Getting Baked Alaska

Dear Mr. Gold:

I have a food question. Do you know of a nice restaurant that serves baked Alaska? Thank you!


Dear Andrea:

Baked Alaska, broiled meringue mountains bearing payloads of ice cream and cake, were almost ubiquitous on retro-fashionable menus a decade ago. But the moment for baked Alaska’s glamour revival seems to have come and gone, all but replaced by hot-fudge sundaes and banana splits.

The small-plates bar Firefly in Studio City has a decent, gooey version on its dessert menu, and JiRaffe in Santa Monica used to do a crunchy baked Alaska that was probably closer to a classic vacherin. If you show up at Wolfgang Puck’s Cut on the right nights, there is a veritable Astrodome of a baked Alaska, which is probably a bit much after a meal of bone marrow and a mammoth Wagyu porterhouse, although the tart rhubarb underneath is very refreshing. But if you’re going to do a baked Alaska, you might as well go all the way — the 19th-century classic has been a specialty at Arcadia’s The Derby almost forever. And although you have to phone and reserve the dish in advance, the strong cocktails, the proximity to the racetrack at Santa Anita and the 1920s horsy décor make the restaurant exactly the right place to enjoy the dessert — it is easy to imagine Margaret Dumont eating a double portion right across the room. 233 E. Huntington Dr., Arcadia, (626) 447-2430.

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