13 must-have summer treats that prove we’re living in The Golden Age of Ice Cream

By Jessica Koslow

On a cone, in a cup, between two cookies or even inside a waffle taco shell, ice cream in all of its many incarnations remains the official treat of summer. And these days, Baskin-Robbins and Ben & Jerry’s aren’t the only game in town.

Ice cream shops specializing in house-made, artisanal, organic, sustainable and locally sourced frozen confections are popping up throughout the Westside.

Let’s call it The Golden Age of Ice Cream: a whole new crop of boutique shops is attracting lines out the door with adoring fans willing to wait, often late into the night, for some of the richest, most decadent flavors that ice cream lovers have ever tasted.

Beat the heat and treat yourself to one of these 13 standout frozen treats.

 

Barrel-Aged Maple Syrup and Vanilla Shake @ Salt & Straw

Fresh out of Portland and now churning small batches of heaven in Los Angeles, the Salt & Straw on Abbot Kinney Boulevard could be mistaken for a nightclub, except the line wraps around the corner of California Avenue at all hours of the day. Tourists and locals alike wait and wait to sample flavors like chocolate gooey brownie or sea salt with caramel ribbons. Try one of their new July Berry flavors, such as Meyer lemon buttermilk with blueberries, but don’t leave without tasting the heavenly creamy caramel of a barrel-aged maple syrup and vanilla shake.

1357 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice (310) 310-8429 | saltandstraw.com

 

The Waffle Sandwich @ Sweet Rose Creamery

Now counting five shops in the Los Angeles area, Sweet Rose Creamery has churned itself into a local ice cream empire, with small batches of hand-crafted ice cream made daily from organic milk and cream in its Santa Monica kitchen. Two reasons to swing by the Pico Boulevard shop post-haste are the July specials: blueberry ripple ice cream pie and fresh summer fruit pops. But another uniquely decadent temptation is the waffle sandwich: one scoop of any flavor smooshed between two waffle cone rounds and dipped in luxurious
dark chocolate.

826 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica (310) 260-2663, ext. 4 sweetrosecreamery.com

 

Watermelon Buttermilk Frozen Yogurt @ Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Jeni Britton Bauer is an ice cream goddess, and in February she landed on Rose Avenue — which, judging by the constant lines out the door, was a street in dire need of an ice cream shop. The James Beard Award-winner is credited with seeing the future of how ice cream should be made: using whole ingredients and dairy from grass-pastured cows. Now, everybody’s doing it. But Britton Bauer is always up to something innovative and wonderful, including a watermelon buttermilk frozen yogurt that’s like a smooth and refreshing take on watermelon taffy with a splash of cream.

540 Rose Ave., Venice | (310) 314-2024 jenis.com/venice

 

Maui Coconut Porter Float @ Playa Provisions

The shiny ice cream case at the Small Batch counter inside Playa Provisions tempts both kids and adults. Steps away from the sand, it’s a perfectly placed pit stop to pick up something cold and sweet before or after the beach. And while at some point every denizen of Playa should try the chocolate-covered frozen cookie dough lollipop or one of their other unique frozen treats, let the kid in you toast to being 21-plus with a beer float that pairs house-churned coffee ice cream with velvety smooth Maui Coconut Porter.

119 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey (310) 683-5019 | playaprovisions.com

 

Horchata Yogilato @ N’iceCream on Tap

With all the little ones running around Runway at Playa Vista, a kid-friendly ice cream shop is a no-brainer here. N’iceCream added soft-serve “on tap” in February, and now a variety of sorbet, yogurt, custard and gelato flavors line the wall. The shop encourages customization with any of 32 toppings, and your cup is free if it measures exactly 10 ounces. Try the refreshing horchata yogilato, a customer favorite with the richness of a blended frap plus a hint of cream and cinnamon reminiscent of the traditional Mexican thirst-quencher.

12746 W. Jefferson Blvd., Playa Vista (424) 228-4873 | nicecreampv.com

 

Peach Cream with Raw Salted Caramel @ Kippy’s! Organic Non-Dairy Ice Cream

Here’s the scoop on Kippy’s: The ice cream is dairy, soy, nut and gluten free, made from fresh raw coconut cream (they crack 1,000 coconuts a week) and sweetened with raw local honey. The world’s first non-dairy ice cream is made in-house daily, with locations only in Tokyo and Santa Monica. Flavors can change daily, but most likely fruit will be on the menu all season long. Just for summer, they’re whipping up a peach cream flavor. Try it with raw salted caramel, one of their superfood toppings.

245 Main St., Venice | (424) 387-8765 kippysicecream.com

 

Taco Tuesdays @ Rori’s Artisanal Creamery

Rori Trovato is personally responsible for all the frozen favorites served at each of her five local ice cream shops, but Rori’s Artisanal Creamery is right at home on Montana Avenue, surrounded by in-demand boutiques and restaurants. Some of Rori’s creations include cinnamon toast cereal crunch and malted milk English toffee, but her most L.A.-influenced one yet is the ice cream taco: crumbled brownies topped with three itty bitty scoops, sauce, whipped cream and toasted coconut inside a cinnamon waffle shell. Get a taco any day of the week, but on Tuesdays they’re cheaper.

910 Montana Ave., Santa Monica (424) 744-8572 | rorisartisanalcreamery.com

 

Surfin’ Safari Ice Cream Sandwich @ Beachy Cream Organic Ice Cream

Known for the ice cream sandwiches they began selling out of a cart in 2009, Beachy Cream now has a storefront on Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica. Innovative combinations range from Strawberry Surfer Girl to Key Lime Cowabunga and Bitchin’ Chocolate, but their No. 1 seller is Surfin’ Safari: chocolate chip cookies and smooth, creamy vanilla ice cream made with ingredients sourced from an organic family dairy in Marin County. Founder Ann Ryan and daughter Beth Stockwell support local nonprofits such as Heal the Bay’s Santa Monica Pier Aquarium.

1209 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica (310) 656-4999 | beachycream.com

1. Playa Provisions’ Maui Coconut Porter Float
2. Beachy Cream’s Bitchin’ Chocolate Sundae
3. Sweet Rose Creamery’s chocolate-dipped Waffle Sandwich
4. Three Twins’ California Cliché Sundae with pistachio and caramel
5. The Circus Box Sundae at Sloan’s dresses cotton candy ice cream with hot fudge, gummy bears, sprinkles, whipped cream and a cherry on top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slop Bucket Sundae @ Three Twins Ice Cream

The name for Three Twins is legit: Founding twin Neal Gottlieb was sharing an apartment with his twin, Carl, and Carl’s wife, who is also a twin, while hatching their plan to craft affordable ice cream made from organic ingredients. They began to call their place “Three Twins.” Fast forward 12 years, and they’re scooping out of several shops in Northern California and one in Santa Monica. Wander in from Main Street and splurge on their Slop Bucket Sundae: two scoops, chocolate sauce, burnt caramel sauce, peanuts, whipped cream and chocolate chips.

2726 Main St., Santa Monica | (310) 399-8946 | threetwinsicecream.com

 

Chocolate Dipped Cone @ Ginger’s Divine Ice Creams

Nestlé calls it a drumstick, the Original Sundae Cone. “The official snack of summer” is vanilla ice cream dipped in chocolate and covered in nuts on a cone. What used to only be available in stores is now offered at Ginger’s Divine Ice Creams — except this version is made from locally sourced products and fresh all-natural ingredients. Since all of their ice creams and goodies are made daily
on the premises, the drumstick is not always in stock, but the ice cream case should be your first stop.

12550 W. Washington Blvd., Mar Vista | (424) 285-0361 gingersicecreams.com

 

Circus Box Sundae @ Sloan’s Ice Cream

The newest kid on the block, Sloan’s Ice Cream just opened at The Gallery Food Hall on the Third Street Promenade last month. Sort of like a Disneyland for ice cream, their festive décor matches the lively, carnival-esque atmosphere outside on the promenade. With chocolate, candy and “fantastical flavors,” it takes more than a minute to pick a treat. Take your time, or go big with the Circus Box Sundae: an actual treasure box filled with a scoop of circus ice cream (cotton
candy ice cream loaded with gummy bears), hot fudge, sprinkles, whipped cream and a cherry on top.

1315 Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica | sloansicecream.com

 

Banana Gelato Sponge Cake @ Stickhouse

Straight outta Italy, Stickhouse offers artisan gelato on a stick near Third Street Promenade. Popping up all over the world in places like Panama, Thailand and India, Stickhouse starts with handcrafted gelato or sorbet on a stick that you dip into your choice of sauce (like chocolate) and topping (like chopped nuts) to create your own frozen delight. Or, have your cake and ice cream too with one of their pre-made sticks: banana gelato and sponge cake, dipped in chocolate sauce and nuts.

223 Broadway, Santa Monica (424) 744-8531 | stickhousesrl.com

 

Vanilla Coffee Affogato @ Scoops Westside

Going strong for a dozen years now, Scoops was one of the first artisanal ice cream shops in L.A. In 2010, one of Scoops’ dedicated customers, Matt Kang, opened their second location on Overland Avenue. Check the Scoops Westside website for the daily menu of flavors. Mondays through Saturdays (remember: they’re not open Sundays), pull into the little corner ice cream shop for unique flavors like Jamaica vanilla rosewater, lavender chocolate or avocado honey. If you need a little pick-me-up, the vanilla coffee affogato is a hot and cold treat with a caffeinated kick.

3400 Overland Ave., Palms | (323) 405-7055 | scoopswestside.com

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