Check out our annual restaurant issue, which this year celebrates desserts, out this Thursday, August 8.
You may not immediately categorize certain desserts as gender-specific, but there's no denying that some after-dinner delights are manlier than others. Sure, the occasional red velvet cupcake will put a smile on the face of anyone, regardless of gender, but what about a passion-fruit parfait? Or a delicate gelée topped with rose-lime sorbet and coconut crumbles, festooned with a single pink blossom? Is there no recourse for the flannel-clad lumberjack looking for his own confection? How does he feed his inner beast when it's time for something sweet?
It wasn't easy, but we tracked down five of the manliest desserts in Los Angeles. There are quintessentially hearty flavors at work in these over-clocked dishes: savory and salty, spicy and bready. At least two use bacon as a primary ingredient, one involves a thick smear of Sriracha, and you'll even find a couple of desserts on this list that rely on booze to really drive the point home. Leave the angel food cake and lo-cal froyo at home; it's time for some seriously manly desserts.
Maple bacon doughnut at Nickel Diner
Downtown's Nickel Diner may not have invented the maple bacon doughnut, but it has done much to perfect it. At the Nickel, they don't go for two simple bacon strips and a smear of fake maple shellac. Instead, think of the best Bacon Bits you've ever tried, multiplied times infinity and poured by the handful over an airy, sugary-sweet doughnut that's been given a swirly by some sticky maple thugs. The bullied little maple bacon doughnut at the Nickel Diner has been soaked in pure dried maple and beaten down by crisp bits of bacon; the only place for it to hide is inside your stomach. 524 S. Main St., dwntwn. (213) 623-8301.
Boozy breakfast Coke float at Umamicatessen
If breakfast were invented by children, the result would look something like Umamicatessen's boozy breakfast Coke float. The downtown meta-meat house likes to go childish with its dessert ice cream/drink hybrid, thanks to a couple of hefty scoops of chocolate chip ice cream bobbing around inside a long pour of real-sugarcane Coke. To a child's mind, all of that fizzy richness needs a brunch backbone, too, so Umamicatessen adds a toss of dry cornflakes to the mix -- hence the "breakfast" moniker. Of course, the adults are the ones picking up the tab, so a splash of Kahlúa ends up at the bottom of the float, making for a creamy, boozy, chocolatey Coke float that isn't actually for kids at all. 852 S. Broadway, dwntwn. (213) 413-8626.
Beer float at Golden State
At Golden State, the popular Fairfax burger spot, the dessert beer float is not what it seems. This is not just beer -- it's North Coast Brewing's Old Rasputin, a 9 percent ABV Russian Imperial stout that smacks of chocolate, roasted coffee and yeast. Dark and foreboding, it's almost a meal unto itself. And that ice cream is from Scoops, the indie sweets purveyor known for its explosively inventive dessert concoctions. It's a single hulking ladle of brown-bread ice cream, thick and yeasty in its own right, with creamy caramel undertones to battle against the alcohol. This is a man's ice cream float if ever there was one. 426 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax District. (323) 782-8331.
Sriracha candy bar at Chego
To order the Sriracha candy bar from Chego, you have to be comfortable accepting a shady-looking tinfoil package. Far from a few grams or a payoff, the thin foil actually contains one perfectly chocolatey rice bar that's been outfitted with caramel, candied peanuts and the Huy Fong hot sauce known as Sriracha. The spicy red sauce rests comfortably within the caramel, just on top of the poppy little rice bits and beneath the creamy layer of dark chocolate, creating a heat layer that plays well with all the sugary ingredients. Even if you didn't need a glass of milk after most other desserts, you'll want to have a smooth glass of dairy on hand for the little pockets of Sriracha that inevitably pop up as you bite down. 727 N. Broadway, Chinatown. (323) 380-8680.
Bacon chocolate crunch bar at Animal
Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo's Animal is already a meat-eater's paradise, but the duo upped its porky dessert game with the bacon chocolate crunch bar. This signature after-dinner forkful features hazelnut chocolate with melted peanut butter, creamy praline paste, a dash of cornflakes, peanuts and chocolate mousse. It's a three-layer, chocolate-and-salt fest that has been kissed with a torch and coated with a small porker's worth of fully rendered Nueske's bacon. Served in two thick slices, it's best to grab a bit of each layer (plus the crumbly bacon on top) with each bite, lest you miss out on the full concentration of sweet, porky flavors. 435 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax District. (323) 782-9225.
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