Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Great LA Ice Cream Quest

Many said it could not be done.  They doubted that we had the fortitude to complete such a quest.  And yet, here we stand triumphant, holding in our hearts the sweet thrill of having found the Best Ice Cream in Los Angeles.

So, maybe not everyone would think to go on such a quest, but Katie, Camille and I did.  Ok, let's be honest, are you even surprised by this?  Of course you're not.  Who loves ice cream more than a Knecht? We were working off of this list and made it to five of them. By the end of it we felt like we had won something.

There were many, many things to love about this adventure.  Firstly, ice cream.  We decided that we wanted to find really unique flavors, and we did.  We sampled as much as we could and then split a small of our favorites.  Secondly, ice cream makers.  People who make their own ice cream are passionate about it and are interesting to talk to.  Thirdly, when people find out that you are on a quest they cheer you on.  Everyone was so supportive. Fourthly, Los Angeles.  If you ever get tired of me talking about how much I love LA you can just go ahead and find some other mildly humorous blog to read because I'm just not going to stop.  We saw a lot of it on this quest and it's all wonderful.  And I'll say this until I die, palm trees make everything beautiful.

Here are the five we made it to (in the order that we went, not the order that we loved.)

1.  Bulgarini in Culver City. There's a funny story for another date about this location, but needless to say it's a charming area with a few shops.  And there's a Father's Office nearby, which serves The Best Hamburger I've Ever Had In My Entire Life. Our guy Oscar helped us out.  What a cute kid.  He heard about our quest and then immediately started giving us samples, we never had to ask for one.  And he would sample them with us.  We settled on the stracciatella and the Gorgonzola (if we could get two flavors in a small we always did.) The Gorgonzola was, as you would expect, a little weird, but strangely tasty.  I also sampled their chocolate orange, and it must be said, it was better than Burt and Rocky's.  On our way out Oscar informed us that they just brought out a bunch of new flavors so we sampled those as well and that's when we hit on the single best sample we had all day, their pistachio.  It was a punch to the face of flavor.  Wow!

2.  Sweet Rose in Brentwood.  Meh.  This was our least favorite.  It was tiny and cramped and crowded. And the flavors were just kind of weird.  I tried the pistachio rose geranium which tasted like a garden bed.  We got fresh mint, which tasted like you were chewing on a mint leaf.  I liked that but Camille did not.  And we also had the Melon Chiffon which was pretty good (Katie didn't like it) but not as melony as I wanted it to be. You can skip this one.

3.  Ice Cream Lab in Beverly Hills was next. This was gimmicky but kind of cool.  They put the liquid ice cream mix in a fancy Kitchen-Aid and then shoot it with liquid nitrogen.  So the texture is a little different from churned ice cream.  And the flavor of the ice cream alone wasn't outstanding.  But the toppings they put on them were great.  We had the Rodeo Road, which is just fancy rocky road.  It was fun to watch them make it.  Science!

4.  Carmela at Fairfax and 3rd is adorable and so tasty.  And the girls there were great and helpful and happily brought out more sample spoons because we were using them all up.  We had the dark chocolate with cacao nibs (sweet land of liberty!) and strawberry buttermilk.  The combo together was fantastic.  We almost named this one our number one but then decided to try one more.

5.  Neveux.  While we were in Carmela another customer heard us talking about the Quest and she said, "Well, I'm here and I love this place, but no proper ice cream quest would be complete without going to Neveux." So we went.  It's on the section of Melrose where you can pick up a new eyebrow ring, a new tattoo, and a new venereal disease, so it kind of sticks out.  But I will always be grateful to that woman in Carmela because this place was our number one.  Without question.  Their Peach Pepper (you got it right.  Peach ice cream with cracked black pepper.) could bring about world peace.  We all chose it as our favorite.  We also had the Caliente Cinnamon Chocolate which is fiery and so delicious.  Not only did it have the most flavor but the texture was by far the creamiest we had all day.  We met the owner and chef, Leo Neveux (that's him on the right down below.  And Tim on the left.), and he told us the whole story about how he's trying to save LA from frozen yogurt and cupcakes.  Keep up the good work Leo!  We announced him as the winner and had a nice cheer for him.  His ice cream won in both flavor and texture, the place was charming, and the customer service was excellent.  Thanks guys. We're coming back on Friday night.  Have the peach pepper ready.


Katie said...

How on earth could tou say the melon wasnt melony enough! It was like eating a frozen cantaloupe. Definitely my least fave of the whole day. But holy buckets, peter, pepper peach is amazing!

Valerie said...

fantastic. also, is it just me or is tim a hunk?

Laura said...

Frozen cantaloupe does NOT sound good. Ick. I don't like it when it's not frozen either. I'm so much more of a traditionalist when it comes to ice cream flavors. Though my favorite, favorite of all times (not as fancy as these) is Thrifty Chocolate Malted Crunch. Who remembers when it used to be called Double Chocolate Malted Crunch back in the day?

Camille said...

Valerie, Tim was a TOTAL hunk and nicer than nice which made the ice cream taste that much better.

Rach said...

I'm willing to get adventurous with ice cream if it's in a taster spoon. It sounds like we have yet another thing we need to do next time I'm in town. Also, to weigh in on the melon ice cream, I'm curious enough about it that I may buy a cantaloupe next time I'm at the store so I can freeze it and see how the ice cream tasted.

sarahgurl said...

You can't throw a cupcake here in the hive (oh yeah that's what I'm gonna call it now) with out hitting a froyo place. I may have to copy you and seek out the best ice cream although I'm going to have to brave Sugar House to find anything original