Wednesday, September 8, 2010

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Dreams of Salt and Honey

Salt, honey, Guinness, and chocolate
For decades, I’ve bought ice cream books: professional catalogs, technical manuals, and amateur how-to books from the 19th century, 20th century, and the latest offerings that cater to America’s increased love of bold flavors. They inform what goes on my table both at home and when I'm on the road. From cider ices in New England and cinnamon gelato in Amsterdam to Midwestern frozen custards laced with chunks of cherry pie, I've eaten my share of ice creams. Last week, I hit Scoops ice cream shop in Los Angeles. Their salt and honey ice cream is one of the best I’ve had in years.

Scoops has a few standard ice cream flavors in the case such as brown bread, but on any given day, you may also find Jim Beam and ricotta, Guinness and chocolate, white chocolate and Oreo, avocado and banana, pistachio and jasmine, and the straightforward Earl Grey.

Click to enlarge
A white board against one wall is scrawled in red and black suggestions for additional flavors from customers. The ideas range from earnest-seeming pleas (AVOCADO! and Sugar free for diabetics) through the intriguing (sweet potato, Cheddar/apple pie and — I'd like to see them pull it off — pad thai) to the merely nasty (cheeseburger: cold beef fat is particularly vile). Some that popped for me:
  • elderflower
  • green tea
  • mango-chile-lime
  • coconut-basil
  • IPA
  • ginger and Hennessey
  • Thai ice[d] tea
  • PBR
  • bacon
  • black licorice
  • jasmine-green apple
  • bacon-maple doughnut
I may pass on the sex and KFC original recipe flavors if they ever get made. Jackasses. Thai tea, though, is great as a sorbet drizzled with cream. An orphaned bottle of Thai tea syrup in the fridge got me thinking What the hell am I going to do with that? Make delicious dessert, that's what.

These days, even convenience stores carry the formerly exotic dulce de leche ice cream — but Jim Beam and ricotta or bacon-maple doughnut? I either need to make that kind of thing myself or hunt it down. Because I can’t just haul my ass to LA whenever I get a hankering for unusual ice cream, you know I’ll be tweaking salt and honey recipes.

Let me know if you've got a workable recipe for that, eh?

712 N Heliotrope Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90029
(323) 906-2649

There’s a Scoops website, but it’s less about the business than the art that rotates through. Better to check out Scoops' Yelp page for useful information about the ice cream itself.



Unknown said...

Oh man. Reminds of the time I had the most intense, excellent salted caramel ever. Just think of the range of honeys out there--go for one with a little kick in the finish!

Matthew Rowley said...

Yeah, I've got about 6 kilos of plain clover honey, but I want something with more of a lingering taste for this. One of the better aspects of testing such a recipe is the sheer volume of not-quite-there-yet tries. I suspect my friends are going to be getting even more ice cream.