Gourmet iterations of everyday snacks are almost automatic now, with everything from popcorn to even cheeseballs getting the bougie treatment. But have you ever heard of gourmet cotton candy? Cotton Cravings, a brand known for their fancy takes on cotton candy via creative flavors, has now come out with a flan flavor that’s sure to tickle the palates of sweet fiends all over.
Everyone’s creamy, custardy treat in feathery form already sounds like a delight to the senses, but to have it released alongside some fresh gear is a welcome bonus. That’s because Cotton Cravings new flan flavor is debuting with a clothing capsule collection from FLAN (Forever Laughing At Nothing).
Also know as FLAN Labs, the clothing brand is collaborating with Cotton Cravings for a set that includes a t-shirt and socks. Both the snack and gear conjure up effervescent feelings of carefree bliss, so feel free to indulge in the drip and the dessert.
The Cotton Cravings x FLAN Labs collection is now available on the FLAN Labs website.
While Southern California residents are gearing up for the much-anticipated opening of Disney’s Star Wars Land, Walt Disney World in Florida has a different reason to be hyped this summer in the form of new gourmet cotton candies.
Disney Food Blog reported that the resort and theme park has unveiled a line of cotton candies that are now available at Goofy’s Candy Company in Disney Springs.
Photo Courtesy Disney Food Blog
New flavors include Root Beer, Sour Apple, Strawberry Banana, Key Lime, and Sweet Mesquite.
Disney Food Blog notes that the Sweet Mesquite had a smokiness to its aroma, but was on the sweeter side rather than savory. Essentially, it tasted similar to a BBQ chip.
As a fan of anything and everything BBQ related, this is a must-try if I’m ever at the Florida theme park. Hopefully they stay on the menu for an extended amount of time.
While I shed a tear for the beach bod I never really got this summer, I take solace in the fact that it’s fair season and I can just try again in the fall.
Yes, that means we’re ready to be buried in fried foods, sweets, and snacks, not unlike that kid fromKazaam.
On Friday, June 13, the Orange County Fair opened its gates to the public and we eagerly high-tailed it into the fairgrounds.
Returning are some all-star vendors like Chicken Charlie’s and Biggy’s — the Deep Fry King and Sultan of Turkey Legs, respectively, and they’ve added a handful of new items that had us wiping drool from our chins.
Check out all the new foods and returning favorites served that this year’s OC Fair. Just be sure to leave some time between snacking, for rides and games.
Deep Fried Filet Mignon (Chicken Charlie’s)
Photo: Peter Pham
This year’s star dish from Chicken Charlie’s booth is the deep fried filet mignon. Hulked out medallions are skewered together, breaded, and deep fried. Imagine eating chicken fried steak on a stick, because that’s essentially what this is. Just wish we had some sausage gravy to dunk those steaks in. Next year, Charlie.
Caramel Crack Fries (Biggy’s)
Photo: Peter Pham
I’ve always been a fan of the marriage between sweet and salty. Give me some kettle corn or a maple bacon donut and I’m a happy dude. Biggy’s new Caramel Crack Fries is a stunning example of sweet and salty that combines salty cinnamon sugar fries, a generous drizzle of caramel, whipped cream, and Fruity Pebbles cereal.
Many feel pineapple doesn’t belong on a pizza, but no one said you can’t deep fry it. Chicken Charlie’s is offering freshly sliced pineapples that are plunged into Charlie’s special pancake batter and dunked in a vat of hot oil — the origins of a delicious fruit-themed superhero.
Lasagna Nachos (Pignotti’s)
Photo: OC Fair
Looks like lasagna nachos are slowly making it into the mainstream and I’m totally on board with it. Pignotti’s version takes deep-fried pieces of lasagna noodles and douses them in a bed of rich marinara sauce before being introduced to a second friend…Mister Cheese Blanket.
Spicy Turkey Leg (Biggy’s)
Photo: Peter Pham
Hardcore carnivores will likely go straight for the massive turkey legs found at Biggy’s. This year, they’re trying something a little spicier with a Cholula hot sauce variation of the classic turkey leg. Don’t worry, you’ll still get the same smokiness and girth as a regular leg, just with a extra helping of heat.
Mermaid Floats (Candy Factory)
Photo: Peter Pham
Between all the salty meats and the scorching summer heat, you’ll probably want to track down something sweet and refreshing to cool off with. Candy Factory has a smorgasbord of floats named after mythical creatures, such as the Unicorn and Mermaid Floats. These multi-colored refreshers feature a sweet soda sprinkled stacked with rainbow toppings and a heap of cotton candy.
Ramen Burritos (Chicken Charlie’s)
Photo: Peter Pham
Another new addition to Chicken Charlie’s lineup are these chicken and shrimp ramen burritos. Ramen noodles and Funyuns are joined with Charlie’s savory grilled chicken or shrimp in a warm tortilla, offering a trio of textures. Charlie tosses the noodles in his famous House Maui sauce and some Sriracha for a gentle hit of flavor.
Spaghetti Donuts (Pignotti’s)
Photo: OC Fair
I never knew spaghetti could be enjoyed without utensils until I saw Pignotti’s spaghetti donuts. The noodles are formed using a donut mold and tossed into the deep fryer with the love of an Italian grandparent. Instead of glaze, they’re topped with traditional pasta sauces — pesto, Alfredo, carbonara, or marinara.
Bacon Wrapped Pork Belly (Biggy’s)
Photo: Oscar Gonzalez
It’s not really a trip to the fair without some bacon. Biggy’s bacon-wrapped pork belly serves guests a skewer full of bacon inception. The crispy cured strips are wrapped around hunks of tender Duroc pork belly and slow roasted. Bacon lovers will definitely want to zero in on this item.
If that’s not enough to whet your whistle, here’s everything else you need to keep an eye out for at this year’s OC Fair:
Every time a viral item hits social media, I brace myself for the inevitable barrage of texts, tags, and links. Hungry foodies will stop at nothing to get their hands (and IG feeds) on this unique dish. And for some reason, old Pete has to come along for the ride.
We’ve been fortunate enough to help ferry some of these items across the sea of social media.
Because there’s so much more to the simple fact that a viral item may help a restaurant take off,
I spoke to a few restaurant owners who have each had an item blow up overnight. Each concept was unique: a kabob burrito, a Mexican pop culture donut shop, a cotton candy burrito, and one of the first restaurants to throw Flamin’ Hot Cheetos onto a menu item.
Here’s what they had to say:
You may best know Mini Kabob owner Armen Martirosyan by his nomme de guerre: Eat Bearded.
Mini Kabob is home to the one our favorite Middle Eastern restaurants in Los Angeles County but it was also the birthplace of his viral Ali Baba Kabob Burrito.
“The first time we created the burrito was with Instagrammer Grubfiend (Nick Fasone),” he told FOODBEAST. “It was a kabob burrito and after that we called it the Grubfiend Burrito.”
Trying to create a more marketable name, Foodbeast head of video and Lebanese Lothario Marc Kharrat came up with the Ali Baba Burrito, which Martirosyan loved.
“It’s funny because my dad calls my mom: Ali Baba. So that’s how the Ali Baba Burrito came to be.”
Wrapped within the flatbread known as lavash are a medley of hummus, rice, chicken thigh or beef shish, homemade salad, garlic sriracha sauce and sumac.
“The Ali Baba Burrito is basically a Middle Eastern Dish in a burrito.”
As soon as the video dropped, people came in waves.
“Last year when the video went up, we had a three-hour wait every Sunday. We were making about 80-90 burritos in the hour and a half that Mini Kabob offered them. It was a little too much.”
Mini Kabob lives up to its name, with about 225 square feet and a 120 square feet kitchen. Martirosyan knew about two weeks into selling the viral burrito that this just wasn’t going to work. Instead of taking down the popular item, however, he created a new business around it.
The fusion concept can be found at Smorgasburg Los Angeles every Sunday. Martirosyan is currently working on more taco products to add to his already popular menu. Though most who come for the Ali Baba Burrito will have enough on their plate dodging Mr. Sandman on the drive home.
Donas Donut Shop
“It happened on a Wednesday that you guys posted the video on your Facebook Page,” Donas co-owner David Vasquez recalls.
Donas is so much more than a donut shop. “It’s a whimsical little slice of Latino culture tucked away in Downey, CA. As fellow Foodbeast Isai Rocha puts it,
“Donas also serves as a gateway into the nostalgic memories of Mexicans who grew up with Selena, El Santo, or Abuelita hot chocolate.”
Well, it seems everyone with a sweet tooth headed straight to Donas after the video dropped.
“People just kept showing up nonstop all day. It just stayed like that where every morning we would get a line, people would come in throughout the day, and we would sell out.”
“The first Sunday since the video launched was really difficult to be honest,” co-owner Ashley Vasquez admitted. “At that point, we were only making a batch of 200 donuts a day. In the afternoon we would have a baker come in and make us a few extra ones, but the first four or five days we wouldn’t have another batch coming out.
She explained that Donas is churning out more volume, making more sales, but paying that back in labor costs.
Donas recently had to shorten their hours from closing at 10pm to 6pm. They’ve begun training a second baker to help produce a new batch of donuts for the later hours.
“We’re not just saying ‘hey, we’re sold out,” and that’s it. We’re working really hard to meet demand. We’re only meeting demand because we’ve decreased our hours.”
Ashley, David, and the partners of Donas are still working to train new staff to meet the newfound popularity of their colorful donuts. If you’re looking to get your hands on one, like the vibrant Selena Donut, you may want to get in line early, just to be safe.
Cotton Candy Burrito
“When it went viral, it was hilarious because the wife didn’t hear anything that night, got up the next morning and went to Sugar Sugar and saw that customers were already lined up at the door.”
Martin Lacombe, owner of Sugar Sugar in Sarnia, Canada, recalls his wife calling him and asking: “What the hell did you do?”
You may remember a video launching on Foodbeast last summer featuring a cotton candy burrito stuffed with scoops of ice cream and finished with Unicorn dust (edible glitter).
When it posted last summer, Lacombe’s cotton candy burrito did gangbusters, eventually reaching 30 million Facebook views since launch.
“It’s a huge honor when someone drives three or four hours for something you’ve created. It was really overwhelming for me, because I couldn’t believe people were doing that.”
Located in Sarnia, the shop is two and a half hours from Toronto and an hour from Detroit.
Last summer, when the Foodbeast video launched, Sugar Sugar would sell about 200 ice cream burritos a day. Unlike Armen’s burritos from Mini Kabob, Lacombe’s assembly process was much simpler to execute being a quick-serve ice cream parlor.
Lacombe says it only takes about 35 seconds to make a shell, everything after that can easily be done in seconds – scooping the ice cream and assembling the burrito.
“Ice cream’s easily servable, and if there’s a line outside the door and they’re waiting a long time, it’s usually a good problem to have.”
Lacombe did admit, however, he had one major regret from all this.
“The only shame and only regret that I have out of all of this is if my shop was sitting on Youngstreet in Downtown Toronto, I’d be a millionaire by now.”
Hot Cheetos Mac and Cheese
Back in 2012, the world was introduced to one of the first viral restaurant foods around: The Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Mac and Cheese.
Steve Massin, the owner of The Attic on Broadway in Long Beach, CA, fondly recalls the debut of his iconic novelty dish.
Massin asked himself:
“How do I want to make my mac and cheese fun? It just seemed to me like all of the options out there were pretty much the same — You had your bread crumb topping. It was a lot of the same kind of mac and cheese. I wanted to do something fun and different on a dish that everybody loved.”
Originally it started as Mac and cheese with Goldfish crumbles on top. One day Massin asked himself what would be a good contrast to this dish — what do people love?
“Where I come from a lot of times food was so serious, as it should be, but we took something that had really good quality in it and put something fun on top. Just to show how fun it could be.”
Twenty million views on BuzzFeed and many other videos later and the rest was history. The Attic sold 200 macs a day after that video came out.
“People loved it. I can probably count on one hand how many people said they didn’t like it, and that’s after many many mac and cheeses sold.”
The dish brought a lot of people to the restaurant who maybe wouldn’t visit otherwise if they didn’t see it on a viral video or a social media platform that drove them in.
“I think at the end of the day, It was really good for us.”
While he wouldn’t call it a negative, Massin says a lot of people know The Attic as the Mac and Cheetos place now.
“There’s so much more to the restaurant than mac and Cheetos. That was just something that we put on the menu as an appetizer just to be fun.”
Like it or not, social media is here to stay. For these restauranteurs, we found out exactly what happened to them when their concept went viral. The power of social media isn’t only geared towards unconventional menu items, however. Some fun and engaging coverage on a regular basis can reach customers further than any paid advertisement. Having a Instagram-worthy item go viral doesn’t hurt though. Chili Cheese Churros, anyone?
They say, “don’t judge a book by it’s cover,” but it turns out we also can’t judge a fruit by its peel or a veggie by its skin. In our unpredictable, often chaotic world, our food has become equally as erratic and mercurial.
For better or for worse, what you see is not always what you get. A grape can now be evocative of your favorite carnival treat and even seemingly standard produce can taste like your go-to breakfast staple.
And while this volatility may sound frightening, these surprising flavors shouldn’t spur concern. Only when cake starts tasting like kale, and bacon like quinoa should we really start to worry.
Grape news! Though grapes are one of the more benign fruits, able to satiate even the pickiest of eaters, you can now find ones that taste like your favorite festival fair. “Cotton Candy Grapes” are now a thing thanks to horticulturalist, David Cain. Without genetic engineering or artificial flavors, Cain created this new strain of grape simply by classic plant breeding. His aim was originally to restore the “natural flavors” of grapes that often get removed in the shipping and storage process. The result? A fruit that your mom would approve of while delighting the sugar crazy child inside of you.
William Shakespeare once wrote, “some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” Scholars may disagree, but when it comes to the opening of this avowal it seems pretty obvious to me he was referring to the Blue Java Banana. Produced organically from nature, without any interference whatsoever, blue java bananas somehow taste like ice cream. Aptly known as the “ice cream banana” these fruits possess a natural vanilla flavor and a creamy, fluffy texture. Now I’m not saying they rival the delicious artificiality of real ice cream, but as far as bananas go, they’re pretty darn good.
Now these are berry special. While pineberries may simply appear to be typical red strawberries who look like they’ve just seen a ghost, they’re actually a crossbreed that boast a tart flavor reminiscent of pineapples. These frosty fruits, like a celebrity marriage or biweekly paycheck, aren’t available for long. Pineberries have a very short season compared to their crimson counterparts, so if you enjoy their citrus flavor, you should probably buy these baffling berries in bulk. Say that five times fast.
Jamaican me crazy, ackee fruit. A breakfast staple of the Caribbean country, ackee looks like a bug eyed video game character, but tastes like scrambled eggs. When cooked, the tropical fruit has a creamy, delicate texture that not only tastes like your go-to breakfast but looks like it, too. Ackee served with saltfish is actually Jamaica’s national dish and is basically the Caribbean version of lox and eggs.
Have you tried “flavor tripping?” All the cool kids are doin’ it. Though this practice may sound like the latest teen faux drug craze like beezin’ or dusting, it’s actually driven by eating a harmless berry. “Miracle berries” of the Synsepalum dulcificum plant, mostly found in West Africa, contain a protein that temporarily numbs the taste buds. When eaten (or taken in pill form), foods that are tart or savory are instead experienced as strangely sweet. Some foods that have produced some of the most extreme reactions to these miracle berries include lemons, beer, and even chilli peppers.
More polarizing than the ending of How I Met Your Mother, black licorice has been tearing loved ones apart practically since its inception. If you find that the “candy” is a point of contention in your household, try eating fennel instead! Reminiscent of celery, fennel is a root vegetable that tastes like black licorice. Bitter, sweet, and salty all at the same time, fennel may just be the new black (licorice).
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From puppies to sunshine to Forest Gump, only a few things in this world are universally adored, but none so much as BBQ. Even vegetarians salivate at the sight of pulled pork, and thanks to the jackfruit, these omnivorous creatures can now enjoy the barbecue favorite without sacrificing their ~green~ lifestyle. Native to South and Southeast Asia, the jackfruit is the largest tree-born fruit in the world and, when cooked, looks and tastes like pulled pork. The fruit can weigh between 10 and 100 pounds, so be sure to pace yourself and have extra BBQ sauce handy.
There’s no other way to put it except that black sapote is proof of a higher power. A green fruit that looks mediocre at best, yet when sliced open reveals a deep brown color that has the consistency and taste of chocolate pudding. Maybe that’s why this species of persimmon is also known as the chocolate pudding fruit. Though it’s possible (and delicious) to scoop the tropical Central American and Caribbean fruit from its skin and eat it right then and there, there are countless innovative recipes that use black sapote as a chocolate alternative. Read: chocolate cakes and meringue pies. You. Are. Welcome.
It’s widely known that it’s not easy being green, but it’s made that much harder when you’re both green and reek of old gym socks. Most prominent in Southeast Asia, Durian is a spiky, peculiar looking fruit that smells like rotten onions but tastes like ice cream. Despite its pungent odor, the citizens of Southeast Asia have deemed Durian “king of fruits” due to its sweet, almond-like flavor. Apparently Durian’s stank is worth the taste, but I’d still recommend plugging your nose to fully enjoy it.
~Officially~ know as Acmella Oleracea, electric daisies are a strange flower that when eaten, leave your mouth slightly tingly and anaesthetised for up to 15 minutes. Oh, and it also smells like a chocolatey mint. When consumed raw, electric daisies initially taste more or less how you think they would (grassy and earthy) but can be included in a number of clever recipes. Electric daisies takin’ ‘flower power’ to the next level.
Each year as summer comes to a close, the Los Angeles County Fair begins as a way to bookend a long, hot summer. From the hundreds of vendors, to the delicious-looking and beautifully fried foods, and the variety of exciting exhibits, there’s always has something new people can’t wait to experience.
Here are seven must-try items from the 2017 LA County Fair.
It’s safe to say Chicken Charlie’s is an innovator when it comes to creating amazing fair foods that are just as delicious as they are memorable. This year, Charlie’s is giving us a reason to celebrate dessert with two never-before-seen items. Charlie’s Cotton Candy Ice Cream Sandwich is a colorful creation of sugar, sweetness and creaminess. Picture one large scoop of vanilla ice cream, sandwiched between two cotton candy patties and rolled in Fruity Pebbles Cereal.
2. Chicken Charlie’s: Funnel Cake Burrito
Another sweet creation from the mind of Charlie is the popular Funnel Cake Burrito. Starting with a funnel cake and a giant tortilla, this burrito is topped with cinnamon apples, whipped cream, and powdered sugar. Then, this sweet and savory behemoth is wrapped up burrito-style and ready for consumption!
Afters Ice Cream has quickly become an LA and OC favorite for milk buns and exotic ice cream flavors. With that said, Afters will be showing off its skills with Strawberry Funnel Cake And Mango Sorbet Milky Buns during this year’s festivities. Make sure you swing by!
4. Pink’s Hot Dogs: The Enchilada Dog
Introducing, Pink’s Enchilada Hot Dog. It’s a foot-long hot dog topped with cilantro, onions and cheese. But, in order to make this true enchilada-style, the hot dog is wrapped in a tortilla with a bit of enchilada sauce. If you love hot dogs and Mexican food, stop by Pink’s for this 2017 LA County Fair exclusive.
5. Cowboy Kettle Corn: Unicorn Nitro Candy Pop
This isn’t your average kettle corn – it’s Unicorn Nitro Pop from Cowboy Kettle Corn, and it’s dipped in liquid nitrogen. In addition to being delicious, this treat is definitely something to capture on Instagram. Each mouthful of this frozen treat produces a cloud of icy vapor that will keep you entertained for hours.
6. Plant Food For People: Vegan Jackfruit Nachos
It wouldn’t be the LA County Fair without nachos, but you’ve probably never had these nachos before. PFFP, or Plant Food For People, serves an all-vegan, gourmet menu that includes these very popular vegan jackfruit nachos that are potato-based, and topped with jackfruit, tomatoes, onions, and cilantro.
7. Chef Cricket’s Culinary Kitchen: Bug Tasting Bar
If there’s one thing you try at the 2017 LA County Fair, make sure you check out Chef Cricket’s Culinary Kitchen and Bug Tasting Bar. Offering an assortment of freeze-dried and chocolate-covered bugs, this is definitely one of the most unique culinary attractions the LA County Fair has seen, and apparently they actually taste pretty good!
The Fair is open from Friday, September 1st to Sunday, September 24th this year. We hope to see you there!
Two of our summertime festival favorites have meshed together in a form that we would never expect.
Sarnia, Ontario, Canada dessert shop Sugar Sugar has invented a Cotton Candy Burrito that will blow your mind and tastebuds. The inside of this burrito is more familiar to us, since it’s just ice cream. The outside, however, is truly innovative and unique because it’s made from a flattened mountain of cotton candy repurposed as the proverbial “tortilla” in the role of a burrito.
On paper, that combination may not make sense at first. You’d think the moisture from the ice cream would just dissolve the cotton candy and make the outer “tortilla” useless, but somehow, the spun sugar withstands the ice cream. It doesn’t exactly eat like a burrito either, since the cloudy crunch of cotton candy doesn’t exactly scream out “tortilla,” but it’s still a sweet combo that gives you a fun play on textures you wouldn’t expect.
Overall, the cotton candy burrito is a dessert combo unlike any other, and it’s something you definitely want to go and check out for yourself.
The small brew pub chain located in Tokyo is celebrating cherry blossom season with a limited time menu item. They already serve cotton candy pizza on a regular basis, however, in the spirit of the festival, one of the branches in the Kanda neighborhood decided to create a unique variation for their patrons.
Schmatz Beer Dining starts off with a three cheese thin-crust pizza that’s served with a honey ginger sauce. The sweet pie is then topped with a tuft of pink cotton candy that’s sprinkled with cherry blossom petals.
The limited-time pizza will be available through April 2, specifically at the Kanda location of Schmatz Beer Dining.