The Emperor Of Ice Cream


I had my first taste of Scoops ice cream parlor on Heliotrope north of Melrose (a couple doors up from the Bicycle Kitchen and across the street from the new Orange 20 bike shop) last night near the conclusion of a scout ride charting what will be the course for next month’s highly anticipated Midnight Ridazz.

Congenial proprietor Tai Kim’s penchant for creating outrageously innovative frozen treats such as pomegranate with poppy seed, mango with cayenne pepper, brown bread, chocolate with black salt — even a lavender-colored “Black Dahlia” flavor made from yam and rosewater — leaves me with after-hours visions of him as some sort of mad scientist alone in the back under a bare bulb wearing a welding mask and working with ingredients in an effort to constantly expand the boundaries of the ice cream universe. How else can you explain offerings such as chocolate with wasabi, avocado with banana, olive oil with salt with Japanese pumpkin, Mentos with Diet Pepsi, or gunpowder with sweet basil?

OK, so I made those last two up — but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s experimented with them! Confections of a dangerous mind, baby!!

The fruits of his labors have appropriately garnered the hole-in-the-wall a growing and loyal customer base as well as some pretty decent coverage including a feature earlier this month on NPR, and there’s nothing much I can add to the mix other than it took me a year of knowing about the place before I set foot in it and it won’t take me another year to go back.

Scoops is at 712 N. Heliotrope Drive, 90029; Open Monday-Saturday, noon to 9 p.m. Photo of Scoops’ Tai Kim from L.A. Alternative

8 thoughts on “The Emperor Of Ice Cream”

  1. wow I can not wait to taste the fruits of that mans labor!
    I will do one david lee roth kick and two backflips in his honor.
    I scream you scream….

  2. Damn you for beating me to this post, Will!

    I was there a few weeks ago and kept meaning to post about the upcoming Black Dahlia gelato!

    Will, what you forgot to mention is the Tai WANTS you to try all the flavors. He loves to get people’s opinions of his work.

    Of course, once you do that, it makes you want to have more of everything…

  3. Sorry Joz! Good to know about Scoops’ proactive sampling policy. I only tasted the brown bread flavor (awesome!) before going for the pistachio with lemon (excellent!).

  4. Took in the Scoops experience after a huge lunch at a restaurant in Boyle Heights that I thought may have been El Tepeyac. Note to self: Take better notes!!!!! As we walked out my door to the motor vehicle I said to the girl, “You know, baby I can’t remember the name of this place but I think it’s on Soto.” Doomed, doomed, doomed. At least the food was decent but not awesome.

    Fortunately, Scoops is a tuck & roll, quick sprint and a vault across Vermont from me. Supposedly today was the last day to take advantage of the $2.00 shake special. Mine was blue berry banana. It rocked. I like the suggestion board. I came up with Oreo Stuff & Black Irish Tea flavor. But I don’t think anyone’s gonna top the Barbeque Cookie!!!

  5. you didn’t mention — tai makes vegan ice cream too. he always makes at least 3 flavors and the demand is high enough that he’s probably going to start making more.

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