“If your arteries are good, eat more ice cream. If they are bad, drink more red wine. Proceed thusly.” (Sandra Byrd, Bon Appetite)
Ice Cream is Putting on a New Face
by Wendy O’Dea
My only child just finished elementary school, forever (cue the tears). And now I’m trying to get my head around summer. As much as I’d like to spend it traveling, as a single, working parent, that’s not an option…for now. We’ll take a few short trips and find other ways to build summer memories by hitting the beach, attending outdoor concerts and, well, eating lots of ice cream.
In all my travels, regardless of the country, ice cream is the one food you can count on finding—and loving. I’ve noticed that here in Los Angeles—and plenty of other places around the U.S.—ice cream has been getting a fancy makeover the past few years. This is L.A ,after all, where everything old tries really hard to become new again.
So, ice cream is apparently the latest food to be artisan-ized. (Yes, I know that’s not a word.) It’s been doctored to be more “special.” Is that even possible? We’re not just talking innovative flavors, the process and presentation have also been made over, just in time to receive all the summer love.
Time to dig out the fat pants.
Rose-Shaped ice cream at The Cauldron
Cauldron Ice Cream: This shop in Santa Ana, California went viral when word got out about their puffle ice cream creations, made with the Hong-Kong style egg waffle cones and flower-shaped ice cream. Flavor bomb: Earl grey lavender. Yes, please! (Santa Ana, with other locations coming soon; cauldronicecream.com)
Creams & Dreams: Eschewing artificial preservatives and stabilizers, Creams & Dreams uses only fresh ingredients churned with liquid nitrogen. It’s every mad scientist’s dream. Flavor bomb: Avocado or Maiz con Queso. (Santa Monica and Chino Hills, CA; creamsdreams.com)
Amorino: Italian-style gelato shaped like a rose on top of a gluten free cone (my celiac kid thanks you). They can also top it with macarons stuffed with gelato. MACARONS STUFFED WITH GELATO. Come on! Flavor bomb: Green Detox sorbet, made with kale, pineapple and cucumber puree. (Los Angeles, Houston, New York and other locations; amorino.com/us/)
Rose-shaped ice cream on a gluten free cone, topped with a French macaron, at Amorino
Salt & Straw: I’ll start with the flavor bombs on this one because the first thing that jumps out is their crazy, unique options. These include takeoffs on craft cocktails (think gin and tonic) and flavors developed using popular local products, such as the Stumptown coffee with Compartes love nuts. Flavors vary by location, satisfaction does not. (Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco; saltandstraw.com)
Creamistry: Have the camera ready for the cloud of smoke produced when creamologists inject -321 F. liquid nitrogen into a bowl of all-natural, organic ingredients. Flavor bomb: Quantum coffee creation with coffee ice cream Heath® bits, almonds and caramel. (California and Arizona; creamistry.com)
Liquid nitrogen ice cream at Creamistry
Sweet Rose Creamery: Small batch only, made daily in their Santa Monica kitchen, Sweet Rose Creamery takes advantage of its location by tapping into organic ingredients at Santa Monica’s famous farmers’ market and from other local suppliers. The shop is co-owned by respected chef and restauranteur Zoe Nathan. Flavor bomb: Fresh mint with chocolate chips. It sounds predictable—it’s anything but. (Locations around Los Angeles; sweetrosecreamery.com)
The Loop: This being southern California, churros (deep-fried dough popular in Latin countries) are a favorite among the wee crowd as well as their parents. Freshly-made , they’re fashioned into a giant loop (thus the name) and served with soft-serve ice cream and a bunch of kooky—or traditional—toppings. Flavor bomb: Matcha Crunch, topped with matcha glaze and fruity pebbles. Prepare for a sugar rush. (Westminster, California; theloopchurros.com)
Churned Creamery: If you’re not feeling guilty about shoving ice cream down your throat, how about stuffing it in a croissant and then adding toppings? It’s called a CroCream but I like to think of it as a cream puff on crack. This creamery also has exclusive rights to use special churning machines from Italy. Flavor bomb: whiskey and cream, or honeydew. (Multiple locations in southern California; churnedcreamery.com)
CroCream, croissant stuffed with ice cream, treats at Churned Creamery