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Bulgarini Gelato coming to Grand Central Market

ipsedixit Jul 18, 2013 07:42 PM

A cart, anyway. Not the whole store.

  1. TonyC Jul 18, 2013 10:50 PM

    It's already there, to the right of G&B.

    1. j
      Johnny L Jul 19, 2013 12:14 AM

      It's been open for a few days, amazingly good albiet pricey stuff.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Johnny L
        j
        john gonzales Jul 19, 2013 09:25 AM

        I've been pondering what to include on my "expensive and not worth it list", so thanks for reminding me. I love Gelato and all frozen confections. I've only had theirs from the counter at Tea Forset, their new Culver city location. It was quite good. About on par with average Gelato in Italy, and IMO in the same league as Pazzo etc. The price was ridiculous. I got a $7 serving and devoured it in about two minutes and needed more. My ideal quantity would have cost me $14, which is too much (IMO) for a stand-around place in low-rent Culver City. What they call a scoop is silly, and should be called a scoopino.
        Is the Grand Central spot any less expensive?

        1. re: john gonzales
          Mr Taster Jul 19, 2013 10:33 AM

          Oh boy. I'm not sure I like this. Am I soon going to be paying $8 for an "artisan [sic] pupusa"?? I mean, I like Bulgarini's pistachio, but seriously? In Grand Central Market? It's not the place for it. 3rd/Fairfax Farmer's Market is a better fit, with their cavalcade of fucking upmarket prices. I still can't believe I pay $14 for a kebab plate from Moishe's, but their tabbouleh is spectacular and I can't seem to duplicate it (or find the same quality elsewhere for cheaper).

          Truth be told, as far as GCM frozen desserts, I always loved Jose's ice cream in the corner facing Broadway. It's only like $1+ for a scoop. For some reason I always expect less, and end up loving it more than I remember.

          Mr Taster

          1. re: john gonzales
            c
            Chauve Souris Jul 19, 2013 06:35 PM

            $6 for 2 "scoops". The plum sorbet is to die for.

            1. re: john gonzales
              westsidegal Jul 25, 2013 08:20 PM

              john:
              you forgot to add that this miniscule, expensive, gelato serving is given to you in a tiny plastic cup (along the lines of a salsa to-go cup from any chain mexican restaurant).

          2. f
            FED Jul 19, 2013 01:45 PM

            went by yesterday but didn't buy. to tell you the truth, it didn't look all that great. there were mega ice crystals on top of a couple of the bins. plus it seemed to be staffed by someone's very disinterested teenage son. $7 for an ice cream ... everything had better be just right.

            54 Replies
            1. re: FED
              f
              FED Jul 23, 2013 02:51 PM

              stopped in today (after killer grilled chicken at sticky rice). had a scoop of plum and a scoop of blood orange. plum was ok, blood orange was really good. but still, $6 for two very small scoops. i don't see this lasting.

              1. re: FED
                SilverlakeGirl Jul 23, 2013 06:28 PM

                They have the same problem at Gelato Bar on Hillhurst. Run by Nancy Silverton's sister, it's good, but pricey.

                1. re: SilverlakeGirl
                  ipsedixit Jul 23, 2013 06:58 PM

                  This is gelato.
                  Not Thrifty's ice cream.

                  1. re: ipsedixit
                    SilverlakeGirl Jul 23, 2013 06:59 PM

                    Oh, :o)

                    1. re: SilverlakeGirl
                      ipsedixit Jul 24, 2013 07:43 AM

                      You know what I mean, SG.

                      It wasn't a slam on you, just that we sometimes have to recaliberate our expectations with different varieties of the same kinds of food.

                      I fully expect, for example, a full pound of pulled pork at Bigmista for less than $15, but for $15 there's no expectation of getting the same quantity of Jambon d'Ardenne.

                      1. re: ipsedixit
                        l
                        linus Jul 24, 2013 07:45 AM

                        man, is "recalibrate" becoming a thing now? first porthos now ipse.
                        geez.

                        1. re: linus
                          ipsedixit Jul 24, 2013 07:47 AM

                          It's de rigeur when used vis-a-vis expectations, but gauche when used for yumminess of food.

                          That's what my Dr. Seuss style manual says.

                          1. re: linus
                            e
                            Ernie Jul 24, 2013 07:57 AM

                            Like the truly horrid "reach out," it is just the latest in annoying business jargon

                            http://www.forbes.com/pictures/ekij45...

                          2. re: ipsedixit
                            j
                            john gonzales Jul 24, 2013 09:07 AM

                            That's silly. Pulled pork and Jambon are NOT the same foods. That's like comparing Epoisses to cottage cheese.
                            We're talking about gelato. We're comparing to other Gelato, or even high grade ice cream, here and even in Italy.
                            You can make the same argument anytime anyone questions the price/value of something very expensive. But that makes the assumption that those who take issue with the price are NOT "recalibrating". That perhaps they do not know the product or comparable products. No one compared it to Thrifty.
                            We can even make the stipulation that Bulgarini is delicious. Fine. It is. It is still expensive even WITH recalibration. I actually take issue with the size more than the price. Charge me $7, but give me a decent amount. Not an entree sized amount but not a markedly small amount. I am sure that perhaps the size of their two scoops is adequate for a "little old lady from Pasadena" but not for most. Much of their cost is fixed, IMO there's little excuse when you charge $7 to not give 25% more which still makes it smaller than average scoops.
                            Places like Pazzo, Al Gelato, Gelato Bar, Scoops, Sweet Rose, or Neveux have significantly larger portions. I agree that Al G. is not as good as Bulgarini but it does have an expenisve location. I eat Pazzo most as I am often right near it. Their pistachio or chocolate is not of a significantly lesser quality. Bulgaini's price per is 50% more. I'm a frozen confection junkie, and have it all over. Bulgarini is more expensive than Berthillon or any of the dozen Gelati I had on a recent Italy trip.

                            1. re: john gonzales
                              ipsedixit Jul 24, 2013 09:21 AM

                              Scoops, Sweet Rose and Neveux do not have gelato.

                              And to compare prices of gelato in Italy to those in the US is, well, just silly.

                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                j
                                john gonzales Jul 24, 2013 11:07 AM

                                I probably shouldn't debate but I will. :)

                                The serving cost of fine ice cream is not dramatically different than gelato and I would say that all mentioned turn out an artisinal high-end product.
                                Using the Italy comparsion is a stretch but they are of top quality and there is not much of a difference in delivery costs. Typically many food items in Italy cost more than here. So it is certainly not consistent to have Gelato cost typically less there than the one in question here.

                                Silly would be comparing pork butt and Jambon.
                                Let's keep it simple. Have you ever had counter served gelato more expensive than Bulgarini??

                                1. re: john gonzales
                                  ipsedixit Jul 24, 2013 11:24 AM

                                  Have you ever had counter served gelato more expensive than Bulgarini??
                                  _____________

                                  Yes.

                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                    j
                                    john gonzales Jul 24, 2013 11:31 AM

                                    Where? Especially in SoCal, and the size of the serving is a factor.

                                    1. re: john gonzales
                                      Mr Taster Jul 24, 2013 11:35 AM

                                      Grom?

                                      I've never been, but I'm guessing.

                                      Mr Taster

                                      1. re: john gonzales
                                        ipsedixit Jul 24, 2013 11:36 AM

                                        Grom (Malibu)*

                                        And just about every gelateria that I've tried in NYC is as expensive, and generally more.

                                        *As a point of comparison, my pizza at Tra Di Noi was cheaper than my individual order of gelato at Grom.

                                        1. re: ipsedixit
                                          Mr Taster Jul 24, 2013 11:39 AM

                                          Do I win a prize?

                                          Mr Taster

                                          1. re: Mr Taster
                                            ipsedixit Jul 24, 2013 11:40 AM

                                            Mooncakes?

                                            1. re: ipsedixit
                                              Mr Taster Jul 24, 2013 11:40 AM

                                              DONE

                                              Mr Taster

                                              1. re: Mr Taster
                                                ipsedixit Jul 24, 2013 11:44 AM

                                                It's either that or radish cakes, right?

                                                Or maybe radish-filled mooncakes?

                                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                                  Mr Taster Jul 24, 2013 11:53 AM

                                                  Homemade luobogao makes me a superstar with my wife. I really should learn how to make it.... does this recipe come close to your mom's?

                                                  http://www.food.com/recipe/luo-bo-gao...

                                                  Mr Taster

                                                  1. re: Mr Taster
                                                    ipsedixit Jul 24, 2013 12:04 PM

                                                    I really have no idea how she makes it, but I am told the secret is wheat starch (in addition to rice flour).

                                                    Obviously fresh daikon is important as well. She usu. makes vegetarian ones, so we don't really fuss with the sausages or dried shrimp (although I am told she'll sneak in some quality conpoy once in a while just to fuck with people).

                                          2. re: ipsedixit
                                            j
                                            john gonzales Jul 24, 2013 12:50 PM

                                            I actually forgot about Grom. I'm not sure it's more expensive, though I've only been there twice. It struck me as acutally about the same price as Bulgarini, but with a bigger portion. It's also in Malibu so I'd imagine the location warrants a higher cost than non-prime Culver city, or even a spot at G.C. market. Even if one concedes Grom, which is not a sure thing, Bulagrini has to be just below and in the 99.5th percentile.
                                            NYC? Nah, you're going to the wrong places if you are routinely paying more than Bulgarini. You must be talking about a very limited area in Manhattan. Again I am considering the portion as part of the equation. Then we have the rent factor, which is just a little more than a backwater stretch of Washington Blvd.
                                            The point is, even if there is one equally priced place in Malibu and some in NYC, Bulgarini IS extremely expensive. Cost or value are totally relevant points. I'm guessing, but it seems Bulgarini could serve 25% more and increase their cost by less than 10%.

                                            Comparing it to Pazzo (eg) is NOT comparing pork to jamon. One might say that Bulgarini's cost is justified due to the grade of their pistachios or the rent that they pay. That's fine, and debatable. But those that feel it is overpriced have not failed to recalibrate their basis. My issue is that when you assume such, and us it as a retort, you're probably incorrect. I didn't see anyone erroneously saying that they can get better gelato at Thrifty or display an unfamiliarity with what gelato is. It's just as relevant to question Bulgarini's price as it is the cost of sushi at Urazawa, steak at Cut, or spot-prawns at Providence. Actually, in that there is little service or build-out a comparison of counter gelato is even more appropriate.

                                            All I can say is that I miss Massimo's little place in Culver City. By volume he charged 40% of what Bulgarini does and his stuff was solid. I'd imagine him charging TOO LITTLE was a part of his demise. We always told him to raise his prices, and a happy medium would have been great.

                                            1. re: john gonzales
                                              ipsedixit Jul 24, 2013 12:56 PM

                                              I got nothing else for you john. Enjoy your gelato wherever you're getting it from.

                                              1. re: john gonzales
                                                k
                                                kevin Jul 25, 2013 05:05 PM

                                                That's weird i just thought of Massimo's when driving by on abbot kinney the other day. it was good, though i think bulgarini is better, it was cheaper though.

                                              2. re: ipsedixit
                                                m
                                                mrsjoujou Jul 24, 2013 02:53 PM

                                                Grom is a better deal than Bulgarini . I only had Bulgarini's gelato once at the original location and once at the CC location. The portion at CC was so tiny for the price considering the location and the quality(icy). At Grom you can choose two flavors for the small size, unlike Sweet Rose( only one flavor). I just wish they will open a second location, so you don't have to deal with the traffic on PCH.

                                                1. re: mrsjoujou
                                                  TonyC Jul 24, 2013 04:14 PM

                                                  But is it "better", period?

                                                  2 scoops of gelato for $6 is about the same as anything being served at a restaurant. And you don't have to tip

                                                  For reference, peddler's ice cream is $3.50/scoop, 2 for $6.25, which makes Bulgarini prescient, and the pricing trend-setter. Plus it beats the crap served at that hipster chainlet. Guess I'm the opposite of Mr. T -- eat the best shit in town infrequently, or don't eat shit at all.

                                                  1. re: TonyC
                                                    Mr Taster Jul 24, 2013 04:48 PM

                                                    >> eat the best shit in town infrequently, or don't eat shit at all.

                                                    OK, let's apply that logic. When is your next decennial sushi trip to Urasawa?

                                                    Quality is important, but it's not the only factor.

                                                    Mr Taster

                                                    1. re: TonyC
                                                      westsidegal Jul 25, 2013 08:32 PM

                                                      <<And you don't have to tip>>

                                                      on the other hand, in a restaurant, your food will be SERVED to you
                                                      expensive food like this would likely be served in a ceramic or porcelain cup, rather than a plastic to-go cup and the spoon would not be a little disposable plastic spoon
                                                      if you wanted water to go along with your dessert, it would be served in a glass.

                                                      the homemade gelato at gjelina is about $3/scoop.
                                                      imho much better total value for the buck at gjelina.

                                                      well worth the tip.

                                                      1. re: westsidegal
                                                        TonyC Jul 25, 2013 09:19 PM

                                                        Why would I want water, served by ANYONE at Gjelina, w/ any dessert, much less a dessert that doesn't need a plate setting, and can come in a portable device which allows me to consume it as far as away from the entire Gjelina FOH as possible?

                                                        And I really don't care if Bulgarini's gelato comes in a (clean) dog bowl or ceramics cup. No one ever says: hey, let's go to Gjelina for some of the best gelato in LA.

                                                        Let's just say we'll disagree on Gjelina, but not disagree on paying $3/scoop for gelato.

                                            2. re: john gonzales
                                              r
                                              revets2 Jul 25, 2013 10:48 AM

                                              First, important to note the difference between true gelati and ice cream - there is less air in gelati than American ice cream, so you are getting more in your scoop by weight in comparison.

                                              Second, there's a remarkable difference between Bulgarini and many other gelaterias. Leo uses whole macerated fruit, whole nuts, in short he starts with the actual raw product for the most part. Most others, whether they call themselves artisanal or not, use paste and powders. That's why it may have looked less appetizing to one poster - there are no color enhancements used at Bulgarini. Paste and powders are loaded with them.

                                              Crystals are not acceptable.

                                              I've long lamented the prices at Bulgarini, but Leo is unique in the way he sources. His pistachios are not from Costco, they're sourced from Sicily. His hazelnuts from Oregon and he just returned from Hawaii to source his macadamias. He drives to the Central Coast to meet with his fruit farmers and pick out his produce personally.

                                              One should respect the jewel L.A. has in Bulgarini. It's hard to find cats doing the real thing in major Italian cities!

                                              Whether it matters to the public taste buds...well, you and your wallet will have to be the judge.

                                              1. re: revets2
                                                f
                                                FED Jul 25, 2013 12:35 PM

                                                hmmm, how do you explain the ice crystals on half of the bins at the bulgarini gcm stand? seriously. if it was as great as everyone says, i wouldn't mind $6 for two decent scoops. i haven't been to the original store, just the gcm stand, which was all i was commenting on.

                                                1. re: FED
                                                  r
                                                  revets2 Jul 28, 2013 11:55 PM

                                                  Ice crystals on gelato is certainly a flaw and is a problem typically of exposure to O2 and variations in temp.

                                                  The real stuff made without gums, corn syrup and other additives is more susceptible. You can tell if it has corn syrup because it coats your mouth and teeth with staying power and gives some fruit flavors a caramelized flavor that they shouldn't have.

                                                  The challenge is having the gelati visible is more appealing for purposes of marketing. But many artisans, like San Crispino in Rome, put metal covers over the gelati to prevent this (picture attached).

                                                  I've noticed Carmela doing the same thing with their ice cream which previously has had a crystallization issue. They also don't use a lot of additives.

                                                  If folks are looking for a good QPR for ice cream/gelati, the ice cream at Sprinkles...yes, Sprinkles...is undeniably high quality (Straus Family cream, Tcho & valhrona chocolate, morello cherries). For $3.75 a scoop including the cool red velvet sugar cone, it's a bargain. They undoubtedly use gums and other additives - you can't get that texture without it, but I don't detect any corn syrup in the flavors sampled to date.

                                                   
                                                  1. re: revets2
                                                    k
                                                    kevin Jul 29, 2013 12:00 AM

                                                    They have those metal covers at Grom in Malibu.

                                                    1. re: kevin
                                                      r
                                                      revets2 Jul 29, 2013 12:03 AM

                                                      Yup. Especially being so close to the ocean, that's important for them. Good stuff!

                                                  2. re: FED
                                                    PeterCC Jul 29, 2013 12:26 AM

                                                    Question, was the ice crystals on the outside of the bins? I've seen large ice crystals on the outside of ice cream bins but the contents inside were not icy at all.

                                            3. re: john gonzales
                                              Mr Taster Jul 24, 2013 09:28 AM

                                              What you're really talking around is figuring out how much of the price is cost plus a fair profit, and how much is the gross excess that you pay for because of image. I would venture to guess it's analogous to your $25 barber who has been cutting hair for 30 years, and the "stylist" 5 years out of school who banters well and charges 500%(+) more. Yes, there's an overhead difference. But how much is a fair profit? $150 for a haircut, really?

                                              Mr Taster

                                              1. re: Mr Taster
                                                Mr Taster Jul 24, 2013 09:42 AM

                                                Or, to keep it food centric, $20 for a plate of spaghetti bolognese vs $5 for zha jiang mian-- both with homemade pasta, right? OK, one is with egg and one without, but does the cost of eggs account for 400% price increase?

                                                Yes, there are overhead differences, and yes there's the opposite argument to be made here against the ridiculously low price that Chinese restaurants charge. But what is fair, honest profit, and what is price gouging? Where is the line?

                                                Answering my own hypothetical here, morality and business are strange bedfellows, I know. If you're "that kind" of entrepreneur, it's figuring out how much you can gouge the largest number of people for before they start to push back. It's whatever people will pay. And Americans generally will pay more for Europeany things, even if they're made in China.

                                                Ultimately that's why I'll go to Scoops 100x before I'll go to Bulgarini once-- even though Bulgarini is a higher quality product, I respect the fact that the Scoops guy charges an incredibly fair price, when by all accounts his place could well be charging FUB™ prices.

                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8531...

                                                Mr Taster

                                                1. re: Mr Taster
                                                  ipsedixit Jul 24, 2013 09:46 AM

                                                  Or $6.50 for a plate of 10 dumplings at Luscious, or $9.50 for a plate of 8 dumplings at ROC.

                                                  Oh ... wait ... nevermind ... wrong analogy.

                                                  Carry on.

                                                  1. re: Mr Taster
                                                    PeterCC Jul 24, 2013 04:22 PM

                                                    And I'd go to Saffron & Rose probably 20x before I go to Scoops (Westside), and I like Scoops. :-) I just like S&R's flavor and quality more, and they're cheaper for a larger portion (in my experience), and you can get two flavors with the small. There's a lot of relativity involved.

                                                    1. re: PeterCC
                                                      b
                                                      bulavinaka Jul 24, 2013 06:59 PM

                                                      "Relativity" should be kissin' cousins with "recalibrate." +1 on Saffron & Rose. But Scoops' brown bread ice cream is crucial in a stout float...

                                                      1. re: PeterCC
                                                        j
                                                        john gonzales Jul 25, 2013 08:29 AM

                                                        What are your favorite flavors at Saffron?

                                                        1. re: john gonzales
                                                          PeterCC Jul 25, 2013 09:06 AM

                                                          I haven't had them all but I really liked the guava and the fresh ginger.

                                                  2. re: john gonzales
                                                    k
                                                    kevin Jul 25, 2013 04:58 PM

                                                    the two scoops i had at the store in the city near pasadean was about 9 bucks. and it was tiny. a few spoons and i was done.

                                                    and their was a two tiny scoop minimum.

                                                    it was much better when it was just merely a humble little stand in the japanese tea garden.

                                                  3. re: ipsedixit
                                                    SilverlakeGirl Jul 24, 2013 03:44 PM

                                                    I haven't tried Bulgarini yet so now I'm really expecting full on awesomeness! Big time!

                                                    1. re: SilverlakeGirl
                                                      ipsedixit Jul 24, 2013 04:34 PM

                                                      If you go, go to the Altadena mothership location. Don't do a cart or a stand.

                                                      1. re: ipsedixit
                                                        Mr Taster Jul 24, 2013 04:42 PM

                                                        And get the pistachio. Some of the other flavors don't measure up.

                                                        Mr Taster

                                                2. re: ipsedixit
                                                  f
                                                  FED Jul 25, 2013 09:42 AM

                                                  I'm sure this was not intended to be as snarky as it came across. i can assure you that i have spent a LOT of money in my life on great food. Ultimately, it does come down to a value question, though. and in my considered opinion, the two small scoops of bulgarini that i got were not sufficiently better than other ice creams to warrant the ridiculous mark-up. Disagree if you like; and as someone pointed out, more for you. Enjoy.

                                            4. re: FED
                                              e
                                              Ernie Jul 25, 2013 03:38 PM

                                              This does not sound very promising. I can see charging premium prices for a decent size in a nice location, but paying $7 for a small icy portion you can eat while watching homeless urinate across the street is a hard sell in my book

                                              1. re: Ernie
                                                ipsedixit Jul 25, 2013 03:56 PM

                                                Is there really anything one can eat "while watching homeless urinate across the street" that would be appetizing?

                                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                                  l
                                                  linus Jul 25, 2013 04:00 PM

                                                  any number of things. it could be jessica alba urinating across the street or a homeless guy; as long as they're not peeing on or near my food, i don't care.

                                                  1. re: linus
                                                    ipsedixit Jul 25, 2013 04:29 PM

                                                    I don't want to see anyone urinating in public. Jessica Alba included.

                                                    1. re: ipsedixit
                                                      l
                                                      linus Jul 25, 2013 04:32 PM

                                                      well, surely only a select few WANT to see anyone urinating in public.
                                                      but that's not the same as putting up with it for some tasty chow?
                                                      you don't have to watch them, y'know.

                                                      1. re: linus
                                                        ipsedixit Jul 25, 2013 04:35 PM

                                                        One also doesn't have to "watch" a car wreck on the 10 fwy, but inevitably we do it anyway. Just cuz it's there, y'know.

                                                  2. re: ipsedixit
                                                    e
                                                    Ernie Jul 25, 2013 04:00 PM

                                                    No. Which is why I usually take my cheap tacos and burritos to go from GCM and not small $7 icy gelatos.

                                              2. J.L. Jul 24, 2013 10:26 PM

                                                For those of you who think Leo's otherworldly gelato is too expensive...

                                                Great - More gelato for me!

                                                My last pilgrimage to the Bulgarini Gelato HQ in Altadena looked something like this:

                                                 
                                                18 Replies
                                                1. re: J.L.
                                                  ipsedixit Jul 25, 2013 07:55 AM

                                                  If I may channel my inner "john gonzales" ... that's like a mortgage payment for some of us!

                                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                                    j
                                                    john gonzales Jul 25, 2013 08:28 AM

                                                    Now, now. Play nice. I questioned your response to various people's issue with the cost. I didn't focus on you!

                                                    But I can take it. I get worse in sports discussions.

                                                    What's funny is that I planned to go to Bulgarini in CC yesterday but ended up on a different route around town. My quest was to see whether the scoops were closer to a ping-pong ball or a golf ball. J.L.'s photo gives me the ping-pong ball answer. I was also actually wondering if it was just the CC location that served the ridiculously small scoops, but apparently not.

                                                    Do you not agree that even Grom, who we discussed as potentially as expensive, serves a bigger portion? The portion-size is my main point. Paying $7 for a gelato order is not a deal-breaker for me. But getting a miserly portion at the same time is. Last time we went even my wife chided the guy to make the portion a little bigger and then asked me if I thought I could eat both scoops at one time with one big spoon.

                                                    1. re: john gonzales
                                                      ipsedixit Jul 25, 2013 03:14 PM

                                                      Do you not agree that even Grom, who we discussed as potentially as expensive, serves a bigger portion?
                                                      _____________________________

                                                      Nope.

                                                      And the fact that you focus on portion size makes this argument a non-starter for me.

                                                      I go to Todai and get all the "sushi" I want for $20, and yet Mori wants to charge me like $150 for a handful of pieces!

                                                      1. re: ipsedixit
                                                        Mr Taster Jul 25, 2013 03:58 PM

                                                        The more relevant question is how the quality of Grom's gelato compares with Bulgarini's. I'd like to hear those opinions, please.

                                                        Mr Taster

                                                        1. re: Mr Taster
                                                          o
                                                          Ogawak Jul 25, 2013 04:24 PM

                                                          Expensive and worth it versus expensive and not worth it? To me Bulgarini is expensive and worth it, especially that pistachio. I also had a blood orange that was fantastic.

                                                          1. re: Ogawak
                                                            ipsedixit Jul 25, 2013 04:34 PM

                                                            I've had Grom now in both NYC and Malibu. While the Malibu experience was a bit better (maybe the setting had something to do with it), the Manhattan experiences were downright laughable.

                                                            Needless to say, I prefer Bulgarini (Altadena).

                                                            One side note I want to underscore. Gelato, to me anyway, is more about quality than it is about quantity. Because it is supposed to be less airy and hence more dense than traditional ice cream (even the super premium variety) you want each spoonful to be an intense burst of flavor on the tongue, so intense in fact that if you had 3 "normal" ice cream scoops you'd feel like it was complete overkill -- sort of like eating several soup spoonfuls of caviar repeatedly.

                                                            1. re: ipsedixit
                                                              Mr Taster Jul 25, 2013 04:49 PM

                                                              This is the case with overfatty American ice cream. How many times have you been seduced by a fresh sounding peach ice cream, just to realize there's nary a whisper of peach flavor to be had? It tastes like nothing (milky, perhaps) even at some reputable ice creameries. (Dewar's in Bakersfield, I'm looking at you.) As I understand, the high fat content coats your tongue and prevents you from tasting the fruit.

                                                              Conversely, gelato is made with overripe fruit-- the kind of stuff that you'd never eat out of hand, but that has a super sweet flavor, and then is made with whole milk instead of milk and cream, with very little air whipped in. The result is that when turned into gelato, flavors that would otherwise be lost, like peach, provide a smack-in-the-mouth, undeniable peachiness.

                                                              Maybe I'll need to buy a gelato maker.

                                                              Mr Taster

                                                              1. re: Mr Taster
                                                                k
                                                                kevin Jul 25, 2013 05:06 PM

                                                                For Southern California or rather for mid and Southern California, the best American Fatty ice cream to me is Mcconnell's. It should be close to 18% butterfat content by volume.

                                                                1. re: kevin
                                                                  j
                                                                  john gonzales Jul 25, 2013 07:43 PM

                                                                  I'm good for ice cream or gelato 350 days per year.
                                                                  McConnell's Island Coconut is one of my all-time faves. At the shop or even in the Whole Foods pints. The butterfat in that flavor poses no probelm to me as it works fine with coconut.

                                                                  Btw the Graeter's Raspberry Chip in pints is in the next tier.

                                                              2. re: ipsedixit
                                                                j
                                                                john gonzales Jul 27, 2013 09:44 AM

                                                                Fwiw, I've never been to the Grom in NYC. I have been to the Grom in Florence a couple of times and assume they are related. I think the Malibu Grom is actually better. That might be in part because of comparison because there are many better gelateria in Florence than their Grom. Though their Grom and every one of the 25 places I've been in Italy serve bigger portions than either our Grom or Bulgarini.

                                                                Obviously the portion thing is preference. I am a 195-lb male who eats more than the average male at that.

                                                                1. re: john gonzales
                                                                  k
                                                                  kevin Jul 27, 2013 04:29 PM

                                                                  Try a 324 pound male for starters.

                                                                  And I'm trying to Hdge the fucking 200s, but chowhound ain't helping.

                                                                  1. re: kevin
                                                                    n
                                                                    ns1 Aug 21, 2013 05:12 PM

                                                                    well, that explains your eating habits. LOL

                                                            2. re: Mr Taster
                                                              j
                                                              john gonzales Jul 25, 2013 05:13 PM

                                                              Mr T, To me they are practically identical. It's ridiculous to use a Todai v. Mori model in the comparison of Grom (or even Pazzo) to Bulgarini in quality. It will largely depend upon flavors and personal preferences. I agree with someone who posted about Bulgarini's ingedients that they are indeed extremely selective about things. It's just my opinion but one can make many flavors of ice cream or gelato with the difference between a 90th percentile cost ingredient and a 95th percentile ingredient (like an almond from italy vs cal) just not being noticeable. There are a lot of other factors involved.

                                                              Pistachio is one of my favorites, and I do like Bulgarinis more. But imo, one might be a 98 pointer and the other a 96 pointer. I bet some people rank them the other way and that's understandable because they are both really good. My wife and I both like Gianduia a lot. I thought Bulgarini's was excellent and not great, she liked it less.

                                                              I'm pretty sure that Grom's portions are bigger and barely adequate. Bulgarini's are not adequate. The good news is that Bulgarini has a 30% Blackboard Eats coupon right now. So that neutralizes the value component for one visit.

                                                              1. re: john gonzales
                                                                k
                                                                kevin Jul 25, 2013 05:15 PM

                                                                It does soften the blow with that overly generous coupon.

                                                                1. re: john gonzales
                                                                  n
                                                                  ns1 Jul 25, 2013 08:56 PM

                                                                  ya'll should just agree to disagree and move on.

                                                        2. re: J.L.
                                                          k
                                                          kevin Jul 25, 2013 05:08 PM

                                                          Jl, did you eat all those scoops, that basically amounts to a triple scoop at Thrifty's ?

                                                          And how much was the damages ?

                                                          It's just a little funny, setting out a dozen tiny scoops on the table outside the shoppe, and going through each scoop.

                                                          But maybe I'll have to do that next time. It will be my only way to try their 31 flavors in one visit.

                                                          1. re: kevin
                                                            J.L. Jul 25, 2013 09:44 PM

                                                            Great question kevin!

                                                            I shared this treasure trove along with 2 other people. The spoons you saw in each flavor were the common "serving spoons". We each had our own empty cup and tasting spoon.

                                                            Oh, and the photo only depicts round 1. We went another round after that.

                                                            The total trip cost us something like $60-$70 (before tip).

                                                            1. re: kevin
                                                              J.L. Jul 25, 2013 09:48 PM

                                                              Another great question, kevin!

                                                              The Culver City location has less flavor options than Altadena. But quality control-wise, there is no discernible difference in each scoop.

                                                              I make the trek to Altadena HQ for maximum flavor options, and sometimes I chat with Leo if he's there (that man scours the corners of the earth for ingredients!). The overall experience is usually a tad better at the "mothership".

                                                          2. Mr Taster Jul 25, 2013 04:54 PM

                                                            How prescient... I just got a BBE deal for 30% off at Altadena and Culver City locations.

                                                            So, that $6 for two miniscule scoops is now more like $4.20.

                                                            How will they survive?

                                                            Mr Taster

                                                            5 Replies
                                                            1. re: Mr Taster
                                                              k
                                                              kevin Jul 25, 2013 05:05 PM

                                                              i just about grabbed that deal too.

                                                              1. re: Mr Taster
                                                                s
                                                                suvro Jul 25, 2013 05:10 PM

                                                                I just saw that on our neighborhood blog and was about to post it. I live about 2 miles from the Altadena Bulgarini.

                                                                Unfortunately for my personal taste, it is not a good value, and having tried it a few times, I am not returning.

                                                                Similarly I also tried the Mother Moo Creamery in Sierra Madre after seeing it on the Buick long form commercial (touting also the Zane Grey Estate in Altadena - http://www.altadenablog.com/2013/05/b...), and was not impressed.

                                                                1. re: Mr Taster
                                                                  TonyC Jul 25, 2013 05:17 PM

                                                                  so good I grabbed it thrice. now where's that Urasawa BBE?

                                                                  1. re: TonyC
                                                                    k
                                                                    kevin Jul 25, 2013 05:20 PM

                                                                    Let me know when the Urasawa BBE comes up, please.

                                                                    That will be the day.

                                                                    Even with a 50% off coupon it will still cost an arm and the proverbial leg.

                                                                    by the way, tony have been to Urasawa yet ?

                                                                    1. re: kevin
                                                                      j
                                                                      john gonzales Jul 25, 2013 06:20 PM

                                                                      Urasawa can't afford discounts. He needs to raise his prices so he can afford to pay his employees overtime or give them breaks.

                                                                2. k
                                                                  kevin Jul 25, 2013 05:16 PM

                                                                  Now an even more important question:

                                                                  Is the Culver City location just as good as the altadena location ?

                                                                  The reason I'm asking is there something in the air or freezers at Westside Scoops that makes it somewhat lacking compared to the original Heliotrope/East Hollywood location of Scoops.

                                                                  1. f
                                                                    FED Jul 25, 2013 06:13 PM

                                                                    On a slightly different angle: has anybody been to Eatalian in Gardena? Really, really good gelato at a decent price.

                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                    1. re: FED
                                                                      k
                                                                      kevin Jul 25, 2013 06:20 PM

                                                                      Nope, not yet.

                                                                      How are the Italian style pizzas ?

                                                                      1. re: kevin
                                                                        f
                                                                        FED Jul 26, 2013 03:26 PM

                                                                        the pizzas are pretty good, but i think the gelati are terrific. they're sticky, chewy, flavorful, real italian gelati. would be interesting to do a blind taste-test.

                                                                        1. re: FED
                                                                          ipsedixit Jul 26, 2013 07:04 PM

                                                                          The gelato I tried at Eataly NYC was good, not great. Certainly not as good as Ciao Bella or L'Arte, much less Laboratorio.

                                                                      2. re: FED
                                                                        TonyC Jul 25, 2013 09:10 PM

                                                                        yes.

                                                                        they're good, and it's cheap, but they're nowhere near Bulgarini's execution. also, don't ask 'em to pull an espresso on that massive multi-e61 beast. also don't ever, ever get an affogato there.

                                                                        1. re: TonyC
                                                                          k
                                                                          kevin Jul 28, 2013 11:59 PM

                                                                          Why not ?

                                                                        2. re: FED
                                                                          r
                                                                          revets2 Jul 28, 2013 11:57 PM

                                                                          I've had the gelati at Eatalian. Paste and powder.

                                                                        3. SilverlakeGirl Jul 25, 2013 07:16 PM

                                                                          Altadena and Culver City.

                                                                          http://www.blackboardeats.com/sp/bulg...

                                                                          30% off at those locations [will it cover the gas expense?

                                                                          ]

                                                                          Will this post survive?

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: SilverlakeGirl
                                                                            k
                                                                            kevin Jul 25, 2013 07:18 PM

                                                                            why wouldn't it ????????????

                                                                            1. re: kevin
                                                                              SilverlakeGirl Jul 25, 2013 07:20 PM

                                                                              I'd prefer not to expound on this issue having many years of experience.

                                                                          2. f
                                                                            FED Aug 21, 2013 02:37 PM

                                                                            OK, Bulgarini update and revision of opinion. Just went to GCM for lunch (mmmm, tacos a tomas!), and stopped by Bulgarini afterward. they're now selling single scoops for $3, that are only a little smaller than the double-scoops I'd bought before. At $3, these are really nice little treats after a good meal.

                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                            1. re: FED
                                                                              Mr Taster Aug 21, 2013 02:47 PM

                                                                              Well hallelujah!

                                                                              I consider this a victory for the anti-FUB™ crowd!!

                                                                              Glad to know that Bulgarini succumbed to Grand Central Market's economics, rather than the opposite. Let's hope the new wave of Grand Central Market FUB™s also fail at overcharging upmarket hipster prices.

                                                                              It would be a tragedy to see waves of gentrified 3rd/Fairfax Farmer's Market prices creeping into that storied institution.

                                                                              Mr Taster

                                                                              1. re: FED
                                                                                Wayno Aug 21, 2013 04:57 PM

                                                                                By chance did you take note of how Horse Thief BBQ was doing? Someone posted an inquiry about this newly-opened GCM vendor a few weeks ago, but I don't think anyone replied.

                                                                                1. re: Wayno
                                                                                  f
                                                                                  FED Aug 21, 2013 06:59 PM

                                                                                  hadn't noticed that query. i've eaten there 3-4 times. i'm a bbq snob and it's very good. get the brisket and ask for the fatty end. the sides aren't memorable. just make a sandwich with the white bread and a (very little) bit of sauce. last time i was there they had made barbecue tacos, with little flour tortillas and bits of slaw, etc. delish. it's a tad pricey, but not enough to make you scream. i think the tacos were $4 each, a good brisket sandwich winds up being like $8. not bad.

                                                                                  1. re: Wayno
                                                                                    a
                                                                                    andytseng Aug 22, 2013 12:07 PM

                                                                                    I did not enjoy it. Went about a month ago, and the brisket was quite dry. Had to put sauce on it to get it down. A few pieces (1/4 lb worth) of brisket and a small side is already $9 + tax + tip.

                                                                                    Makes me miss the short-lived Chimu.

                                                                                    1. re: andytseng
                                                                                      Dommy Aug 22, 2013 01:57 PM

                                                                                      Chimu had the BEST peruvian chicken... *le sigh*

                                                                                      I liked Horsetheif though. I thought their Mac and Cheese is one of the best in town and I liked their ribs the best of their meats. They are in way are the in the same league as Bludsos... But honestly, I wasn't expecting them to be so I enjoyed it all quite a bit...

                                                                                      --Dommy!

                                                                                      1. re: Dommy
                                                                                        f
                                                                                        FED Aug 23, 2013 11:12 AM

                                                                                        i'm with dommy -- my expectations were fairly low (because i'm such a b*tch about bbq), but they greatly exceeded them. if you found the brisket dry, i'd suggest you give them another try. pits usually take several weeks to break in and it takes a bit of time to get everything right. also, i always ask for the fatty end, which might make a difference.

                                                                                    2. re: Wayno
                                                                                      TonyC Aug 22, 2013 12:24 PM

                                                                                      Horse Thief's brisket is fantastic, just a bit fatty, has a decent rub crust, good moisture, and once they sell out they're done for the day. It doesn't need the sauce, which is good, because the sauce disagreed with me.

                                                                                      1. re: TonyC
                                                                                        c
                                                                                        chrishei Aug 22, 2013 01:06 PM

                                                                                        Comparable to Bludso's?

                                                                                        1. re: chrishei
                                                                                          TonyC Aug 23, 2013 11:24 AM

                                                                                          yes.

                                                                                          it's now universally recognized as the best thing on the menu and it sells out first.

                                                                                  2. r
                                                                                    ray9x Aug 21, 2013 04:45 PM

                                                                                    Been to the GCM cart a couple times now... both times, the gelato was very icy and the young gent at the counter reminded me of Michael Cera both in look and his aloofness. I really want to like this place, but right now, I don't know if I feel right paying a premium for a product that hasn't been given its proper due by the servers and company selling it.

                                                                                    I'll try it again in a couple months; 'til then I'll just get my caffeine fix instead of my sugar fix :)

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