Wednesday, June 26, 2013

L.A. HAVENS - Scoops



712 N. Heliotrope Drive, Los Angeles (Wilshire Center) 323-906-2649

It's no secret that ice cream is No. 1 on my list of culinary vices, and as the temperature rises, so too does my craving for the sweet treat. Whenever I visit a new city, I make it a point to sample the ice cream purveyors. From Luv-It Frozen Custard in Las Vegas to Bi-Rite Creamery in San Francisco, I've tried them all. Of all the parlors in Los Angeles, Scoops is my absolute favorite for the incredible range of flavors that are infused into each batch of homemade gelato and sorbet.

Nestled in a strip of shops near Los Angeles City College, Scoops was opened in 2005 by flavor master extraordinaire Tai Kim, who obtained his bachelor's degree at CalArts before attending Portland's Western Culinary Institute. Each morning, Kim devises a new list of flavors to be sold in the shop that day, ranging from their trademark Brown Bread (caramel gelato mixed with crunchy Grape Nuts cereal) and more familiar Apple Pie to the exotic Yuzu Mint and Dirty Chai.

His unique spins on ordinary, tried-and-true combinations, such as Banana Coconut, Pistachio Sour Cream and Guinness Chocolate or Guinness Coffee, have made Scoops incredibly popular throughout the city. In addition to branches in Palms and Highland Park, you can have a scoop for dessert at restaurants like the Golden State. While my go-to flavors are Salted Chocolate and Chocolate Peanut Butter, I am also a fan of the Oreo Carmel and Strawberry Balsamic. There are usually three or four vegan flavors available, like Earl Grey Tea and Soy Chocolate, and even a few gluten-free ones as well.

Another great thing about Scoops is that, like most gelato shops, one scoop is actually two. So for $2.90 you can try a scoop of two different flavors or just enjoy two servings of your favorite. They offer free toppings of chopped peanuts and rainbow sprinkles, too. If you only want one scoop, you can order the Kids Scoop for $2.25. They also do shakes, sorbet slushies and floats, as well as ice cream cakes. They only accept cash, so make sure to stop at an ATM before experiencing some of the best gelato you'll have in your life.

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