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Ice Cream Summer: Coldstone Creamery

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Okay, so here's the thing about LAist's Ice Cream Summer: We don't expect to find anything revolutionary in ice cream. We don't hope to uncover a hidden gem. We feel we should spend just as much time on the places that are, to the purists, perhaps just a bit less desirable. Places that are more, shall we say, ubiquitous. Places that exist, that enjoy some popularity, and that just happen to be popping up all over the city. Well, all over the country. Such is the case with the franchised purveyor of ice cream, Coldstone Creamery. They're certainly an ice cream option in LA, so we're counting them in.

We've been to Coldstone a bunch of times, at a bunch of different locations, so we're not going to take you through the steps of one particular visit. The first couple of times we were enchanted with the novelty of the place (we're talking three, four years ago), and excited by the rich ice cream being pummelled on that cold slab of stone (ergo their moniker), getting those bits and bites "mixed in," and when our cup runneth over with waffle cone edges, it was sweet tooth heaven. Maybe we were younger; now the sweetness seems heavier, less tolerable. Once we took our visiting grandmother to the location in Pasadena, and we ordered up a cake batter (our favorite) flavored concotion, with that thick fudge sauce and some candy bits. She took one bite and said "how can you eat this?" We shrugged. We can. We did. Sigh...We do.

We've almost always had heinous service at Coldstone; bad enough at the Burbank branch for us to consider dropping a note to the corporate powers that be. It's typically chaotic, loud, and unruly in any given Coldstone. The staff almost always has something on their mind, something better to do, somewhere else to be other than at their job. (As a non-LA aside, the best Coldstone we ever went to was in Portland, Oregon. Hands down, a blast.) At our last visit, to the one in Hollywood, we noticed the ice cream was more gooey and more like very cold pudding, which was a turn off--a sort of straw that broke the ice cream camel's back, so to speak.

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We're mildly intrigued with their "Red Pan" feature flavors, available only in July, like Wasabi Ginger, Fruity Cereal, Black Licorice, Oatmeal Cookie Batter and Tangerine Sorbet. If asking for a sample didn't seem like such a hassle to our distracted counter person, we'd head out right now (well, okay, after breakfast) to taste them before they go away, even though, for the most part, they sound kind of gross. And, really, we're just not all that in to Coldstone anymore. The more they expand, the less we like them, both in practice and in product. But they're there, and if you've got about $5 handy and a penchant for the uber-sweet, they'll do--we still like 'em better than last week's Lickity Split, but they aren't even in the same galaxy as Fosselman's.

Final Ice Cream Summer rankings thus far (with many more to go!):

3. Lickity Split
2. Coldstone
1. Fosselman's

Coldstone Creamery has a vast amount of locations in the LA area. We're guessing there's one right near you, and you know it. If not, their location finder will help you.