Not your typical Ice Cream place…in Chinatown.
Stand by…even though this is a review of an Ice Cream Shop, I’m going to talk about Roy Choi.
Turns out, he’s a one man Economic Stimulus.
Chego started off as a Truck on the Westside, before settling into a permanent (I hope) brick and mortar space in L.A.’s original Chinatown. The little retail complex that houses it, the Far East Plaza, was just a pretty ordinary retail complex with a couple of barely known establishments inside that catered to the local community.
But now, with all these people coming in to visit Chego, it’s opened up a number of other places to feed that same young, hip and hungry crowd coming into the Far East Plaza. There is Ramen Champ upstairs (review to come), Andy Rickter’s Pok-Pok-Thai down the hall.
And of course, it’s helped bring in Scoops.
No, Chef did not come up with Scoops, or Pok-Pok. He just did his own thing, ran a successful restaurant, and helped people to get here, and now many businesses are benefiting. This, if you’re a foodie like, is what you want.
The original Scoops on Heliotrope Drive is a showcase for Kim’s more than 700 flavors, including salty vanilla Jim Beam, burnt sugar, lavender goat cheese honey, mascarpone caramel pistachio, brown bread, Guinness tiramisu, hazelnut passion fruit, jackfruit, matcha almond and so on. Flavors rotate daily, and each location offers about a dozen to 18 flavors.
Needless to say, Scoops is not your typical Ice Cream place, which explains it’s devoted following. Count on seeing a bunch of stuff that’s not French Vanilla and Rocky Road when you stop by.
Also count of the stuff, being very, very fresh, very very flavorful. You will not taste an idea of fruit (if the flavor you select has fruit in it), you will taste, feel and experience actual fruit in that Ice Cream. It was so intense that I was actually spitting out small raspberry seeds in one scoop I had.
The hype is totally worth it. The Ice Cream is is amazing. It’s probably a touch more expensive than your usual joint down the block, but the effort and care in making this stuff more than makes up for it. This is a seriously good Ice Cream joint.
And it’s right down the hall from Chego! What more could you ask?
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: This is going to be tough, because the chain as a whole has a lot of flavors and things tend to rotate in and out. They had an Apricot Beer flavor last time I was there, and I liked it. They did a Salted Carmel number, also delicious.
Look, this is just one instance where I cannot tell a man (or a woman) what they should or shouldn’t like when it comes to Ice Cream. Just be sure to take a look at all the flavors, then dive in tongue first. You’ll be glad you did.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Even though Scoops has a devoted following, even though it’s got three locations in and around the Los Angeles area now…you walk in and it feels one step removed from it’s Food Truck roots. (Seriously, was it ever a Food Truck. Someone at Scoops needs to tell me.). So while there isn’t a lot as far as style points going on in here. That being said, they’re using (at my last visit) an iPad for their business transactions. I’ve used cash at every visit so far (It’s $4 a scoop), and I haven’t seen anything that says you can’t use a credit card, but…I’d have backup ready to go if they didn’t take plastic.
PARKING: What’s true for Chego is true for Scoops. The garage under the Far East Plaza a hard to see. The downward ramp is on the right side of the building, and the out is on the left side. Both ramps are exceptionally narrow, and you’ll have to be a little careful going down. There are spaces down there, a lot more than you’d think, but they’re all extremely tight.
Here’s the thing…and this is a spot where your humble Author has let you down. I have no idea if Scoops validates or not. So far, every time I’ve come to Scoops, I’ve either gone to Chego who does Validate, or Pok-Pok Thai or Ramen Champ. But so far, I’ve been able to just duck into one place, get one place’s validation, grab me some ice cream and still be okay on the parking.
Park anywhere else on North Broadway and you’ll have to pay four bucks. Worse, they’ll use the same kind of ticket as the Far East Plaza. Yes, I know it’s confusing, but…just know before you go.
727 N. Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel: (323) 739-8675
Tuesday-Saturday: 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Sunday: 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm