If you have to be in Brentwood, this will make life a little sweeter.
I don't know why I dislike Brentwood as much as I do. Perhaps it's the sheer concentration of thoughtlessness, privilege and pretense. Maybe it's just the sucky parking. A comfort over the years, however, is that there hasn't really been a reason culinarily to travel up San Vicente into the Heart of Harshness.
Sadly, this is no longer the case. A friend of mine turned me on to Sweet Crush the other night (admittedly, over my strenuous objections). The last time I was forced North of Wilshire or South of Sunset, I went to a highly overrated ice cream shop that was a Rose by any other name. I went with an ice cream fetishist and she thought it tasted a lot like any of the 10 other artisanal spots on LA's East side. Sweet Crush, on the other hand, is very special. The design is cool but the proof of their pudding is most especially in the eating.
Now I love Class 302 and the traditional Taiwanese approach. They are unquestionably the best purveyors of that take on shaved ice. But Sweet Crush isn't quite the same thing. It's a more chef-driven, Westernized take on shaved ice. The ingredients make the difference. I went in with a group and tried several of their flavors. I don't know what kind of chocolate they use but it's high end. Same for the vanilla. They're clearly not using the non-dairy creamers that help stabilize the more authentically taiwanese versions (to be clear, I have nothing against the artificiality of ingredients). Their clever take on the tea- flavored one uses Earl Grey and you can actually taste the difference between some other blend. One of the members in my party is a vegan (to be clear, I loathe vegans but make an exception for her). She tried two of the non-dairy flavors and, again, I was blown away by the purity of the flavors they achieve. They obviously use a pretty high quality of fruit. I assume this contributes to price but I say it's well worth it.
Thank you, Sweet Crush, for being so good and if I am forced to go to Brentwood, I will be back.
Har! I used to feel the exact same way about Brentwood.... Until I moved here last year. For me, it was the lack of easy parking that was the most obnoxious part of visiting this area. Now that I live here, that obviously isn't an issue. I find the pretense and privilege vaguely amusing now, although the thoughtlessness never fails to surprise (and to disgust) me.
But to get back to the topic, thanks for review. I normally stay away from San Vicente, but this might give me a reason to venture north....
I've been in Santa Monica for a long time. Decades. I live 5 minutes from Brentwood and never, ever has an issue of parking ever come up. Ever. Never even thought of it. Abbott Kinney? Yes, but never to the point where I would say let's meet up someplace else because I hate the parking there.
The traffic can get nasty however. I will avoid it (if I can) at certain times.
Ah, you've stated the difference yourself; you've lived in the area for decades. Once you realize that there's plentiful parking off of main streets that's not permit-protected in the evenings or on weekends, then you know that parking isn't a problem. But if you're unfamiliar w/ the area, parking-spot hunting can seem daunting (esp while trying to dodge the very aggressive drivers in the area)....
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Not to be a hater, but I went pretty soon after they opened and found Sweet Crush disappointing. It was like cotton candy and snow had a baby. But a really bland baby. Maybe it just needed more sauce, or as they call it "drizzle."
I sat and ate mine at one of the outside tables and watched one couple try a few bites, throw theirs away, and walk over to pinkberry. Ouch!