LA Creamery: too much overrun, too fluffy, tastes like frozen creme anglaise, flavors absolutely uninspiring and rather trite. Yes they’re using Straus, yes they’re using farmers market inspired ingredients. Heck there might even be a Top Chef: Desserts contestant involved once upon a time. With all that said, LA Creamery turned the mere idiom of “chew the fat” into an gustatory action phrase. With every bite, one could almost feel the texture of lardo; instead of smooth cooling (though actually calorie intense) feel, it’s as if a ball of congealed fat was carved from the tub. While bacon is the new Rock, this texture does the Straus ice cream base zero justice. Perhaps high churn speed (introducing too much air) resulted in the rather sickening, “toothsome”, ice cream with severe overrun. Lightweight ice cream with indistinct flavors (especially the whiskey & caramel) represents the nature of this expanding mini chainlet.
$4.75 2 scoops
Folks: don’t name drop the Straus then rape its proper character. Refer to this on OG Straus Bay Area goodness.
777 Americana Way
Glendale, CA 91210
Lake Street: sufferable, but worse than home churned. Cheap on the ingredient, expensive on the cost. $6 for double scoop of icy, second rate ice cream. This “artisanal” truck has been riding Coolhaus’ smoggy coat tail, but there’s nothing seasonal about serving cherries in August. After one icicle laced scoop, the cup ladened with 2 enormous balls was dumped into the trash at China Town Nights. There exists “gourmet” ice cream that isn’t worthy of cholesterol gains, and it’s in the buckets of a truck cruising Los Angeles. Then again, from the texture alone, Lake Street isn’t using French Vanilla so perhaps it’s “healthy” after all.
Carmela… so much has been written about this joint, just check the press section of its website. The newish B&M shop in Pasadena brings serious artillery to the Pasadena-adjacent ice cream wars. With “produzione propria” and farmers market ingredients, Carmela can do no wrong on the marketing side.
The first lick brings instant cred; this stuff tastes absolutely home made. Not sure what the base, nor the exact machinery/churning method, but the texture, overrun, dissolution, mouth feel, ad nausea, mimics a David Lebovitz recipe nearly to a T. It’s as if each batch was lovingly churned from a $100 home machine. If you find glory in this type of frozen dessert, then Carmela is splendid.
The weakness here is absolutely the sorbet. The lemon basil’s texture bordered chaotic — there were creamy surfaces, there were chunks of frozen ice. While the rose petal was slightly evocative of rose, it’s no Mashti Malone’s rose water (which is actually a sugar bomb in the guise of ice cream). The blueberry thyme was equally ambiguous, but understandably, blueberries are sensitive beasts easily overwhelmed by crudeness of sugar and cream. Interesting, after 3 bites, the sensation of chapsticking your lips with a globule of suet is inescapable. O, that’s heavy cream alright…
Not many places, save for the “neighbor”, Bulgarini, and Redondo Beach’s Delicieuse, beats the charm of Carmela and its metal tasting spoons. The ice cream here will impress most, however, on a personal note, Paradise, Pazza Gelato, Bulgarini and Delicieuse are all a notch above.
Lemon Basil Sorbet
Generous $3.5 single scoop equivalent to at least 1.5 scoops at Sweet rose.
2 scoop for $4.5
Carmela Ice Cream
2495 E Washington Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91104
Paradis… Much has been said by Squid Ink. Typical gelato has up to 60% over run. Paradis tastes like gelato, but carries only 20% over run. Commercial ice cream carries as much as 100% over run. Do the math folks, whatever Paradis is charging ($3.50/scoop, $5/2 scoops), it’s probably worth it.
There is no better ice cream/sorbet texture in LA at the moment. Bulgarini’s goat milk breeds are top notch, but Paradis produces ludicrously smootht ice cream without the heart-stopping petroleum-jelly lip coating. What this is, then, is the near perfect balance of fat and freedom from guilt. The strawberry buttermilk carried pronounced sourness which was perfectly complimentary to the sweet strawberries and recalls unripened berries. Yes, that flavor is the new “Lavender Honey”, and yes, both the taste & texture is superior to Carmela’s (though it is also blatantly sweeter). The lime/mint sorbet is a dictionary definition of sorbet, and carries such a punch, with a blazing herbal follow through.
Chocolat-nougat w/ nuts,
- « MoKo, Culver City: Indisputably the Best Non-Korean Food in LA.
- » MB Post, Manhattan Beach: “No, There is No Lemon In the Green Beans.”