If this summer is anything like the one before it, we’re all going to need a lot of cold treats to survive the long days and scorching rays. While there isn’t a shortage of fantastic frozen sweets to be had in the San Gabriel Valley (my favorites include Carmela, Fosselman’s, Rita’s, and Blockheads) having another solid option, like Ice Que, certainly isn’t going to hurt.
The man behind Ice Que is pastry chef John Park. After working in some of the city’s finest kitchens (Lukshon, Providence, and Water Grill), he struck out on his own in 2013 to open Quenelle in Burbank. Ice Que is his follow up effort.
Pro tip: A second branch of Quenelle recently opened in San Marino.
Whereas Quenelle specializes in ice cream, Ice Que is all about shaved ice. Forget artificially flavored syrups and such—the creations here are composed of shaved-to-order “snow” topped with a plethora of whimsical ingredients. Taken together, it’s a one-of-a-kind dessert experience that only a pastry chef could dream up.
Continue reading ‘Ice Que – Alhambra’
Between me and Luscious, it’s hard to say who has the bigger sweet tooth. One of my fondest memories of my girlfriend’s insatiable capacity for desserts was when she visited me in Philadelphia back in 2007. Even though it was the middle of winter, she couldn’t go a day without three scoops of gelato from Capogiro. Once, she even visited the store four times in a 12-hour period! Truly, I’d never been prouder to call her my friend.
Needless to say, when we get together, every dessert in our line of sight gets mauled—neither a crumb is left on the plate nor snow left in the cone. While in Honolulu, she took us on a tour of her favorite sweets shacks—here’s what we stuffed down our gullets:
There is a lot of shave ice to be savored in the Land of Aloha, but no one piles it quite as high as the folks who run Shimazu Store.
Larger portions means more surface area for sugary syrupy action! The Astronomer and I shared one drizzled with coconut, passion fruit, and my favorite, li hing, while Luscious went for soursop and lychee. As hefty as they were, we polished these off without any trouble.
Continue reading ‘Honolulu Sweets: Shave Ice, Fancy Cakes, Cream Puffs and more!’
In addition to eating our weight in garlicky shrimp while on Oahu’s North Shore, The Astronomer, Luscious, and I also dug into two sweets and an additional savory: shave ice at Matsumoto, cream pie at Ted’s Bakery, and local-style rotisserie chicken at Ray’s. All three are highly recommended if you ever find yourself in these here beautiful parts.
When Mamoru Matsumoto first opened M. Matsumoto Grocery Store back in 1951, he peddled wares on a bicycle, while his wife Helen managed the store. It wasn’t until sometime in the 1960s that the Matsumotos began operating a shave ice stand within the store. Today, the couple’s son Stanley and his wife, Noriko, own and operate the business.
On sunny days, the store sells up to 1,000 shave ice, according to Matsumoto’s website. With over 40 homemade syrups, as well as ice cream and azuki beans to complement it all, the combinations here are sticky, sugary, and seemingly endless.
Continue reading ‘North Shore Grindz: Shave Ice, Chocolate-Coconut Cream Pie & Huli-Huli Chicken Edition’
While most people visit Hawaii for a dose of sun and surf, I came for Spam and malasadas instead. Following our “light” breakfast of musubi and onigiri at Iyasume, The Astronomer and I strolled over to local legend Leonard’s Bakery for fresh Portuguese doughnuts served hot from the fryer.
According to the bakery’s website, Leonard Rego, the grandson of Portuguese immigrants who came to Hawaii under contract to work in the sugar cane fields, opened his eponymous bakery in 1952. At the suggestion of his mother, he began making malasadas in 1953 in honor of Shrove Tuesday (a.k.a. Fat Tuesday). They’ve been a hit ever since.
Leonard’s malasadas are served both plain and filled. Over the course of two visits to the bakery, The Astronomer and I sampled a few varieties of each kind. The original malasada ($1), the shop’s bestseller, was light, yeasty, and dusted with super-fine sugar.
Continue reading ‘Leonard’s Bakery – Honolulu (Kapahulu)’