Cuisine Scene: Ice Cream
Long Beach screams for ice cream in so many flavors (from sweet to savory), so many forms (chocked full of candy, fruit or Cap’n Crunch), and enjoyed in so many ways (cones, cookies or hollow fish pastry). Yeah. Here’s the scoop.
ICE CREAM & FROZEN YOGURT ON THE BOARDWALK
Located in Shoreline Village, Ice Cream & Frozen Yogurt on the Boardwalk (429 Shoreline Village Dr.) is the place you visit first and get something comforting and sweet to accompany you as you stroll, shop, jump aboard a boat or head to the Aquarium of the Pacific. Yes, beautiful days are made even better when put in the company of one of their gourmet ice creams and frozen yogurts in a bowl or waffle cone – perhaps a sundae? Maybe a smoothie made with nonfat frozen yogurt and fresh fruit. It all screams summer in the city.
Hug Life (2707 E. 4th St.) is an “anti-dairy ice cream ‘n stuff” store, located on Retro Row. Seeing as how it's next door to Coffee Drunk and directly across the street from Page Against the Machine, you can imagine this as the new core of another cool configuration complementing the vintage stretch of 4th Street. Employing dairy alternatives such as coconut, soy and oat milk, Hug Life makes such exciting flavors as Vietnamese Coffee, Mango Chamoy and Matcha Monsta, sacrificing nothing in the way of flavor or gooeyness. Root Beer Floats, Cookie Sammiches and build your own milkshakes, it’s all good.
LONG BEACH CREAMERY
Founder Dina Amadril started her ice cream journey at home, mixing flavors in a Kitchen Aid blender. Eventually she moved her business out of her kitchen and now has three locations, two in Long Beach: Downtown (222 E. Broadway) and Bixby Knolls (4141 Long Beach Blvd..) The Creamery’s success is in Amadril’s original principles: handcrafted quality, inventive flavors – Peach Sorbet to Burnt Caramel– infused with local, organic ingredients. Innovation is a constant; witness the shop’s cannabis-inspired line of products including Pineapple Express and OG Kush Chip.
AFTERS ICE CREAM
In less than 10 years, Afters has made a name for itself, in part because of its “Milky Bun,” a warm, glazed donut stuffed with one of its signature, handmade ice creams. Of course, the ice cream is what it’s all about, and it usually comes with a twist, so classic Cookies and Cream comes with a salty twist, Chocolate Chip comes with vegan chocolate and Jasmine Milk Tea and French Toast Churro just sound awesome.
This relative newcomer serves ah-boong, a dense, flavor-rich soft serve ice cream popular in Korea, along with such flavor staples as green matcha, purple ube (yam) and black sesame. Still, what has made SomiSomi (3900 Atlantic Ave.) so popular, so quickly is what the ice cream goes into: taiyaki. This hollow pastry – made with waffle or pancake batter – comes in the form of a large mouth fish, its interior painted with the likes of Nutella, red paste or stuffed with cookies, cheese, etc. An amazing tasting and looking experience.
Few things are as quintessentially Long Beach as folks strolling 2nd Street, one eye on window shopping, the other measuring another bite of a frozen treat. A lot of those folks are strolling out of Snow Monster (5211 2nd St.), their eyes, and mouths, set on ice-cream stuffed macaroons, their Thai and Matcha macaroons made from tea sold in the cafe.
LA MICHOACANA HELADERIA TRADICIONAL
Ultra clean and bright, La Michoacana Heladeria Tradicional’s (1168 E. Anaheim St.) decor matches with the hues of its ice cream, which pops from the refrigerated case in eye-catching splashes of green, red, yellow, etc. It is ultra-smooth, clean and crisp ice cream that tastes and feels like food. Fresh fruit – strawberry, lime, mango, watermelon – is integrated into both its ice cream and paletas, the popsicle-like offerings that look familiar to many, but may feature unfamiliar ingredients in such forms, i.e. one of the shops most popular paletas contains chile and cucumber. It’s really good.
AMPLE HILLS CREAMERY
This East Coast transplant began as a New York pushcart, its growth in popularity owing to creativity, not only in the making but naming of their creations. Ample Hills Creamery, located in the 2nd and PCH retail center (6400 Pacific Coast Highway) offers the likes of “I Wanna Dance With Some Berry” and “Breakfast Trash,” the latter crammed with Cap N’ Cruch, Frosted Flakes, Fruit Loops and Fruity Pebbles. There’s even a Long Beach-specific flavor, the “Spruce Goose,” featuring yellow banana ice cream – an homage to our sunny skies – as well as crunchy clouds of candy and nuts.
Given its reputation for quality (since 1945!), it’s not unusual to see a line of people waiting at one of Handel’s walk-up windows at the Long Beach Exchange (4069 N. Lakewood Blvd.) You’ll notice that the people don’t seem the least bit annoyed, since they know delicious, handmade ice cream, featuring everything from Raspberry Cheesecake Chunk to Dulce De Leche, fruit to marshmallows, vegan to nonfat options, waits at the end of the queue. Located across the street from innovative food court, The Hangar, Handel’s provides a great ending to any meal, making it well worth the wait.