21 Beautiful Rainbow Foods You Can Eat at Restaurants Across the Country
Taste many different rainbows with these sweet and savory multi-colored palate pleasers.
Photo By: JESSE KORMAN/Courtesy of Dana's Bakery
Photo By: Courtesy of Zola Bakes
Photo By: Karen @bunvoyaage/Courtesy of Lady Wong
Photo By: Courtesy of Home Coffee Roasters
Photo By: Courtesy of DagWoods
Photo By: JESSE KORMAN/Courtesy of Dana's Bakery
Photo By: Courtesy of Sugar and Scribe
Photo By: Del Hernandez/Courtesy of Frost
Photo By: Leigh Loftus Photography
Photo By: Courtesy of Bitter & Twisted
Photo By: Gilbert Buenaventura
Eat the Rainbow
It’s not just your childhood food fantasy: Images of multicolored foods really are popping up everywhere. And it seems that chefs and bartenders across the country are just as obsessed with the rainbow trend as the rest of us, cranking out dishes and drinks that would make Dorothy proud. From sweet to savory, here’s how spots across the country are taking the challenge to "eat a rainbow" in all new directions.
This story was originally published in November 2017 and has since been updated.
Rainbow Cookies at Zola Bakes, New York City
Growing up in Long Island, rainbow cookies were a childhood staple for Samantha Zola, who would often seek them out from New York City’s Little Italy. After stints at Magnolia Bakery and Epicerie Boulud, the French Pastry School of Chicago alum launched Zola Bakes, an online bakery specializing in colorful bite-sized versions of the Italian bakery staple. Her spin on the rich almond-flavored pastry is even more vibrant than the original red, white and green version—Zola tints her treat in eye-catching neon rainbow hues and sandwiches the layers with an assortment of raspberry, apricot, and hazelnut chocolate fillings.
Lapis Rainbow at Lady Wong, New York City
Kuih, a famously delicious and finicky steamed treat commonly sold by street vendors in Southeast Asia, is at the heart of this Manhattan bakery opened by wife-and-husband chefs Seleste Tan and Mogan Anthony. A selection of regional sweets are available here, including their stunning rainbow interpretation of lapis sagu. A batter made from rice, coconut milk, pandan and tapioca flour is tinged with blue pea, turmeric, beetroot or more pandan and steamed layer by layer in a laborious process that can take up to three hours. The finished kuih is just as fun to eat as it is to look at — in Malaysia, it’s traditionally enjoyed at room temperature by peeling off the delicate layers one at a time.
Birthday Cake Latte at Home Coffee Roasters, San Francisco
The birthday cake latte at this cafe, with locations in Outer Richmond, Sunset and Chinatown, doesn’t just look celebratory, it’s meant to taste like its namesake dessert, too. Baristas combine the house-roasted brew with condensed milk, vanilla and hazelnut, then top it with foamed milk and food-safe dyes. Each cup becomes a canvas for ever-changing latte art.
Magical AF Pizza at DagWoods, Santa Monica, California
DagWoods has been slinging New York-style pizza in Santa Monica for two decades. The beloved local favorite is constantly innovating, going beyond the typical 'za toppings of pepperoni and mushrooms. Combos include the tongue-tingling Spicy Sichuan, vegan and gluten-free Cali-flower Power and its most whimsical creation, the Magical AF Pizza. The rainbow pie starts as a plain tomato-and-cheese pizza and gets a shiny edible glitter glow-up in pink, yellow, green, purple and blue.
Rainbow Black and White Cookie at Dana’s Bakery, South Hackensack, New Jersey
Dana Pollack has been putting a playful spin on macarons since 2012, when the New Jersey native quit her photo editing job to attend culinary school. She captured the attention of dessert lovers with creative variations on the dainty French cookie, eschewing traditional flavors like raspberry and pistachio for s’mores, red velvet and PB&J. In 2018, after two years of testing, her namesake bakery introduced another twist on a classic: a gluten-free black and white cookie made of a colorful tie-dye base slathered in sweet fondant.
Shave Ice at Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice, Maui
With 48 flavors and seven toppings, this Maui shave ice shop offers a dizzying array of icy combinations. But no matter which you select, the resulting cone of ice — arguably Hawaii’s lightest and fluffiest — will be a dazzling display of colors once it’s been doused in the all-natural syrups.
Rainbow Cake at Sugaree's Bakery, New Albany, Mississippi
Armed with the tagline "Reflections of a Southern Childhood," Sugaree Bakery’s Mary Jennifer Russell has been whipping up classic layered cakes since 1997. This multicolored confection joined the menu in 2001, when Russell was doing research for the opening of her current storefront. Inspired by a Jell-O ad, the baker came up with this stacked rainbow cake, flavoring the batter with Kool-Aid powder to get both vibrant hues and unique flavors (strawberry, orange, lemon, lime, grape). The nine-inch round is finished with a cream cheese icing and, of course, sprinkles.
Rainbow Love Marshmallows at Sugar and Scribe, La Jolla, California
When it came time for Holiday Baking Champion Maeve Rochford to open a bakery in 2010, there was no doubt marshmallows would be on the menu. Growing up, her Irish-American mom would make biscuits (the cookie kind) filled with the bouncy confection, inspiring Rochford to dream up a variety of colors and flavors. In 2017, Sugar and Scribe executive pastry chef Manuel Miranda-Vizcaino proposed a rainbow variation for Pride Month. It took much trial-and-error for Miranda-Vizcaino to get each layer — infused with Nielsen-Massey vanilla — to set evenly while maintaining its soft buttery texture, while Rochford worked on a color scheme that was vivid, yet muted. The marshmallow became so popular, it’s stayed on the menu full-time since then, selling at an impressive clip of 1000 a week.
Sprinkle Mix Doughees at Doughees by MdoughW, Miami
Margo Wolfe was simply experimenting at home when she decided to stuff cookie dough with other sweets (think brownies and caramel candies). Dubbed "doughies," the gooey cups became an Instagram sensation, leading to her full-time baking operation, MdoughW. Even with many rotating flavors available, this sparkly variety — covered in sanding sugar, sprinkles, nonpareils, gold stars and edible glitter — is still a fan favorite.
Paradise Cheesecake at King’s Hawaiian, Torrance, California
Before King’s Hawaiian became a supermarket staple, it was actually a bakery and restaurant in — you guessed it — Hawaii. After moving its roll-making operation to Southern California, the team re-established the storefront, where whole rounds and slices of its signature Paradise Cake fill the shelves. The tricolor chiffon was such a hit, a cheesecake version was later produced, with a creamy tartness that balances out the trio of tropical fruits (guava, passionfruit and lime).
Chiffon Roll Cake at Sunmerry Bakery, Irvine, California
Roll cakes are a staple at most Chinese bakeries, but none are as vibrant as the one found at stateside locations of Taiwan’s Sunmerry Bakery. Created as a sweet counterpoint to the chain’s salted cheese drinks, the rainbow roll gets its fluffy texture from a classic chiffon-cake base and a slight tang from a creamy mascarpone filling.
Rainbow Macaron at Frost, Mill Creek, Washington:
Frost first got on the radar of sweet tooths in the Pacific Northwest with its doughnuts. The fried rings fell into two categories: classic (think glazed French cruller or Boston cream) or "evolved" (a smoky maple bacon bar or caramel apple fritter for example). The same holds true for the macarons that were later added to the menu. Some riff on popular desserts and drinks (strawberry cheesecake or orange mimosa, respectively), but the French cookie that makes the biggest visual splash is actually the most straightforward in taste. Frost’s rainbow macaron has a shell formed from an array of colors, but its flavor is far more subtle, two crisp almond cookies sandwiched by a layer of Mexican vanilla buttercream.
Fruity Pebbles Macaron Ice Cream Sandwiches at MILK, Los Angeles
How do you take ice cream sandwiches to the next level? By swapping plain chocolate chip cookies with French macarons. Though they're available in a multitude of colors, the most eye-catching may be the Fruity Pebbles, a pink-on-pink confection partially dipped in white chocolate and the rainbow cereal.
Rainbow Sangria at I|O Godfrey, Chicago
Chefs oversee both the kitchen and the bar at this sleek rooftop lounge inside River North’s Godfrey Hotel, working up whimsical drinks to match fancy small bites like truffle fries and wagyu beef sliders. Executive Chef Nathaniel Cayer is the mastermind behind the rainbow sangria, which starts with a base of colorful fruit granita ice cubes When it comes time to serve, they’re topped with a splash of melon vodka and moscato. The drink evolves as the night wears on and the ice cubes slowly melt and mingle.
Crepe Cake at Dek Sen, New York City
Mille-crepe cakes come in various hues depending on their flavor (vibrant green matcha or chocolate, for example), but the one at this Queens Thai restaurant Dek Sen features all six colors of the rainbow at once. Two pans are used to fire up 20 delicate tinted pancakes, which are then assembled into a cake with layers of homemade whipped cream. Each slice is plated with more cream and a strawberry sauce.
Bam Bam Milkshake at The Toasted Mallow, Phoenix
The name of the milkshake at this specialty marshmallow shop should instantly give away the featured ingredient: Fruity Pebbles. The cereal shows up in two components: the milkshake, a blend of the cereal, strawberry ice cream and milk, plus a topping of fresh marshmallow fluff, more Fruity Pebbles and a toasted marshmallow.
Mozzarella Sticks at Tony Boloney's Atlantic City and Hoboken
The mozzarella sticks at Tony Boloney’s are a labor of love. The New Jersey pizza joint makes everything from scratch, from the cheese to the bread to the natural food coloring. Chefs use beets, turmeric and other dehydrated fruits and seeds to stain the mozz, then roll each baton in a house blend of breadcrumbs, Pennsylvania Dutch pretzel bits and panko. They’re fried to a crisp golden-brown, then delivered to your table for the perfect cheese pull.
Taste the Rainbow at Bitter & Twisted, Phoenix
Bitter & Twisted is housed — ironically — in the same building that once served as Arizona’s Prohibition headquarters. Only now, instead of preventing the flow of alcohol, the space pours sophisticated cocktails that fill a literal book. One such concoction is this tropical mix of house-infused kaffir lime gin and sloe gin with fresh lime, pineapple and strawberry juices. It’s shaken 'til foamy, then — true to its name — topped with colorful powder that forms an arc.
Rainbow Sliders at Sugar Factory American Brasserie, Las Vegas
Everything at this celeb-approved hotspot is as fun to look at as it is to eat, including goblets of candy-studded cocktails and the eye-catching rainbow sliders. Each tiny burger comes in a different-colored brioche bun, but all hold fillings of a mini angus beef patty, pickles, American cheese, onion rings and Sugar Factory's special sauce.
Blackberry Walnut French Toast at Cork & Pig Tavern, Fort Worth
Cork & Pig Tavern is all about elevated comfort food. On weekends, Chef Felipe Armenta puts a next-level touch on brunch staples like steak and eggs, huevos rancheros and French toast. In a French toast take that could be considered dessert, Armenta uses Fruity Pebbles to form a crisp crust around house-baked bread. Once golden-brown, the custardy slices are finished with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and maple syrup.