With news that Coolhaus will launch a truck in New York (and open a storefront in Culver City), while Papaya King rolls out a Los Angeles truck (@papayakingla) on Monday (and will open a brick-and-mortar location in Hollywood), it's time to see whether it's a fair cultural exchange. Who's getting the longer end of this stick?
Out of a pink-topped silver ice cream truck, Coolhaus serves Brobdingnagian ice cream sandwiches, the kind that should put to rest any lingering memories of those chocolate, strawberry and vanilla rectangles consumed without pause even by the smallest of children. At $5, Coolhaus' upmarket ice cream sandwiches something of an investment, especially in time.
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While the cookies are adequate -- soft and substantial without doing much to distinguish themselves -- the ice cream is fantastic. Smooth and rich with a silky mouthfeel, it comes in esoteric flavors like a buttery, burnt caramel with hints of candied, lightly smoked bacon, a white Russian that might make The Dude forgo the hard stuff and a tart ricotta studded with dried cherries. They even do a vegan horchata that's pretty damn good.
The combos have cutesy architectural names like Richard Meier Lemon, Meyer lemon peel ice cream on a ginger cookie, and Frank Behry, strawberry ice cream on a snickerdoodle. (Perhaps, the IM Peinut Butter didn't do so well; we no longer see it on the menu.) Or you can make your own combo from half-a-dozen cookies and fillings. The red velvet cookie pairs remarkably well with the cherry and ricotta, while the double chocolate cookie pairs well with just about everything.
All sandwiches are served in customizable edible wrappers made from potatoes and printed with soy ink. This is where time management becomes an issue. The ice cream is always exceptionally soft, even a tad under-frozen. It melts at an exponential rate, beginning the moment the metal scoop leaves the freezer until the wrapper becomes a flavorless a sticky paste around the sandwich. The intentions here are good. Who doesn't want to reduce deforestation from paper products? But the execution demands a rethink. Coolhaus sandwiches require more napkins than a normal ice cream cone. Unquestionably delicious, a Coolhaus sandwich is an object of beauty, but given its architectural inspiration, it could use some structural integrity.