In most restaurants, having your dessert erupt in flames the moment it’s served to you would prompt a panic attack of OMG, it’s go time and I have no idea how to use a fire extinguisher proportions. A freak out would be totally normal. But at The Church Key in Los Angeles, people are freaking out all right — and scrambling to order the dish again and again.
This is no kitchen accident, or instance of black magic: It’s a dish called the Flaming Alaska, a riff on a traditional baked Alaska. It’s a cake topped with ice cream, then covered in gobs of fluffy meringue and torched until toasty. In that sense, it’s very much like the classic dessert — until it arrives at your table, and the server pulls out a long glass ladle full of alcohol, lights it on fire, and lets the blazing liquid pour all over the dessert. For a few seconds — just long enough to get a Snap and a few quality ‘grams in — the whole treat’s covered in electric-blue flames.
Then they’re blown out, and you’re ready to dig in. When FYI’s Food Porn visited for their season premiere (airing May 14th), the show’s host, Michael Chernow, got to try making the dish firsthand — and lighting it ablaze.
“You taste like three different flavors at once,” a guest told Chernow, after taking a bite. “It’s amazing.”
The Church Key mixes up the cake and ice cream flavors from time to time. In the video above, they used an Almond Brown Butter Cake, topped with vanilla ice cream and toasted meringue, served in a pool of dulce de leche. In the past, they’ve made it with black sesame ice cream.
Since its debut, the Flaming Alaska has been Instagram gold, getting posted countless times all over social media — and that’s no coincidence. Chef Steven Fretz dreamed up the creation’s tableside presentation with the internet in mind.
“It’s all about that wow factor. What are people going to Instagram? What are people going to Facebook? What are people gonna tweet?” he told Chernow.
One caveat, though, if you’re already texting everyone you know that it’s high time you road-tripped it to LA: The dish isn’t always available, so be sure to call ahead of time and double check. If not, people also rave about the brioche donuts. (And, if you’re in the neighborhood, you could always hit up California Donuts nearby, as well as Salt & Straw, for pure sugar overload.)
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