Out and About with Mike Pingel – Salt & Straw West Hollywood

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Photos and Text by Mike Pingel

I never thought I’d see the day when I’d find myself eating a frozen treat with crickets and mealworms. Well, that’s exactly what happened when I went to check out Salt & Straw ice cream shop in West Hollywood–the shop known for exploring fun, exciting new ice cream flavors unlike anything you remember from when you were a kid.

Before we start BEWARE… they now have their newest Halloween Ice Cream Creations .

Salt & Straw is offering five Spookatcular flavors for the month of October, which are creepy, spooky and a super fun way to celebrate the Halloween season. The flavors available now include are Essence of Ghost which has Mexican vanilla & dark coco sherbet with a touch of Scotch. It all adds up to a smoky delight that strangely leaves a feeling of a foggy night in your mouth! If ghosts had I taste, I imagine this is what they would taste like.

If you love candy, The Great Candyopia is overstuffed with homemade snickers, whoppers, heath bars, and peanut butter cups in a salted butterscotch ice cream. It’s a trick-or-treat-overload that contains more candy in every spoonful than the ice cream itself. Yum.

Love Pop Rocks take us back to our younger years, so try this flavor: Freckle and Hyde Potion. It contains cranberry sorbet freckled with dark chocolate and bitter melon coconut sherbet with coconut ash coated pop rocks.

This next flavor was created with the Dracula’s grandmother in mind. If young Dracula had a grandma what type of ice cream would she make? Salt & Straw whipped up Dracula’s Blood Pudding. It has a coco ice cream with a deep blend of spices and yes, what you are about to read is correct: real pigs blood. I’m referring to a combination of a nice full bloody texture and a really cool bloody color.

Another creepy creation the staff made me try is the Creepy Crawly Critters ice cream. It comes with a fresh green-grass ice cream and real dark chocolate covered crickets and coconut toffee-brittle mealworms. At first I said to myself that there was no way I was going to try it. But, I had to–if not for this story, then for me. I told myself to buck up and try something new. So I did it. The cricket and mealworm went crunch, crunch, crunch, and I have to admit, they were not bad. I did however, get a cricket stuck in my teeth. YIKES!

The Salt & Straw offers unlimited samples, yes that is unlimited samples of their ice cream! They want the people who walk through their doors to try all their flavors, and each sample is given on a silver mini-spoon to keep the integrity of their ice cream taste.

One really special thing about Salt & Straw’s ice cream is that it’s made fresh daily right here in Los Angeles. They only use pure ingredients in their ice cream. “We pride ourselves with making handmade ice cream,” Arica Thomas, the shops manager said. “Our kitchen is in downtown LA. It’s made there by hand every day and they bring it to us. We make our own waffle batter and make our waffle cones fresh throughout the day. They are so yummy they make ice cream taste even better. We have about 16 classic flavors and we have our seasonal favors which change every month with four or five flavors.”

Salt & Straw built their business on their signature flavor, Sea Salt with Carmel Ribbons, which is my favorite. “Our most popular flavor is Sea Salt with Carmel Ribbons,” she added, while I was joying the shop’s Warm Brownie Almond & Hot Fudge Sundae served with the Sea Salt with Carmel Ribbons ice cream (honestly, I could not stop eating it).  “This is how we got our start. It’s unlike any other sea salt ice cream. We salt the cream and the caramel is ribboned through, so it’s a very nice salty sweet combo.

According to Thomas, the second most popular flavor would be the almond brittle with salted ganache. It’s ice cream with brittle for crunch and a bit of salty chocolate.

Here’s a WEHO TIMES scoop. She told me one of next month’s special flavors a Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner ice cream.

For vegans the shop offers wonderful dairy free, Roasted Strawberry Coconut, this one is really a light and full body taste which is a perfect match for our crazy heat wave here in October! It good to note that the shop rotates vegan favors quarterly.

They also offer one custard-based ice cream, the Roasted Strawberry & Toasted White Chocolate, it has a nice creamy texture, with chunks of white cholate and fresh strawberries which are grown locally from Oxnard, CA.

Are you a foodie lover? Then this one is right up your food alley, the Black Olive Brittle & Goat Cheese ice cream, I know, I thought it sounded weird but both tastes complement each other so well which makes it a very tasty treat.

Other flavors one can find at the West Hollywood shop are Chocolate Gooey Brownie, Honey Lavender, Stumptown Coffee & Compartes Love Nuts, Avocado & Strawberry Sherbet, Freckled Woodblock Chocolate, Double Fold Vanilla and Salted, Malted, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough!

“We have been here since February. We love the community, we love to be here, Salt & Straw always open their shops in nice open communities,” said Thomas. “We love West Hollywood and we are happy to be here.”

I asked her what the fit men of WEHO with their beautiful six-pack abs frequented her store and she said: “Yes, the hot men of West Hollywood eat ice cream. They might not get a waffle cone all the time. They’ll keep it to a cup. Yes, they love their ice cream. They’re more on the double scoop side. They have to keep their figure.”

Now, Salt & Straw always seems to have a line out the door in the evening, so hold onto your ice cream bridges. It’s worth the wait. But if you don’t want to wait, here’s a great tip: if you run in and grab a pint of any of the flavors located in the pint freezer, you can skip the line. They have a sign above the pints freezer, so you didn’t just hear it from me. It’s a rule. So break the line, grab a pint of Creepy Crawly Critters and enjoy the crunch, crunch (Hehehe).

“We want to be the best part of someone’s day,” Thomas said. “We are all about our standing hospitality, trying to provide anyone who walks through our door with the best experience.” Arica said, “Yes, it’s just ice cream, we believe they can leave with something better, just making their day better and a smile on their face and ice cream in their hand.”

I do know, I had a huge smile on my face after eating my sundae and so so so many ice cream samples! Natalie & Sharron, work at the Pacific Design Center and told me they that they come back because the ice cream is amazing and it’s always a sweet treat in the middle of the day or after work.

Salt & Straw is truly an experience which brings a unique and wonderful twist on the all-American Ice Cream. Each flavor has its own special taste. One flavor, or two, will capture your taste buds and bring you back for more.

 

The Salt & Straw West Hollywood is located at 8949 Santa Monica Blvd. at Robertson Blvd and is open daily from 12pm-11pm. https://saltandstraw.com. If the shop has a line still at 11pm they will stay open until the line is done.

 

 

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