We All Scream For Ice Cream

Salt&Straw_Header_ATG FINAL{Feast your eyes on Chocolate Gooey Brownie ice cream.}


Where: Salt & Straw
Location: 240 North Larchmont Boulevard, Larchmont Village
Cost: $$


Just a few doors down the street from “The (over-hyped) Best Iced Latte in America,” rests one of the newest additions to Larchmont Boulevard, and it’s quickly becoming the ice cream spot in town. It’s not unusual to see the line hanging out the door into the wee hours of the night; as Angelenos happily fork over their hard-earned money for a slightly expensive, yet decadent, brain freeze.

Salt & Straw Exterior _ATG FINAL

Originating in The Beaver State (that’s Oregon, if you didn’t catch my attempt to be clever), Salt & Straw aims to take a beloved American indulgence to a new level. You might be asking, how does one do that exactly? If you think about it, unlike certain treats, ice cream couldn’t be a more accessible delicacy. If you’re in dire straits in the middle of the night to deal with a crappy day by drowning your sorrows in a tub of ice cream, a trip to your neighborhood grocery store happens to also have the added benefit of welcoming you with more options than you’ll ever need. And yet, I can see why scoop shops, like Salt & Straw or Sprinkles Ice Cream, might withstand the test of time…and the abundance of accessibility.

In a nutshell, it’s because when heading to specialty places such as these it’s in “the event” of it all. It’s in the getting in the car with a destination in mind. It’s in the anticipation of a rewarding treat. It’s in the gazing at the menu, deciding what you want. It’s in the tasting of the samples. It’s in the ambiance. But ultimately, it’s in the product itself – usually served with the freshest of ingredients and thoughtful presentation.

Suffice to say then, that Salt & Straw makes ice cream an event.

Salt&Straw_Exterior_Interior_ATG FINAL{Exterior/Interior seating areas.}

On a dreary, late Saturday afternoon a few weeks ago, we paid a visit to see what The Beaver State famously had years before us Angelenos, a Salt & Straw. With much luck, and I’m sure fortuitous timing (everyone was likely at the mall finishing up some last-minute Christmas shopping), we found the place nearly deserted. In fact, we were in and out in a matter of minutes, thanks to no line!

What immediately feels distinct about Salt & Straw, compared to your more typical scoop shops, was the easy and inviting ambiance. This was achieved through carved wood; and warm, moody lighting. The space isn’t very big, and there isn’t much seating; but for the short time you’re inside, it certainly leaves an impression.

Salt & Straw_Interior_Counter_ATG FINAL{Interior/counter.}

For just over $4.00, I walked out of Salt & Straw’s welcoming shop with a scoop of Chocolate Gooey Brownie ice cream (pictured above) in hand. While the price is reasonable if you’re headed in for a solo treat for yourself, or on a date, it can certainly add up if dad decides to take a family of four out for ice cream and everyone wants a double scoop.

That being said, one spoonful was literally all it took. As the ice cream hit my tongue, I could taste the love that went into every aspect of it. It wasn’t until I got home and did a little research, that I realized the detail put into what ultimately, might come across as a simple scoop of ice cream. Turns out, the chocolate used in its base is from organic Holy Kakow Chocolate products, and the brownies are baked fresh, infused with marshmallows to give them a special fluff…and this dedication to quality is before they’ve even churned it together to make the final product!

Salt & Straw is regarded for their use of locally sourced, fresh ingredients; but also for their eclectic flavors. Admittedly, I went with a safe flavor for my inaugural visit, but take two will find me bolder to try some of their more creative options: Avocado & Strawberry Sherbet or Ojai Olive Oil & Burnt Orange Marmalade. Then again, I can get behind their Central Coast Champagne Sorbet, too.

They keep their popular permanent “classic” flavors on-hand at all times. The great news is that they’re also constantly rotating their selection, introducing new flavors every month to keep the menu fresh; and to keep Angelenos coming back, forking over their hard-earned money for a slightly expensive, yet decadent, brain freeze.

And this, my friends, is how you beat ice cream accessibility. It’s the big “event” taking place in Larchmont Village at the moment.

Well played, Salt & Straw. Well played.

Salt&Straw_IceCreamcase_ATG FINAL{Order your favorites to-go by the pint!}

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Highlights

5 completely random things I learned this week…

Highlights Header

1. Unfortunately, the “best iced latte in America” is overrated.

As evidenced from the image above, you can see that I’ve been up to my ol’ shenanigans again on the latte front. I told you I’d be back after my first visit to Go Get Em Tiger (yes, that’s the coffee bar’s name) to say hello again to the current reining champion of the “best iced latte in America,” to see if perhaps I misjudged my rather uninspired experience a few weeks ago. I didn’t. I was actually even more underwhelmed this time. I ordered the drink just the way it comes: espresso, their famous almond-macadamia milk, and ice. I deduced that it is, in fact, the almond-macadamia milk itself that I don’t care for. What’s interesting is that I’m a lover of all milk types: almond, soy, whole, non-fat….I guess just not when macadamia nuts are involved. So there you have it boys and girls, I’m breaking up with Go Get Em Tiger’s almond-macadamia/best-latte-in-America for good. However, it still wins my heart for having the most creative business name yet.

2. The irony of “Rich Hill.”

As evidenced from the image above (but not exactly clear), I’m in the lobby of the Laemmle Theater in North Hollywood, not only coming to the conclusion noted in #1, but waiting to see what turned out to be an amazing documentary film, Rich Hill. It’s a moving portrait of three young boys and their families as they live day-to-day in Rich Hill, MO – population: 1,393. The irony is that its inhabitants are far from “rich,” monetarily-speaking. The film subtly enters Andrew, Appachey, and Harley’s world sharing the harsh socioeconomic conditions plaguing much of small town America, and how our youth is navigating the journey. I encourage you to see this film. It’s a narrative told so beautifully, so gracefully, it leaves you wanting more. You get to know the boys in such a way that you care about what happens next. This is not a case of it being over once the screen fades to black.

3. Don’t leave fresh produce in the car while waiting in the lobby to see Rich Hill, snapping the image above, as you come to said conclusions about lattes.

Clearly, NOT evidenced from the image above, I stopped at the Larchmont Farmers’ Market to buy my favorite type of lettuce to make salads for the week ahead before heading to the movies. Somehow it seemed completely OK to me to leave lettuce in the car…in 100° weather…while I went and saw a movie. I just love throwing away money, especially, just after watching a documentary about poverty in America. This was a total “what the hell was I thinking?” moment.

Highlights ATG FINAL

4. I’m 3 years behind on the realizing how incredible Beyoncé’s 4 album is.

Sure, I heard the singles released to the public, but after catching Beyoncé’s “Life is But a Dream” documentary on HBO Go earlier this week for the 2nd time, I was enticed to actually listen to the entire album. How did I miss what an incredible record this is? It’s been on repeat all week. Better late, than never I guess.

Highlights FINAL

5. A change of scenery works.

Like most people, I spend HOURS a day on the computer because of my job…and because that’s how society works these days. I also spend much of my free time blogging. That means, I’m on a computer – ALOT. It was an invigoriatiog change of pace to grab my laptop, headphones, and notebook and head over to a local cafe to sit and blog for almost 4 hours on a warm Saturday afternoon. Though I have a nice, comfortable desk set-up at home  (in front of a large window no less), and a coffee machine on my kitchen counter – I found the change of scenery inspiring as I worked on a post for the week ahead. Forgive yet another photo of a latte, but between you and me…it was better than the one above anyway…and half the cost.

I’m looking forward to some me time this weekend. So, I’m taking myself to the Van Gogh exhibit at the LACMA and then I’m off to see a new indie dramedy that should be right up my alley. Admittedly, I’m more excited for the Q&A than the film itself (and p.s. this never happens, I usually don’t care for Q&As and often skip them, but this one features two of my favorites.). I’m SO EXCITED. I’ll fill you in next week.

Happy weekend to you!

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Go Get Em Tiger!

Go Get Em Exterior ATG FINAL


Where: Go Get Em Tiger
Location: 230 North Larchmont Boulevard
Cost: pricey


Perhaps this is a clear sign that I’ve had entirely too much sunshine in my native lifetime spent in the City of Angels, but I do enjoy the fun, albeit cliché, “play on words” trend when frequenting a local spot. There’s something just so much more enticing about saying “hey, let’s go grab a treat at Sprinkles” rather than “the cupcake shop” or “meet at Toast in 10?” rather than “that breakfast place on 3rd Street?”

Los Angeles is notorious for this. There’s Milk (a cafe); Graffiti (a coffee shop); Taste (an American cuisine restaurant); Vanilla and Frosted (competing cupcakeries); and Son of Gun (a seafood spot) — I think you get the point. And I’m sure I found the winner of them all….Go Get Em Tiger! Oh, and if it’s not clear, their mission…caffeine.Go Get Em Exterior ATG FINAL side by side

Currently, the reining champion of the best iced latte in America (according to The New York Times), Go Get Em Tiger opened its doors on the increasingly charming Larchmont Boulevard last month, joining its sister spot G&B Coffee as an alternative to those who can’t make it downtown.

When I heard that the best iced latte in America was also conveniently located in LA, I knew my coffee addiction would find me there sooner than later. In fact, it found me clear across town 2 days later to get in on the hype.

I might lose cool points as a true connoisseur of espresso, but I have no shame in admitting that I’m not a fan of lattes without milk (soy, almond, whole or whatever “milk mood” I’m feeling that day) and some sort of flavoring (vanilla typically being my weapon of choice). The point being that I don’t ever drink plain lattes, hot or cold. Ever. And because of this quirk about myself I instantly went for their Sweet Iced Latte, insisting on upgrading to their signature almond-macadamia milk (instead of the whole milk it normally comes with). Unfortunately, their version of sweetened wasn’t with the subtleties of a little vanilla syrup, but with simple syrup. Needless to say, it was a SWEET latte (even for me!)…and I can’t blame them, it’s what I ordered.

This was probably a case where all I needed was their trademark milk and the espresso over ice. The sweetener distracts from the main attraction, what’s creating the all the caffeine-induced buzz right now, the almond-macadamia milk. I very much-loved the frothy texture of the milk and supreme care that went into crafting my designer latte, but likely would’ve been able to enjoy it more without the added sweetener to get the chance to let the nuttiness of the beverage come through.

Go Get Em Tiger Interior ATG FINAL

Aside from this hiccup, what I instantly loved about Go Get Em Tiger was its welcoming ambiance. I’ve been to many coffee bars in LA that felt so pretentious I wouldn’t step foot into one – other than to quickly grab the awesome coffee (because, of course, it’s yummy!) and leave before anyone sees me in said establishment, supporting said pretentiousness. Yet, Go Get Em Tiger is a place I would actually spend an afternoon with my laptop and a latte nearby blogging away, or to meet a girlfriend to catch-up over coffee.

go get em treats ATG FINAL

At $6.00 for a standard sized iced latte, this isn’t a place I’d drop into frequently, but more of an indulgence when I’m feeling especially rich and want to treat myself. If I’m quite honest (price aside), my favorite places to grab a latte on-the-run are still The Sycamore Kitchen (on La Brea) or Blu Jam (on Melrose or Ventura). This doesn’t mean my relationship with Go Get Em Tiger ends here. I do want to head back to do what I should have done the first time I was there, and that was to let their famous fresh almond-macadamia milk do all the talking.

I’ll keep you posted.

Go Get Em Collage ATG FINAL INTERIOR

As far as the naming convention of what really just comes down to a simple coffee bar, perhaps the sentiment is that I, too, tend to feel like I can conquer the world once I’ve had my caffeine fix. With the right latte in hand and caffeine slowly coursing through my veins, on some level I tell myself I’m ready for the day. I can Go Get Em Tiger!

Go get em tiger latte ATG FINAL 2

UPDATE: Catch my thoughts on Go Get Em Tiger, Take 2. I’m afraid I can’t behind the hype after all.

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