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Jul 17, 2014 08:39 PM

GCM is Getting The Best Ice Cream Parlour

I have seen an ice cream paradise. Mother Moo, my previous personal choice for "Best All Around Ice Cream Parlour" has been dethroned by McConnells, and soon, my paradise will be landing in Grand Central Market.

I just returned from a quick trip to Santa Barbara, where I ate ice cream from McConnells three times, oncee from the old shop on Mission and twice from the new store on State.

The store on State is incredible; tons of flavors, homemade sauces, freshly whipped cream, and in-house baked goods for use as sundae toppings or for ice cream sandwiches. They also had cold brew coffees and teas for floats (a cold brew coffee float!?!) Meanwhile, the shop on Mission had weird froyo and canned whip cream. This got me thinking, what exactly are we going to get in Grand Central Market?

The folks at the State street store told me that the MIssion location was a franchise while the State St. store was the flagship company store, and that the one opening in Grand Central Market will be IDENTICAL to the State Street scoop shop, meaning all the sauces, baked goods and fresh waffle cones will be served. My butterfat-clogged-arteries can barely wait.

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  1. Hum. That explains a lot. I've only ever eaten at the Mission location and the experience is a pleasant-we-are-visiting -SB yeah-ice-cream but not really impressive.

    Still, why import idea cream? Why not just go with Sweet Rose or Camela.

    58 Replies
    1. re: JudiAU

      Yeah - my same experiences, impressions and thoughts. I didn't realize one was eh and the other was zippity-do-dah.

      1. re: JudiAU

        Or stick with the anti-hipster, non-FUB™ choice, Jose's.


        Mr Taster

        1. re: Mr Taster

          Does Jose's have any stabilizers? I'm game if it doesn't. All those gums make ice creams chewy and weird (and gross to me)

          1. re: Mr Taster

            Too late actually. Looks like it's closed.

            1. re: MoreMolecules

              That's what I feared would happen. Jose provided a tasty, untrendy product for a reasonable price- a solid value. He was the Thrify ice cream of GCM.

              Now his $2 scoops bought mostly by working class latinos (and the occasional 6 foot tall blonde Jew) will likely be replaced with $5 scoops bought almost entirely by ironically bearded trendoids who all think they're being different and unique by eating at the same kinds of places.

              It was inevitable, I suppose, but doesn't alleviate any of the melancholy I feel for Jose and the loss of his long-standing business at GCM.

              Mr Taster

              1. re: Mr Taster

                Jose If he were smart could move say to the corner of MLK and Western [Not too different from GCM of 15 years ago] and significantly lower his rent. Plus, he would serve multitudes of Latino and African American Kids who use the park and 2 schools nearby as well as a 6 ft Dark Curly haired Irish American who's access to Ice cream comes in the form of ratty old vans which roam the streets.

                1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

                  Hey P, from a purely economic standpoint that makes sense. But what I'd prefer to see is Jose (and other small businesses like his) to be able to continue serving his ice cream to *everybody* in LA, not just one narrow demographic.

                  Certain businesses, like Philippe's for example, have done a better job of serving a broad swath of Angelinos (much in the same way that Cole's has not).

                  Ultimately I'm a champion for masticatorial inclusiveness (did I just make up a word?), and Jose moving to MLK & Western is simply reinforcing culinary segregation and the status quo.

                  Mr Taster

                2. re: Mr Taster

                  I understand the melancholy, and yes, I find the level of preciousness surrounding 'artisanal' food sometimes veering into obnoxiousness. But, I take issue with the notion that food made without chemicals and additives is somehow trendy. I know I'm not alone when I say thatI just don't like fluffy, stabilized and/or artificially flavored ice cream, and I don't think anyone is 'keeping it real' by eating that, its just a preference. It would be great if it were cheaper to make a more wholesome product, but since it's not, I'll pay a little extra for it.

                  1. re: Mr Taster

                    >> ironically bearded trendoids <<

                    They sound like some villains in a new video game. I am picking myself up from the floor - best laugh I've had in a while.

                    1. re: Mr Taster

                      I emailed what follows to the GCM management last May. Got no response. Imagine that.

                      Why is Josés Ice Cream shop closed? Just as the summer weather is upon us? Seriously? Josés was one of the heritage shops in the Market. As much as we love and support the new businesses in the Market, we also cherish the established ones, and I think it sucks that what I presume are higher rents is displacing them. My co-workers and I buy cheese from DTLA Cheese and meat from Belcampo, but we also buy $4 burritos and José's ice cream.

                      And it rubs salt in the wound that they are still featured on your website Vendor page. Longtime patrons of GCM have worried about the new "upscale" businesses crowding out the old-timers. I guess it's really happening. What a shame.

                      1. re: Chauve Souris

                        Jose is gone from GCM's website:

                        They've been aggressively updating their website since Eggslut moved in. Can we move on from shitty ice cream already?

                        1. re: TonyC

                          Yes. The one in the farmers market needs replacement too

                        2. re: Chauve Souris

                          Thank you for sharing that comment with the board. I wish more of us were as concerned about preserving the legacy and atmosphere of the market by helping the little guy to adapt to the changes and thrive alongside.

                          Mr Taster

                        3. re: Mr Taster

                          I'm a little confused here. How can you possibly understand the motivations of a "group" of people you don't really know at all? They aren't people you have any respect for or interest in knowing, but you write as though you've studied them as an anthropologist.

                          You mentioned that "hipsters" yearn to be "unique." This is the rallying cry of the aged and threatened generations who excoriate the very youth they helped to foster. How is your declaration different or more informed than that?

                          My perspective is that it's easy to confuse self-expression with uniqueness. Clearly, "hipster" eaters aren't interested in eating their grandpop's idea of good ice cream. They clearly have different ideas, as a group even, about what tastes good and is worth eating. Why they have those ideas is unknown to me. But I'll say that I like jamon iberico more than the ham my grandma knew and loved. There is a place for both, but I know my preference and I'm hardly alone. I don't think I eat jamon iberico to be unique. I suppose that could be a subconscious motivation, but on a conscious level I like the jamon because it tastes better.

                          Anyways, the loss of Jose's makes me sad, too. I like thrifty ice cream despite it being pretty mediocre. Sometimes you don't want to spend $7.50 for ice cream (Bulgarini,
                          I'm looking at you) after dropping $5 for coffee. Sure, it's the best fucking ice cream and coffee around, but why do we always need (and have to pay for) the best? Sometimes, you go to Norm's. When you're lucky, you go to Jar. When you're really flush you go to Cut. It stinks that GCM is going towards exclusively high-end.

                          1. re: cacio e pepe

                            To the last point at least there has been a lot of improvement there too. Hit and miss sure but I'm happy new life is being breathed into it and downtown generally.

                            As to your first point, I'm an older guy but I can go on record as liking hipsters. Kids are fun.

                            1. re: jessejames

                              Definitely. It was at a perfect balance a month or two ago. I think the balance has tipped, but I like most of the places that have moved in.

                            2. re: cacio e pepe

                              I'm not a huge fan either of creating artificial divides between people based on superficial characteristics, including fashion choices, food choices, and facial hair choices. Sneering at hipsters is getting a little old, in multiple meanings of the word. I sometimes poke fun at *myself* using a hipster meme (for, say, jumping on a food trend before it became well-known -- "I knew it when it was out on vinyl"), but that's done with affection for my younger, hipper brothers and sisters.

                              I mean, for those of us who are middle-agedy and above, think back to what we were like in our salad years. I'm sure back then, people who are my age now were rolling their eyes till they could see their own amygdala because of my rocker chick mien -- "Those big-haired kids think they invented rock-n-roll! I am going to shake my tennis-ball-shod aluminum walker in their general direction while clacking my dentures in disapproval!"

                              I too would prefer a less Balkanized food landscape, where everyone would have relatively equal access to range of cuisines within hollering distance; that includes having higher-quality grocery stores in the poorer neighborhoods, and having less-expensive ice cream options in my own gentrifying area.

                              On the issue of ice cream quality: good ingredients cost more, but I would argue that given the option of a smaller portion size at a lower price, some folks of limited means would choose a $2 mini-scoop of unadulterated ice cream. I would.

                              ...Just the musings of a 5'-9.254" coppertop godless heathen (since we are trotting out our demographic bona fides here in a clever way to tiptoe around race and class).

                              1. re: cacio e pepe

                                >> How can you possibly understand the motivations of a "group" of people you don't really know at all?

                                I do have some hipster friends (including my Brooklynite sister), but they would deny that they're hipsters because they don't want to think of themselves as being part of any particular group. But to look at them, you could peg them in a second. I think that's the great contradiction of the hipster mindset-- unique, but somehow the same. (I'm kind of fascinated by this whole "normcore" movement which is essentially the hipsters saying "we're tired of being identified as hipsters" and so they instead to decide to dress "normally". As a group. It's kind of hilarious.)

                                In any case, I think hipsters simply do what most people do, which is to do what their friends do, which is fine. But acknowledge that you're not unique. Acknowledge that you're not special. You're just a human making your way in the big city, like all of us are. Then you can eat your delicious $13 Belcampo cheeseburger without irony, without hypocrisy.

                                Mr Taster

                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                      You make the make the same judgement here that I questioned in your first post. You claim that "hipsters" wish to be unique. You claim that "hipsters" outwardly express that they are unique people. You claim that hipsters feel that their uniqueness defines then as hipsters. What are those claims based on?

                                      Those kids who were into Bowie in the 70s weren't claiming uniqueness either. Otherwise, it would have been very awkward and existentially devastating to show up at a concert and see a bunch of other kids in glitter. It seems they just didn't want to dress like their mothers and fathers. Self-expression is not the same as uniqueness.

                                      I think it's super rad that you deny people the right to self-identify. I mean, look, I don't think of myself as a hipster nor do I want to be called one, but I suppose if a crotchety old man (age notwithstanding) wishes to identify me as a hipster in the most pejorative way possible then I must be hipster.

                                      Also, please explain how to enjoy a Belcampo burger *with* irony. I have no idea how that works. Ask a hipster friend for advice in this. Do me this kindness. I need to know.

                                      And: Golden State is not hipster. Belcampo is. Am I correct? I'm so unsure where to draw the battle lines.

                                      Having just come from McConnell's in Santa Barbara, how in the hell is that place in the least hipster? They sell in the supermarket. They're from SB, which is not particularly dense with the group you identify as hipster, they've been around for decades doing their thing so they aren't new fangled. I don't understand your perspective here.

                                      We might discuss the real issues associated with gentrification (positives and negatives). I find it sad we're obfuscating that economic dilemma with some people who make some unfortunate fashion choices.

                                      1. re: cacio e pepe

                                        I think the real issue is self loathing and jealousy of happy people being themselves.

                                        1. re: cacio e pepe

                                          Ah, well I never did make the assertion that McConnell's was hipster. That got muddled in by proxy, but was never a point I made.

                                          I don't deny anyone the right to be whatever they choose to be. I don't have that power, nor would I want it. People are who they are, just as I am who I am. I am expressing myself on these forums, just as hipsters express themselves by out-cooling each other through use of tiny hats and Converse All Stars and waiting in line an hour for egg sandwiches that will inevitably get caught in their luscious, thick beards.

                                          Sorry, I just couldn't resist.

                                          Golden State is totally hipster, but I respect them for not gouging as much as they otherwise could by charging an extra $3-4 for an extra 10 cents worth of potatoes (thank you Golden State guys, for not jumping on the ala carte greedwagon.)

                                          Scathing criticism notwithstanding, most of you don't know me in person, but those who do know I'm a sweetheart. Right, Tony? :)

                                          Mr Taster

                                          1. re: Mr Taster

                                            Can one order a Golden State burger without the side for cheaper than the standard price?

                                            1. re: TheOffalo

                                              Not to my knowledge. They do upcharge for certain sides, but their regular fries are always included. For $12, they should be, and Jason (one of the owners) knows that.

                                              Mr Taster

                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                On the one hand, yes a $12 burger should generally come with fries. Only burger I've had that was more expensive that did not come with fries and I still thought was worth it was Belcampo.

                                                On the other hand, I'd have liked the option of getting two burgers and one order of fried to split between me and my wife.

                                                1. re: TheOffalo

                                                  >> $12 burger should generally come with fries.

                                                  Yes, it should. And it has, for a long time now-- was it Sang Yoon that first broke that unwritten contract with customers?

                                                  In any case, Umami and all the expensive FancyBurgers™ that followed seemed to follow this a la carte trend. That is, except for the Golden State guys. I asked Jason why he's holding out, and he simply told me, "because burgers are supposed to come with fries."

                                                  I respect him for this. He's a businessman with the opportunity to gouge his customers, because they'll probably pay it, yet he doesn't. He should be rewarded and acknowledged for that.

                                                  Similarly, those that continue to gouge should be called out on their shenanigans. But I've got to say, it often feels like I'm the only one calling bullshit on this kind of FUB™ moneygrab.

                                                  Pickles too, man. Screw Wexler and his precious $2 pickles! They cost almost nothing to make, which is why delis give them away.


                                                  You'll find me at Langer's with my bottomless free tray of full sours, as God and all of delidom has decreed, from time immemorial.

                                                  Mr Taster

                                                  P.S. 100!

                                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                                    The no-fries gimmick often doesn't work with me, as there are precious few places that actually make a french fry good enough for me to want to spend extra on it

                                                    1. re: Jack Flash

                                                      I'll almost always pay extra for fries that are not vegetarian

                                            2. re: Mr Taster

                                              Hmm. Is the irony that you claim to be something other than what you are presenting on this forum while bashing people for their outward fashion and interests intentional or not. Genius or asshole. I cannot tell.

                                              I'm sure you're a real mensch. Seriously. I actually am this much of a nit picking naysayer in real life. Weep for my family.

                                              1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                I know my pick.

                                                And folks wait in line at egg slut cuz it's good food and a good deal. Burger with cheese and egg on a fresh roll or biscuit is 8 bucks.

                                                Funny how so many of the chefs that have revolutionized the food landscape in la and elsewhere have tattoos beards piercings etc.

                                                1. re: jessejames


                                                  And if you look at photos of many of the luminaries who are KICKING ASS in making the world better by savvy use of technology, crowd-sourcing, kick-starting, and otherwise doing really creative, socially-transformative work...yep, you're gonna see a lot of folks who fit a certain aesthetic that might be called "hipster." Good for them!

                                                  I actually think it's a fun style. It's an aesthetic that looks good in the L.A. cityscape. Beats the hell out of what we were wearing in the grunge years. BOR-ing!

                                                  1. re: spoonlicker

                                                    >> Funny how so many of the chefs that have revolutionized the food landscape in la and elsewhere have tattoos beards piercings etc.

                                                    >> yep, you're gonna see a lot of folks who fit a certain aesthetic that might be called "hipster."

                                                    At the risk of entirely veering away from a chow-centric discussion, I really, really want to know why this is. Why is the aesthetic identified so closely with the action? There's no reason that it needs to be. Or is there?

                                                    Is this a Samson story where the thick, luscious hipster beard somehow imbues one with the preternatural power to cook good food?

                                                    I have theories that tie in nicely with my perspective on the matter, but I've said enough at this point and I'd rather have others post their thoughts.

                                                    Mr Taster

                                                    P.S. Where else on the internet are you going to have a discussion like this?

                                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                                      They don't call 'em flavor-savers for nothin'!

                                              2. re: Mr Taster

                                                I still don't see what any of this has to do with "hipsters", a classification that in 2014 really doesn't seem to mean anything other than "young people that I don't like". The good news is that GCM is upgrading their ice cream situation from repackaged Thriftys to some good shit, which is cool because the treat situation down there was IMO lacking!

                                    2. re: Mr Taster

                                      Mr. Taster I respect the concept of non-FUB choice but I have to object. Who is serving $5 scoops? I can't think of anyone. Grom is probably the highest scoop I can think of and I don't think it is $5.

                                      1. re: JudiAU

                                        Hi Judi,

                                        In posting this, I didn't mean to peg the cost of a scoop. I was really speaking broadly, sharing unspecific experiences walking away with a $2 cup of ice cream at untrendy places (like Jose's or Thrifty, etc.) vs. a $5 (or $6+) for an equivalent portion size at Carmela, Milk, etc. (I'm not about to get into the overrun/organic/artisinal/etc. debate here). I'm really talking about establishing my own personal "Mr Taster Unit of Enjoyment™" (MTUoE™)-- a small, satisfying, adult human sized serving. Whether it's one scoop or five is irrelevant. For me it's usually about two scoops (the equivalent of a Scoops "single").

                                        In fact, one of the reasons I love the original Scoops so much is that it has all of the trappings of a place that could be charging $5-6, but they still keep it well under $3 for a MTUoE™. I really respect Tai Kim for charging a fair price for a creative, quality product. On my sister's last trip (she lives in the hipster haven of Brooklyn), she went in fully expecting to pay Big Gay Ice Cream Truck/FUB™ prices, and was stunned by what she got for the cost. Mr Softee prices for a quasi Big Gay experience. It just doesn't compute... because she's so acclimated to the ridiculousness of FUB™ pricing. It's nice to get your head out of hipster economics and breathe the unstylish air once in a while.

                                        Now I would never argue that the quality of Scoops matches the supreme quality of Bulgarini's pistachio (if you can even equate gelato with ice cream-- you can't, really). But I could more directly compare it with the super untrendy but wonderful Superior Dairy in Hanford, whose value:quality obliterates anything I've experienced anywhere else. It's not creative in the way Tai Kim's creations are, but the ice cream is rich and dense, with that slightly chewy taffy pull that makes the best ice cream such a decadent experience.

                                        Mr Taster

                                        1. re: Mr Taster

                                          While entitled to your own opinion about "hipster businesses" ruining your favorite oldtime places I'll lay out some facts about the former Joses Ice Cream:

                                          Joses ice cream served Thrify Ice Cream which is probably why it make be so reminiscent to you, if thats what you yearn you can always go to your local Walgreens.

                                          The owner of Joses could care less about historical preservation, I asked him what he was going to do after it closed (which I was sad because he always gave me free ice cream) and he said retire and go fishing.

                                          Also did you just compare Big Gay Ice Cream to Scoops? I can't understand in what universe they would be on comparable levels because Big Gay is vastly superior to Scoops in all ways imaginable. Sure it may cost more but why is paying more a bad thing? The cost of cheap food on our society has brought many problems in more ways than just numerical dollars sense but that's another issue aside.

                                          1. re: Johnny L

                                            How specifically is Big Gay a superior product? I'm asking earnestly.

                                            I tried two of their cones and found them entirely unremarkable- small, sloppy and overpriced, far more style than substance. Yes, having a cone named after Bea Arthur is funny. Paying $5+ for what is essentially a small soft serve (sprinkled with a few cents worth of graham cracker crumbs) is not. Yes, it's way better than Foster's. No, it's not better than Mister Softee (if Mister Softee ever thought to offer graham cracker crumbs, for example), and it sure as hell isn't worth 2-3x the price.

                                            Plus, the idea that an unremarkable product is made more appealing through use of hipster-bait humor- well, I find it mildly insulting.

                                            Mr Taster

                                            1. re: Mr Taster

                                              I'm looking forward to BGI. Great flavor combos. Fresh ingredients.

                                              Maybe you should just stick to thrifty.

                                              Ps sweep the leg Johnny

                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                Please have you had good soft serve before? Big Gay has superior texture to most soft serves on the market. Of course soft serve vs. regular ice cream is a different debate but I'll take high quality soft serve to Scoops terrible flavors and ice crystal formations.

                                                If you don't like the price then fine nobody will force you to pay it but please don't spread your generalizations that "hipster priced" food is a scam/gimmick. At the end of the day your Thrify Ice Cream is probably made with milk that comes from commodity milk which is has plenty of problems within its own industry. If we choose to pay more money to make the ethical choice while we don't chastise you for not agreeing with us then the least you could do is stop spouting this "anti hipster" nonsense.

                                                1. re: Johnny L

                                                  > Please have you had good soft serve before?


                                                  > Big Gay has superior texture to most soft serves on the market.


                                                  > your generalizations that "hipster priced" food is a scam/gimmick.

                                                  To be fair, that's a gross oversimplification of my position.

                                                  I'm not against pasture raised, ethically treated cows. And I'm not against paying a nominally higher price for food that is created in a more ethical way, even if the overall deliciousness is equal to that of a comparable, conventionally created product.

                                                  What I have a problem with is using exclusionary marketing techniques on a product that is not exclusionary. Ice cream is not adult diapers, for example. Marketing adult diapers specifically to seniors who need them is not pandering in the same way that marketing ice cream to 25 year old tiny hat wearing, single speed riding stereotypes is. Again, see my Cole's vs. Philippes discussion for a prime example of a company that sells a similar product, but yet one appeals to a broad swath of Angelenos, and the other appeals primarily to the tiny-hat crowd.

                                                  Mr Taster

                                          2. re: JudiAU

                                            Bulgarini is over $5. And it's a chintzy serving at that.

                                            It's truly amazing stuff, though.

                                            1. re: cacio e pepe

                                              I often make a meal of it at the Altadena Bulgarini location:

                                              "Leo (or young person behind the counter), I'll have one scoop of each flavor, please."

                                              Approx. 30 minutes and $65 later, I'm sated.

                                              1. re: J.L.

                                                It just might be worth it! So good.

                                                1. re: J.L.

                                                  "Leo (or young person behind the counter), I'll have one scoop of each flavor, please."

                                                  Just one scoop?

                                                  Are you on a diet or something, J.L.?

                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                    Ah, but you are assuming I only eat three meals a day... ;-)

                                                    Anyways, the flavor/taste is what I'm lusting after. A second scoop of the same stuff is usually just mindless caloric loading.

                                          3. re: JudiAU

                                            Still, why import ice cream? Why not just go with Sweet Rose or Camela.
                                            or Mother Moo's

                                            this +100. salt&straw and jeni's in LA. give me a break.

                                            1. re: TonyC

                                              Personally I would prefer Mother Moo's but it might be that any of the LA places mentioned were not ready to expand.

                                              1. re: TonyC

                                                Expanding too fast kills tho

                                                Carmelas which I love had to expand operations in Altadena just to support the flagship and weho. Still awesome but more expansion? But not every restaurant needs to go global. I remember how good Ben and jerries used to be when a single old gas station in Burlington. Bigger not always better!

                                                1. re: TonyC

                                                  Mother Moo's is great, but they don't have whip cream, therefore, you can't really get a sundae there.

                                                  1. re: MoreMolecules

                                                    They're making pies, and other pastries, so whip cream is probably not out of their technical reach. Ask Mrs. Klemens enough times and she'll probably whip cream. That's the beauty of a neighborhood parlor, isn't it?

                                                    But what does this have to do with good LA ice cream? MM is great, Alta Dena is LA (County), ditto to Sweet Rose, ditto to Saffron Spot.

                                                    1. re: TonyC

                                                      best is subjective obviously, but when MC lands in DTLA, it will certainly be among those places in quality and in choices in terms of eating ice cream. and it will my choice more often than not!

                                                      1. re: MoreMolecules

                                                        Can I just point out that SRC has particularly delicious whipped cream?

                                                      2. re: TonyC

                                                        +1 on Saffron Spot. Yes please. I'd love to see LA continue to expand its own identity and community as opposed to being a city that imports all the best of other places.

                                                2. There's a typo in your title. Let me fix.

                                                  "GCM is Getting The Best Ice Cream Parlour in Santa Barbara"

                                                  There, much better.

                                                  Carry on.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                    Who knows, maybe the out-of-towner from SB will force some LA shops to up their game and we'll have more great ice cream as a result. Three Twins is opening up in Santa Monica I hear, but that might as well be Petaluma for how often I go over there.

                                                    1. re: MoreMolecules

                                                      We were at Twins last week. It is next door to Sunny Blue. The ice cream was nice but the homemade was the worst version I have ever had. Soft in the wrong way and a huge, huge gaping hole at the bottom for unpleasant drip double-sucking experience.

                                                      The combination of three kids, no seating at Sunny Blue and no seating at Three Twins and volcano-drip cone made for a annoying if tasty lunch.

                                                      1. re: JudiAU

                                                        I commented about the cone construction in the DotM thread. They need to learn how to close that thing off or dip the tip in chocolate to seal it or something.

                                                  2. My favourite ice cream! Good to know that there'll be one @ GCM. In the meantime, I'll have to get mine from Ralph's.

                                                    1. Hmmm. I *think* I tried McConnells in SB, but it was ages ago.

                                                      Coincidentally, before getting home last night and seeing this post, I was in Gelsons looking for a frozen treat - as I'd been meaning to try McConnells, I grabbed a couple of pints to bring home and try.

                                                      Verdict: ehhhh ... Solid. Fine, though not packing much flavor (true of both the Sweet Cream and the Dark Chocolate Paso Brittle).

                                                      Admittedly I've become very spoiled, as my wife will usually churn and pack a few pints every few weeks - typically from the Jeni's, Humphrey Slocombe, and Perfect Scoop books, as well as her own creations.

                                                      These are so far and away better than what we typically sample, I've been ruined.

                                                      All of this being said, back to McConnells. I'll certainly try them again when next at GCM, with the hope the flavors have a bit more pop.

                                                      1. I've never understood all the fuss over McConnell's for 30+ years now. I've had it in their shops in the Santa Barbara area and in L.A. (early 80s); from the freezer in Gelson's; and other retail, ice cream-serving establishments. It's always been just OK. Haagen Dazs was and remains better, IMHO.

                                                        24 Replies
                                                        1. re: Jack Flash

                                                          In terms of density, I think nothing compares to Haagen Daaz. But, McConnells is close and I like how they use pastured dairy and eggs.

                                                          1. re: Jack Flash

                                                            I was at the State Street location, twice, a few weeks back with my family. None us, after two visits each ordering different flavors, felt any need to return. It's too sweet. No one is really crazy about the flavors either.

                                                            The best item is the chocolate chip cookie with sea salt.

                                                            Lappert's in Kauai is significantly better, not that it does me any good!

                                                            1. re: manku

                                                              I love a good ice cream debate. I'm not sure it's something to be proud of but I must eat 175 pints worth a year.

                                                              Lappert's IMO is still quite good but their QPR has been reduced signifantly over the last dozen years. The price has gone up massively and the quality has actually gone down. They're just solid with their Hawaiian flavors that garner extra points when there, which I was last week. Papalani gelato is every bit as good there btw.

                                                              I really like McConnell's. I don't think it will be one of the top 3-4 sources in the city, but I'll surely go. IMO the quality is better than Lappert's. McConnell's Island Coconut is one of my favorites anywhere. But it's rich, and as someone said, it's sweet. It's been around a long time and doesn't seem "hipster" at all to me. It's more expensive than Jose's was, but it's clearly a superior product. In fact I'd agree with someone else's comment that the Ralph's Private Selection brand ice cream is the equiivalent of Jose's. The P.S. stuff is certainly serviceable for the low price. Ralph's also carries the Graeter's Black Raspberry Chip which is a contender.

                                                              I won't rehash my previous complaint with Bulgarini's portion size. I'm still willing to splurge for an occasional pistchio there, but the last two times I was at the Culver city branch it was clear that they have an issue with adequate cooling in the cases.

                                                            2. re: Jack Flash

                                                              Guys and gals, it's all about the McConnell's Salted Caramel Chip. A truly orgasmic experience, whether from one of their scoop shops or in pints.

                                                              I like to add some crunch almonds to mine. OMG, what an ice cream!!

                                                              One of my all time favorites, right up there with the Caramel with Salted Dark Chocolate from Ruby Jewel in Portland or the Salted Caramel from Bi-Rite Creamery in SF.

                                                              1. re: GK in SO

                                                                The salted caramel is one of my faves too. But it's $8 a pop at Ralph's.

                                                                EDIT: it's problematic bc I'll finish a pint in one sitting and buy another pint a cple days later & repeat.

                                                                1. re: GK in SO

                                                                  Of course, that would mean you need to like Caramel Ice Cream - I'll eat it, but it's not my first or second choice.

                                                                  An ice cream parlor should have more than one flavor!

                                                                  1. re: manku

                                                                    Hmmm...not necessarily. I wouldn't ever pick a caramel ice cream on its own and I'm really not sure if I like caramel ice cream (my go-tos are usu vanilla, chocolate, or Thriftys mint-n-chip), but their salted caramel chip is quite exquisite.

                                                                    1. re: OCAnn

                                                                      I agree with you, Ann.

                                                                      I'm usually a chocolate ice cream lover; caramel has always been OK but usually not something I would ever really seek out.

                                                                      McConnell's SCC, however, is a different story. The caramel base is just so tasty, almost like a "burnt" flavor, or as the sign says at the Santa Barara shop, has a slightly "rummy" flavor which again, since I don't care for rum, would not be something I would normally seek out.

                                                                      There's just something about SCC. Part of it is the prescence of the delish, dark, flaky and kind of crispy chocolate "chips".

                                                                      To be fair, I have started liking most Salted Caramel ice creams I've tried, but SCC stands at the top of the mountain IMO.

                                                                2. re: Jack Flash

                                                                  I think McConnell's is pretty good (emphasis on pretty), and I usually make a visit on my annual trip to SB. Where they shine to me is the straight fruit ones like roadside raspberry or blueberry. No funky combinations (which I think some shops in LA are better at), just good fruit in good ice cream.

                                                                  1. re: andytseng

                                                                    Just tried McConnell's on a State for the first time after several pints from the grocery store. I'd agree with the pretty good but I'd modify to pretty damn good. I didn't see your post before my trip and I went with the Oaxacan Chocolate and the Salted Caramel Chip. Very creamy. Excellent texture. Flavors we're clean and intense. I do think both were over-sweetened but I don't like exceedingly sweet ice cream.

                                                                    I liked McConnell's and they're a huge upgrade in quality over Thrifty. But I like the top homegrown players even more.

                                                                    Honestly, if a Fosselman's set up shop in GCM I think everyone would be far happier. Not the best in LA, in my opinion, but perhaps the people's champ.

                                                                    1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                                      I don't know why, but fosselmans started grossing me out. The ice cream tastes pretty good, but clearly has a lot of air in it and seems like it has some carrageenan or the like. The sundae toppings at the shop in Alhambra are pretty industrial too, which is a bummer. Canned whip on local ice cream? A missed opportunity for sure.

                                                                      1. re: MoreMolecules

                                                                        Fosselman's has always grossed me out a little. I think I was reluctant to admit to myself b/c it gets SUCH good reviews, but I think it's so fatty or something that it feels weird on my tongue and the flavor gets muddled.

                                                                        I really enjoyed McConnell's the 1-2 times I had it, and I normally don't like overly sweet things. I also liked a place I went to somewhere in South Bay, bu the name eludes me....

                                                                        Haven't tried the pricey stuff on the westside but, well, I just haven't. I'm actually not a huge ice cream fan....

                                                                        1. re: paranoidgarliclover

                                                                          If you find Fosselman's on the fatty side, you might struggle with Sweet Rose.

                                                                          Note, I like both places. Just making a comparison.

                                                                          1. re: Jase

                                                                            No, a helpful comparison to make (for me, at least). My palate (and vocabulary) isn't refined enough to explain what it is exactly about Fosselman's that bugs me so much. I once read (I think on Chowhound) that someone said it was fatty, and I instinctly thought, "That's it!"

                                                                            It's too... thick? Not gummy. Not quite artificial. It doesn't seem to... melt.

                                                                            If I ever do decide to spend the $$$ on Sweet Rose, I'll definitely post my thoughts.

                                                                            I also agree w/ jessejames that LA vs. SoCal (for ice cream, at least) doesn't seem like a hugely important distinction to me.

                                                                        2. re: MoreMolecules

                                                                          I should be clear, I actually prefer the ice cream from McConnell's head-to-head. I prefer the idea of an LA-based ice cream shop that is beloved by the city at large moving in to GCM over an import, whether that's Fosselman's, Scoops, Mother Moos.

                                                                          Fosselman's seems like a make everyone kind of happy place.

                                                                            1. re: jessejames

                                                                              True, JJ. And as much as I would probably most enjoy Bluebird from Seatlle bringing microbrews *and* killer ice cream, I'm glad McConnell's is local-ish. That counts a lot in my book.

                                                                              1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                                                Could be worse. Like what's there. At least mc is big enough to expand no prob too. I kind of feel like growing a beard

                                                                            2. re: cacio e pepe

                                                                              It's true, most people (myself not included) love fosselmans. Scoops already hit Chinatown, they would have been a great fit in GCM. I can only assume that MM isn't looking to expand right now; they were supplying Sweets for the Soul for a short time but it seemed like they weren't able to keep up with the demand.

                                                                              1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                                                Sorry but management at GCM only cares about money if they cared about building a real long term surviving market maybe they should have used their wasted money on the PR/marketing team instead on improving amenities (restrooms, cleanliness, appearance). Also we could have gotten something cool like the Uzbek restaurant but instead we get shit like Berlin Currywurst.

                                                                                1. re: Johnny L

                                                                                  All I know is Wexler's, Olio, and Belcampo are all very high quality places. And G&B is tremendous. And a rung below that, you have places like Sticky Rice and Eggslut, which are good to very good.

                                                                                  Like any *business*, the GCM management needs to be interested in money, not opening up esoteric places for the sake of foodie street cred. The only bad opening so far is Currywurst. Just about every other addition has been very good. And you can still get excellent, cheap food all over the market.

                                                                                  1. re: Haeldaur

                                                                                    I was slow to get on board with the slut but I go there every time now. And wexlers smoked fish is a must do for me when downtown.

                                                                                  2. re: Johnny L

                                                                                    What Uzbek restaurant? The only one I was familiar with was in Hollywood and closed years ago.

                                                                                    I don't know much about the management of GCM, but Currywurst is not particularly special in my opinion.