Where most “old-timey” ice cream parlors seem like self-conscious simulacra of some Norman Rockwell fantasy, Jerry's Soda Shoppe at the De Soto Pharmacy feels unspoiled by kitsch. Tucked between a wall of vintage Life magazines and rows of blunt yet evocative ointments like Corn Husker's Lotion, everything at Jerry's — the sundaes, the shakes, the banana splits, the ice cream sodas — looks gorgeous and tastes even better. Frosty glass mugs are hand-dipped in warm chocolate, which hardens into a delicious, edible carapace. Jerry's uses high-grade ice cream: Fosselman's, Cascade or Lappert's (including the signature flavor, Kauai Pie, a blend of chocolate and coffee). Fizzy soda water, the perfect amount of chocolate syrup and a hearty stir transform the egg cream into a frothy dream. The floats and sodas can be gussied up with half a dozen Torani syrups, though the purist's version with plain seltzer needs no improvement, especially when it's crowned with a mountain of whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles and a maraschino cherry. Even from the Mexican border, this tiny pocket of Canoga Park is worth the drive. 20914 Roscoe Blvd., Canoga Park. (818) 341-9515.

—Elina Shatkin

LA Weekly