Brown Butter Almond Brittle Ice Cream

1954 Hillhurst Avenue

Last night, after a casual dinner in Silver Lake, my friend Bill and I drove over to Jeni's for ice cream. (Getting ice cream after dinner is such a nice thing to do with friends.) Bill is the one who introduced me to Jeni's and it's the best I've had.

I admire the integrity of their ingredients. They don't use emulsifiers or stabilizers in their products, so it never tastes too sweet or artificial. To boot, they have the most creative array of flavors: Juniper & Lemon Curd, Genmaicha & Marshmallows, Cocoa Curry Coco... And they debut a new collection of flavors every season. A small order at Jeni's ($5) gives you two scoops of any flavor. You also have your choice of a cup, a sugar cone, a cake cone or–for an extra dollar–a waffle cone.

I almost always stick to my favorite one: Brown Butter Almond Brittle, a buttercream base laden with crunchy chunks of almond brittle. The honeyed, buttery, nutty notes of the brittle go so well with the creamy tang of buttercream. It's for us "plain vanilla" fans who want to take a walk on the wild side. My usual order is the small–with both scoops being the same flavor–in a cake cone, which I then eat with a spoon. (The only other flavor I've considered is the Goat Cheese with Red Cherries but haven't pulled the trigger on it yet.)

"I'm surprised they even offer cake cones," I noted, as we happily ate our ice cream on the drive back to his place. "They're a dying breed of ice cream vessels."

"Children like them," Bill replied, as he crunched down on his sugar cone.

"I love them," I said, scraping my spoon around the scoop of ice cream, "They're my favorite. I like their plainness. And the compartments around the top... Such a good design feature! Every bite of cone has ice cream encased inside."

"I've never seen someone order an ice cream cone and eat it with a spoon before," he pointed out, glancing over at me as he switched lanes, "But, of course, you'd do that. That doesn't surprise me."

"My teeth are sensitive," I explained, "And I use the back of the spoon to pack the ice cream into the cone compartments as I go."

Ice cream. It's serious business. I bet Jeni's would tell you that.



Grasshopper Pie

3 West Houston Street bet. West Broadway and Wooster Street

Last night, after our late dinner of shared Jamaican meat patties and plaintains at Melvin's Juice Box/Miss Lily's Bake Shop...

Ashley: You're gonna have to let me treat you to something.
Me: Will it give me cellulite?
Ashley (laughing): Yes.

We walked over to Emack & Bolio's, where she treated me to a scoop of their Grasshopper Pie, mint ice cream with crushed Oreos and chocolate chips.  


Side note: I always thought the name of this place was funny. At first, it registered in my head as "E. Coli & Polio".

Emack & Bolio's

3 West Houston Street bet. West Broadway and Wooster Street

Stepping into Emack & Bolio's feels like traveling back in time to a groovy 1970's ice-cream shop. Their colorful hand-drawn menus offer organic and hormone-free ice cream in a bunch of fun flavors with names like Grasshopper Pie and Deep Purple Co. There's also a display case with shelves of wild chocolate-dipped waffle cones encrusted with M&M's, Rice Krispies Treats, Fruit Loops, and what have you. Personally, I like The Original Oreo ice cream (a.k.a. Cookies n' Cream elsewhere). I usually take my cone across the street and eat it while walking through the Seed Labyrinth on Laguardia Place.