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Books and Ice Cream

  • m

I've just returned to Los Angeles after living abroad for almost twenty years. One thing that struck me was the virtual disappearance of ice cream parlors (that and book stores). Tel Aviv, where I was living, is exploding with artisanal gelato places. Here there they are few and far between When I was a kid, high end ice cream was the thing, starting with Haagen Daz, then Double Rainbow, etc. Now it's been replaced by frozen yogurt and shaved ice. Only the dinosaurs, like Baskin Robins, long eclipsed by the high end places, are still thriving.

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    1. re: Servorg

      It was just an observation. I didn't say there were no ice cream parlors, just very few compared to earlier times. That's a fact. You will find two frozen yogurt places in every mall in Los Angeles, and no ice cream. It's all due to economics, in my opinion. Frozen yogurt is a much better business model than ice cream. And your allusion to Amazon (perhaps intended sarcastically) just proves my point about book stores.

      1. re: MarkC

        If we want more ice cream stores then we need to over utilize the ones we have, creating a bigger demand, leading to more ice cream stores. If we want physical bookstores then we need to do the same thing with the ones remaining. Unfortunately expanding waist lines and expanding traffic lines end up creating what we see today as the model for the future.

        1. re: Servorg

          Has nothing to do with expanding waist lines. There's more high calorie food available today then there ever was before (look at the dizzying number of hamburger places talked about on chowhound. ) As I said, it is about economics. It just isn't economical to buy and store dozens of ice cream flavors, when you can provide three yogurt flavors with lots of toppings. Interestingly, Cold Stone Creamery seems to be copying the yogurt model, with relatively few flavors and lots of toppings. And I seriously doubt that the disappearance of book stores has contributed to lessening our traffic problems.

          By the way, the fact that frozen yogurt is a less fattening substitute for ice cream is, I agree, a contributing factor to its success.

          1. re: MarkC

            The lines at Diddy Riese in Westwood Village are longer now, and long more often, than I can remember. The problem with ice cream is not the calories, and not the quality -- it is the value. Give people even a fairly mediocre product but make it a good value for the price and they will line up.

            1. re: MarkC

              actually, isn't it the other way around?? i thought coldstone's been around longer in the states than the froyo places. if there was any copying i'd think it was the latter copying the coldstone/marble slab model. -shrug-

      2. Welcome back to L.A.!

        Negativity aside, try some still-here and still-great ice creameries & gelaterias here in L.A.
        - Fosselman's (Alhambra)
        - Scoops (2 locations: Mid-City & West L.A.)
        - Handel's (Redondo Beach)
        - Coolhaus (Culver City)
        - Bulgarini Gelato (2 locations: Altadena & Culver City)

        19 Replies
        1. re: J.L.

          Exactly! I'm way excited about the ice cream scene here.... Also to add to your list...

          --Mother Moo
          --Carmelas
          --Sweet Rose
          --Grom
          --Neveux
          --Milk
          --King Kone

          Today I also tried a gimicky new place opening in downtown, Peddlers (Churned on a bike), it actually was wonderfully cream with a great depth of flavor! And of course there are several wonderful Paleta and Shaved Snow places!

          --Dommy!

          1. re: Dommy

            Thanks for the lists! Don't mean to sound negative, just commenting wistfully on times gone by, something you tend to do when you get older. I'm actually more disturbed by the absence of bookstores. This is creepy, like Fahrenheit 451, but without even the need for coercion.

            As I live in the valley, I won't get to try your recommendations too often. I did find a Cold Stone Creamery in Northridge, and someone commented on an LA Creamery in woodland hills, a little far but doable.

            1. re: MarkC

              I'm not so familiar with the SFV, but of the various ice cream or gelato shops that are recommended on this board, I can't think of any in your area. But the recs on these lists are very good, so if you're serious, you'll give them a whirl when possible. And if you think pickin's are slim now, you'd be in serious pain had you returned a few years ago. The most of these listed recs opened within the past couple of years.

              >>When I was a kid, high end ice cream was the thing, starting with Haagen Daz, then Double Rainbow, etc.<<

              Although your listed places might have been ground-breaking over 20 years ago, imho, I think most Hounds would agree that they don't hold up to the new wave of artisan level ice cream and gelato places respected on this board. This is more of a reason for you to make the effort in trying these places.

              As a side note, Cold Stone gets low marks for their ice cream. Their ice creams imho lack depth/flavor focus. The ice creams are more of a vehicle for the toppings - I am guessing that this is intentional on their part. It's not a bad thing, but the ice cream itself just doesn't stand on its own - sort of like the tofu of ice creams. Without adding flavors (toppings), it's not much fun to eat.

              1. re: bulavinaka

                Yeah, I didn't think much of Cold Stone, just that it was a little zippier than baskin robbins. Guess we'll have to remain ice-cream-deprived here in the valley until someone is inspired to open a good gelato shop.

                1. re: MarkC

                  Just went to Cold Stone again. I think Baskin Robbins is better. And the prices are obscene.

              2. re: MarkC

                LA Creamery no longer has a store in Woodland Hills or any stores for that matter. They have been bought by Adam Fleishman 0f Umami Burger and it is now being served at Umami and 800 degrees and other restaurants in Southern California. They will also do home delivery in larger amounts.
                http://lacreamery.com/

                1. re: MarkC

                  As a kindle lover, I will take some of the blame for the loss of bookstores. But remember, there was a time every neighborhood had a newstand... had a shoe shine guy... had a tack and feed... Our world keeps turning. Plus, I work in media marketing, and know that is the way it goes. Books will NEVER go away... just like television shows (hello Hulu) now and radio shows (This podcast brought to you by...) in the last 10 years, they will just be in consumed in different forms. Proving the old adage that content will still be king.

                  However, as a book lover, I am heartened by the number of used book stores still around... Including the brand new ginchy Pop-Hop in Highland Park, which is right by Cafe de Leche for coffee, Schodorf's Luncheonette for salad and the soon to be open Scoops North-Eastside!

                  So as you go out exploring for chow, do what we do... keep your eyes open and stop by local shops that might also capture your interest. Because neighborhoods will change, but they can't survive on just good chow alone!

                  --Dommy!

                    1. re: Servorg

                      LOL! OMG! That is a million bad press releases waiting to happen...

                      BTW... I still think the name Pie Hole is worse...

                      -Dommy!

                      1. re: Dommy

                        Instead of a "Closed" sign I would hope that Pie Hole would have a "Shut" sign...

                    2. re: Dommy

                      Now if this thread was called Books and Cupcakes we could comment on the synergy between Children's Book World and mini chocolate - chocolate cupcakes from Buttercake Bakery on Pico.

                      1. re: Dommy

                        I don't like to sound like a luddite, but I can't help but feel that the disappearance of book stores from our cultural/commercial landscape is a bad thing, even if there are substitutes like kindle and Amazon. Anyway, thanks to everyone for their responses.

                      2. re: MarkC

                        Highly recommend Gelato Bar on Tujunga in Studio City. (For many years, you could have satisfied book & ice cream/gelato urges on the same block of Tujunga, but the excellent small, family-run Portrait of a Bookstore unfortunately closed a couple of months ago).

                        1. re: archer

                          Studio City's a tad far for a quick ice cream with the kids (we live in Northridge), but will keep it in mind if we're ever in the area.

                          1. re: MarkC

                            I can't speak from experience, but LA Weekly last year named Jerry's Soda Shoppe,.which is inside the De Soto Pharmacy, one of the 10 best ice cream places in LA. It is at Roscoe and De Soto in Canoga Park, so it should be pretty close to Northridge. It looks like an old-fashioned soda fountain, which sounds like what you're looking for. (I miss the old-style Swenson's and Farrell's that we used to have.)

                            LA Weekly particularly raved about the ice cream soda, which does look fantasic: http://blogs.laweekly.com/squidink/20...

                            There also is a Farrell's in Santa Clarita.

                            1. re: Jwsel

                              Just when I'd give up hope! Thanks.

                        2. re: MarkC

                          Get Shaved in Northridge is famous for their shave ice, but they also have ice cream ala carte. The ice cream used to be Fosselman's, but they now use an ice cream from Oregon called Cascade Glacier (not to be confused with that beloved Glacier franchise from Boulder, CO).

                        3. re: Dommy

                          +1 for Grom in Malibu. Real Italian gelato from a real italian company. Locations all over Italy. This is their only location in the US outside of New York City. Wonderful flavors, all natural and organic made fresh in store. This is the real stuff. Worth a visit to Malibu after your lunch at Neptune's Net.
                          http://www.grom.it/eng/

                      3. There is a Ben and Jerry's in the Northridge Fashion Center on Tampa. Hopefully this is close enough to you for a quick trip with the kids. If you happen to make it to North Hollywood I highly recommend the Illiad, a used bookstore on Cahuenga and Chandler. It reminds me of bookstores from my childhood (and if your childhood included Haagen Daz I am a lot older than you).