Digesting L.A.’s Vegan Ice Cream Scene

From Sunset & Strawberry to Dandelion Hazelnut Cookies and Cream, we can’t believe it’s not dairy — and you won’t either

Words by MARIE LOOK and KAREN PALMER

 

Leave it to Los Angeles to have more vegan ice cream than you can shake a sugar cone at — but given how good vegan ice cream has become, who needs the dairy? Local scoop shops are going all in on bases like coconut cream and cashew milk to create rich, craveable flavors that taste just as creamy and delicious as the traditional summertime treat. Here’s a roundup of some of our favorite spots for non-dairy frozen treats.

COOLHAUS

Culver City-based Coolhaus recently debuted dairy-free premium pints and ice cream sandwiches made with pea protein and organic cocoa butter and whole grain rice.

THE SCOOP: You can’t go wrong with the dairy-free Cookie Dough Life, featuring ultra-satisfying hunks of cookie dough and chocolate chips throughout.

LE CAFE DE LA PLAGE

Celebs like Cindy Crawford and Owen Wilson flock to Malibu’s Point Dume for Instagram-worthy moments in front of a gorgeous flower wall, as well as handcrafted, refined sugar-free and vegan flavors. If you’re not up for a beautiful drive up the coast (ahem), you can also find pints at Erewhon, and they’ll be stocked in Gelson’s starting in mid-July.

THE SCOOP: Try the Lemon Ginger Mint for a shot of refreshment on a beach day.

CRAIG’S

Expect to see and taste a lot more of West Hollywood-based Craig’s Vegan (yes, that Craig, of tony West Hollywood restaurant fame), whose cashew-based pints are made in L.A. with premium add-ins and are cheekily named after local landmarks (Sunset & Strawberry, for instance).

THE SCOOP: Dig into a pint of Killa’ Vanilla, which tastes like you’re dipping a spoon into old-fashioned Breyer’s (in a good way).

 

HUGO’S TACOS

Love soft serve but aren’t big on dairy? The Studio City and Atwater Village locations of this no-frills, healthy-ish Mexican spot both serve the Frozato, a soft serve-like frozen dessert made from sweet potatoes.

THE SCOOP: Keep it simple with a chocolate and vanilla swirl in a waffle cone.

KIPPY’S

For the past six years, Kippy’s in Venice has served handmade, completely raw, nondairy ice creams and sorbets made from raw coconut cream, organic fresh fruit and raw unheated local honey. With more than 10 vegan ice creams — each made from five ingredients or less — and a healthy scoop of trendy superfood toppings (goji berries, bee pollen, hemp seeds), there’s something for everyone.

THE SCOOP: Why drink your Goldenmilk when you could have the turmeric-spiked treat in frozen form?

SALT & STRAW

West Coast purveyor Salt & Straw has increased plant-based options on its rotating menu — hello, Dandelion Hazelnut Cookies and Cream — plus just published an eponymous ice cream cookbook detailing dozens of its most inventive recipes, including a versatile vegan base. With five locations in Greater Los Angeles, four in S.F., two in San Diego and even one at Anaheim’s Downtown Disney District, your next scoop should be just around the corner.

THE SCOOP: Get a minty blast with Freckled Mint TCHO-colate Chip, a peppermint coconut ice cream dotted with TCHO’s ethically crafted chocolate.

 

VAN LEEUWEN

The New York-based chain, which now has four locations in Los Angeles, originally debuted nondairy flavors made from housemade cashew milk, organic coconut milk and cocoa butter in 2013.

THE SCOOP: If you’re nut-averse, try one of the brand-new oat milk-based flavors, which just debuted in May. The Vegan Oat Milk Latte is kind of like your morning cup of joe, only better.

SWEET ROSE CREAMERY

The aptly named and sweetly decorated scoop shops from the Rustic Canyon Group are known for using the highest-quality ingredients for their handmade ice cream, so it follows that the vegan flavors are no different. Their vegan Vanilla is made from a coconut cream base infused with vanilla beans, while the dairy-free/vegan Cookie Dough is an oat and coconut cream base made with pure vanilla extract with chunks of already-vegan cookie dough throughout.

THE SCOOP: Go all-out and order a vegan chocolate cake, frosted and filled with German Chocolate ice cream (translation: a coconut cream base blended with Guittard chocolate and covered in mini chocolate chips).

 

Feature image: The new vegan and dairy-free Cookie Dough ice cream by SWEET ROSE CREAMERY. Photo by Abby Mahler.

 

This story originally appeared in the May 2019 issue of C Magazine and has been updated as of June 5, 2019.

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