinette fetish while you’re at it.) Here’s where you can find creative cotton candy concoctions in Los Angeles.
The Bazaar @ SLS Hotel – Los Angeles (www.thebazaar.com)
By now you’ve all heard about the bizarre edibles at this temple to molecular gastronomy, so it should come as no surprise that The Bazaar is where you can get foie gras cotton candy. A chilled cube of foie gras is rolled in crushed Corn Nuts and swathed in house-made cotton candy on a stick ($5). I tried it once thinking, “Oh, how cute, cotton candy!” until I realized that the salty, creamy stuff melting on my tongue and seeping down my throat was some poor goose’s guts. (Or as the menu says: “Cotton candy duck liver.”) Foiegettaboutit!
Bar Centro @ SLS Hotel – Los Angeles (www.barcentro.com)
Keeping with the bizarre theme of the adjacent Bazaar, Bar Centro will quench your thirst and your sweet tooth all at once. The famed Magic Mojito ($16), made with rum and a touch of mint, is served in an individual shaker and strained over cotton candy in a martini glass. Now you see it, now you don’t.
Barton G – West Hollywood (www.bartong.com)
Adding a theatrical twist to fine dining, Barton G’s talented pastry chef Luis Vasquez has really topped himself with yards of pink cotton candy in the shape of an over-the-top two-foot edible neon pink cotton candy wig, aptly named Marie Antoinette’s Head ($18). Served alongside raspberry & strawberry cream cheese petit cakes with fresh berries and schlag (whipped cream), you can have your cake and eat it too!
Bon Puf – Los Angeles & beyond (www.bonpuf.com)
Si charmant! Bon Puf is putting a modern spin on things with an adorable organic cotton candy cart that whirls out handcrafted flavors like mango chili, strawberry lemonade, chai tea, salted caramel, honey rose, Earl Grey and pretty much anything else you can imagine to make all your cotton candy dreams come true.
BOA Steakhouse – Santa Monica (www.boasteakhouse.com)
No, that’s not a Frank Gehry cumulus cloud pendant lamp. It’s the cotton candy dessert at BOA. The $8 made-to-order treat is whipped into a two-foot mound and glows from within thanks to a votive candle. It also comes in three different flavors: raspberry, vanilla and Bing cherry. Just don’t ask for it at the TMZ-besieged West Hollywood location. This is strictly offered in Santa Monica.
Saddle Ranch – Universal City Walk & Sunset Strip (www.srrestaurants.com)
The mechanical bull might isn’t the only thing to knock you off your butt at this bigger-is-better chop house. Just order the signature Cotton Candy Tower and you’ll see what I mean. For $7.99, this (more than) enough-for-two, three-foot mound of sweet, fluffy stuff comes in the old school pink version but also in a green apple cinnamon flavor. It’s just what you need after a huge steak and carafe-sized cocktail. Why just do it when you can overdo it?
Culina @ Four Seasons Los Angeles (www.culinarestaurant.com)
For an Italian take on cotton candy, try Culina’s subtly sweet and utterly strong affogato. Literally translated as “drowned,” affogato is a scoop of homemade vanilla bean gelato topped with a fluffy swirl of cotton candy that melts when poured over with a hot shot of espresso. Served with a couple of crunchy pignoli (pine nut) cookies, the tasty dessert is $9.
Windows Lounge @ Four Seasons Los Angeles (www.fourseasons.com)
Who knew the Four Seasons would be the place to get your swirl on? Not only can you get your Italian twist on cotton candy at the hotel’s swank destination restaurant Culina, but you can also get it at the laidback Windows Lounge. The Fairground Cotton Candy with Natural Raspberry Powder sounds simple, but it’s probably the best cotton candy I have ever tasted. The secret: the powder is made from fresh raspberries. It’s so tangy and prickly it almost tastes spicy.