June Seasonal Flavors


This month we are collaborating with the incredibly talented chefs who make some of the best food you can get anywhere; who serve it from tiny trailers and ham-cans in parking lots, whose creativity seems to flourish despite rain, sun, heat, and other adverse conditions. At the heart of the food-cart revolution is the kind of scrappy curiosity to wonder “what if?” So we, too, wondered, “what if,” and out of that comes this month’s amazing array of food-cart collaborations.

Papi’s Korean Fluffernutter
Peanuts see the world, make new friends, report back to HQ. Roy Choi is one of those people that we just idolize, so naturally we used our most appealingly whiny tones to beg him to make an ice cream with us.

Roy finally agreed, but instead of making a Korean taco ice cream, Roy wanted to make something with the Korean-Beijingesque boiled, spiced peanuts he used to love as a kid. He wanted to call it “Papi’s Salted Nuts,” and he still can. But as it started taking shape, it became more like a spiced fluffernutter. A light tan, creamy, peanutty ice cream base double-swirled with playful spiced fruit and jolly aromatic marshmallow. The ice cream is streaked with a delicious blackberry jelly infused with Thai chilies. Then we spoon in folds of marshmallow fluff whipped with Southeast Asian spices. Chunk in a few nuts, and it’s pretty much perfect. Roy Choi takes all the angst and egotistical pomposity out of cooking and, instead, focuses his incredibly inventive cooking brain to create dishes percolating with “don’t give a (let’s substitute ‘fig’) deliciousness.” Roy started his culinary domination out of his Kogi BBQ Taco Truck in Venice, serving a crazy yum fusion of unique Korean ingredients with taco hand-food feeling. His menu is now the national food of Los Angeles.

Molé Rojo Flan
Molé. Ice cream. Holy molé! These Mexican wonder sauces are made with so many ingredients, the flavors meld together into unidentifiable, heavenly elixirs of complicated tastiness. We created this ice cream purely to showcase the incredible flavor of Restaurante Guelaguetza’s molé rojo, which is made with over fifty different ingredients. The base of this ice cream is made with ancho chilies, cinnamon, and Mexican vanilla. Then we make an egg flan with Restaurante Guelaguetza’s spicy red molé. It’s so good! Dense and heavy, that first spoonful delivers a cold, creamy rush of spicy joy—and does not stop. When it comes to Oaxacan food in the United States, Restaurante Guelaguetza is the absolute best. It’s difficult to explain how good the Family Lopez’s food is—a perfect blend of Oaxacan tradition with smart, ambitious, chef-driven creativity. That being said, the true stars at La Guelaguetza are their molés. We heartily recommend you hie thineself over there, or to ilovemole.com and try some of these incredible molés.

Bratwursts and Mustard
Spicy? Yes. Meaty? Yes. Tasty as ice cream? Yesyes! Inspired by late summer nights of convivial sausage-grilling, we thought it would only be fair to try to bring the juicy, meaty, caramelized goodness to our other favorite food vehicle that is not a bun. The not-so-secret ingredient in this ice cream is a nutmeg-and-coriander-laced sausage from our friends at Wurstküche. In the ice-cream-making process, these spicy pork sausages are grilled until they caramelize to a squeal-inducing darkness. To top it off, we concoct a honey-mustard caramel sauce to ripple through each scoop. Wurstküche is arguably the busiest restaurant in the country. In addition to being the creator of some of the most incontrovertibly delicious sausages we’ve ever had, ever.

Green Corn Tamales
Food trend of the future. This ice cream is a deep, adoring, humble bow to the masterful chefery that has been a cornerstone of the LA food scene for over 30 years: Border Grill. Picture a sunny, pale yellow corn tamale ice cream rich with cream, egg yolks, and a slightly acidic, complex sweetness from agave, dotted with “candied” corn kernels. Now picture yourself spooning a bit of this into your mouth. And then picture the happiness you get from the sweet-savory burst of cool, creamy sweet. It’s not so hard!  Oh, how Border Grill steals our hearts with its beautiful array of fresh, consciously harvested ingredients and authentic Latin flair. Head chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger have been instrumental in shaping LA’s food scene (as well as the term “celebrity chef-dom”) since 1981. In honor of the care that they give their dishes, we worked with them to re-create one of our favorites on their menu, Green Corn Tamales. It is a serious thrill to work with these inspiring humans.

Peking Duck Buns
Wishing is a form of destiny. We have fantasized about making an ice cream that lives up to the drool-inducing mouth party that a real, on-the-street Peking duck bun inspires. This ice cream is a mysterious, mystical, magical Southeast Asian duck-bun ride. We have ice cream–ified five-spiced plum sauce, adding “crispy duck skin” candy brittle and a satisfying cucumber gummy chew. If the world is looking a little mundane to you this week, a spoonful of this glorious stuff might just dig a new well of possibility in your soul.


This month we are collaborating with the incredibly talented chefs who make some of the best food you can get anywhere; who serve it from tiny trailers and ham-cans in parking lots, whose creativity seems to flourish despite rain, sun, heat, and other adverse conditions. At the heart of the food-cart revolution is the kind of scrappy curiosity to wonder “what if?” So we, too, wondered, “what if,” and out of that comes this month’s amazing array of food-cart collaborations.

Khao Man Gai Peanut Butter
Peanut butter sends a coconut postcard from Thailand. This ode to Nong’s is a real joy for us to make. Nong’s Khao Man Gai is famous in Portland for its simple premise: chicken and rice in a delicious khao man gai sauce. Her top-secret recipe for Thai peanut sauce is gently cooked and swirled into vegan coconut ice cream and dappled with a bit of chocolate and other sweets. The texture is super dense and rich; the experience is exotic and comforting; the overall effect is yummy and awesome. Nong Poonsukwattana started her business with $400 and a rickety food-cart she hauled out of some guy’s yard all by herself, spray painted, and transformed into the absolute epicenter of Portland’s amazing food cart world. She also exemplifies the kind of MacGyver-y creativity that comes from having considerable constraints. Food carts are small, so you have to make a few things work really, really well. Nong’s chicken-and-rice empire now includes two carts, one brick and mortar, and a retail line of her secret sauce.

Goat’s Milk and Lingonberries
What Vikings churn. Scandinavia, ah! The low light, the beautiful furniture, the many, many kinds of salted foods they have! But let’s talk about lingonberries, the much-beloved treat of those who dwell in boreal forest and upon arctic tundra. Like a smaller, juicier cranberry, the lingonberry accompanies many Scandinavian delectables. Here, we swirl jam made from locally grown lingonberries into an ice cream made from goat’s milk for a clean, goaty, dense, lovely, rich, Scandinavian soul explosion. Megan and Jeremy run Viking Soul Food out of a 1968 Streamline Duchess aluminum trailer in NE Portland. Most of their dishes begin with a homemade, hand-rolled, Norwegian, potato-based, tortilla-like delicacy called lefse. From there, Viking Soul Food’s dishes are the scene of sudden, beautiful collisions between Scandinavian tradition and hyper-local ingredients, all wonderfully wrapped in those pleasantly potatoey pancakes.

Non-routine poutine. Potatoes and ice cream? Yes! Potatoes and ice cream! It’s a match made in starchy, creamy heaven. OK, stay with us here. Imagine sweet-savory ice cream dedicated to the joy of digging in to a crisp pile of French fries smothered in gravy and topped with chewy morsels of savory cheese curds. The ice cream is a creamy interpretation of the fries, the fudgy gravy is a caramel-like swirl of gooey yummyness, and then we add little puffs of cheese-curd-flavored marshmallows. The effect is a pleasing salty sweetness that will rewire your brain. When you’re a champion, you’re either excellent at what you do, or you’re a great proponent of something. Here is a great example of both embodied in the form of one Mike McKinnon, proprietor of Potato Champion. Having opened his first cart on SE Hawthorne in 2008, Mike has been one of the leaders of the food- cart movement in Portland. Basically, everything is served on fresh-cut, double-fried, crispy, perfect fries.

Tahini and Cardamom
The joy of elemental ingredients. This is one of those ice creams where we retired to our underground laboratory with metal briefcases of top-secret recipes and tinkered till we made something so good, well, you just have to try it to believe it. A smooth drag of tahini, with its wonderful combination of creamy-sweet and candy-tangy, ribboned with halvah, and topped with a sweet-spicy cardamom “ahhh” at the end. It might be more like a “mhhhm—“ but both are fine. Wolf & Bear’s has been slaying the food scene out of their ham-can camper kitchens for years. Intelligently yummy, ingredient-driven vegetarian dishes showcase a simple set of Israeli flavors like fresh mint, cilantro, grilled eggplant, and roasted red pepper. Even though they use the absolute minimum of ingredients, these guys deliver an incredibly tasty and not-so-small menu from their little empire of deliciousness.

Kimchi and Rice
Fusion, constantly expanding. Think of it as a kind of a Korean horchata ice cream, elegantly flavored with jasmine rice. Then think of all those yummy little dishes that come with your Korean feast, and reimagine those as the surprise stars in this intriguing, complex love letter to Korean cuisine. A sweet, clear, kimchi taffy, bright red and floral, with lots of fermenty tang and spice, is rippled throughout, and chunks of bulgogi-kimchi truffles stud this ice cream’s firmament with fused chocolaty promise. Bo Kwon became one of the pivotal Korean chefs in the country when he opened his first food cart in 2009, effectively repackaging kimchi into relatable formats (tacos!) and rebranding kimchi as the spicy, sexy delicacy it incontrovertibly is. Today, Bo’s crazy pop food cart juggernaut has expanded to seven carts and two Koi Fusion shops. Bo’s mom and dad still work in his kitchen; our ice cream is based on his mom’s recipe.