By Maria del Cisne Vital


We all know that summer time is best time for a deliciously sweet serving (or two) of ice cream. The perfect chocolate/vanilla swirl atop a waffle cone is a classic image that we can all appreciate. But sometimes classic is boring, and a spontaneous and daring option is as enticing as ever. SoCal is home to several ice cream shops that serve up wild flavors— Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, chicken and waffles, and avocado are just a few to mention. Forget vanilla, and celebrate Creative Ice Cream Flavors Day the right way at one of these shops:


The Coolhaus Shop 

Coolhaus started out as two friends making ice cream sandwiches for fun, and ended up turning into a booming L.A. business. Its storefront in Culver City scoops up classic flavors, but also has some unique ones ready for you to try out. Their Fried Chicken and Waffles flavor features Brown Butter Maple ice cream with maple candied chicken skins and caramelized waffles. If meat and ice cream is too daring for you, settle for their Whiskey Lucky Charms flavor which is infused with Lucky Charms cereal and Jameson whiskey. Among the wacky flavors, there’s also the “fast food” ice cream— salted Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream, chocolate malt balls, and French fry crisps. You can make your Coolhaus experience even better by sandwiching your creative flavor in between one of the many different cookie options!

(310) 838-5559

Address: 8588 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232


McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams

McConnell’s in Santa Barbara is a popular spot for serving up ice cream that is not only delicious, but also responsibly and sustainably produced. Their ice cream is made from scratch and they even sell pints if you can’t get enough of it. Ever heard of Eureka lemons or marionberries? Either way, you’re in luck because that is one of the flavors being scooped at this shop. The berry preserves are perfectly swirled into a tart Eureka lemon-infused, dairy-free, plant-based frozen dessert— yes, it’s a vegan flavor! If you want a flavor that isn’t too bold but still leaves your taste buds with a little surprise, try “Earl Grey Tea and Shortbread Cookies.” It’s like having afternoon tea, but you don’t have to eat it with your pinky up.

(805) 324-4402

Address: 728 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101


Drill’d Ice Cream Mixmasters

Drill’d opened in Fountain Valley at the beginning of the year, but it has made a lasting impression and is here to stay. Stepping into the shop, you know it is meant to be an experience with its instagrammable neon lights and huge mixing machines that create crazy concoctions. You can create your own custom mix, but their specialties make you raise your brow. “Hot as Hell” is made with a vanilla base, but it has Xxtra Flamin’ Hot Cheetos mixed in and it is topped with Hot Cheeto Dust. If you don’t want spicy but still want a crunch, try the “Lay Over,” a vanilla base mixed with Lays Original potato chips and topped with crushed Lays and a chocolate drizzle. But wait— there’s more! Feel better about eating ice cream by having the healthy option of “Fresh Avo,” which is vanilla ice cream blended with avocado and topped with frosted flakes and a condensed milk drizzle.

Address: 18279 Brookhurst Street, Ste. 2, Fountain Valley, CA 92708


Salt & Straw

This shop has several locations in SoCal, and its San Diego location is located in Little Italy. Known for their artisan flavors and unique collaborations with chefs, Salt & Straw is definitely going to expand your flavor palate. For something soft and refreshing, try the Honey Lavender flavor. It is delicate and creamy and the light purple color is just so pretty! For something out of the ordinary, try Chef Brian Malarkey of Herb & Wood’s concoction called “Roasted Beets and Humboldt Fog.” The flavor is a mix of beet ice cream, goat cheese gelato, candied walnuts and a swirl of beet and apple jam. A portion of the proceeds from this flavor and the other chef collaborations benefits the Share Our Strength Campaign in support of No Kid Hungry.

(619) 542-9394

Address: 1670 India Street, San Diego CA 92101


Lappert’s Ice Cream

This Hawaiian-based shop made its move to SoCal in the 1980s and has been the place for tropical-infused flavors. You don’t have to go to Hawaii or Disneyland anymore for a taste of Dole Whip. Lappert’s has six flavors, in addition to the classic pineapple, of the refreshing treat— orange, raspberry, lime, mango, lemon, and strawberry. Aside from Dole Whip, Lappert’s most popular flavor is their “Date Casablanca,” a Medajool date ice cream with a date/caramel swirl. The shop also makes an effort to include international delicacies into their ice creams. Their “Ube Macapuno” flavor mixes Philippine purple Ube Root with coconut puree.

(760) 325-1717

Address: 130 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, California 92262