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Ice Cream Summer: Mashti Malone's

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There's nothing more quintessentially Hollywood than a legend of dubious origin. Such is the myth of Mashti Malone's, the curiously exotic ice cream maker that has set up shop right in the heart of Hollywood for 25 years. The truth is that when Iranian brothers Mashti and Mehdi Shirvani took over what was once the Mugsy Malone ice cream parlor, they couldn't afford to change the entire sign. So the tale is as sweet as the brothers' signature flavors of delectable ice cream, and as unique as the ingredients they use for their creations.

We visited the brand new second location of Mashti Malone's, though, at the Exchange in Glendale. It was a hot summer afternoon, perfect for an indulgent taste-bud cool down. Inside the shiny new store we greedily sampled some of their fare. We started with the most popular flavors, like Saffron Rosewater and Orange Blossom. The ice cream was creamy, floral, and delicately spiced. Next we sampled the Espresso Chip, which had such a genuine smoky snap thanks in part to its large chocolate chips, and the Coffee ice cream, which was like a frozen cup of coffee. The Strawberry Cheesecake was perfect--not too strong or dense as that flavor can be. And lastly we tasted some sorbet, the surprisingly mild Pomegranate and the incredible Herbal Snow, which is one of the most intriguing things we've ever tasted; its complex texture is at once like a mouthful of hail and slush, then it melts into cool flavors of citrus and herbs and spices--the perfect way to ease the heat of a summer day (pictured, left). Our choice, however, was a Mashti ice cream sandwich. Our indecision was met with accomodation, as we were permitted two flavors (Saffron Rosewater and Ginger Rosewater) generously wedged between two waffle-like crispy wafers (pictured, right). It was, as some of the other patrons had suggested, incredible.

So how does Mashti Malone's rank in the scheme of Ice Cream Summer? Read on...

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Mashti Malone's is hands down ice cream that goes where Coldstone and Lickity Split could never dream to. But is it better than Fosselman's? We're going to have to go with...YES. While Fosselman's handmade, nearly century-old ice cream is extremely thick, rich, and sweet, it seems a bit too thick, rich, and sweet next to Mashti Malone's. They're both fantastic, but on a hot day, or after a good meal, a treat from Mashti's would seem just right. When we left the Glendale store we were all smiles, and one of the locals commented: "Everyone's happy!" Thanks to our Mashti Malone's experience, we certainly were.

LAist's Ice Cream Summer Rankings (so far):

4. Lickity Split
3. Coldstone Creamery
2. Fosselman's
1. Mashti Malone's

Mashti Malone's: 1525 North La Brea Avenue (866) 767-3423 (toll free) and 143 North Maryland Ave, Glendale (818) 662-0400.