The latest scoop in ice cream

Salted Caramel is the new Vanilla. Ice cream trucks have gone gourmet. It’s all organic, ultra-local, and handmade. Eat up!

Portland popsicle stand

Sol Pops at the Portland Farmers Market.

Allison Jones

Sweet Republic ice cream cup

In Scottsdale, AZ, look for the ’59 Chevy with flavors like Blueberry Pom and Basil Lime.

Andrea M. Gómez

L.A. ice cream truck

L.A.’s Coolhaus delivers stacks of handmade ice cream sandwiches.

Los Angeles ice cream sandwich

A hard-to-resist ice cream sandwich from L.A.'s Coolhaus.

Brian Leatart

Trend 1: Upscale trucks

No freezer-burned Push-Up pops here. Ice cream trucks go upscale.

SEATTLE

Parfait 

Molly Moon’s

LOS ANGELES

Coolhaus

SCOTTSDALE, AZ

Sweet Republic

MISSOULA, MT

Big Dipper

NEXT: Crazy flavors and seriously good soft-serve

 

Trend 2: Crazy flavors

The wackier the flavors, the better.

SAN FRANCISCO

Humphry Slocombe

DENVER

Sweet Action

 

Trend 3: Soft-serve

Soft-serve is back—and tastier than ever.

SAN FRANCISCO

The line for Bi-Rite Creamery’s small-batch scoops literally snakes around the block. But take our advice and keep walking past it—where (at least until word spreads) you can step right up to the San Francisco parlor’s new soft-serve window.

That’s right, the classic summer twist is back—and, made with dairy from local Straus Family Creamery, it’s way better than you remember it. Two flavors change daily (Balsamic Strawberry and Malted Vanilla among them), but cross your fingers for Salted Caramel: As the sole guy ahead of me said to the sidewalk, “It’s damn good, people!” –R.L.

NEXT: Farm-fresh treats and retro classics

 

Trend 4: Market stands

Frozen treats pop up between the produce at farmers’ markets.

PORTLAND

Sol Pops

The scoop: Inspired by juicy Mexican paletas, these zingy blends of fresh fruit juices, herbs, agave, and cane juice kick those mass-produced orange/grape/cherry popsicles to the curb. The ’70s-era tricycle cart sets up at five seasonal farmers’ markets, but a new brick-and-mortar shop opened in May—which means these ice-cold popsicles will be available year-round.

Lick we love: Cucumber Lime Jalapeño. –Lucy Burningham

KIRKLAND, WA

Poco Carretto

The scoop: Four-star chef Holly Smith devotes the same attention to gelato and sorbet as she does to her handmade pastas. At her renowned Cafe Juanita, a $30,000 imported machine helps produce fancy desserts for the restaurant like bittersweet torta with Maple Blossom gelato and cherry vinegar sauce—as well as the scoops she sells at farmers’ markets from her portable Poco Carretto cart: Cinnamon, Gingered Apricot, Fennel, and a crème brûlée-like combo of Egg Crema and Burnt Sugar.

Lick we love: The subtly nutty Toasted Rice. –R.D.

 

Trend 5: Retro treats

Nostalgia-inducing sweets get a makeover

SAN FRANCISCO

Fudgsicle: Owners of the new Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous (aka Ian Flores and wife Annabelle Topacio) spent a year perfecting their fudgsicle recipe: a silky slab made with Valrhona chocolate and Straus dairy, served stick-less on a biodegradable plate. 699 22nd St., 415/970-0750. –R.L.

BERKELEY

Root beer float: It’s bubbly and creamy. And the longer you sip, the more the two become one. Ici’s float is a serious cut above A&W, with scoops of housemade vanilla dunked in a Louisiana root beer sweetened with cane sugar. 510/665-6054. –Lisa Trottier

SANTA MONICA

Ice cream sandwich: Try this: malted chocolate ice cream smushed between two just-baked vanilla cookies, from the just-opened Sweet Rose Creamery. 310/260-2663. –Elizabeth Jenkins 

LOS ANGELES

Snow cone: Locali uses reverse osmosis–filtered water and organic brown-rice syrups in flavors like BubbleGum, Cola, and Mango. Chocolate-covered frozen bananas and vegan popsicles too, from Icycle, the shop’s roaming tricycle. 323/466-1360. –E.J.

IRVINE, CA

Balboa bar: The 1940s favorite gets an upgrade at the new BoardWalk Ice Cream Co. Choose milk or dark chocolate and as many of the 15 toppings as you want, rolled on the spot. Irvine Spectrum Center; 949/453-0414. –Chantal Lamers

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http://www.sunset.com/food-wine/flavors-of-the-west/best-places-to-get-ice-cream-00418000068341/