The 100 best dishes and drinks in Los Angeles 2015: Desserts

Treat yourself to the sweetest desserts we had this year, from exotic ice cream to the fluffiest churros in town
Nutella bread pudding at Forma
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman Nutella bread pudding at Forma
By Erin Kuschner and Time Out editors |
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Cake. Pudding. Custard. Ice cream. We ended our meals on some pretty fantastic notes in 2015 thanks to decadent desserts that spoke to both chocolate and fruit fans alike. A number of new donut shops landed in LA, along with a Filipino eatery serving what can only be described as coconut paradise. Another trend? Coffee desserts, from espresso-laced affogatos to pudding that looks like a cappuccino. Check out our favorite desserts we had this year, you sweet thing.

RECOMMENDED: The best dishes and drinks in Los Angeles

LA's best desserts of 2015

Goat milk custard brûlée at Odys + Penelope
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Restaurants, Brazilian

Goat milk custard brûlée at Odys + Penelope

icon-location-pin La Brea

At Odys + Penelope, pastry chef Karen Hatfield is making some of the best items on the entire menu. This custard brûlée arrives with a hole in the center that is filled with cajeta (a caramel-like concoction) to offset the powerful presence of goat milk. It's a dessert that turns crème brûlée into something almost rural, and we can't get enough of it. $10. - Erin Kuschner

Salt and pepper donut at ICDC
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Restaurants, Bakeries

Salt and pepper caramel donut at ICDC

icon-location-pin Beverly

Pastry chef Mariah Swan is making plenty of unique donut flavors at ICDC (which stands for Ice Cream, Doughnuts, Coffee), but her best is the salt and pepper caramel variety. The simple, light-as-a-feather donut is at once sweet, salty and slightly bitter. Pair it with a cup of the shop's Vittoria coffee and your day has been made. $2.50. - Erin Kuschner

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Iced buko at Rice Bar
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Restaurants, Filipino

Iced Buko at Rice Bar

icon-location-pin Downtown

This traditional Filipino dessert is sweet and simple—a creamy, coconut-flavored push-pop wrapped in clear plastic for minimal mess. It’s incredibly rich, which makes it tempting to share, but we recommend getting your own—the indulgence is worth it. $3.50. - Kate Wertheimer

Nutella bread pudding at Forma
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Restaurants, Italian

Nutella bread pudding at Forma

icon-location-pin Santa Monica

There's plenty of cheese to be had at Forma, but the Nutella bread pudding is worth getting off the cheese train for. So fluid that it has a consistency more similar to flan, the dessert is a creamy, luxurious bowl that I had trouble sharing with my fellow diners. $8. - Erin Kuschner

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Rise nitro cold brew with soft serve at Sambar
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Restaurants, Indian

Cold brew affogato at Sambar

icon-location-pin Culver City

We’re as obsessed with cold brew as any other jittery Angeleno, so we mean it when we say the cold brew affogato at Sambar is a must have. They use a nitro brew from Rise and pour it over silky smooth soft-serve ice cream. $5.50. - Jakob Layman

Lemon & blueberry tart at Cadet
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Restaurants

Lemon and blueberry tart at Cadet

icon-location-pin Santa Monica

Perfect on a hot summer night, the lemon and blueberry tart from Cadet ended our meal on a high note, each bite with a pleasant sour finish coupled by just-ripe blueberries. $8. - Erin Kuschner

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Pine ice cream with white chocolate at Alma
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Restaurants, Californian

Pine ice cream at Alma

icon-location-pin Downtown Historic Core

Despite starting a Kickstarter campaign to help fund their legal bills, Alma had to close this year, ending the critically acclaimed restaurant's run in Downtown LA. Still, we managed to sneak in a dinner, and fell hard for chef Ari Taymor's pine ice cream. The herbaceous scoop is sprinkled with dried apple chips, and is so ethereal you'd swear you were eating the best tasting air ever. - Erin Kuschner

Chile mango panna cotta at Broken Spanish
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Restaurants, Mexican

Chile mango panna cotta at Broken Spanish

icon-location-pin Downtown

Broken Spanish's chile mango panna cotta balances sweet and spicy with passion fruit curd and habanero caramel, diced mangos and cayenne meringue. Yes, it's pretty. But it's also a nod to the mango con chile hawked on LA's streets, and gives us that same feeling of diving into the simple snack on a hot summer day. $11. - Erin Kuschner

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Pok Pok Affogato at Pok Pok LA
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Restaurants, Thai

Pok Pok Affogato at Pok Pok

icon-location-pin Chinatown

Pok Pok has finally arrived in LA, and while the Portland import is killing it with their main dishes, pay attention to the dessert, too. The Pok Pok Affogato is made with condensed milk ice cream, drowned in a shot of Vietnamese coffee, with fluffy house-made Thai-style crullers on the side for prime dunking. $8. - Erin Kuschner

Restaurants, Seafood

Roasted peach crepe at Sharksteeth

Chef Craig Thornton expanded on his coveted dinner party, Wolvesmouth, with the addition of Sharksteeth, a pop-up dinner that focuses on seafood. The six-course, BYOB meal changes frequently, but on our visit we had the most delicious roasted peach crepe that oozed with sweet cream and peaches that tasted like summer. Part of a $95 prix-fixe menu. - Erin Kuschner

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Peanut Butter Croquantine at Napa Rose
Photograph: Michael Juliano
Restaurants, Californian

Peanut Butter Croquantine at Napa Rose

icon-location-pin Anaheim

At its creamy core, this diminutive dessert is a delectably gussied up Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup—but is that really a problem? Topped with a chocolate ganache and a caramelized banana, the peanut butter tart’s only downside is that it doesn’t come in a king size package. $13. - Michael Juliano

Thai iced tea ice cream with a macha cone at Wanderlust Creamery
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Restaurants, Ice cream parlors

Thai tea ice cream at Wanderlust Creamery

icon-location-pin Tarzana

Inspired by travel, this new ice cream shop has some pretty unique flavors, with ingredients from all over the globe. Our favorite? The Thai tea, made with black tea, vanilla bean, star anise, clove and condensed milk. Pair it with a green tea cone. $3.95 per scoop. - Erin Kuschner

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Vietnamese coffee pudding at Cassia
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Restaurants, South Asian

Vietnamese coffee pudding at Cassia

icon-location-pin Santa Monica

Nope, this isn't a cup of coffee—it's even better. Looking remarkably like a freshly made cappuccino, the Vietnamese coffee pudding’s lighter-than-a-feather consistency is a marvel, and the two small, coconut shortbread cookies that arrive with it are prime dunking tools. $10. - Erin Kuschner

Passion fruit tart at Baroo
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Restaurants, Korean

Passion fruit tart at Baroo

icon-location-pin Hollywood

The passion fruit tart at Baroo is a dreamy creation of macha yuzu chiffon, a powerful passion fruit curd and elderflower meringue. The crust is a hefty affair, so split the dessert with a friend—though we wouldn't blame you for wanting to scarf the whole thing down by yourself. $7. - Erin Kuschner

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Churros con chocolate at B.S. Taqueria
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Restaurants, Mexican

Churros con chocolate at B.S. Taqueria

icon-location-pin Downtown Financial District

Are these the fluffiest churros we've ever had? Quite possibly. Lightly fried and dusted in sugar, the handful of churros arrive with a cold chile de arbol chocolate dipping sauce that's at once sweet and a little spicy. $7. - Erin Kuschner

Kringle at Copenhagen Pastry
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Restaurants, Bakeries

Kringle at Copenhagen Pastry

icon-location-pin Culver City

You can’t go wrong with anything in the pastry case at this traditional Danish bakery, but it’s their take on the quintessential kringle that keeps you coming back: a simple slice of the almond paste and custard-filled treat crackles with a dusting of sugar and almond flakes. $1.95 per slice; $11 per cake. - Michael Juliano

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Crepes with Persian mulberries at Redbird
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Restaurants, American creative

Persian mulberry crepe at Redbird

icon-location-pin Downtown

While this particular crepe may not be available on your visit—Persian mulberries have a very short season—make sure to order this if it does make an appearance. A more savory berry, the mulberries are a heavenly match for the scoop of ice cream and sweet crepe that envelops the fruit. Proof: we scraped our plate clean. $12. - Erin Kuschner

101 Coffee Shop.
Photograph: Michael Juliano
Restaurants, Diners

50/50 shake at 101 Coffee Shop

icon-location-pin Hollywood

Whether you've come here for breakfast, lunch or dinner, save room for dessert—in particular, the 50/50 shake made with orange sherbet and vanilla ice cream. We stopped by here while researching our diner story and couldn't get enough, noting that “It almost tastes more like a creamsicle than a creamsicle.” And that’s a good thing. $6.75. - Erin Kuschner

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