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