Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sweet Rose Creamery: Nostalgia and strawberry shortcake ice cream pie

Even though I’ve never been there before, something about the Sweet Rose Creamery, Pastry Chef Zoe Nathan and husband/partner Josh Loeb’s new ice cream shop at the Brentwood Country Mart, feels so familiar.

The old fashioned menu chalk boards are the same as the ones used at Nathan and Loeb’s other venture, Huckleberry, and Huckleberry’s sister restaurant, Rustic Canyon, but the sensation cannot necessarily be attributed to aesthetics. As I walk into the sweet space for a sneak peek of the shop’s offerings on Friday afternoon, my pulse quickening with excitement, I am nearly knocked over by feelings of nostalgia. I can almost see myself as a child, sitting legs akimbo at one of the tables on the patio outside, licking a mint chip ice cream cone. My blond hair would be tangled, as usual, my skirt would be dirty, as usual, and my face would be smudged with sticky streaks of cream and chocolate.

Ice cream has always been a special indulgence for me. Every summer when I was growing up, my dad would make fresh batches of vanilla, strawberry, chocolate chip, and mint chip ice cream for the Fourth of July and Memorial Day. The racket of the ice cream maker would drive my mom crazy, but we all loved the results – pure, smooth ice cream unplagued by artificial ingredients. Second helpings were almost always a given – as were stomachaches later in the evening.

Sweet Rose Creamery’s clean, unfettered flavors are reminiscent of the ice cream my dad used to churn in his old fashioned maker. Biting into the shop’s ice cream sandwich made with bittersweet chocolate cookie wafers and vanilla ice cream ($4.50), coats my tongue with memories of diving into my dad’s version of vanilla on a hot July afternoon. My lips curl up into a girlish smile – a smile that is repeated with every item I taste at the shop that day.

Note: Ice cream sandwiches sold in the shop will contain only 1 flavor of ice cream.

The ginger ice cream is immediately recognizable as such, a lick of the salted caramel is the equivalent of biting into the signature sweet of the same name at Huckleberry, and the tart yogurt sorbet is the sophisticated older sister to the synthetic tart fro-yo’s around town. Unlike those yogurt stops, everything at Sweet Rose Creamery is made with organic ingredients --- there are no unpronounceable additives or artificial sweeteners in these scoops. While the shop does offer 12 rotating flavors every day that will include a non-dairy flavor and two sorbets, there won’t be any non-fat, low-sugar options. Zoe, Josh and Ice Cream Chef Shiho Yoshkiawa, who Zoe met at Tartine Bakery in San Francisco, are committed to bringing their customers a natural product that while not necessarily good for bikini season, is always refreshing to the palate.

My personal refreshing walk down memory lane continues with samples of the strawberry rhubarb sorbet, mint chip made with real mint, banana ice cream, a piece of the homemade waffle ice cream cone (available in both chocolate and regular), and, the piece de resistance, the strawberry shortcake ice cream pie.

While strawberry was always the one flavor of my dad’s that I avoided as a child, I can’t contain my enthusiasm when I tear into the sweet offering that is meant for one to two people. The graham cracker crust, strawberry ice cream and whipped topping are a deadly combination – a refined version of the Baskin Robin’s ice cream cakes I loved as a sticky child with tangled hair. I immediately inform my host for my visit that I would not be able to share this pie with anyone. Even with the $7.50 price tag.

It’s hard for me to leave Sweet Rose Creamery – to go back to the real world where my problems can’t be solved with a hug and ice cream cone like they could when I was growing up. Even so, I know I’ll be back to recapture my youth – and a scoop of the salted caramel ice cream ($3.50) – in the very near future.

Sweet Rose Creamery opens today, Wednesday, May 12th. Hours of operation in May are Wednesday – Sunday, 12 pm – 9 pm. Expanded hours and days will be coming in June.

Sweet Rose Creamery
Brentwood Country Mart
225 26th St., Ste. 51
Santa Monica, CA
(310) 260-CONE


FS said...

omg, best news ever! I am so going there to celebrate finals being over.

Thank you for posting about this!! :)

Esi said...

Mmm, I would tear into that shortcake, but scrape off the whipped topping, lol.

Ashley said...

You know my feelings about frozen cream, but I think I could make an exception for the salted caramel variety.

weezermonkey said...

That pie looks outstanding. Yes, please!

Diana said...

Meg - I think you deserve an entire (large) ice cream pie for finishing finals! And maybe an ice cream sundae as well!

Esi - No love for whipped cream? Not even if it's organic??

Ashley - Yes, yes, I know. But I will be forcing you to eat here with me. So be prepared. It's going to happen.

Weez - I hear there's a s'mores version too...

Gastronomer said...

I curse the west side!

One of these days I'll go to Brentwood to eat ice cream here and cupcakes at Susie Cakes. One day...

Anna A. said...

Wait, your pops makes ice cream? TALF what?! I'm driving down pch next time 'round. Besides that, let's take a venture to Sweet Rose?

Kate @ Savour Fare said...

Man oh man. If Huckleberry is any guide, neither my hips nor my wallet need to know this exists!

Jenn said...

I sooooooo want that ice cream sandwich right now!!!!!

Jenny said...

Oh wow! This place looks amazing! I love charming places that evoke childhood joy and wonder over something as simple as ice-cream :)
I must check it out!

Diana said...

Cathy - We'll make it happen. SusieCakes, Sweet Rose Creamery AND Huckleberry. :)

Anna - Our ice cream maker went MIA a few years back, so my dad hasn't made his ice cream in a while. Sadness!

Kate - Hah, I feel the same way! I cannot be trusted around any of Huckleberry's goods - especially that salted caramel...

Jenn - It's really something - an upscale version of a childhood favorite.

Jenny - I think you would love this place! I can't imagine anyone not loving it! Hope to see it on Dessert Darling soon! :)

The Duo Dishes said...

There's something about homemade ice cream that seems so wonderful. It's one of those old school things that you only think of grandmas doing. Love the flavors offered at Sweet Rose!

stuffycheaks said...

ice cream cake and strawberry shortcake pie, yum, so excited that it's in my neighborhood!! Is the ice cream better than Jeni's?

Diana said...

Chrystal & Amir - Totally! My grandma didn't make ice cream, bus she loved treating us to it when we were growing up. My brothers and I would get so excited when she'd suggest it. Sigh - oh memories. :)

Stuffy Cheaks - Tough call! I only tried a little bit of each, so I can't really say for sure. I might have to do further research to give you a definitive answer. ;)