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Pasadena Ice Cream Shops

October 6, 2016

| Posted in Food

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California is nicknamed “The Golden State” for many reasons, mostly because gold was discovered here in the mid-1800s, and our official flower, the golden poppy grows wild throughout the entire state. Also, California is known for its year-round golden sunny skies, especially the southern part of state. Our Mediterranean climate means that our ice cream parlors stay open all year-round, and our city has six refreshingly cool ice cream shops you must try.

Afters Ice Cream

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An old gas station near Pasadena City College is now home to Afters Ice Cream. A port cochere that once protected patrons while pumping gas presently provides shade for picnic tables underneath. On the façade of the former gas station’s garage, a photogenic catchphrase reads, “Less Talk, More Ice Cream.” Their specialty is an ice cream sandwich pressed between two donuts—they call it a milky bun and it created a sensation at Coachella one year, when the music festival brought the inventive creamery to the desert for festivalgoers to enjoy. Glazed (or unglazed) raised donuts are hole-free, sliced, and filled with ice creams like bright blue Cookie Monster folded with crushed cookies, jasmine milk tea, and churro. Add toppings like Fruity Pebbles, chocolate syrup, or mocha. They press the milky bun, creating a hot donut coat that contrasts with a cool ice cream filling. More→

Bengees Ice Cream

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Foulay Saelor debuted Bengees Ice Cream in 2016 in the South Lake Avenue shopping district, naming the concept for his son. His creamy bun is pretty similar to the aforementioned milky bun in design, but he favors dense glazed cronuts (croissant donuts) instead of more basic donuts. Choose from “classic “ice cream flavors like strawberry chocolate chip or pistachio made with milk, cream, and cane sugar. They also offer vegan ice cream options from Divine Dips made with almond milk, coconut milk, raw cashews and agave sweetener. Toppings and drizzles include Graham cracker crumble, slivered almonds, and caramel sauce, which are pressed inside each bun before serving. They also have cups and cones, but indulge in the creamy bun. Just like the motto on Bengees white wall says, “Treat Yo Self.”

Carmela Ice Cream

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East Pasadena is ground zero for Carmela Ice Cream chef/owner Jessica Mortarotti and business partner Zachary Cox, who now run three locations across L.A. Their original brick and mortar location resides due south of Eaton Canyon hiking area. The space features canary yellow walls, a trio of elaborate chandeliers, and blackboard menu that touts seasonal, house-made ice cream and sorbet. Their salted caramel ice cream is among L.A.’s best, and you’ll also find more refreshing flavors like mint cacao nib and strawberry buttermilk, all in natural colors. Waffle cones and waffle cups are popular, but we’d recommend sandwiches that pair shortbread cookies and the scoop of your choice. We’d recommend dark chocolate cookies with sea salt cradling lavender honey ice cream, but pretty much any combo is a win. More→

Coolhaus

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Coolhaus founders Natasha Case and Freya Estreller deliver creative, architecturally inspired ice cream sandwiches to the Indiana Colony food hall in Old Pasadena. Colorful pink and white bubble lettering greets customers, who are invited to Build Your Own Ice Cream Sammie. Ice cream flavors include candy cap mushroom and black sesame. We recently opted for Maker’s Mark Manhattan, a “cocktail” complete with Italian Amarena sour cherries, served between soft cinnamon dusted snickerdoodles. Other cookie options include ginger molasses (vegan), confetti whoopie with rainbow sprinkles and double chocolate chip cookies. In a clever twist, the potato paper that wraps each sandwich is edible. More→

Float

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Iris Lee has run Float in Burlington Arcade on South Lake Avenue since 2013. Order at a marble counter, where they’ll gladly scoop Fosselman’s ice cream, which is crafted nearby in Alhambra. Still, you might as well stay true to Float’s name. “Classic” and seasonal ice cream floats are available with craft sodas and creative accompaniments. A traditional Red Cow pairs vanilla bean ice cream with Boylan’s birch beer soda. Summer floats include the colorful Ocean Breeze with Dad’s blue cream soda, coconut ice cream and tangerine syrup. Float also has a strong coffee program, which they apply to The Horchatte, a “latte” with horchata ice cream, Boylan’s creme soda, and a shot of espresso. More→

Ice Cream Lab

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This Old Pasadena spinoff of the growing Ice Cream Lab chain from Joseph Lifschutz and Tommy Ngan started in Beverly Hills and employs liquid nitrogen. This space features a blue and white color scheme, colorful murals of a molecular model and professor holding a rose with the Rose Bowl in the background. A row of four sea blue machines makes creamy ice cream to order in a swirl of liquid nitrogen smoke. Pick your flavor, size, and toppings, drawing from well-curated lists. Ice Cream Lab also has prescribed combos. Blue Velvet is a colorful blend of vanilla ice cream, crumbled blue velvet cupcakes, and cream cheese frosting. Salt Lick Crunch provides a savory twist with vanilla ice cream, crunchy salted pretzels, and caramel sauce. Banilla is a play on banana pudding, complete with Nilla wafers. More→

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Blue velvet ice cream from Ice Cream Lab

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