Independent Burger, El Paso, TX

Sometimes, delicious homemade ice cream falls into your lap. That’s basically what happened to me in El Paso!

When I pulled into Gufo di Milani, known for great gelato in El Paso, I took a quick look around the cute plaza, which is a part of a larger live/work complex. I noticed a really cute burger place and was SHOCKED to see on their signs that they had ice cream!

Not only that – homemade ice cream! And that, my friends, is why in the span of an hour, I had a dish of gelato followed by a dish of ice cream. Independent Burger, El Paso, TX

Independent Burger is a really cute fast casual restaurant with a bar. Food and drinks are affordable and it feels like your cool neighborhood bar hangout for after work. I saw shakes and ice cream sandwiches on their menu, but not ice cream, so I was happy when they said sure, you can have a dish.

Independent Burger, El Paso, TXThey had a few flavors. I was floored by the price – $2.15! – for a large portion.

I didn’t ask to try it first. I can’t believe how cheap it was. And a to-go container was no problem.

Here’s what I had:

Independent Burger, El Paso, TXChocolate – This ice cream is dark, rich, creamy and delicious! It’s almost a fudgy texture. I highly recommend it as is and I’m sure it’s awesome in a shake too. Yum! This is such a find. If I lived nearby, I’d be here all the time!

Their regular menu looks fabulous, including excellent gluten-free options I can’t wait to try.

Big thanks to Independent Burger for keeping it classy and casual and making their own ice cream. Yum!

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Gufo du Milano, El Paso, TX

Gufo di Milano gets the best reviews for ice cream or gelato in El Paso, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a sweet cafe worth a visit, offering coffee, sandwiches and occasional live music in addition to the gelato. They also host an open mic once a month, which we appreciate! Gufo di Milano, El Paso, TX | In Search of a Scoop

The staff was super-friendly and very patient with me. The sign stated we could try two samples each, but I was allowed the three I requested. Their signage shows a commitment to fresh and natural and to community, and it showed. Gufo di Milano, El Paso, TX | In Search of a Scoop

My first thought as the scooping began was that the gelato had a harder texture than I would have anticipated. But don’t you worry.

Here’s what I tried: Gufo di Milano, El Paso, TX | In Search of a Scoop

Pistachio Bronte – If the name sounds unusual, it refers to a specific kind of pistachio. This is some truly serious dark pistachio flavor. I found it very smooth, rich and pretty creamy too. I enjoyed the little chunks of pistachio. I could eat this all day! Yum.

Coffee – This coffee packs some serious heft. I really loved it. It’s for coffee lovers only. I found it a little deeper than Brigham’s, the coffee ice cream I hold as the standard from my childhood. This definitely makes my top 5, and maybe even my top 3, for coffee!

Lemon Cucumber Tajin – Wow. This is spicy, bright, and all the mentioned flavors come through clearly. It’s amazing and complicated and lovely. If I had to be picky, I’d mention that it’s slightly less creamy than the others I tried. This is a perfect summer flavor.

For the record, the pistachio and coffee are a fabulous pairing. Pricing here is reasonable for gelato, starting at $4.19 and going up to $5.99 for a large, which I did with three scoops.

This place offers really great gelato! Also, it appears that ALL of their gelato is gluten-free, which is awesome to see. I had a fantastic visit here and look forward to returning again soon!

Gufo di Milano, El Paso, TX | In Search of a Scoop

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I am truly grateful for your support of my blog! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

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Little Calf Creamery and Cafe, Thousand Oaks, CA

Little Calf Creamery and Cafe, Thousand Oaks, CA | In Search of a ScoopAt Little Cafe Creamery and Cafe, ice cream isn’t the only thing on the menu, but it’s definitely a sweet destination! It’s in the back of a cute, higher end strip mall in Thousand Oaks, California. Little Calf Creamery and Cafe, Thousand Oaks, CA | In Search of a Scoop

As is true at a lot of counter service places, I felt rushed to try flavors (I didn’t want to keep a family from their dinner), but I noticed a large variety, including a coconut milk base, an almond milk base, a couple of sorbets and of course lots of ice cream flavors.

A double will get you two flavors if you like. It’s a nice space, with both an indoor and an outdoor option. $4 for a rather large single or $6 for a double felt like a great deal in this area, and perhaps best of all, they bring the ice cream to your table. I also loved that they use real dishes if you’re eating in.Little Calf Creamery and Cafe, Thousand Oaks, CA | In Search of a Scoop

Here’s what I tried:

Little Calf Creamery and Cafe, Thousand Oaks, CA | In Search of a Scoop

Mint Chocolate Chip – The chips here are incredible and really melt in your mouth. The minty base wasn’t my favorite of all time, but it was still quite good.

Dublin Cream – If you like Bailey’s, this is amazing! It’s an excellent flavor I’d love to return to. I found it on St Patrick’s Day…it’s almost an eggnog texture. This one will stick with me for a long time. Highly recommend.

Classic Chocolate- This is a pleasant medium to light chocolate. It’s not particularly rich…pleasant, but it won’t win any awards.Little Calf Creamery and Cafe, Thousand Oaks, CA | In Search of a Scoop

Peanut Butter Fudge- This is a peanut butter base with chocolate fudge, with real swirls of peanut butter in it. It’s great if you’re in the mood for peanut butter!

Overall, I found the ice cream had an excellent texture. It’s pretty creamy and consistent. Really high quality and worth a visit!

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I am truly grateful for your support of my blog! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

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Salt and Straw, Los Angeles, CA

Salt and Straw, originally from Portland, is legendary for high-quality ice cream and unusual flavors. They’ve been on my radar for some time, including with the opening of a location at Disneyland, but until recently I’d never gotten to experience the magic for myself. Salt and Straw, Los Angeles, CA | In Search of a Scoop

On a recent visit to Los Angeles, I was happy to be able to see (and taste) what everyone had been talking about.

I came here with a friend, which meant I could try her flavor in addition to my own. I tried several flavors and then settled on a tasting flight for $11.75, four kid-sized flavors served in a cute dish. That price felt reasonable to me for the ability to comfortably taste for flavors and because we were in a big city…plus, it’s clear at a place like this that you’re enjoying high-quality ingredients. Here’s what I had:Salt and Straw, Los Angeles, CA | In Search of a Scoop

Avocado and Oaxaca Chocolate Fudge – This isn’t a super sweet flavor, but the chunks of fudge are sweet and also a little salty. It’s nice, kind of like a grownup version of some of the ice cream I had as a kid with fudge throughout it. The avocado is more subtle (as I would expect) but it also had some avocado chunks in there, and it was a nice pairing with the chocolate.

Freckles Woodblock Chocolate – Wow! This is almost like a salty sweet hot chocolate. It’s very fun! Salt and Straw, Los Angeles, CA | In Search of a Scoop

Almond Brittle with Salted Ganache – This Brittle is delicious, and it’s a very creamy base that’s satisfying with the mix-ins. But be forewarned – this chocolate ganache is definitely not sweet.

Honey Lavender – This is a sweet and strong lavendar. I found it really satisfying even if the honey isn’t as prominent as it could be.

Salt and Straw, Los Angeles, CA | In Search of a ScoopBlack Olive Brittle and Goat Cheese – Wow!!!! We have a winner! The goat cheese is super strong, and the olive is tasty and crunchy. It’s unusual and super fun if you like these salty foods. I left feeling it was one of my favorite combinations I’ve ever had. Since then I’ve decided that I’d be willing to give up other ice cream if I could eat this every day…no joke! So maybe the best flavor/ice cream I’ve ever had!

The ice cream bases here are definitely creamy and milky and yet have almost no sweetness to them. So you taste flavors, but the bases aren’t as prominent as I’d like. Overall, I found the experience fun but besides the last flavor, there wasn’t anything I’d crave or need to come back for.

Thanks, Salt and Straw! I’m sure I will be back someday for that olive and goat cheese amazingness! And thank you all for reading. Happy eating!

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Mashti Malone’s in Los Angeles, CA

Mashti Malone’s, Los Angeles, CA | In Search of a ScoopDuring a recent visit to Los Angeles, I made a point, as always, to find some homemade ice cream. One of the places near me with the best reviews was Mashti Malone’s.

This is a place offering an incredible variety of flavors. They offer traditional flavors that any ice cream lover will recognize, but they also offer a variety of flavors I’ve never seen anywhere, including sorbets and some flavors with rice noodles!

The staff was super friendly, calm and very helpful. It’s an unassuming place in an unassuming plaza but I will absolutely be back someday. The music playing was old school swing and jazz – fantastic!

They also offered some other desserts – perhaps Turkish? Pardon my ignorance – they looked great.

Here are the flavors I tried:Mashti Malone’s, Los Angeles, CA | In Search of a Scoop

Sour Cherry Rose Water Sorbet with Rice Noodles – The sour cherry is super prominent here. It’s a really fun flavor.

Herbal Snow Sorbet – Wow! This is rose, lemon, basil seeds and herbs. It made me think of my great-grandmother, oddly…like beautiful smells in my mouth! There are so many delicious flavors combining here. It’s not creamy – definitely a Sorbet – but this is an incredible experience.

Saffron Pistachio with Rosewater – This has a creamy and lovely base. The saffron flavor is fabulous. It’s so great in ice cream. My only potential complaint is perhaps the pistachio is a bit of an afterthought here. I love the color combination though. And the rosewater is a bit hidden, but you can still taste it.

Ginger Rosewater – This is very nice, but not as nuanced a flavor as the others.

Overall the flavors here are very smooth and creamy, and the sorbet was on the creamier side considering it didn’t have the dairy or egg base.

If you’d like multiple flavors, you’ll need to order a double (do it!) and when you sample, they use a double spoon and give you two flavors at a time – very environmentally friendly and smart!

I found the double to be a good size – $7 makes perfect sense in a city and with these unusual flavors and ingredients. Even outside a city for the ingredients it would have made sense to me.

Next time I will try the date and cucumber flavors…but I will absolutely get that herbal snow sorbet again. At the end of the day…at the end of my life…this stuff is seriously that good. Wow.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy eating!

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Supporting My Blog

I am truly grateful for your support of my blog! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Become a patron of my work!
  • Make purchases via my Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
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  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from me and my husband, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com.

The Baked Bear in El Paso, TX

The Baked Bear is a high-end ice cream experience catering to the younger set interested in a bit of nostalgia. Their menu is limited and focused, with about a dozen flavors of ice cream, a variety of cookies, including a gluten-free option, and several ways to combine the two or add other treats to your ice cream. The experience is kind of an assembly line in the Subway or Chipotle model, where you choose your cookies, ice cream, toppings and such.

Most of their flavors contain gluten, but I came in specifically to try a gluten/free ice cream sandwich, which is made by sandwiching a scoop of ice cream between two (warmed if desired) cookies.

Toppings are an additional $.50, and the cookies can be purchased separately if you aren’t an ice cream person – in which case you probably aren’t reading this!

What I tried:

I tried a few flavors of their homemade ice cream, both of which were okay, but not great. I settled on getting a gluten-free chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich with dark chocolate ice cream, topped with caramel. The Baked Bear, El Paso, TX | In Search of a Scoop

Luckily, I found the cookies to be delicious, so that and the caramel helped take the experience over the top despite the adequate but not memorable dark chocolate ice cream. The Baked Bear, El Paso, TX | In Search of a Scoop

While there are better places for a dish of ice cream or gelato in town, if you’re in for a super sugary treat, I can highly recommend an ice cream sandwich! My husband and I shared one, but heck, have it for dinner if you don’t feel like sharing.

The prices were on the higher side but nothing wild for a fancy dessert treat in the city – $5.95 before my topping, tax and tip. The Baked Bear, El Paso, TX | In Search of a Scoop

If you go, let me know what flavor combo you go for! They had some really beautiful cookie options.

Thanks, and happy eating!

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Supporting My Blog

I am truly grateful for your support of my blog! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Become a patron of my work!
  • Make purchases via my Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
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  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from me and my husband, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com.

Cactus Flats, El Paso, TX

Mainly a pizza place, Cactus Flats is the kind of comfy place you’d envision when you think of a hometown pizza spot. But unlike most pizza places, they don’t carry ice cream bars or the cheapest ice cream around. They make their own!

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Sacred Grounds, Ruidoso, New Mexico

Sacred Grounds has some pretty delicious gelato and sorbet. Located in Ruidoso, a really cute tourist town in the mountains, it’s a large, beautiful cafe. Unfortunately, I almost left without trying their gelato! Here’s the full scoop on why. 

When I arrived at Sacred Grounds, it was a very busy place. I knew I probably wouldn’t be able to try much, and I was okay with that. But what I didn’t expect was to be dealing with a pretty clueless staff member behind the counter. 

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The Chocolate Lady – A Short Story

You’re wandering the streets of Old Mesilla in New Mexico. You come seeking an authentic connection to history, but it’s hard to discern what was from the crowds of tourists, slightly bored and seeking something they can’t quite put their finger on. The Chocolate Lady, Old Mesilla, NM | In Search of a Scoop

I’ve seen this before, you think to yourself. The old quirky bookstore with charm but no room to move, the town square. It’s old west meets ski town meets too many visitors, and after a few obligatory photos, it’s probably time to leave.

And then you see it. Next to another store selling Blue Bell ice cream and other too common sights, there’s a sign: homemade ice cream. The Chocolate Lady, Old Mesilla, NM | In Search of a Scoop

Really? Could it be? In a candy store where four people feel like they’ve crashed the party, there’s homemade ice cream? How? Why?

But it calls you. You open the door and walk the aisles. Nice-looking homemade chocolates. A few trinkets. You find the ice cream sign, and are disappointed to see it only comes in one size. Huh. But you made it this far.

When they say no samples are allowed, you almost run. But you can afford this. Even if it’s garbage. And again, if it pays off…

So you go for it…and when they bring it out, it’s clear it’s pre-packed. That’s why it’s one size only. You haven’t seen pre-packed since Sandwich Creamery in New Hampshire…but that was outstanding. The Chocolate Lady, Old Mesilla, NM | In Search of a Scoop

So you take your ice cream and your spoon, step outside, find a bench and prepare for…

Wow. You couldn’t have prepared for this. It’s…it’s unlike any ice cream you’ve had. The base is cream, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla, and this has chocolate chips throughout. The Chocolate Lady, Old Mesilla, NM | In Search of a Scoop

It’s very rich, a medium chocolate. The texture is on the hard side initially, but it melts and flakes easily in your mouth.

This is definitely homemade, and quite enjoyable. And at $3.50, it’s cheap. A decent size. A slow-eating ice cream. It reminds you of Carvel ice cream cake with its texture. You finish your cup, satisfied. Welcome to Old Mesilla.

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Supporting My Blog

I am truly grateful for your support of my blog! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

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Classics in Roswell

This week, we head to the movies…nah, we get some frozen custard! Obviously!

Ice cream at Classics, Roswell, NM | In Search of a Scoop

Classics in Roswell is a stand with a drive-through. It’s got an adorable, retro vibe and offers a variety of savory food as well as frozen custard.

Ice cream at Classics, Roswell, NM | In Search of a Scoop

I went for the custard, of course, and paired it with hot fudge. Unfortunately, it has a very egg-like flavor that I found distracting. It’s the right texture though, and a good vehicle for toppings.

Ice cream at Classics, Roswell, NM | In Search of a Scoop

I think I will be back to try the soups or chili, but if I’m craving custard, I will have to drive a few hours to Caliche’s. Or visit Sippy and Opal’s, my favorite ice cream within several hour’s drive!

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Supporting My Blog

I am truly grateful for your support of my blog! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Become a patron of my work!
  • Make purchases via my Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using my affiliate links. Signing up with Dosh or Capital One 360 is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support me, and I also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money. This link will take you to my other travel page with my husband – we’ll have one here soon!
  • Listen to, subscribe and review my theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to this as well as my other travel blog, RossAndJamieAdventure, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from me and my husband, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com.