30 Scoops in 30 Days: Fosselman's (Day 3)
What's there left to say about Fosselman's? The quaint Alhambra ice cream shop has been written up everywhere and routinely makes local and international "best of" list. Deservedly so. Foseelman's is a 92-year-old throwback to a decade -- make that a century -- when every suburban strip mall from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine wasn't dotted with the same cheerfully grim chain restaurants.
Still family-owned and operated, Fosselman's is truly an ice cream parlor, complete with a soda fountain and bins of saltwater taffy. They're old fashioned in the best way. They don't accept credit cards, but they do make all their own ice cream, and they do it in over 40 flavors, some of them decidedly cross-cultural.
In addition to two kinds of vanilla (French and "real vanilla"), Dutch chocolate, classic butter pecan and an exquisite seasonal peach ice cream, Fosselman's also rolls out horchata, taro, lychee and ube. There's nothing quite like the freaky purple froth of an ube milkshake, redolent with mellow, slightly nutty flavor of sweet potato.
Look around, and you'll find Fosselman's dotting Los Angeles resstaurants, like Oinkster in Eagle Rock and Buster's in South Pasadena. The shop itself is the heart of the business. If it's summer, we're eating the fantastic peach ice cream, which hits just the right balance of cream and fruit, neither overpowering the other. The rest of the year, we have two go-to flavors: chocolate-dipped strawberry and banana Heath bar. The former is vibrant and very fruity strawberry ice cream riddled with tiny shard of dark chocolate. The latter is everything we want in an ice cream: fruit (banana), chocolate (Heath bar) and a light coffee flavor from the ice cream. Together, they are, like Morrissey and Johnny Marr or Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, one of the great duos of all-time.