Monday, February 05, 2007

Mini Foodventure #25: Scoops (Los Angeles)

While Fosselman's is one of my absolute ice cream faves and much closer to me, when I heard about a gelato/ice cream shop that makes eclectic flavors such as brown bread, orange blossom & rosewater and even vegan varieties that actually taste like ice cream & not sorbetty slosh - my frosty sweet tooth is there, even in the bracing cold snap of winter (OK, as bracing cold as So. Cal. winters can get...)

So, off to a journey I went to Los Angeles (off the Vermont or Melrose/Normandie exits on the 101, and a block away from LA City College) . . .

Scoops is located on a pretty nondescript strip of fast eateries and mini-mart style shops on Heliotrope off Melrose. Pretty easy to miss if you weren't specifically looking for the shop.
The interiors is pretty plain looking as well, off-white walls and floors with sparse decorations and functional chairs and tables; but as soon as my friend and I entered Tai Kim, the owner, bombarded us with friendly greetings and samples of his homemade flavors (there're about 30), from traditional vanilla bean to the adventurous chai tea and the even more unusual blackcurrant/balsamic vinegar. And yes, we tasted the brown bread as well. I wouldn't say I like all the flavors I've tried, but I will say they all tasted better than I expected (especially for the more unusual ones.)

So, after a few frustrating minutes of decision making (and not-so-agonizing samples tasting), I got my $2, two-scoop "small": strawberry cheesecake (top scoop in photo below) and blackcurrant-balsamic, both of which had a nice tang, refreshing fruity taste and above all, super rich and smooth creaminess that rolls & melts in my mouth like liquid silk.
My friend got the brown bread & mocha-oreo ~ which he found delicious in the samples (though even for winter, it was melting faster than he could lick so it was a slightly messy experience.)
Definitely worth a trip back when my palate's feeling adventurous! Keep up the good work, Tai! (as an FYI, he also does ice cream cakes with a day's notice & also has a suggestion box for any new/unusual flavors you think he should make ;) .)

712 N. Heliotrope
Los Angeles, CA

P.S. this is also one of my "Save My Faves 2007" spot -- even though this place has gotten quite a bit of Chowhound buzz (esp. over last summer), my chow buddies & me noticed that this mom 'n pop business seemed pretty slow (even for winter), so I encourage y'all to go, check it out and keep the biz in the black all year round! And it's definitely a place worth re-visiting time after time, given that Tai makes his flavors fresh daily & rotates a LOT!


elmomonster said...

This sounds simply awesome. I like non-conventional flavors. Balsamic vinegar sounds insane!

Anonymous said...

I was there on Monday too! Also had the small cup -- chocolate coconut and pistachio. Both were delicious. Go go go if you haven't!

Chubbypanda said...

You make me want to move to LA. ... I'll wait a bit for that feeling to pass, but I still really want to try that ice cream!

experiencela said...

Hi H.C.! I just wanted to give a heads up about an upcoming food event. I'm from and we’re currently helping local chefs promote a fundraising effort called Freeze Relief. Several Los Angeles restaurants will host fundraising dinners on February 8th, 11th, and 13th to help farmers who were hurt during the freeze. These restaurants include Angeli Caffe, Lucques, AOC, The Hungry Cat, and more. More information about the effort (including updated listings of participating restaurants) can be found at

It'd be wonderful if you could help spread the word about this effort as well... even a small blurb about it on your blog. I'd greatly appreciate any help!

H. C. said...

Elmo, yep - Tai loves experimenting, and because flavors rotate all the time (and you get pretty much sample all the flavors!) you can never get bored of the place

Quee - Oooh, pistachio! (wasn't there when I went)

Panda - Not sure if it's worse or better for you, but this place is ten minutes drive away from Mozza!! So, take your pick--the butterscotch budino there... or the unique ice cream here (or make it simple & do both!)

Curt/ELA - Just posted about it ~ hope the campaign is a success.

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