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Hops and avocados meet ice cream

All sorts of specialty flavors — even vegan — at Salt & Straw

Bourbon and coffee ice cream leads off a tasting flight of four scoops.
Bourbon and coffee ice cream leads off a tasting flight of four scoops.

Portland's hippest ice cream shop has made its way to San Diego. Salt & Straw recently opened a shop in Little Italy, and as it's done in previous expansions to San Francisco and Los Angeles, the business has wasted no time in collaborating with popular local brands to add to its collection of creative ice cream offerings.

Place

Salt & Straw

1670 India Street, San Diego

Even before it opened, Salt & Straw teamed up with Modern Times Beer to concoct a hoppy orange sherbet infused with the brewery's Belgian style beers, a cara cara and blood orange sour saison (to be clear, the alcohol doesn't make it to the ice cream).

Vegan strawberry ice cream, made creamy with coconut

I've been to a Salt & Straw location in Portland, and enjoyed the creaminess of its signature flavor: sea salt ice cream with caramel ribbons. I found it at the top of the Little Italy menu, but there were over a dozen other intriguing flavors. I wanted to try them all, but for $11.50, settled for a four scoop taster flight instead.

Little Italy's latest dessert destination

I started with the Modern Times flavor. True to the brewery's ethos, Hopped Orange Creamsicle is a vegan ice cream — one of several on the menu. I'm not typically a fan of orange sherbet, or creamsicles, so I was really counting on the hops to delight me. They did not. Their bitter, floral presence was intriguing, but I'm happy to keep hops in their place: beer. But that's okay. This may have been the first Modern Times branded product I haven't enjoyed immensely.

It's also important to note, my problems with it had nothing to do with the ice cream being vegan. Indeed, for my second scoop I tried the vegan roasted strawberry, made with coconut cream. This Portland favorite was fantastic, with caramelized fruit flavors and a creaminess to rival anything else on the board.

Almost anything. Next up came the flavor, Avocado & Oaxacan Chocolate Fudge. If any flavor speaks to Salt & Straw's presence in Southern California, it may be this one. The avocado worked with the cream to yield exquisite texture. It's lightly grassy flavor found balance with a ribbon of Mexican hot chocolate style fudge spiced with the likes of cinnamon and cardamom, made with chocolate provided by L.A.'s esteemed Oaxacan restaurant, Guelaguetza.

Salt & Straw has a kitchen in Los Angeles, where it makes this and other local flavors. That also includes my fourth scoop: James Coffee & Bourbon. The whiskey component comes from L.A.'s Greenbar Distillery, but the coffee comes from Little Italy roaster, James Coffee Co. It's without doubt a winning combination, and while this flavor couldn't match the special creaminess of the avocado, it proved my all-around favorite.

Nevertheless, it will be no less easy to choose my next visit. Flavors rotate continuously, and I didn't even get to potential winners like the peanut butter, bacon, and banana vegan ice cream, Happy Birthday Elvis! Or the Peanut Butter Stout with Chocolate Chiccharon (with Belching Beaver Brewery).

Might be time to get a bigger belt.

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Bourbon and coffee ice cream leads off a tasting flight of four scoops.
Bourbon and coffee ice cream leads off a tasting flight of four scoops.

Portland's hippest ice cream shop has made its way to San Diego. Salt & Straw recently opened a shop in Little Italy, and as it's done in previous expansions to San Francisco and Los Angeles, the business has wasted no time in collaborating with popular local brands to add to its collection of creative ice cream offerings.

Place

Salt & Straw

1670 India Street, San Diego

Even before it opened, Salt & Straw teamed up with Modern Times Beer to concoct a hoppy orange sherbet infused with the brewery's Belgian style beers, a cara cara and blood orange sour saison (to be clear, the alcohol doesn't make it to the ice cream).

Vegan strawberry ice cream, made creamy with coconut

I've been to a Salt & Straw location in Portland, and enjoyed the creaminess of its signature flavor: sea salt ice cream with caramel ribbons. I found it at the top of the Little Italy menu, but there were over a dozen other intriguing flavors. I wanted to try them all, but for $11.50, settled for a four scoop taster flight instead.

Little Italy's latest dessert destination

I started with the Modern Times flavor. True to the brewery's ethos, Hopped Orange Creamsicle is a vegan ice cream — one of several on the menu. I'm not typically a fan of orange sherbet, or creamsicles, so I was really counting on the hops to delight me. They did not. Their bitter, floral presence was intriguing, but I'm happy to keep hops in their place: beer. But that's okay. This may have been the first Modern Times branded product I haven't enjoyed immensely.

It's also important to note, my problems with it had nothing to do with the ice cream being vegan. Indeed, for my second scoop I tried the vegan roasted strawberry, made with coconut cream. This Portland favorite was fantastic, with caramelized fruit flavors and a creaminess to rival anything else on the board.

Almost anything. Next up came the flavor, Avocado & Oaxacan Chocolate Fudge. If any flavor speaks to Salt & Straw's presence in Southern California, it may be this one. The avocado worked with the cream to yield exquisite texture. It's lightly grassy flavor found balance with a ribbon of Mexican hot chocolate style fudge spiced with the likes of cinnamon and cardamom, made with chocolate provided by L.A.'s esteemed Oaxacan restaurant, Guelaguetza.

Salt & Straw has a kitchen in Los Angeles, where it makes this and other local flavors. That also includes my fourth scoop: James Coffee & Bourbon. The whiskey component comes from L.A.'s Greenbar Distillery, but the coffee comes from Little Italy roaster, James Coffee Co. It's without doubt a winning combination, and while this flavor couldn't match the special creaminess of the avocado, it proved my all-around favorite.

Nevertheless, it will be no less easy to choose my next visit. Flavors rotate continuously, and I didn't even get to potential winners like the peanut butter, bacon, and banana vegan ice cream, Happy Birthday Elvis! Or the Peanut Butter Stout with Chocolate Chiccharon (with Belching Beaver Brewery).

Might be time to get a bigger belt.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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