I love all things unicorn. I don’t believe this is a trend. If you try hard enough and your brain laser-focused on way too many Rainbow Brite episodes, My Little Pony movies, and Lisa Frank binders as a wee child of the ’80s, than you too know that unicorns are part of a lifestyle. Because, let’s be real, it’s rarely about the unicorns themselves (well, at least for me). It’s about all things colorful and neon and whimsical and a tiny bit insane.
So going into this, you’ll just have to accept that I love any sparkly unicorn thing I can get my hands on, but I also know that it’s straight-up nuts as a thirtysomething. I’m fine with this. I hope you are too.
I do not, however, need everything in my life to be unicorn-covered, just like I don’t need to hear the phrase “Millennial pink” one more time. You know something is over as a trend when Wet N’ Wild is coming out with a makeup kit and Starbucks has a drink named after it. Like New Found Glory proudly whines, “it’s all downhill from here.”
That being said, we all like a good Instagram photo. We need to make people jealous of our super cool, awesome lives, especially if you live in Los Angeles, where we’re surrounded by genuinely original pop-ups, cute mom-and-pop shops, and every food experiment Brooklyn will let us have first. So in that vein, I’m kicking off my blog revamp with a new Monday series, “Ridiculously Delightful L.A.” Here you will find round-ups of some of my favorite places in the City of Angels (and adjacent), including the most photogenic spaces, unexpected places, and, best of all, the weirdest and greatest foods and drinks you can consume.
First up: Unicorn drinks and food.
Yes, I just said the trend is dying, but colorful drinks and sugary confections are, thankfully, here to stay, whether they’re named after the imaginary creatures or not. The Starbucks drink may have been fun to hunt down, but it tasted like a unicorn took a crap in a slushie machine. These selections are way tastier, occasionally more expensive, and a whole lot more fun to drink, plus you can still buy them. And no, it will not include Starbucks’ newest menu item, the Ombre Pink drink, because like all their other trend-hawking concoctions, it too is not a product your should consume. Hit these independently-owned joints — located in both Los Angeles and Orange counties — instead:
1. Bia Coffee
Located in the heart of Koreatown, Bia is difficult to park at and there are lines out the door even in the middle of the week. Your patience will be rewarded, because once you get to the register, you will most like be greeted by one of the siblings who owns the shop, which specializes in flower-infused coffees. They patiently answer your questions, like why is there only soy and almond milk as choices and will you please start serving the cold brew option on week days? If you go during the week, grab the lavender latte. I prefer mine with almond milk, which helps bring out some of the floral buds, and they even top your coffee with a sprig of lavender. Before you stir, the bottom of your drink will be a lovely shade of purple, which is totes Instagrammable. Prefer the rose latte? You’ll get a drink with a gorgeous magenta hue.
The lavender latte is just the right amount of sweet and tastes way better than it sounds. If you plan on sitting in the small shop, you can even grab a slice of lavender or rose cake. Making yours a to go order? You’re outta luck for the sugar coma, but you’ll still be really happy with your drink — just maybe not the $6 price tag.
Bia Coffee, 3907 West 6th Street, Los Angeles
This sweets shop — which opened its first location in Sherman Oaks and has since expanded with Frankielucy Baksehop, a collaboration with Found Coffee in Silver Lake — jumped on the unicorn trend hard and early. They literally have a treat called Unicorn Poop, a rainbow-sprinkled merengue that looks like the cutest poop emoji come to life. It’s light and fluffy and not a treat I’d normally eat (anything chocolate for me, please!), but it’s called Unicorn Poop so I do not care. Welcome to the only merengue I’ll put my hands on.
Creme Caramel LA, 14849 Burbank Boulevard, Sherman Oaks; Frankielucy Bakeshop, 3116 1/2 West Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles
Not enough unicorn poop for you? Head south to B.Candy, located in two seaside Orange County enclaves, where you can score a Unicorn Poop Cookie, which is totally up my sweet treat alley. They’ve got cute cookies shaped like any magical desire you think of, including rainbows and Unicorn Frappuccinos, plus you can munch on mini rainbow cakes. They even made a full-sized cake styled after a unicorn mane.
We bow down to these connoisseurs of cuteness.
B.Candy, 3100 East Coast Highway, Corona del Mar; 21058 Pacific Coast Highway, M210, Huntington Beach
Come for the hipster-adored palm frond wallpaper, stay for the drink you’ve seen everyone post on social media: the Orange Yuzu. With its layers of droolworthy indigo and orange shades and tastes like a sunset in your mouth (or a cacti, depending on who you ask). Just make sure you get your snap in first — you want to mix the drink fully before taking your first sip. Not into this particular tea? They have plenty of other creations and bobas, and they’ll whip up off-menu concoctions if you ask nicely. That’ll definitely make you feel better about yet another nefarious parking situation — unless you walk there from The Grove. Then you’re just earning the calories, really.
Pearl’s Finest Teas, 523 North Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles
Some things are worth fighting traffic on the 5 for, and this adorable Orange County shop is one of them. I want everything they make here, because it’s all scrumptious and sweet and sugar porn. For the sake of this list, we’ll suggest you try their Unicorn Hot Chocolate or Unicorn Cake. Neither is cheap (the hot cocoa is $6.25, a slice $8), but you’ll be too distracted by how many photos you’re taking to even blink at the bills you’re handing over.
They’ve even added a mermaid menu to their incredible selections, because mermaids are the new unicorns, duh. But don’t worry! You can still get their yummy unicorn treats. And don’t forget to thank Team Sparkle for putting Creme & Sugar on people’s radars nationwide (and check out her IG feed while you’re there, because holy crap will it make you squeal with delight).
Creme & Sugar, 6312 East Santa Ana Canyon Road, Anaheim
Listen, I’m super biased when it comes to bagels and pizza, because I am from New Jersey and have yet to find a spot that truly lives up to the scrumptious options we have in the New York metro-area (a couple of places come close, but that’s for another blog). So I will not pretend that this is the greatest bagel I’ve ever had, but it’s definitely the only rainbow one I’ve tried, and for the colors alone, it’s worth sampling — when I’m in Orange County. They’ve got three shops in the O.C., but make sure you hit them up Thursday through Sunday — those are the only four days you can get these colorful carb bombs.
Bagels and Brews, 26601 Aliso Creek Road, #D, Aliso Viejo; 21771 Lake Forest Drive, #100, Lake Forest; 23052 Alicia Parkway, #A,
I, like every other warm-blooded American, am a sucker for grilled cheese. It’s the ultimate comfort food that can be found at any diner but also turned into a super hipster-worthy lunch full of cheeses from countries you’ve never heard that costs more than your weekly grocery bill. This colorful grilled cheese, however, will only set you back $6, and you don’t have to go to Hong Kong to get the original version — just Santa Monica.
Chomp Eatery, 1612 Santa Monica Boulevard, Santa Monica
If you like to pretend you’re a fancy rich lady (or gent) but also still a 12-year-old stuck in a grownup’s body, this fancy hotel has got you covered. Not only can you snag the above Unicorn Parfait, for those over 21, you can imbibe in a sprinkle-garnished Unicorn Cocktail. Mixologist Adam Stearns created the dreamy drank, which consists of Tanqueray, lime, lemon, simple syrup, and strawberry sorbet, along with even more magical ingredients. It’s so fabulous, Haute Living even profiled it.
Terranea Resort, 100 Terranea Way, Rancho Palos Verdes
This O.C. pastry shop lets you literally eat unicorns, not just homages to them. Snap up a chubby Unicorn macaron that’s almost too cute to eat. It’s tough to go wrong here, because every macaron will be the cutest version of the French cookie that you’ve ever seen — including, of course, poop-shaped options.
Honey & Butter, 633 Spectrum Center Drive, Irvine; 2930 Bristol Street, Costa Mesa
Melon-ahhh ! This is a non-rotating flavor that's here to stay! Have you ever had a Korean melon bar? That's what this delicious treat is! We sprinkle it with some Chamoy to add a kick that pairs perfectly with our creamy & fruity soft serve 🍦 #dripsandswirls #allflavornogimmicks #SoftServeIceCream #icecream #laeats #LaFoodie #theOriginal #TheOriginalcharcoalCone
This DTLA ice cream shop swaps flavors out weekly, so you may not see that robin’s egg blue soft serve that’s been displayed on many an Instagram feed (it’s called Earl Blue, after it’s Earl Grey’s tea flavor), but it’s still worth scooping up one of their charcoal cones (they’ve had these since March 2016, as not to confuse them with that other DTLA shop and its goth black cones) and testing out a different flavor. Nearly every option has a pastel hue that can turn into your own personal rainbow dream with the right topping. We’re partial to the light rose hibiscus offering.
Drips & Swirls, 3076 West 8th Street, Los Angeles