RED O'S PLANTAIN CAKE It’s a treat to see plantains on a menu. That’s why this dessert at Rick Bayless’ Fashion Island resto is so appealing. The cake is fluffy-moist, and the pepita toffee crunch, roasted plantain puree and Mexican chocolate sauce add depth and crunch. Muy bueno.
SEALEG'S CHOCOLATE SOUFFLE WITH HORCHATA ICE CREAM This casual-chic spot puts a spin on its souffle that’s sure to appeal to Huntington Beach’s surf set, pairing the classic confection with a scoop of horchata (the bev made of spices and ground rice) ice cream and Oaxaca chocolate shavings to garnish. Baja sessions, indeed.
TANGATA'S STRAWBERRY PANNA COTTA WITH CHAMPAGNE AIR Everything tastes better with Champagne, even if it’s only a dollop of frothy essence. The custard serves as a creamy foundation for a thin blanket of strawberry sauce, followed by fresh slices of the fruit and the so-called Champagne air. It’s a work of art befitting its Bowers Museum locale.
WATERLINE'S CHERRY-ALMOND CAKE WITH FOIE GRAS ICE CREAM We say foie gras, and you say—pate? Try ice cream. It’s the icing on the cake at this Balboa Bay Resort resto. Made in-house, it’s a rich partner to the sweet-tart flavor profile of the cake. The topper: tableside prep of the chocolate syrup, made of 72 percent dark.
WATERTABLE'S AVOCADO MOUSSE Avo can elevate a burger to gourmet status. But we don’t often see it as the core ingredient in desserts, like at this eatery at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach. It’s dressed with a rhubarb-grapefruit reduction, pomelo and fennel crystals to add zest.