Where To Find The Best Exotic Ice Cream Flavors in Los Angeles
By Trilby Beresford
We’re aware that it’s winter in Los Angeles, but that doesn’t mean that the consumption of ice cream has to suddenly grind to a halt. In fact, there is never an inappropriate time to eat cold desserts in the company of good friends. So slap on your beanie and warm coat, and check out some of these exotic ice cream haunts. There’s something for everyone, as “exotic” carries many meanings in the world of ice cream. There are wildly adventurous flavors, creative takes on familiar favorites, and everything in-between. Enjoy the winter and make your sweet tooth proud, because you only live once.
(Photo by k. via the Creative Commons on Flickr)
MASHTI MALONE’S ICE CREAM
This little Persian joint might not look like anything special from the outside, but we can assure you, the unusual ice cream flavors are totally worth the trek into this drab little strip mall. A deliciously creamy rosewater ice cream can usually be found among their rotating concoctions—it absolutely must be ordered, or at least, tried on a sample spoon. In fact, given its popularity, they sometimes enhance it with pistachios or saffron, resulting in something just as scrumptious. Ensuring no one in your party will be left out, Mashti Malone’s also caters for those who enjoy a sugar cone of something familiar, like peanut butter cup. Pure bliss.
Mashti Malone’s Ice Cream is located at 1525 N. La Brea Avenue in Hollywood, (323-874-6168).
Photo by Krista Simmons/LAist
SALT & STRAW
If there ever was an ice-creamery that catered to chocolate lovers and fruit fanatics (as well as those keen on marrying interesting flavors like honey and lavender or black tea and coconut), it’s this place. Regardless of your standard ice cream routine, tasting the avocado & strawberry sherbet should definitely be on the agenda (just keep an open mind!), as well as the black olive brittle and goat cheese. Sampling is strongly encouraged, so don’t worry if you get overwhelmed by all the choices. And hey, if you become really passionate about good ice cream and decide that 2017 is the year of trying new flavors, they offer a "Seasonal Pints Club" where you can receive pints each month that are made with local ingredients. Even if you don’t sign up for that, the increasingly hip Salt & Straw will still become your reliable go-to when you're craving the hits.
There are Salt & Straw locations at 829 E. 3rd St., Arts District, 213-988-7070, and at 240 N. Larchmont Blvd, Larchmont, (323) 466-0485, and 1357 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, (310) 310-8429, and 12180 1/2 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, (818) 358-2890. A West Hollywood location is also coming soon.
(Photo by Sweet Rose Creamery via Facebook)
SWEET ROSE CREAMERY
There are two best things about Sweet Rose Creamery. The first is that its rotating menu is not ridiculously large, and the second is that they offer simple flavors like banana and fresh mint with chocolate chips, along with a small yet remarkable selection for the more adventurous types; such as the heavenly sweet potato with salty sesame brittle and matcha green tea. They offer daily special flavors that you wouldn’t expect, like olive oil, and if you’re going dairy-free they’ve got you covered with amazing options like horchata, strawberry rhubarb and more. This is tasty ice cream that’s incredibly fresh and devoid of the pretension that can sometimes be found in specialty sweet shops.
There are Sweet Rose Creamery locations at 7565 Beverly Blvd, Mid City, (310) 260-2663 ex. 3, at 225 26th Street, Suite 51, Santa Monica, (310) 260-2663 ex. 2, at 970 Monument St, #103, Pacific Palisades, (310) 260-2663 ex. 5, at 826 Pico Boulevard
Santa Monica, (310) 260-2663 ex 4, and at 4377 Tujunga Ave, Studio City, (310) 260-2663 ex. 6.
Peddler's Creamery. (Via Facebook)
Peddler’s Creamy is quite an eccentric little place, because as the name suggests, its theme is bicycles! The ice cream is churned using stationary bikes, which is a cool feature. Again their ice cream flavors change according to the season, so depending on the month you can expect delights such as maple pancake batter, orange carrot ginger and peruvian chocolate, to name a few. And while we understand that Christmas has come and gone, we want to bookmark the fact that, in December, they offered a mouth-watering eggnog ice cream! And until then, this is the ideal spot for a day date, because all the bikes on the walls are sure to be conversation starters. How do they actually churn the ice cream using those bicycles?
Peddler’s Creamery is located at 456 S. Main St. Los Angeles, (213)-537-0257.
You might be wondering what a specialty churro place is doing on this list, and we’ll tell you: the ice cream is absolutely delicious, and you can enjoy a scoop that's placed between two perfectly round churro discs. Yes, we’re talking about a churro ice cream sandwich. The seasonal brown butter cookie sorbet is not to be missed, and the selection of classic flavors boasts Spanish latte and spicy hot chocolate. Don’t have a sweet tooth? Try the coconut kaffir lime sorbet or strawberry buttermilk. Oh, and you can enhance the churro ice cream sandwiches with a variety of toppings, like hot fudge sauce, whipped cream, and, of course, chunky churro bits. The space is nestled in a lively spot of Los Feliz, so you can walk to a number of nearby bars and funky shops. Also, Skylight Books is pretty close by.
Churro Borough is located at 1726 N. Vermont Ave. Los Feliz, (323) 662-0341.
(Photo by Devan W. via Yelp)
Scoops is an oldie but a goodie, and they do lavender and brown bread ice cream like nobody else (those are two separate flavors). Also, where else can you get a Guinness tiramisu? Even though Scoops is small and unassuming, they offer a large selection of rotating flavors that go big with flavor. They also go big, literally—the scoops are very generous, so make sure you walk in on an empty stomach.
Scoops has locations at 712 N. Heliotrope Drive, East Hollywood, (323) 906-2649, at 727 N Broadway, Chinatown, (323) 739-8675, and at 605 E Santa Ana Blvd, Santa Ana, (657) 210-0399.
There are two locations of this delightfully inspirational store. They drop in on Smorgasburg LA regularly, and they have a store in Tarzana, but the latter is really the place to be, as it’s where their story began. While it's a little far for us outsiders, a scoop of sticky rice and mango, or Ukrainian sunflower, or apple wasabi sorbet should ease the pain of the commute. The store introduces new flavors each month that are inspired by faraway places, but if you'd be doing just fine even if you stuck with the signature menu forever. If you want to execute a full, kick-ass day in Tarzana, try Glowzone LA. They have mini golf, laser tag and arcade games. Though driving out there just for ice cream is totally acceptable as well.
Wanderlust Creamery is located at 18511 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana, (818) 774-9888, and at Smorgasburg LA, which happens on Sundays at 785 Bay St, Los Angeles.
(Photo by Sidney Bensimon courtesy of Van Leeuwen Ice Cream)
VAN LEEUWEN ARTISAN ICE CREAM
This is a New York import that already boasts three store locations as well as a food truck that posts its locations on Twitter. Their classic flavors are elevated beyond the everyday ice cream treat; we’re talking chocolate banana cream pie, lemon meringue yogurt tart, peanut butter marshmallow crunch...need we say more? If you’re vegan, the store covers that base with a slew of interesting flavors that include delicious ingredients like coconut cream and cocoa butter, resulting in flavors like vegan peanut butter chocolate chip and more. Also, it can be an exciting adventure as you try to find the truck.
Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream has locations at One Santa Fe, 300 S. Santa Fe Ave. Suite R, Arts District, (213) 625-0705, at 8850 Washington Bvld, Culver City, (424) 341-0850, and at 5915 Franklin Ave, Franklin Village, (323) 745-0577. You can also follow the truck here.
Blockheads Shavery. (Via Facebook)
BLOCKHEADS SHAVERY COMPANY
Full disclosure: this is not ice cream, it's snow cream. That simply means shaved ice cream, but there’s nothing simple about a giant mound of sea salt vanilla snow cream topped with salted caramel brittle or toffee crunch, and drizzled with coconut puree. Or how about Oreo cookie snow cream topped with coconut flakes, cake crumble and brownie bites and drizzled with caramel? Yeah, you can get all that and so much more at Blockheads. If those seem overwhelming, you can go for a rose water strawberry block pop and call it a day.
Blockheads Shavery Company is located at 11311 Mississippi Avenue in West L.A., (310) 445-8725, and at 2 W Main St, Alhambra, (626) 282-8727.
Coolhaus. (Via Facebook)
When you’re craving a traditional ice cream sandwich, Coolhaus is the best bet in town. You probably wouldn’t think brown butter candied bacon would taste good, but it seriously does. It tastes better than good. They offer every wacky flavor imaginable, from beer and pretzels to mimosa to buttered French toast, and even fried chicken and waffles. You can quash those bad boys in between a snickerdoodle or maple flapjack cookie, and the world is your oyster.
The Coolhaus Shop has locations at 8588 Washington Blvd, Culver City, (310) 838-5559, and 59 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, (626) 486-2700. You can also find their truck here.
Trilby Beresford is an Australian journalist living in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in Amy Poehler's Smart Girls, Flood Magazine, Grok Nation, HelloGiggles, The Week, Cafemom's The Stir and numerous other publications.