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Jul 25, 2009 04:46 PM

salt honey is my new favorite flavor

At Scoops. Today's salt-honey ice cream has displaced beet-cashew as my favorite flavor ever at Scoops. It's... intense, but not overwhelming.

I've always loved his salty flavors - salty mascarpone, salty chocolate, salty caramel. The pleasures of saltwater taffy, intensified - salt bringing out the sweet and burnt-sugar and warm flavors...

But salt-honey is different. First clue is the label. It's not "salty x", but "salt, honey." There's a comma, even, on the label. This is not a misprint. Something like "salty chocolate" is primarily a chocolate flavor, with a little extra salt to amp up and bring out the chocolate.

Salt-honey is a *salt* flavor. The salt - good sea salt - is dominant. There are distinct granuels of it, unlike the "salty X" flavors, where the salt is completely mixed in.

In interview, Tae Kim, the proprieter/ice cream maker, said that he really likes to think in terms of a foreground flavor and a background flavor. You first get the background flavor, then the foreground flavor rises up, dominates, and then fades again into the background. In salty chocolate, chocolate is the foreground. In salty caramel, caramel is the foreground. In salt-honey, salt is the foreground, and honey the delicate background that just brings the salt flavor into sharper focus.

It's hard to describe. It's not like oversalted food. It's like with spice. With dumb hot food, somebody just pours on a bucket of chile oil or whatever, and it's just so spicy you can't taste anything. In really good, say, Thai or Mexican or Indian or Sri Lankan cooking, the spice is essential. Not only that, it's not just heat, it's *the particular flavor of the chile."

In salt-honey ice cream, the sweetness is arranged somehow so you can look more deeply into the soul of the salt granule.

Anyway, this may sound all wanky and pretentious or whatever, but this isn't any sort of intellectual, goatee-rubbing, "hmmm how fascinating" flavor. This is raw, gutteral goodness. I stuck my face in my ice cream bowl and snarfed with complete concentration and joy until it was gone.

I had it with mango-riesling sorbet, and the bites of mango-riesling in the dregs of the melted slat-honey were totally awesome too. Makes me want to make it into a dessert.

Hope salt-honey comes back.

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  1. Thi, have you had the butterscotch budino at Mozza? It might be something you would find satisfying for its salty sweet counterpoint.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Servorg

      I'll try it.

      But interestingly, salt-honey is not "salty sweet counterpoint." His "salty x" flavors, like salty caramel, are salty sweet counterpoint. Salt-honey is just... salt. No counterpoint, not in the sense that the honey-sweet is an equally weighty partner.

      It's more like... you know how in most foods, the salt is an almost invisible partner, serving to bring out the meatiness or whatever? That's the role the honey is taking here... invisible partner, only noticeable if you really go looking, just a setting for the salt sparkle, really.

    2. Salt Honey is currently available at The Golden State!

      12 Replies
      1. re: ronnie_gaucho

        Maybe time to have another Beer Float at The Golden State. Old Rasputin w/Salt-Honey! Last week I tried the Old Rasputin w/Brown Bread from Scoops and am a beer float convert! Give it a try P. and Dommy! I think you too will become 'no more root beer, BEER Floats YES!' converts!
        BottleRock in Down Town L.A. is also making Beer Floats and I plan on trying them soon. Maybe at the Beer Float Showdown today at Blue Palms Brewhouse!

        712 N Heliotrope Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90029

        Blue Palm Lounge
        6126 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

        The Golden State
        426 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036

        BottleRock LA
        1050 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA

        1. re: sel

          My girlfriend once got orange-chocolate ice scream in her rasputin float, which was possibly the best (and one of the bitterest) dessert experiences of my life.

          Trying to imagine salt-honey in a rasputin beer float just broke my brain. Really. I'm not that talented. It's like trying to imagine a complex four-dimensional object. Brains says, "Nope."

          1. re: Thi N.

            Thanks guys, I've been hearing about these things on Twitter... but for some reason I can't wrap my head around it. I've NEVER been one for beer/sweet parings... Not being a sweets person naturally I think I fell in love with beer because it goes SO well with savory items... pizza... burgers, tacos... I just can NOT enjoy a taco with a sugary margarita.... Bohemia please....

            Anyway, we need to head back to Golden State as I went without P. the last time but hadn't been at a great rush to return because I found the burger Meh.... (a fancified version of the great western bacon cheese burger...) and we have no problem hitting up the Lets Be Frank truck on AK... but this does intrigue me....


            1. re: Dommy

              A lot of the scoops pairings aren't really beer/sweet flavors, because they're really not that sweet. Orange chocolate was more like pure dark chocolate with a bit of orange, barely sweet. And the sweetness of salt honey is almost imperceptible, just background.

              Rasputin-brown bread would certainly be beer-sweet, though.

              But it's a peculiar thing, here. I think the Golden State people know exactly what they're doing - the Rasputin is so gloriously, nuttily dense and bitter that it almost calls for a touch of sweet. The sweetnesses actually tend to amp up the depth of the dark and slow stout flavors.

              1. re: Thi N.

                I know what you are saying.... I saw Bottlerock has a Rasputin, Cherry Ice cream blend that actually changed my mind on this whole beer float thing....


                1. re: Dommy

                  Hi Dommy!

                  Wait till you try one of the winners at the Beef Float Challenge (at Blue Palms) yesterday:

                  * Scoops' Raspberry Yuzu Gelato with The Bruery's Berliner Weisse (a Sour Beer).

                  It was *amazing* and not very sweet at all. Just enough sweetness from the Raspberry and Yuzu Citrus Fruit which really mellowed out and balanced the Berliner Weisse. Impressive. :)

                  1. re: exilekiss

                    Okay... I admit, I LOVE it when I'm wrong... P. surprised me with a trip to Golden State after dinner (A decent try of Mexican-Indian Fusion at Cowboys and Turbans) and I had originally planned to try the Pistachio Honey with Old Rasputin, but the manager offered to make me one with the Weisse and Raspberry Currant Lychee instead...

                    WOW... I've never been one for root beer floats, not even milkshakes all that much... BUT, this was phenomenal. I have yet to even UNDERSTAND why, because alone, the beer and ice cream were both great.... but together they just melded into this 'thing' that was greater than both of them... It wasn't beer with ice cream in it... it wasn't ice cream with beer drizzled on it... it was just something that was absolute wonderfulness... THANK YOU guys for bringing this to my attention.... Tonight's will be the first... of many...

                    1. re: Dommy

                      Hi Dommy!

                      Nice! I'm glad you enjoyed that combination. I loved the Raspberry Yuzu, I hope the Raspberry Lychee is even better. :)

                2. re: Thi N.

                  Tai does a great cabernet ice cream. I need it in a float form with vanilla cream soda.

                  1. re: J.L.

                    Congrats to Golden State/Scoops for kicking some serious ass at the beer float competition. The imitators were put in their rightful place it seems. Justice was served!

                  2. re: Thi N.

                    the thing that puts it over the edge for me is the bits of malt in the brown bread ice cream that cuts the bitterness and enhances the nuttiness of the beer

                  3. re: Dommy

                    Omg, had the lavender honey and pistachio rose tonight from scoops, and d-vine does not begin to describe it!

            2. Anybody go today and want to report on the flavors? Last week or two he had the non-dairy salty chocolate, and I came home with a whole pint. Found that whirring it with vanilla soy milk made the best non-dairy milkshake I have ever achieved.

              1 Reply
              1. re: lexicaljewel

                OMG am drooling as I read this flavor pairing. If you love salty/sweet the way I do you MUST try Bequet sea salt caramels. Not only the hands down best salted caramel I have tasted, but the most affordable. A combination rarely found.