Behind this ice cream counter, bursts of liquid nitrogen smoke signal ice cream is being made.
“Okay, so that will be a red velvet puffle Sun Moon and Stars with a sprinkle of rose sugar?”
I look over my shoulder. Nope, no one standing behind me, she must be talking about my order. Of course she is. We just had a five-minute conversation about what all of the above Cauldron Ice Cream, options mean, but when she reads them all back in sequence, even I am surprised by what we’ve settled on. For starters, what’s a red velvet puffle?
4646 Convoy St Suite 111, San Diego
As the story goes, the puffle cone is a Cauldron Ice Cream invention, inspired by the egg waffles of Hong Kong. These chewy pastries are often called bubble waffles because, rather than the traditional square pattern, they are pressed into photogenic grids of round, puffy bubbles. So, while I might have ordered a scoop of ice cream in a regular, waffle flavored puffle cone when I walked into Cauldron this day, instead I ordered one with a red velvet puffle, meaning it’s colored red and flavored with chocolate.
Cauldron is a growing Orange County chain of liquid nitrogen ice cream shops with a location here in Kearny Mesa. That means they freeze each scoop of ice cream instantly, to order, with machines that blast flavored cream with the supercooled gas. For 50 cents each, you may add mix-in toppings ranging from caramel and chocolate sauce to Oreo chunks. Ice cream flavors are another matter. In addition to Belgian chocolate and Madagascar vanilla flavors, choices include sea salted caramel and pretzels, and less likely options such as Earl Grey lavender.
Tea and jasmine flavored ice cream, carved into a rose shape, sprinkled with blue stars and rose sugar
Now, in addition to going viral with the appearance of its puffle cones ($6-8), Cauldron is known for using the ice cream scooper to carve its scoops of instant ice cream into rose petal shapes. The floral motif is why I’ve asked for the Cauldron flavor called Sun Moon and Stars, a milk tea ice cream with green and oolong teas, and jasmine flower. The light purple rose-shaped that results is served with blue, star-shaped sprinkles, and I added the rose sugar just to add a splash of pink color and keep the theme going.
I’m sure the more traditional ice cream flavors will be easier to impress the kids with than Cauldron’s tea and flower blends, but my beautifully creamy cone turned out delicious as well as photogenic. It’s only talking about it that sounds silly.