Plenty of chefs, inspired by the success of the cronut or the ramen burger, are looking to create the next culinary hybrid hit. John Park, chef-owner of Quenelle, has a killer mash-up of his own: a funnel cake ice cream sandwich, which is only available Thursday nights from 5-8 p.m. at Ice Que, his shaved-snow emporium on Alhambra’s Main Street.
Park —who runs branches of the ice-cream-focused Quenelle in Burbank and San Marino, and opened Ice Que earlier this year — has just begun to expand Ice Que’s repertoire beyond chef-driven shaved snow and boba drinks.
“I always wanted to incorporate funnel cake into dessert,” he says. The itch goes back to 2006 when he was Water Grill’s pastry chef and began to reconceive funnel cake as a garnish and as an edible Tic-tac-toe board. Ultimately, he decided its best use was to pair it with ice cream.
The result, his Funnelle Cake Ice Cream Sandwich ($6.50), features twin funnel cake patties, created from deep-fried, free-form pancake batter. These supple, powdered sugar-dusted cakes are great friends to ice cream since they’re loaded with nooks and crannies.
Even when they’re hot from the fryer, the funnel cakes don’t melt the ice cream. In the middle of them you’ll find a creamy, frozen disc of vanilla-mascarpone ice cream accented with strawberry jam that’s spiked with St. Germain elderflower liqueur.
"I wanted it to taste just like at Knott's Berry Farm, with whipped cream and strawberry jam," Park says.
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If demand for his new invention grows, Park says he’ll start serving the funnelle cake ice cream sandwiches for more than just three hours per week. For now, it’s a Thursday night treat.
Ice Que, 401 W. Main St., Alhambra