Did you know that National Cotton Candy Day is December 7? That’s right, kids. The spun sugary treat is so popular it has its own holiday. And while most of us think of cotton candy as a sweet treat found at carnivals and county fairs, it’s 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 are 1o places around Los Angeles where you can find creative cotton candy concoctions.
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.
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.
Simon LA @ Hotel Sofitel – Los Angeles (www.simonlarestaurant.com)
Milkshakes, sno balls, cotton candy, sundaes, oh my! Chef/owner Kerry Simon is just a big kid himself, so it makes sense that he created the infamous Junk Food Platter, a big-enough-for-the-whole-table $25 sugar overload of old favorites all grown up. It’s a stomach ache on a plate, but so much fun to eat.
LA Market Restaurant – Downtown LA (www.lamarketlalive.com)
It’s across town from Simon LA, but you can still find chef Kerry Simon’s outrageous Junk Food Platter at LA Market, his latest outpost at the JW Marriott at LA Live. Brimming with sweets ranging from cotton candy, Rice Krispies treats and Hostess-style cupcakes to sno balls, cookies and caramel popcorn, everything is made in-house and everything is $9.
Saddle Ranch – Universal City Walk & Sunset Strip (www.srrestaurants.com)
The mechanical bull might not be the only thing to knock you off your ass 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 new green apple cinnamon flavor like the one pictured. It’s just what you need after a huge steak and carafe-sized cocktail. After all, 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. Part of the “Streat Menu” from chef Ashley James, the Fairground Cotton Candy with Natural Raspberry Powder ($5) sounds simple, but it’s probably the best cotton candy I have ever tasted. The secret: that powder made from fresh raspberries. It’s so tangy and prickly it almost tastes spicy.
Fatty’s – Eagle Rock (www.fattyscafe.com)
Less is more. Fatty’s vegetarian eatery in Eagle Rock knows it. Their cotton candy ($10) doesn’t have any fancy flourishes, just straight-up good ingredients including pure Vermont maple syrup. I couldn’t find a photo of it, so I used this sublime painting from artist Will Cotton because it’s what I imagine you’ll feel like after eating Fatty’s cotton candy… freely floating in a swirl of soft, sweet, fluffy cotton. With naked women. Yeah, just like that.
Tasty Clouds – West LA (www.tastyclouds.com)
If you want the old-school factor of cotton candy with a grown-up gourmet twist, Tasty Clouds is a catering and rental company based in West LA that offers online ordering, delivery, shipping and pick-up orders. You can get your cotton candy kosher certified, organic, on a stick, in a tub or in a bag, not to mention in flavors like pina colada, green apple, watermelon, citrus swirl, Asian ginger and even spicy. Just look at those cute little martini puffs.