Ice cream lovers now have another quadrant of town to frequent, one that's probably a bit more on the beaten path than, say, northern Altadena (see: Bulgarini). Specifically, Burbank, where Quenelle opened on Tuesday. Quenelle is a small, very charming ice cream and pastry shop brought to you by John Park, formerly the pastry chef at Lukshon, where his ice cream bar functioned as a kind of movable dessert preview.
Park, a veteran of the dessert kitchens of Providence, XIV and Water Grill, has filled his shop with many, many ice cream flavors, as well as pops and an impressive number of pastries. The on-a-stick portion of the program yesterday included: hibiscus watermelon pops, Thin Mint ice cream bars, peach Arnold Palmer and yuzu mojito pops. Ice cream came in a dozen flavors, including blood orange, cookies and cream, blueberry pie, passion fruit kaffir lime, caramelized pineapple, oolong tea and coconut soy milk — all of which could be scooped onto a cone or covered with some of the awesome toppings. And not your ordinary toppings either, but things like mochi and a pretty terrific house-made caramelized rice.
If ice cream isn't your thing (really??), Park is making pastries, too, which on opening day included chocolate chip cookies and scones, Linzer cookies and oatmeal cherry cookies and brownies. Once things settle down some — Park said he got four times the amount of people he expected on opening day — he'll add lots of other great stuff to his repertoire. Cakes. Panna cotta and custards. And coffee, lots of coffee.
As for the name, for anyone who hasn't spent a ton of time in pastry kitchens, a quenelle is both a kind of dumpling and the shape itself, an oblong, egg-shaped scoop of either mousse or something else, often ice cream. Or, as my kid said through a mouthful of ice cream as we were walking away: “That's why the scoop of ice cream on the sign isn't round.” For those playing along at home: You shape a quenelle using two dessert spoons, one if you're really good.
For updates, check out Quenelle's Facebook page.
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