Happy National Ice Cream Day! In celebration I’ve got a list of some of my favorite ice cream shops in Los Angeles. What better way to celebration everyone’s favorite frozen treat than by heading out and enjoying a scoop (or two).
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LA seems to have a trend in seasonally specific ice cream flavors across it’s ice cream shops, but who can blame us we have great produce. Carmela is just such a purveyor who uses farm fresh ingredients and often sells at local farmers markets from their cute retro ice cream truck and at specialty food shops around the city. Their crowd favorite is the fresh mint with cacao nibs. As far as fresh mint ice creams go, this one it the tops.
Honeymee in Koreatown serves soft and creamy ‘true milk’ ice cream (but really soft serve). They use fresh California milk to create the perfect milk ice cream. The classic topping is raw honey and/or honeycomb that comes from a local certified bee farm. True milk soft serve plus honey, it sounds simple enough, but it is in that simplicity that it shines. It is truly an addictive sweet treat. If you want to have even more fun with it they offer the Babee, which is the true milk soft serve drizzled in honey and served in a sweet bun. Think of it as the hot dog of ice creams.
Los Angeles is very much an ice cream or gelato shop kind of town, you don’t often find soft serve available or stand alone soft serve locations. Magpies in Silverlake is changing that. The recently opened shop is already pleasing crowds with their soft serve made from scratch. Their small opening menu includes only seven flavors like strawberry rhubarb and malted milk chocolate, along with housemade toppings.
McConnell’s, the Santa Barbara darling with locations in Grand Central Market and now Studio City, churns small batch ice cream using milk and cream from their own creamery. Their ice creams as rich and creamy and leave you wanting more. They use quality locally sourced and organic ingredients in their ice creams. Their flavors range from classic to seasonally specific. They are deliciously modern yet homey. Even if it is just a taste, be sure to their sea salt cookies and cream it is one of my favorites!
Sweet Rose Creamery, now with five locations from Santa Monica to Mid-City, offers amazing farmers’ market inspired ice cream crafted by co-owner and chef Shiho Yoshikawa. With seasonal flavors like Summer corn and stone fruit sorbet, you will question whether you are eating ice cream or the fruits/vegetables themselves. They also have a solid selection of classic flavors that are always available like vanilla, salted caramel, and fresh mint.
Salt & Straw, a Portland transplant that already has three shops in Los Angeles, (Larchmont, Venice, Studio City) is quickly becoming a neighborhood favorite and developing a cult following comparable to their following in PDX. Their menu plays heavily on community. They partner with local artisans for ingredients to craft unique ice cream flavors like their Stumptown Coffee and Compartes Love Nuts flavor. Another very special aspect to the Salt & Straw menu is head ice cream maker Tyler Malek’s monthly rotating lineup of flavors inspired by the seasons. While they offer classic flavors (with a twist of course) like sea salt caramel ribbon, they get inventive with ingredients and pairings offering things like Avocado & Strawberry Sherbet or Strawberry with Cilantro Lime Cheesecake.
Given where you live in LA, you likely have a Scoops you are not terribly far from. Each location serves a rotating selection of creative flavors and often take customer suggestions. Scoops Westside, my personal favorite have fun offerings like red velvet rocky road or chai kahlua. However, there is one constant between the locations, and my personal favorite flavor, brown bread. There is not bread it this, the nutty deliciousness comes from a healthy serving of Grape Nuts. I can’t help but order a scoop every time I visit.
Tucked away in Sierra Madre in what feels like a small town shopping center is Mother Moo Creamery. Karen Klemens hand crafts some incredible ice cream here using organic Strauss cream and milk. The flavors are decadent and rich and the selection small, which makes the ordering process a little easier. While you may want one scoop of everything, may I suggest her Organic Cornflakes flavor. It takes like childhood mornings in ice cream form.
This Original Farmer’s Market family owned old-fashioned ice cream stand, Bennett’s Ice Cream, has been serving customers since 1946. It definitely has a nostalgic look and taste with thick and almost chewy ice cream. While they have inventive flavors like cabernet savignon, I always stick with the classics like butter pecan or rainbow sherbet.