Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Scoops Westside's Burger Ice Cream: An experiment gone right

My first reaction was horror.

Scoops Westside isn’t really serving burger ice cream?” I thought, practically gagging when I read yesterday’s tweet that loudly declared they had a bacon, jalapeño and cheddar ice cream available that day.

I could see cheddar working by itself – possibly in an apple pie and cheddar flavor, and am well aware that bacon’s salty, smoky qualities can also be a positive addition to a dessert, but jalapeño?


In my head, I pictured a grossly orange yellow ice cream, topped with jumbo slices of jalapeño and bacon, as though it was a baked potato. I shivered at the thought of actually ingesting such a travesty to ice cream, but as the day wore on, I couldn’t help wondering what it would actually taste like.

In my mind, it seemed as though Scoops Westside owner Matthew Kang was triple dog daring me to try it. I know the Tweet wasn’t specifically directed at me – they have 1,655 other followers who wait with bated breath for each day’s flavor announcements – but in my morphed way of thinking, it was a challenge.

A challenge that I had to overcome with a mini plastic spoon.

So when I left the office last night, I scraped my original plan to hit up Nordstrom for the Clinique foundation I’m dangerously low on, and made a byline to Scoops to sample proprietor Tai Kim’s burger ice cream experiment.

“Ok, where is it?” I said to Matt as I strolled into the well-groomed shop that he is continually personalizing with art work, new furniture and magazines for his loyal customers who linger over Intelligentsia coffee and tea.

He laughed in response and immediately scooped up a sample of the bacon, jalapeño and cheddar ice cream, which will also be available this Thursday and Saturday.

It looked decidedly more normal than the image I’d been picturing all day – there were no discernable traces of cheddar nor that egregious-sounding jalapeño, and the crystallized red flecks of bacon looked almost like sprinkles. If someone hadn’t told me what I was about to eat, I would have assumed it was just a normal scoop of vanilla ice cream.

That is until I actually tasted it.

It’s a subtle ice cream – the cheddar only apparent through the lingering mouth feel of something more texturally apparent than just milk and cream. The jalapeño is applied with an equally delicate and precise hand – it doesn’t wrest itself onto the palate with an overpowering wallop of heat, it merely adds a touch of spice that almost comes across like cinnamon. The bacon is the most dominant of the three flavors. It’s well-rendered and chopped into fine cubes, then crystallized in sugar so that it doesn’t become soggy when generously strewn over the top of the ice cream.

It’s sweet, salty and divinely crunchy – basically the best ice cream topper imaginable. It would create a frenzy if Matt added it to his sprinkle bar at the end of the counter. People would use it on everything – would possibly even request just a cup of the bacon crystals – hold the ice cream.

But I think I like it best as it is in this conception – a crisp companion to Tai’s sublimely refined burger ice cream. Not disgusting, not superfluous, and not even a challenge to appreciate.

It’s just right. And I triple dog dare you to say otherwise.

Scoops Westside
3400 Overland Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90034
(323) 405-7055


Gastronomer said...

Dude! I had a dream about this ice cream last night. No joke. I may have to swing by for a taste on my way to sushi tomorrow night. I hope traffic treats me well.

stuffycheaks said...

darn, i wanted to try it. Glad you did, and glad he offered it after lent!

Esi said...

I may finally visit the "eastside" location this weekend to try this. Could you imagine if they had the bacon as a topping all the time? There would be hysteria!

Diana said...

Cathy - I hope traffic treats you will too - this treat is definitely up your alley! :)

Stephanie - The flavor will be available at Scoops tomorrow and Saturday too - definitely try to make it over!

Esi - I kind of want to see what would happen. Think if I triple dog dare Matt, he'll do it? ;)

Ashley said...

No more tempting posts about things I can't eat for the rest of the week!

Anna A. said...

wow! This ice cream was even reported on in PDX! Shoulda had an IPA to wash it down with.

Darin said...

Not something I'd ever really order, but very intriguing as something to try. Might stop by Saturday!

Marie said...

Oooh. Verry interesting, especially off your flavor profile rundown!