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Ice Cream

Great ice cream is pretty common in the Los Angeles area. We’ve got Austrian ice cream at Charlie Temmel, which may be the only taste this column and the current governor have in common. Also Ciao Bella, which makes fine gelato for several restaurants around the city. The estimable Dr. Bob enables Southland chocoholics from his outpost in Upland (look for his ice cream at a few supermarkets around town, including Gelson’s, Bristol Farms and Howie’s in San Gabriel). McConnell’s in Santa Barbara is only a couple hours’ drive. Here are a few other places to cool off this summer:Cora’s Coffee Shoppe. After decades in service as a prototypically grungy beach dive, Cora’s was chopped and channeled by Bruce Marder into a vision of what its former customers feared most: a pretty patio café fueled by well-made frittatas, truly spicy tacos given a not-inappropriate expensive-restaurant gloss, goopy $12 hamburgers made with ground Kobe-style beef, and astonishingly good house-made caramel ice cream. There goes the neighborhood. 1802 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, (310) 451-9562. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Tues.–Sat. 7 a.m.–9 p.m. Closed Sun.–Mon. No alcohol. Takeout. Lot parking. AE, MC, V. Meal-size dishes $5–$14. American. JG ¢ Disney’s Soda Fountain & Studio Store. Bringing more than a hint of corporate suburban-mall kitsch to this part of Hollywood, the Disney Soda Fountain & Studio Store also brings the excellent ice cream imported from Dewar’s. The original Dewar’s, a 1909 candy counter across from Bakersfield High School, is so little changed that it looks almost art-directed, like a set modeled on the pages of an old Saturday Evening Post. When you order a sundae, the soda jerk at Dewar’s packs the ice cream densely into a goblet with a butter knife, then pours fudge over it until it cascades stickily onto the counter. Disney’s waitresses, whose smiles seem superglued to their shiny, shiny teeth, may not do the trick with the butter knife, but they efficiently bring out black-and-white sundaes lubricated with hot fudge and whipped marshmallow, banana splits drowning in marshmallow and strawberry sauce, and milk shakes made with vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup, fresh bananas and ground walnuts, which taste like the kind of protein drinks they might prepare in Valhalla. The peppermint sundae, made with Dewar’s candy-stick-spiked peppermint ice cream and the requisite portion of marshmallow fluff, is especially good. On the other hand, the sundae called Mickey’s Masterpiece, eight scoops of ice cream, three sauces and bucketsful of whipped cream served in the brim of a version of the sorcerer’s hat from Fantasia, looks like the aftermath of a Roman feast. Hollywood strikes again. 6834 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; www.disneysodafountain.com. Open daily, 9:30 a.m.–10 p.m. AE, MC, V. Street parking. No alcohol. Takeout window. American. $6.75–$24.95. JG $ Green Cottage. This Iranian-American family restaurant, a converted pie shop, has the long tables, and the bilingual multigenerational families, and the sassy waitresses, and the twinkly lights, and the lounge singer who knows all the verses to both “That’s Amore” and “Volare.” The massive plates hold more than any one person could possibly consume. It is all so very American, as American as apple pie. Except that the food that everybody is overeating happens to be lamb kebabs and koobideh and the sticky pomegranate-chicken stew called fesenjan; sweet rosewater ices spiked with noodles; saffron-pistachio ice cream for dessert. You can have your Old Country nostalgia; I’ll take mine — with an Alka-Seltzer chaser, please. 20022 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills, (818) 888-8815. Closed Mondays. Tues.–Sun. noon.–10 p.m. AE, D, MC, V. Iranian. JG ¢ Heidar Baba. Heidar Baba may be the first halal Iranian restaurant in the Los Angeles area, a redoubt of extreme cleanliness, meat slaughtered according to Islamic law, and cooks who wear the hijab even in the heat of lunch rush. One end of the restaurant is taken up by a kind of café selling espresso, boba tea and exotic, rosewater-intensive house-made ice cream. The menu is pretty basic — kebabs mostly, various combination plates of grilled beef and grilled lamb, grilled chicken and grilled lengths of koobideh, lightly seasoned ground beef or chicken, all flanked with charred tomatoes and grilled hot peppers, lined up like soldiers around lofty drifts of saffron-gilded rice that go on forever. 1511 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, (626) 844-7970. Lunch and dinner Mon. 11 a.m.–8 p.m., Tues.–Sun. 11 a.m.–9 p.m. No alcohol. Lot parking. AE, D, MC, V. Food for two: $14–$28. Halal Iranian. JG $ Lickety Split. This frozen-custard parlor in the courtyard of the old Egyptian Theater is the perfect place to stop by after a showing at the Cinematheque. The product, scooped up and plopped onto a cone rather than squirted out of a machine, has the smooth, effortlessly melting texture of the frozen custard from the famous stands in Wisconsin and Missouri, although it also has a persistent, salty kick that starts as a back note, tempering the sweetness, but becomes perhaps too dominant by the bottom half of a serving. 6708 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, (323) 466-5425. Mon.–Thurs. 10 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 10 a.m.–mid., Sun. 10 a.m–9 p.m. AE, V, MC, Meter parking. American. JG ¢ Mashti Malone. This shop on La Brea near Sunset makes the tastiest Middle Eastern–style ice cream this side of Shatila in suburban Detroit, a rainbow of flavors inflected with rosewater, saffron and freshly roasted pistachios. 1525 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 874-6168. Mon.–Fri. 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m., Sat.–Sun. 11:30 a.m.–11:30 p.m. Parking lot. AM, MC, V. Middle Eastern. JG ¢ Soda Jerks. The ice cream served at Soda Jerks, an old-fashioned soda fountain in Pasadena, is Fosselman’s — an excellent local brand that’s been made in Alhambra by the Fosselman family for the last 80 years. Soda Jerks is a kid-friendly place, with cheerful college-age attendants behind the counter. You can order lunch (great hot dogs!) before your ice cream, or you can cut to the chase: unwieldy scoops of toasted almond, coconut-pineapple or rocky road in a sugar cone. I love cones — cake or sugar — but coming to one always makes me sad; it means the end is in sight. 219 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena, (626) 583-8031. Open weekdays 8 a.m.–9:30 p.m., weekends till 10 p.m. No alcohol. Takeout. Parking lot. AE, MC, V. American. MH ¢ Twohey’s. In its former lifetime as a drive-in hamburger restaurant, Twohey’s, at the confluence of Alhambra and San Marino, may not even have rated as a soda fountain, but by the new century’s standards it is very good indeed, flipping out exemplary fresh-lime freezes, fizzily perfect ice cream sodas, and shakes so thick that they essentially deny the straw. But Twohey’s hot fudge sundae, an adult concoction made with dense whipped cream, Fosselman’s artisanal vanilla ice cream and a fudge that practically vibrates with intense chocolate bitterness, is the cherry on its banana split. Twohey’s may not be C.C. Brown’s — nothing may ever be again — but it serves one hell of a hot fudge sundae. 1224 N. Atlantic Blvd., Alhambra, (626) 284-7387. AE, MC, V. American. JG $

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Alhambra

2120 W. Main St.
Alhambra, CA 91801-1856

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