The two best things about summer are:
1) That it is acceptable to eat ice cream at least once a day, every day.
2) That riding my scooter becomes the perfect pastime.
Don’t get me wrong, I almost always like riding my scooter. But chilly midwinter scootering can’t compare to a sunny August afternoon ride, sunglasses on, arms recklessly bare, my little Buddy 125 humming happily beneath me. There’s nothing better than that. Except maybe ice cream.
Which is why fellow scooter rider Javier (a.k.a. Teenage Glutster) and I decided to combine the two and have an ice cream scooter crawl, starting with scoops at Scoops, ending with beer floats at The Golden State and trying to avoid any sugar-fueled collisions in between.
We met at Scoops in the early afternoon, so early that the ice cream was mostly untouched, still mounded in creamy swirls and somehow looking even more irresistible. Javier, his lady friend and I split two double scoops: one cup of vegan salty chocolate and coffee-cardamom, which Javier wisely sprinkled with chopped peanuts, and one cup of black currant-sour cream and vanilla-whiskey. I view the combining of two flavors of ice cream in one cup something of an art form and I think we really nailed it this time, especially the salty chocolate and coffee-cardamom with the peanuts. The peanuts were crucial. The other cup worked just because the black currant-sour cream was one of the best Scoops flavors I’ve ever eaten, rich and tangy with a deep berry taste.
As we were finishing, Jessica — my passenger/lady friend — arrived and we worked out a game plan while she polished off a scoop of ice cream.
The next stop was Helados Pops, just a couple blocks away. A tiny shop specializing in sorbets flavored with Central and South American fruits, it was the place I was most excited to bring Javier to, mainly because I was so curious about all the flavors. Javier immediately started chatting with the woman behind the counter, who dished out brightly colored samples of nance (a yellow crabapple-like fruit with a slightly funky taste), arrayán (a kind of guava), marañón (cashew apple, a yellow fruit with a sweet taste reminiscent of pineapple) and lúcuma (egg fruit, a dry-fleshed fruit from Peru with a unique caramel flavor). We ended up getting scoops of the last three in a pint container, along with a half-scoop of the nance because we asked nicely. Lúcuma, the only non-sorbet of the bunch, was the flavor that most interested Javier due to its rarity outside of South America. My favorite was the arrayán: green, slightly sour and utterly refreshing. They also make arrayán paletas!
Next we made a brief savory stop at Mush Bakery for fresh lahmajun, to halt the onset of acute sugar shock. At 90 cents each, they were an amazingly affordable curative.
Bhan Kanom is my favorite place in Thai Town for sweets, so I assumed they would also serve a good Thai slush, but although the ingredients were intriguing — palm toddy? — the ice was chunky rather than slushy and drowned in a syrup that tasted like children’s cough medicine. Never again.
Thankfully, our last stop was a sure thing: award-winning beer floats at The Golden State. The ride from Thai Town to Fairfax was the longest of the day, so by the time we arrived we were more than ready to get out of the sun and relax with our floats. Jason, one of The Golden State’s co-owners, welcomed us with his usual laid-back friendliness and set about making us a couple floats when we told him our ice cream mission. First up was Old Rasputin with Scoop’s signature Brown Bread gelato, a now-classic combination of rich, dark stout and creamy, brown sugar-tinged ice cream. Our second float was a lucky off-menu score, a summery combo of The Bruery’s Hottenroth Berliner Weisse and strawberry-basil gelato. Jason pointed out that the sour ale makes the float taste almost like it’s made with champagne. It was light and refreshing, undoubtedly my favorite of the two, at least on that warm summer day.
After draining our glasses, we sat back and sighed, contented and full of ice cream, looking forward to a leisurely ride home. We’re already discussing our next scooter crawl: a San Gabriel Valley winter hotpot marathon. Who’s in?
712 N Heliotrope Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90029
1010 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90029
5224 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
5271 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
The Golden State
426 N Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036