Alright, the only thing you need to know about LA and Southern California besides the fact that the beaches are beautiful and literal smooth-pebbled and bleached-sand heaven 360 days out of the year, is that there is an ice creamery on a little street named Heliotrope. Take a left off Melrose as the Michael Jackson mural and park. The Prince won’t steer you wrong.
The magic phrase, the key to your happiness, is ‘one scoop, two balls.’ $2.75, two flavors, frees sprinkles. (But you should really stick with the sparkling sugar.) Oh yeah, and the place is called Scoops.
With a tiled entryway, red-covered chairs, and a gigantic mobile a la Calendar made of oversized ice cream shovels, Scoops is the northern most storefront of four relatively small and nondescript unique little shops. But Scoops, oh Scoops. Talk about ice cream heaven for the purist. With a rotating daily menu anchored on the house favorite Brown Bread ice cream, Scoops is all about the ice cream, and nothing but. Example—the ice cream cake? No cake. A round of ice cream, shaped like a cake, but just ice cream.
My favorite kind of cake.
A sampling of Scoops flavors, drawn from two days of research: Malt Honey, Chai Black Sesame, Mocha Oreo, Pumpkin Eggnog, Vanilla Malt, Mint, Maple Oreo, the infamous Brown Bread, etc. Creative flavors, each unique and absolutely delicious.
But the Brown Bread. Oh, the Brown Bread. Misleading in that there is no real bread included, but there are Grape-Nuts, the cereal of your future senile days. A vanilla base studded with candied Grape-Nuts and caramel, Brown Bread ice cream is alternatively salty and sweet and most importantly, crunchy. After extensive testing over the past twenty years, I’ve concluded that the secret to the perfect ice cream is the contrast between creamy and crunchy. And, being made of rocks and fiber, Grape-Nuts retain their crunch even in ice cream.
Adhering to the rule that butter and sugar make anything delicious, candied Grape-Nuts are good. So good in fact, that you might actually consider eating them in milk or over yogurt. Granted, after canidage they have the nutritional qualities of butter-soaked Fruit Loops. But they’re good.
Having no true recipe for Brown Bread ice cream, just the inspiration, I took the liberty of swirling the ice cream with caramel and infusing the custard. Just because. I won’t say it’s better than the real deal, but this Brown Bread ice cream is definitely in the top three of my all-time favorite ice creams. The creamy-crunchy, salty-sweet dynamic is hard to beat.
So while you could and should go to LA, you can also bring a little bit of LA home. In the form of a quart of ice cream, of course.
Recipe on the following page.