the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Screaming for Ice Cream



You know you’re getting older when you see these photos of the latest hot it-girl, Jessica Alba, and all you can think about is how much better gelato is than regular ice cream.  I was hoping "Gelatissimo" was in Los Angeles, but alas, I looked it up in Google and it’s in Sydney, Australia.  Another reason to visit Australia other than visiting the childhood home of Russell Crowe.

Yeterday I saw the Eifman Ballet ballet’s version of Anna Karenina at the Music Center and surprisingly, didn’t fall asleep.  Tonight, I’m going to the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre to see some Brazilian guitarists.   Tomorrow, I will go to Al Gelato on Robertson for their creme brulee gelato.  Take that, Sydney, Australia.

So far, the best ice cream I ever had was in Salt Lake City, where there’s nothing else to do.   Here’s’s choices for America’s Top Ten Ice Cream Parlors.  Where was your best?

I miss the Good Humor and Mr.Softy trucks of my youth.  I never hear their familiar rings in Los Angeles.  Did they ever have them in California?

Here’s a list of "the best" ice creams in Los Angeles.   Any additions?  

UPDATE July 5:  Another choice for best ice cream— Fosselman’s.


  1. Hilary

    Mashti Malones. Yum!

  2. Neil

    You mean that dumpy looking place on La Brea near Sunset? If that’s it, upstairs there is also Le Balcon, a terrific Russian bakery. Why are all the good places in Los Angeles in these ugly mini-malls?

    Maybe I’ll make the ice cream rounds this weekend…

    Anywhere else?

  3. Richard

    There’s a good gelato place on the north side of Ventura, about a half-block west of Van Nuys.

  4. Neil

    Ice cream is always a good reason to drive into the Valley. A couple more places, maybe in Pasadena and Santa Monica, and I’m ready to direct that documentary for Sundance, “How I Put on 20 Pounds in One Weekend by Eating Ice Cream.”

  5. Hilary

    Yeah, at Sunset and La Brea in the same strip mall as the Lava Lounge. It’s delish.

  6. Crash Random

    I was just in Toscanini’s the other day, without any notion that I was in one of the Nation’s Top Ten Ice Cream Parlors. I had a banana frappe. It was okay, but not stellar. If I went back I wouldn’t have a frappe, I’d have a cone of something.

    Not mentioned on the Los Angeles list is Angelato in Santa Monica. That’s pretty good.

  7. Jack

    Coldstone is not too bad. I like Humphrey’s Yogart in Sherman Oaks too.

  8. Neil

    Thanks, Crash. More ice cream to try. But Jack, Jack, Jack… Humphrey’s Yogurt is good, but frozen yogurt just isn’t ice cream.

  9. estee

    i know that joint! you get a nice view of the opera house and harbour bridge to go with your cone, too.
    i’d send you some, but i don’t think gelato travels very well.

  10. Neil

    Wow, I can’t vouch for the ice cream, but it sounds like Syndey wins hands-down for the view. Here, all you get to see is traffic while you’re eating an ice cream cone.

  11. Jack


    That may be true, but Humphreys is just too good not to mention.

  12. Neil

    Ice cream update: I only made it two ice cream parlors this weekend — Angelato’s in Santa Monica and Mashti Malone’s on La Brea in Hollywood. (thanks Crash and Hilary). I had the green tea gelato in Angelato’s. It was very creamy and subtle, almost perfect, but I’m thinking gelato may be too elegant for my proletarian palate. It is a great place to go with a date after the movies on the 3rd St. Promenade.

    Mashti Malone’s was the big surprise for me. I must have passed it a million times and thought it looked like a dump. I didn’t realize that it’s ice cream is well-known throughout the city. It is run by two Iranians and they serve unique flavors such as Rosewater and Saffron. I know it sounds weird, but it tasted amazingly good. They also have this ice cream sandwich enclosed in a cone wafer with pistachios. That was amazing. The ice cream is a bit more chunkier and “ice-creamier” than the gelato, so maybe that’s why I liked it better.

    Angelato’s wins for ambience. Mashti Malone’s wins for its unique ice cream flavors.

    Next week, the Valley. Thanks, everyone.

  13. Sophia

    People, people, people!

    You forgot all about frozen custard! The first time I had it was in Las Vegas at the amazing Luv-It Frozen Custard, just north of the Stratosphere. It was an Alice In Wonderland experience. The place looked like an abandoned small shack, we were about to leave but then decided to knock on the window, just for the hell of it. That was one lucky knock. The custard was UN-believable. Apparently custard (also known as French ice cream), tastes so good because it’s made with egg yolks, but for some unclear reason contains less butterfat, sugar and sodium than most premium ice creams.

    I was so excited to find out that Lickity Split Frozen Custard opened up here in LA: one on Hollywood Blvd, one in El Segundo, and one in Manhattan Beach.

    Very good stuff. ..and it was voted best by citysearch, better than Mashti Malone’s and Angelato Cafe. Bon Appetit.

  14. nanette

    I was gonna suggest Angelato’s before I read your comment, Neil. I’ve only been a couple times but I love that place. All the flavors to choose from – so overwhelming! The first time I went there I saw one of my fav characters from 24, Edgar. 🙂

  15. Neil

    Sophia, we need to definitely try that frozen custard in Los Angeles. Manhattan Beach or Hollywood? I remember the place in Las Vegas. That was the highlight of our last trip there.

    And, Nanette, you saw Edgar?! One of my favs, too. Of course, everyone else reading this who didn’t watch “24” will have no idea who we’re talking about. What did he order? And what was your favorite flavor?

    By the way, can we all agree that Baskin-Robbins has the worst ice cream?

  16. Hilary

    Glad you liked Mashti’s. BTW, that’s my ‘hood!

  17. Neil

    I’ve been to the Lava Lounge and the Russian bakery upstairs many times, and I just thought Mashti Malone’s looked too weird from the outside. And to think I used to go to Thrifty/Rite-Aid for my ice cream!

  18. Richard

    Inspired by the ice cream talk, we tried to go to Robin Rose in Venice, because it was the closest place on the list. It appears to be gone. The address was occupied by some kind of gym / fitness place.

    We settled for gelato from the unlisted Venice Cafe a couple of blocks away on the beach. It was pricey and unremarkable.

  19. Neil

    That’s too bad. I remember Robin Rose as being really good. Why do we need another gym/fitness center in town when ice cream is so much more important to urban living?

  20. Nanette

    Edgar walked in right as we were leaving, so I didn’t get to see what he ordered. It was a Tuesday night, though, and even though we were TiVo-ing 24, I almost said, “Shouldn’t you be at work?” 🙂 He was also with a surprisingly pretty woman.

  21. joe

    We used to have a Good Humor ice cream truck in our neighborhood around USC circa 2000-2002, but I think it was mostly transporting drugs, not yumminess.

  22. jamis

    All this talk about frozen desserts is great, but I must mention one thing HUMPHREY”S YOGART in Sherman Oaks might be the worst single place to work on earth. The owners – always up your ass and nothing can get done. The customers – 99% of the customers that come in should not be able to leave the house without a helmet on. And the employees – most actors or wannabes, drug addicts, and one pussy footing make up artist. As for the so called yummy goodness of non fat yogurt – the most discusting thing I have ever put in my mouth. I vote Baskin Robbins over FRUMPY YOFARTS….

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