Has your kid been extra good lately? Looking to give them a very special treat? The bar for unusual and outrageous desserts has grown increasingly higher in the Bay Area, where tongue-twisting ice cream flavors, pastries like kouign amann, and boba drinks have become commonplace. Next time you want to surprise your kids with something besides another ice cream cone, scroll down and check out these offbeat sweets that might have been flying under your radar.
Taiyaki Ice Cream at Uji Time
The words “fish” and “ice cream” don’t usually go together, but one look at these fish-shaped ice cream cones will have you changing your tune. Uji Time updates taiyaki, a traditional Japanese fish-shaped pancake filled with red bean paste, by turning the pancake into a soft serve cone. Ice cream choices usually include matcha, black sesame, and rotating seasonal flavors. Top with sprinkles, cookie wafers, and Pocky sticks and you have the tastiest looking fish ever. Be forewarned they make the cones fresh, so sometimes there can be a wait.
2575 Telegraph Ave.
22 Peace Plaza Ste 440
San Francisco, CA
photo by Kev L via Yelp
Dragon’s Breath at Chocolate Chair
If you thought the ice dragon in Game of Thrones was the coolest thing ever, you’ll want to check out the Dragon’s Breath dessert at Chocolate Chair. One bite of the liquid nitrogen-infused Fruity Pebbles-like cereal will have you blowing super chilled plumes of air out your mouth. Your kids might be a little intimidated by the super cold cereal, so it may fall on you to impress your kids with your smoky breath. Have your camera at the ready to capture the effect.
1737 Post St Ste 383
San Francisco, CA
photo by Ciara Lene G via Yelp
Giant Donut at Bob’s Donuts
Donuts may be practically a dime a dozen around here, but a donut bigger than your hand is a true rarity. A giant (almost 10″ across) donut covered in glaze and sprinkles may be your kid’s wildest sugar-filled dreams come true. Although Bob’s Donuts has a standing challenge to finish a giant donut in 3 minutes for immortalization in their Hall of Fame, it’s probably a more reasonable strategy to take the donut home and let the kids enjoy it slowly over the week. Bob’s Donuts is open 24 hours, and carries regular size donuts, fritters, and danishes as well.
1621 Polk St
San Francisco, Ca
Shaved Snow at Powder
What kid doesn’t love eating fresh fallen snow? Shaved snow may be the most poetically named dessert on this list. It’s very closely related to the more well-known snow cones or shave ice, but instead of finely ground ice flavored with syrup, shaved snow is made from frozen milk-based blocks shaved into piles of feather –light ribbons. It’s light, fluffy, and melts in your mouth like a perfect snowfall. Powder in San Francisco offers some wonderful flavor and topping combinations, like the BOB, which has strawberries and sprinkles over strawberry shaved snow.
260 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA
photo by Lorie Shaull via flickr
Dragon’s Beard Candy at Koi Palace
This traditional Chinese candy is very similar to cotton candy, but amazingly it’s made entirely by hand. Strands of sugar syrup are pulled, manipulated, and cut into whisker-thin strands (hence the name), and wrapped around a filling of nuts and seeds. It’s like eating a sweet cloud wrapped around a crunchy center. Koi Palace dim sum restaurant has a demonstration of dragon’s beard candy making in the front lobby that will mesmerize your kids; call ahead for times.
365 Gellert Blvd
Daly City, Ca
Honey Toast at Sno-Crave Tea House
The innocuous name “honey toast” doesn’t do this dessert justice. This showstopper of a dessert features a square loaf of bread hollowed out and filled with the toasted bread cubes, ice cream, fruit, and almost any other topping you can think of, including, yes, honey. Sno-Crave Tea House has several enticing combinations including this Macaron Party which tops the toast tower with macarons and Pocky sticks. A great dessert for the whole family to share.
Sno-Crave Tea House
1777 N Milpitas Blvd
photo: Anita Chu
Rolled Ice Cream at Icicles
How do you roll ice cream? The answer: very quickly and dexterously. Your kids may ask how they can do this at home after watching this Thai dessert being made. Watching the ice cream rolling process is part of the experience at Icicles. Workers pour ice cream mix on a frozen plate and quickly shape and cut it into a perfect bouquet of rolls. A wide menu of kid-friendly flavors and toppings from Oreo to strawberry to PB&J make this a sure hit for the littles.
1275 Lincoln Ave #1
San Jose, Ca
What’s your favorite under-the-radar treat in the Bay? Tell us in a comment below!