This summer Los Angeles chefs and dessert connoisseurs are having fun creating playful renditions of iconic desserts like the popsicle, ice cream sandwich, snow cones, froyo, s’mores, cakes and pies. At the same time, there’s plenty of flavor to seek out if you’re looking for something different–think kombucha, matcha, corn, saffron, black sesame, ube to name a few. Or maybe you fall into the category of eater who craves a little something sweet but typically avoid the extra calories or sugar. No worries. L.A.’s got healthy(ish) options on the ready too.
So no matter where you live in L.A., if your tooth is sweet, and the season is summer, here’s the scoop on treats you ought to check out.
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1. Frozen Fruit Co. (Santa Monica)
In the spirit of health and wellness, and yes, summer — a visit to Frozen Fruit Co. on Montana Ave. in Santa Monica is definitely worth it. There are so many checks in the pro column: diet-friendly, natural, plant-based, dairy-free, vegan and gluten-free. This shop serves refreshing all natural fruit soft serve offering a variety of fruit flavors including strawberry, and raspberry & orange (also made with apple, pear and peach for an extra pinch of sweetness), and chocolate (a natural concoction of coconut milk, cacao and dates). Try a side-by-side soft serve cup of chocolate and one of the fruit flavors, perfect for those who want the best of both worlds. –> More information
2. Panasia (Alhambra)
Just like the waffles you can get at traditional food hawkers in Asia, Panasia of Alhambra has a Hong Kong style bubble waffle on its dessert menu. A treat best shared with friends, the warm and crispy bubble waffle is filled with a sweet filling like organic purple yams, black sesame, mango and more. –> More information
3. Stickhouse (Santa Monica)
Santa Monica’s Stickhouse puts its Italian signature stamp on the classic popsicle. The fruit sorbettos and creamy gelato bars are made of fresh fruit, milks, creams and pure cane sugar ingredients sourced locally in Southern California and from Italy. There are many flavors to choose from like watermelon, strawberry and mango. Fruit sorbetto sticks can also be dipped in white, milk or dark chocolate. –> More information
4. Winston Pies (Brentwood)
Winston Pies in Brentwood gives Angelenos a sweet spot to slow down Southern-style. Chief piesmith and owner Brianna Abrams, who hails from Winston-Salem, North Carolina welcomes customers into her charming shop for some beautiful homemade pies. This summer she is baking peach-nectarine pies, prepared with the season’s best fruits which are locally grown. –> More information
5. Gelateria Uli (Downtown Los Angeles & Beverly Grove)
Gelateria Uli makes small batch gelato and sorbets fresh daily in the Gelateria’s kitchen located in DTLA. For the summer, owner Uli Nasibova seeked out the juiciest and sweetest fruits of the season to create stone fruit sorbets. Gelateria Uli’s cases are stocked daily with flavors like California pistachio, saffron, poblano, coconut lemongrass sorbet, yogurt lavender, sea salt caramel, speculoos cookies and more. –> More information
6. Holy Roly (Koreatown & Arcadia)
You definitely do not need a degree in science to fully appreciate the uniquely made rolled ice cream at Holy Roly. Ice cream is created fresh to eat right before your eyes. Holy Roly uses an innovative freezing plate technique “enabling ice particles to get balanced with air” without adding any preservatives, stabilizers and artificial flavorings. All ice cream creations are neatly scraped and rolled right off the freeze plate and into a cup. Organic flavors include vanilla, dark chocolate, coffee, earl grey, vegan matcha, vegan mango and yogurt. –> More information
7. Locali (West Hollywood)
Locali, a WeHo health-conscious convenience store/deli is whipping up Kombucha Floats. This summer dessert elixir is a interesting take on the classic root beer float. Made with a coconut frozen yogurt base and kombucha (a mushroom which is used as a base for fermented black or green tea drinks), the frothy float is served up in a large glass. It’s delicious and supposedly healthy, the treat is also dairy-free, soy-free and gluten-free. –> More information
8. Blockheads Shavery (Sawtelle & Alhambra)
Located in Little Japan, Blockheads Shavery, is known for its Snow Cream, a light and fluffy Hawaiian shave ice made with house-made ice cream. Combinations like the Oreo Snow Cream, created with sweet milk ice cream, topped with condensed milk and topped with Oreo cookie crumbles is a crowd pleaser. If you like Matcha there is a Snow Cream version that’s sprinkled with blueberries, lychee, boba and mochi. You get your money’s worth at Blockheads as the regular serving size is impressively big. –> More information
9. Honeymee (Multiple Locations)
Honeymee a creamy milk ice cream paired with sweet golden honey in a variety of different combinations is made with real milk without any artificial flavorings. First-timers should order the “Honeymee” milk ice cream topped with honeycomb chips to get the dessert in its purist form. For those looking for something a little more, the milk combinations seem endless, with yuzu, coffee, matcha and even a fruit filled versions offered. –> More information
10. Halo Top Scoop Shops (Topanga & Century City)
When Halo Top first debuted its L.A. scoop shops, Angelenos were thankful for a new low-cal dessert that satisfied taste and swimsuit season. For summer Halo Top is serving up a Peaches & Cream soft serve, a brand-new flavor swirling sweet peaches in a vanilla and cream base. It captures that sweet summer feeling in one bite! If peaches aren’t your thing there are plenty of other flavors in soft serve and ice cream form along with funky cones like a puffy waffle cone called the “Puffle”, tons of topping options and sundaes on the menu. –> More information
11. Gotta Have S’More (Mid-Wilshire)
Gotta Have S’More in Little Ethiopia on Fairfax invites indulgence. This new little cafe makes cupcake-sized treats in a swirl of flavors including its signature campfire classic combining all of the delicious elements of a traditional s’more. Baked with house-made graham-cracker and dipped in a thick chocolate base, each treat is topped with gooey marshmallow. These s’mores are available in milk and dark chocolate, salted caramel, peanut butter cup, cookies and cream and more. –> More information
12. Crackin’ Kitchen (Pasadena)
It’s highly recommended to save room for dessert when dining at Pasadena’s Hawaiian-Cajun eatery Crackin’ Kitchen. Order “The Two Person Dessert” it’s a sweet presentation you won’t soon forget. Your server will create an edible tropical work of art before your eyes with rainbows and palm trees on your table using an array of colorful syrups and sugars. Hawaiian Malasadas or deep-fried pastry balls coated in sugar accompany the edible art. You’ll be instructed to drag them through all the dips, syrups and fruit before taking a bite. –> More information
13. CREAM (Multiple Locations)
CREAM standing for “Cookies Rule Everything Around Me” is best known for its handcrafted ice cream sandwiches. The ice cream shop just launched a brand-new summer ice cream flavor, Pink Beach Bellini, a fresh and sweet homage to the classic brunch cocktail. This fizzy, champagne-flavored (non-alcoholic) ice cream melds together bits of real peaches and peach nectar. Pair it with two freshly-baked Belgian waffles for one sensational ice cream dessert. –> More information
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