Category: Destination Ice Cream

The Hub, Tucson, AZ

On a recent visit to Tucson, I was delighted to finally experience ice cream at The Hub, on a cute downtown street with other ice cream and dining options – including The Hub restaurant across the street! The Hub, Tucson, AZ | In Search of a Scoop

The staff was excellent and would let me try flavors forever, it seemed, but I stopped on the earlier side with a crowd behind me.

They had tons of well-labeled gluten-free and dairy-free flavors, which I greatly appreciated.

Here’s what I sampled:

Queen Bee – This is a coffee base with bits of honeycomb in it. It’s really tasty! I only skipped it because I didn’t need the extra caffeine boost from the coffee.

Dark Chocolate – This is a very rich dark chocolate. It’s not my ideal texture, but honestly, it’s pretty darn close. It’s a really excellent and powerful flavor. This might make my top five for chocolate!

Banana Nutella – This flavor is for banana fans only! It’s a banana base with Nutella in it. I found the chocolate chips really satisfying – I also hadn’t expected them. Honestly? I could use more Nutella here.

Rice Krispie Treat – This is a marshmallow base with Rice Krispie treats in it. It’s very fun, with chewy bits. Light and satisfying.

Prices were definitely on the higher side, although in a city, this isn’t AS high as it would be elsewhere. It was $4.50 for a very small small, or $7.50 for what is maybe a medium somewhere else. They said you can get up to three flavors for that large at $7.50 – which I did.

The Hub offers delicious, though expensive, ice cream. Although some flavors were fantastic and others were just very good, combined with the service And clarity of labeling and dairy-free options and I will 100% recommend it for discerning ice cream enthusiasts.

Have you visited The Hub?

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Cottonwood, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

I don’t usually review places without homemade ice cream, as you know, but when a recent visit to Cottonwood at Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum wowed me, I thought, what the heck? There’s a lot to love in this little stand, generally open for several hours on museum days. The signage is great and tells you if each flavor is gluten-free or not. Ice cream here is surprisingly affordable for a museum, with a pretty big double scoop running $4.50 plus tax. Not enough? Add another scoop for a dollar! Cottonwood, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, AZ | In Search of a Scoop

I also loved seeing the small spoons made of renewable wood.

They carry a really diverse list of flavors. Everything from Dreyer’s and Blue Bunny to flavors I hadn’t heard of before can be found here.

They’re also happy to let you try a flavor. Here’s what I got!!

Cottonwood, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, AZ | In Search of a Scoop

Brown Sugar with Saigon Cinnamon (Chef’s Line) – Wow. What a flavor, right? I think it’s sweet enough, especially with the cinnamon, and super creamy. What a lovely brown sugar base. Yum! It reminded me of the idea of a pumpkin pie spiced drink or ice cream. Think pure cream and sweet with the lunch of cinnamon.

Mint Chip (Glenview Farms) – Nice. The chocolate here is very finely chopped. It’s s great texture and a classic flavor.

If you need something special, consider trying a fun prickly pear drink – you can even combine one with vanilla soft serve!

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is one of my favorite places in the world, and I’m happy to know I can get tasty ice cream here too!

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Return to Isabella’s in Tucson, AZ

My first visit to Isabella’s was a few years ago, and I was shocked to learn that they’d lost power that day. As a result, the ice cream consistency wasn’t great and it didn’t wow me as an ice cream place. So when I knew I’d be returning to Tucson, I thought it only fair to give them a second look, more than two years later. Isabella’s, Tucson, AZ | In Search of a Scoop

This time around, I was surprised to find them inside another restaurant. More of an ice cream stand or counter, they only have space to carry about eight or nine flavors. During my visit, only a few of them were gluten-free, and they also carried a lot of sorbet.

The waitstaff was nice, but I felt rushed as they seemed to juggle staff to serve me. But they were patient and encouraged me to try flavors.

Here’s what I tried:Isabella’s, Tucson, AZ | In Search of a Scoop

Salted Caramel Pecan – This is a deeply satisfying and creamy base. The pecans are very nice. The salt pops with the caramel.

Butterfinger – This is a buttery and luscious base. Yum. It pairs well with the other flavor.

I went with a $4 small scoop, which they allowed me to get two kinds in. In hindsight I was very hungry and could have gone for a $6 large. I was disappointed to be served a cup with a soup spoon though!

Both of these bases are really well done, perfectly smooth. I’m glad I gave them another chance! Isabella’s may not have changed my life, but it’s super tasty and truly great ice cream. Well done!

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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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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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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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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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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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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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