It really feels like each week in Orange County, a new trendy dessert shop opens. Take Milk Bar in Fountain Valley, which has something sort of resembling a Milky Bun and some milk tea in glass jars on its menu. Pretty standard for an OC dessert shop, but after adjustment time, the shop has broken through with its own specialty item: the rainbow bar ice cream sandwich.
Maybe what Milk Bar took from Afters and Snow Monster are lessons of what works in today's Instagram-dominated world of food. The rainbow bar--a Fruity Pebbles rice crispy concoction--is pretty for the camera and interesting enough when layered with ice cream. Put it all together and you have a social media campaign that moves on its own, starting with just one or two pretty pictures.
The good news is the rainbow bar ice cream sandwich is at least 70 percent more than hype ice cream because, let's face it, today's desserts mostly thrive off of hype. Architecturally, the ice cream sandwich consists of two rectangular rainbow bars holding a large scoop of ice cream in the middle--their ends creeping over ice cream-less edges. You don't want to eat this like a sandwich, unless you're okay with bright stains on your clothes. Instead, eat the dessert in steps: first, take the provided spoon and scoop some ice cream (I tried ube) into your mouth. Then, pick off a piece of the rainbow bar with your hand. Thin and moderately sweet, it adds subtle bouts of crispiness to each bite the way a waffle cone does. The ube ice cream is thick and melts so quickly that, five minutes into the dessert, it begins seeping through the remaining rainbow bar. Now--grab some napkins first--you'll need to finish the rest with your hands. After a messy episode with the dessert, I'd say I prefer it open-faced.
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In the end, the whole experience is fun--simple as that. The colors of the bar and ice cream are fun. The environment is fun (they've got Drake and other R&B/pop music playing on the speakers). Even the resulting purple lips can be fun. But you know what's the funnest thing of all? Their large ice cream-shaped trash can.
Milk Bar is located at 16051 Brookhurst St, Suite D, Fountain Valley.