Let other places everywhere have their winter and their frozen ponds and their chilly-faced ice skating expeditions and daily errands that take on an arctic bent.
We here in Southern California understand that it is never too early for ice cream, and never the wrong time for ice cream innovation, even if it is the middle of January. (Because truth: Regardless of how wintry weather gets around LA, you will absolutely see someone out in shorts.)
Ice cream shops with a science and/or high-minded bent are dotting our city's dessert map these days, with new openings, new creations and fresh reasons for grabbing a cone when much of the country is encountering more snowballs than hot fudge sundaes.
Put on your more elegant dessert-eating pants for a trip into tony Ice Cream Ville with a visit to...
The Ice Cream Lab: The "lab" in the name is no wink-wink joke; ultra-cool (literally) liquid nitrogen is used in the creation of the mondo flavors put out by this science-meets-sweets purveyor. Make that purveyors, plural; the Ice Cream Lab in Beverly Hills has a new sibling in Pasadena. Made-to-order, fresh ingredient flavors like Beary Cinnful Horchata. Hello, horchata in ice cream, we'd like to get to know you whole lot better.
Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream: If you've gone out for a creamy concoction while in Columbus, Ohio, you've likely enjoyed a scoop from the local-legendary Jeni Britton Bauer. Now the forward-thinking chef is heading for the West Coast and LA is to be her first outpost. Where will you find Jeni's good stuff? Try Urban Radish on Jan. 28 and a host of more places to come.
Creamistry: Liquid nitrogen is the name of the gourmet game for this multi-branch ice-creamery, which is set to open a shop in Rowland Heights in February. You build your treat from a base that can taste like caramel or matcha green tea, fruit toppings and other add-ins up the general lush-a-tude of the creamy proceedings. Need to know where to find? Find here.
Salt & Straw: The Portland, Ore.-born flavor maestros landed on Larchmont Boulevard here in little ol' LA for store #2. For sure, the names and ingredients feel as bespoke as all get-out, but there's humor to be found, too (Elvis Presley's birthday was honored with an ice cream full of The King's favorite things). What's the extra super special January flavor? It pays homage to the universe, which is quite a long way from old-school mint chip. (All props, of course, to mint chip, a flavor that science will surely show trumps all other flavors in every test yet invented.)