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Scoops on Heliotrope

  • k

anyone been recently?

any interesting new flavors?

Last time i went i had the thai ice cream and pistachio or coffee i think, and they just weren't not that creamy like gelato, nor did it have a grand butterfat content like mc connell's. just way too icey, as if it were ice milk?

what are your thoughts? and what would categorize the "ice cream" here as?

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  1. Very good and inventive.
    I always take a small sample of nearly all his flavors because some work and some don't and you can't always tell which beforehand. Usually about 4 of the combinations are good on any day. The other day the winners were fresh fig and hot sauce (which was astonishingly good and balanced - the chocolate/wasabi wasn't as much to my liking), dulce de leche with fresh whole blueberries, strawberry/jackfruit sorbet and vegan avocado/banana.
    The fat content was not a screamy as gelato but no where near ice milk. I'd say it was pretty on par with the creaminess of normal ice cream.
    I talked to Tai (spelling?) the owner and he says he makes one large master mix and then makes 20 different flavors from that mix.
    At $2 for two scoops plus $1 for each refill you can't beat the price or the variety.
    I need to get some people together and try his ice cream pizza which is supposedly sponge cake with ice cream and fresh fruit on top.

    1 Reply
    1. re: oro3030

      The info on fat content is nice to know. Personally, I prefer "regular" ice cream compared to the super-fatted versions.

    2. I was just there today. I only get the vegan flavors... chocolate/cherry, peanut butter/chai, and cookie dough -I had a scoop of each! He also had avocado/banana, I've had it before, it's also very good.

      The texture is the best of any vegan ice cream I've tried, it's not gummy or icy, it's just smooth. It's been a while since I've had dairy ice cream, so I'm not sure how the vegan would compare to the regular stuff, but I was raised on homemade ice cream (my dad owned an ice cream shop for ten years of my youth) and I think Scoops serves a high quality product!

      In non-vegan flavors I noticed brown bread and asked about it...it was described as caramel with grape nuts...sounds good to me, I hope to try it if he makes a vegan batch!

      1. I walked down to Scoops just an hour ago and had Mocha & Cookies/Brown Bread AND Pineapple & Jackfruit/Mango & Apricot sorbet (hey, tis the season...)

        I keep Tai updated about the Chowhound talk and told him exactly what you said. He said that most people have a misconception of wha "gelato" is. He explains it as simply the Italian style of making ice cream, just like "dondurma" is the Turkish style of making ice cream. He also explained that true "ice cream" has 10% more fat content, which his concoctions don't have. Hope that sheds some light on your concern.

        Tai also told me he was recently interviewed by NPR and will also be featured in LA City Beat in August.

        1. Scoops! I just went there for the first time and I am in looooooooooove!! I had the Brown Bread (what is that crunchy stuff? It's kinda like grapenuts married moonrocks, and here's the baby), the saffron/cardamom/?, and coffee/amaretto. I blanched when he picked up that huge styrofoam container, but was relieved that he only put a scoop of each, quite manageable! I found the texture to be absolutely perfect...creamy without that sludgy, oily feeling some ice creams have, and light without being excessively aerated. Flavors were clean and fresh tasting. And...the price? $2.75! For that amount of gelato in Italy you'd pay more than twice that! Way more! People...this man is a TREASURE! Long live Scoops!

          1. Can't complain for a dollar a scoop!

            1. Just had pistachio-fig, cinnamon-basil, and dill-mascarpone. Amazing. All must go!

              1. We went a few nights ago in search of his infamous Bacon & Caramel ice cream, but he had relatively tame flavors that Friday night. We had some fairly tame, but still delicious, chocolate peanut butter, honey oat crisp, and chocolate banana. However, the next day, he made a foie gras and sauteed onion ice cream!! My boyfriend sampled it and said it was "interesting" but much preferred his green tea and oreo ice cream.

                1. Scoops is a local treasure. All the creativity and pizazz in flavormaking, however, has had the effect on me of going for the same thing most of the time and trying the different flavors for fun. Really good vegan Ice Cream, always sells out. I am not vegan but that is what I usually order.

                  1. Can someone please tell em what part of town this is in?

                    I don't know if it's close or not. Where is heliotrope?

                    4 Replies
                        1. re: adevejian

                          East of Vermont, go North off the 101.
                          West of Normandie.

                          I know people who have stoped in who live in SGV. If I lived in passadena, I'd certainly tie it to some other stops.

                          1. re: jenn

                            actually, it's *east* of Normandie and west of Vermont.

                      1. My current favs:
                        Vanilla Beab/Jim Beam
                        Brown Bread

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: tatertotsrock

                          I sampled 6 flavors yesterday (can't remember them all) except he had 'Oreo' (rather conventional for Tai) which my lads would have liked but alas they were not with me! I got Coconut which was extraordinary and Banana w/Mint also very tasty. I love Scoops!

                          1. re: sel

                            My husband had the oreo--it was not conventional oreo. He tends to like those cookies and cream flavors but this --per him---was on another plan of existence.

                            This afternoon, the flavors included strawberry basil, multi-cookie, chocolate peanut, black sesame, green tea horchata, chai, brown bread, awesome vanilla, peach, vegan chocolate almond, and I can't remember what else.

                            1. re: jenn

                              i had the vanilla and green teach horchata and they were both great. the green tea horchata was something else altogether, cinnamon flavors and then the green tea flavors kick in.

                              there was a tiramisu and fig flavor today too, but didn't try that. and a ube and dragon fruit which was ok (tried a sample) not great.

                              still waiting for the duck flavor or some other crazy flavor. blue cheese with pear would be a nice flavor. also, whenever he has cardamon and macadami (i think) that's really good tea.

                              jim bean and mint is great too (not a sorbet) and is kind of like an ice cream version of a mojito.

                              shoot, now i wanna get down there away and it's half around the city.

                              couldn't this joint have opened when i was still taking classes at LACC?

                        2. THE BEST EVER EVER EVER...i love how he starts handing you samples the minute you walk in...+ so inventive and unique. It make me happy.

                          13 Replies
                          1. re: Monkwell Slovenia

                            Do they have any other locations close to Pasadena?

                            1. re: chowhound chloe

                              No, Scoops is a one man - one store - one of a kind operation! Worth a drive from Pasadena or even further!

                              1. re: sel

                                But call before you go! We went there one night last weekend in hopes they were open, but they were not! :( Ended up at the House of Pies instead...


                                1. re: Dommy

                                  too bad they don't answer the telephone or else that would work.

                                  still trying to get my hands on some of that foie gras ice cream.

                                  it would awesome if there would be any way to find out what flavors he has in advance?

                                  anyone happen to know what time he opens on the weekends is it noon or i'm hoping much earlier? i previously believed it was 12noon -10pm

                                  1. re: kevin

                                    I think you might be out of luck with the foie gras ice cream....I believe that was a one-off, when he found a good deal on it. I think that's how he does most of the flavors - what's in season, what he has in stock, etc.
                                    Dommy, it was closed when I went last weekend, too! Darn near ruined the whole weekend. :)
                                    But I did go later in the week, and had almond-saffron, which was great, and pineapple-mint, which tasted like real mint, not how it usually tastes in ice cream. Quite refreshing. I also tried a taste of apricot-vinegar, which was unique. But good.

                                    1. re: Papuli

                                      As per Tai yesterday, Foie Gras MAYBE in September. He wants to figure out a way to warn his vegan customers first and buys it when he gets a good deal.

                                    2. re: kevin

                                      if my choice is him answering the phone or making ice cream, then I'd prefer he make ice cream. remember, typically its just Tai there--those newly hired helper guys are only there in the evening. HOurs wise, I believe its still 12 to 9 or 10pm and closed on Sundays.

                                      As for finding out flavors in advance, what would be the surprise in that? half our fun is speculating on what we will find when we get in there. Plus the flavors change even in the middle of the day. someone mentioned ube and dragonfruit being there today--by the time we got in at 6pm, that was gone and I know I got the last of the strawberry basil.

                                      As I see it, at Scoops, you take your chances as to what the flavors will be but I've never been there that I couldn't find at least 3 flavors I liked.

                                    3. re: Dommy

                                      I guess I've been lucky, the 9 or 10 times I've gone it's been open - yea!!!

                                    4. re: sel

                                      Tai told me he has plans to open a second Scoops in the Valley.

                                        1. re: Monkwell Slovenia

                                          I asked Tai about this last summer (after seeing NG's post) and Tai said he'd like to at some point, but had no immediate plans to do so in the near future. Sounded like it was more of something he might've said in passing, as in "some day I'd like to...", not "I'm going to" kind of thing.

                                        2. re: Normal Garciaparra

                                          Where in the Valley, please & how soon?!! -JET

                                          1. re: Jet

                                            Can't be happening too soon, that post is almost a year old,

                                  2. I had the pistachio date flavor this morning and it was, as they say, a "party in my mouth".
                                    The pear mint sorbet was more like a casual conversation, but one I stayed in until the bitter end.
                                    The vegan coffee/coconut flavor was outstanding. The vegan nutella was average.

                                    1. Best damned gelato I have ever had. I wish to God they would open up an outpost on the West Side.