Is March 20 a particularly special day in your life? Perhaps not – until you realize that it's the first official day of spring this year. Our long regional nightmare of not using an air conditioner is finally over – quick everyone, to the aging power grid!

Or, if you're welcoming the return of warmer weekends but don't want to jump your energy bill by plugging in an AC unit, you could always cool yourself down with a tall cone of soft serve ice cream. Except soft serve, long a post-Little League summertime staple on the East Coast, is exceedingly hard to find in Los Angeles. There are gelaterias, yogurt franchises, inventive scoop shops and plenty of places that make milkshakes – but the true, simple swirl of a soft serve ice cream cone is, somehow, a rarity.

Joe Nicchi agrees, and has spent the better part of the past two years trying to change the ice cream landscape by launching his own mobile soft serve operation, known as CVT Soft Serve. And, very un-coincidentally, it hits the ground running on March 20.
If you're trying to parse out the CVT acronym, it stands for Chocolate-Vanilla-Twist – because those are the only three flavors on offer from inside their brown and cream-colored truck, lovingly dubbed Charlie. You can get rainbow sprinkles, chocolate sprinkles or a toss of sea salt for an extra fifty cents, while a bottle of water will set you back a buck fifty.

Forget bold flavors and heavy-handed fusion; that's CVT's entire menu. And best of all, though ice cream itself comes from a local creamery, the recipe has been in the Nicchi family for three generations.

CVT Soft Serve ice cream truck and the Nicchi family; Credit: Courtesy CVT Soft Serve

CVT Soft Serve ice cream truck and the Nicchi family; Credit: Courtesy CVT Soft Serve

With such a simple operation, Joe and his wife Tyler didn't even need a true catering truck, so they recommissioned a 1961 Mr. Softee truck. The snub-nosed, cream-walled mobile soft serve unit has been touched up in colors of chocolate and cream, and will certainly stand out amongst the usual sensory overload that stands in for design on most other food trucks.

CVT Soft Serve is a simple concept, and one that many East Coast transplants might find appealing, given the relative lack of true soft serve around town. For now, the truck is soft open (pun very much intended, they've assured us) with a grand opening event to be determined, around March 20. And as with most mobile food operations, the best way to find them is via their Twitter account.

Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook. Farley Elliott writes about food, drink and entertainment at

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