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Jun 9, 2007 05:21 PM

Water ice in LA?

When the heat starts to turn up, I think about a guilty pleasure I enjoyed in Philly 2 years ago---water ice! Does anyone know if there is any place in SoCal that offer this? was even better when swirled with frozen custard :-)


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  1. Hey Swift Piglet, I do remember a couple of young guys from Philly who moved to Venice wanting to give this a go on the Venice Boardwalk about three or four years ago. Unforutunately, I don't know if they actually had any staying power because I recall that summer was exceptionally cool and overcast... I don't know how often you make it over the boardwalk, but maybe some other posters might know about it if they're still around...

    1 Reply
    1. re: bulavinaka

      Thank you! I am actually in Santa Monica almost every weekend, so I will have to check it out! I will report back!

    2. Not in LA area, but in Orange County, there is Joe's Italian Ice in Garden Grove, down the street from Disneyland. They have Italian ice made with real fruit and something called the Joe Latti, which is Italian ice w/ soft ice cream. It's really delicious and will be especially nice in the coming summer months.

      Joe's Italian Ice
      12302 Harbor Blvd. Garden Grove, CA, 92840
      (714) 750-1076

      7 Replies
      1. re: sweetestliz

        MOST EXCELLENT! Its by my folks house! THANK YOU!

        1. re: running pig

          Joe's -- and the Joe'Latti -- definitely the real thing, says this Jersey boy who grew up on Rita's and their "gelati" (not actual gelato), as well as the roving ice trucks.

          There's also DiDio's Italian Ices, on Montana and Euclid? 12th? in Santa Monica -- very good, and their blood orange is fantastic when they have it.

          1. re: Das Ubergeek

            I am going tomorrow for a 15-mile run in Venice and will have to use this as my post-run treat! Many thanks!

            1. re: Das Ubergeek

              Yeah...DiDio's! Blood orange, root beer & pink grapefruit are my favorites! My kids love the blueberry, which makes your tongue turn blue!

              1. re: fdb

                Bob DiDio was trained by Pop's Water Ice of South Philly. It blows Rita's outta da whaater. Pops is continually voted best Water Ice in Philly year after year by several mags. Folks it is the absolute real deal end of story!!!! Euclid (13th st.) and Montana

            2. re: running pig

              I'll second the vote for Joe's...really good stuff and reasonable priced as well. I wrote about recently...

            3. Leo Bulgarini has been making various granitas lately -- might be your cup of tea. Worth a try, since practically everything he makes is delicious.

              The "swirled with frozen custard idea" brought to mind his latest creation, an intense coffee granita sandwiched between layers of fresh whipped cream. Leo is a prince -- when I mentioned that it was my wife's birthday last Saturday, he brought it out to our table in classy little goblets on a Peroni platter. You could, perhaps, say that I am a little biased in favor of his continued success :-)

              4 Replies
              1. re: ttriche

                Thanks TTriche-love Bulgarini! The granitas are good, I have no doubt, but I am curious as to why we don't have "water ice" out here...and very little frozen custard. The texture of both is unique and nothing beats water ice on a really hot day :-)

                1. re: running pig

                  I you ever get out to Vegas there is a custard place real close to the Stratosphere. It is always rated as the No 1 ice cream place even though it's not ice cream. Also, not Italian ice, but if you are looking for something refreshing, try the shave ice at the various Hawaiian restaurants. Expecially in the south bay area.

                  1. re: mpron

                    The Vegas custard place is called Luv-it Frozen Custard and it is really good--no water ice to go with it though, unfortunately.

                  2. re: running pig

                    There was a small chain of ice cream stores called Swenson's that made a splash in the 70s and may have some survivors that made a good custard.

                2. Hate to be clueless...what's Water Ice?

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: tatertotsrock

                    OOOH- good stuff! Imagine something between soft-serve ice cream and a snow cone. Go to and type in "water ice" pina colada, or "water ice" cherry. YUM!

                    1. re: tatertotsrock

                      It's kind of like a very fine-grained granita -- so fine-grained that it looks like sorbet, but it isn't. People from the "real" part of New Jersey call it "Italian ice", people from the Pennsylvania part of New Jersey call it "wooder ice".

                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                        I want to correct your COMPLETLEY FALSE AND INCORRECT STATEMENT. PA people do NOT say wooder or wooter. NJ people say that word. PA people say waaahhhter ice. You drawl the A if you’re from PA!

                        1. re: Hungry Girl

                          I don't know about that! I've made many a trip to Rita's when visiting friends in Philadelphia (both FROM Philadelphia) and wooder sounds right to me! I've always wondered why water ice has never really made an impact here - after all, it's fat free, so we Southern Californians can kid ourselves that it's healthy.

                          1. re: Hungry Girl

                            No way! It's "wooder ice" in Philly...just was there a few months ago mocking people for saying "wooder ice" (at my own peril, of course).

                            Besides the fact that I was talking about the part of NJ that is essentially part of PA (the 609 and 856 area codes, pretty much), as opposed to the part of NJ that is essentially part of NY (all the other ones).

                      2. South Street, on Victory Blvd in Burbank. They claim to be the official displaced Philadelphians in SoCal.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: oldusedcop

                          I had lemon water ice from there one time and it was OK, but it can't compare to DiDio's or Joe's -- and they don't do gelati at South Street. Still, when it's not convenient to drive to the People's Republic or behind the Orange Curtain, it's OK.