There's nothing all that special about a frozen banana, but somehow, Bennett's Ice Cream in the Farmers Market at 3rd and Fairfax makes the best one. Maybe it's the chunks of almonds as big as gravel studding the fresh, dark chocolate. Maybe it's the slightly underripe banana, frozen just below the threshold of impenetrability.
An old-fashioned ice cream stand at the east end of the constantly gentrifying Farmers Market, Bennett's has been around since 1946. It's still family-owned. It's still "cash only." And the ice cream is still made in-house from fresh ingredients. They even dip their own bananas and ice cream bars. Packed with locals and tourists alike, waiting in line in the cramped aisle is usually a chore. (We should all have such problems.) It's worth it for the mix of tradition and inventiveness.
Sure, you can get a stellar scoop of something classic like butter pecan, chocolate chip or pistachio, but at Bennett's you can also try the top-notch Cabernet Sauvignon sorbet, tart and sweet without ever venturing near Manischewitz territory. Or you can get a scoop of the Fancy Nancy, a flavor found nowhere else (that we know of). It's a mix of faintly bitter coffee ice cream, banana chunks and caramel that may just be one of the top five ice cream flavors the world has ever known. (It's named after its creator, Nancy Bennett, wife of owner Scott.) We're also big fans of rum raisin, strawberry and chocolate junkie, chocolate-on-chocolate crime of the highest order.
The ice cream only gets better when you order it in a sundae, which should definitely be topped with the housemade hot fudge, a dark, slightly gritty sauce that never loses its intensity amid the ice cream and makes it clear: This is no prefab ice cream sundae, this is a handmade work of devotion and skill.
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Bennett's Ice Cream: 6333 W. 3rd St. # 548, LA. (323) 939-6786.
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