Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The LA Ice Cream Arms Race Is Getting Ridiculous.

Not so long ago LA had an ice cream problem. As in, it wasn't very good. We had the progenitorial Fosselman's and that was about it. Then slowly the scene evolved. First came Scoops then Sweet Rose and Coolhaus and Carmela and Mother Moo's, followed by inviting imports Salt & Straw and Jeni's. Most recently we were gifted the splendiferous Magpie's

LA no longer has an ice cream problem.

Yet, the proliferation of Southland scoop shops continues at a breakneck pace. Almost every week or so a new shop pops up and in an attempt to woo customers, almost every single one of them serves more than merely scoops. Just serving quality 'scream appears to be so yesterday. In today's Instagram World, you need a gimmick and goddamnit, it better be photogenic as fuck. 

In this Trump world, you go for the gauntlet or you're left in the streets. Remember under Obama when honeycomb on milky soft serve was considered esoteric? 

Think I'm exaggerating? Here are some examples of the new age of LA ice cream:

Nitrolado - liquid nitrogen ice cream in (and/or topped by) a CHURRO BOWL...

Little Damage - ACTIVATED CHARCOAL-laden soft serve and waffle cones...

Gresescent - ice cream via a 10-FLAVOR "BOUQET"...

Afters - donut milky buns with multiple ice cream flavors AND TOPPINGS.

Yoga-urt - vegan, gluten-free, soy-free ICE CREAM TACOS...


You might have noticed the above doesn't even include the just nitro-made-to-order ice cream or the Thai ice cream roll phenomenons that have swept through our fair city like a Sucrose Sharknado.

It's all very interesting when you view the present ice cream current to the recently passed: the Froyo Craze. As a city for a few years we embraced "healthier" ice cream/frozen yogurt like mad (whether it was, in fact, 'healthier,' toppings included, remains suspect at best), as chains and local swirlers engulfed every neighborhood. The new-new is almost the complete opposite. The above examples pretty much completely throw caution to the wind. It's almost like LA has decided, "What the hell. I'm eating ice cream. It's not good for me. Might as well really go for it!" This motto, accompanied with the rise of Instagram food porn ("If there's not a pic, you didn't eat it!"), leads to the new ice cream age of the City of Angels.

Right now it's reaching its apex. Lines for Little Damage in particular can reach close to an hour. Afters has expanded locations exponentially almost over night. There's also almost no Insta accounts I follow that haven't snapped that Gresescent "bouquet." Basically a prerequisite nowadays. 

So, how long will this "Wall Street"-esque age of local ice cream extravagance last? At the end of the day, it will probably eventually come down to the actual ice cream. I know that sounds really obvious and maybe even a tad parental, but I'm serious. Good, creamy, flavorful ice cream will win out. There are only so many teenagers and college students willing to come to your shop to shoot a 'Gram. They will quickly grow tired of the fads - especially if it doesn't taste all that special. Even more so when you're in an area blessed with delicious "regular" ice cream options.

Just ask Pinkberry, which continues to barely hang on by a thread. The exact same Pinkberry I once waited over an hour in line to try. 


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