Ice cream shops are popping up all over Pasadena but none of them are of the standard parlor variety.
BY: Sara Smola
PHOTOS: Fernando Cerda
Afters Ice Cream
This decadent sweet shop might win the award for the “Coolest Coolhaus” considering its locale in a converted vintage-esque gas station. Afters is known for their milky buns—pillowy soft sweet pastries akin to a donut. Co-owners Scott Nghiem and Andy Nguyen make a point of serving atypical (yet mouthwatering) flavors including strawberry cookie crunch, churro, cookie butter, Vietnamese coffee and Madagascar vanilla.
1265 E. Green St., Pasadena, CA 91106, aftersicecream.com
Bengees recently opened its doors in March but already stands out as a delicious destination, especially for those seeking vegan-friendly flavors. The dairy-free flavors are served on a rotating basis (past flavors have included chocolate-raspberry truffle and Thai tea) but whichever flavor is in rotation is sure to satisfy your craving. For an extra indulgent treat, order the namesake “Bengee”—a delicious scoop sandwiched between a buttery croissant-donut hybrid.
901 E. Del Mar Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91101, 626.673.1865
As one of the pioneering food trucks (known for raising the standards of the traditional ice cream sandwich), it was to Pasadena’s good fortune that Coolhaus parked itself on Colorado Boulevard inside the hip and trendy Indiana Colony. For the sweet tooth, try flavors like mimosa, red velvet, salted caramel, as well as intriguing, eyebrow-raising flavors like fried chicken and waffles, Netflix (yes, that’s actually a flavor) and pizza.
59 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91103, 626.486.2700 or eatcoolhaus.com
Despite all the newfangled flavors, sometimes you just crave a taste of something familiar like this Old Town Pasadena favorite. Hello Gelato, an old-world Italian gelateria, offers fruity flavors like watermelon, lemon, mango and pineapple as well as decadent flavors like espresso, rocky road and tiramisu. For a refreshing “no drip” treat, opt for a “Fizzie”—an Italian soda mixed with the gelato of your choice that’s ideal for sipping while shopping on Colorado Boulevard.
14 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91105
Ice Cream Lab
In the age of the iPad, technology is constantly evolving but who would have thought it would lead to a breakthrough…in ice cream? That’s right, ice cream. In this sugary sweet experiment, diners watch as the made to order treat comes to life almost instantaneously thanks to the lab’s liquid nitrogen concoction. Keep it simple with classic flavors like vanilla, chocolate or strawberry, or go for their signature Blue Velvet—a blue velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting in ice cream form.
16 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena, CA 91105, 626.808.4874
Don’t be fooled by the familiar shape of these sweet sticks—this is not the artificially flavored popsicles from your childhood. Sample gourmet flavors like panna cotta, earl gray, hazelnut and matcha then decorate your pop to your desire. Pick your “drizzle” (comes in white chocolate, chocolate and caramel) and toppings to craft the cream of your dreams. The location is hidden away in the courtyard between Union Street and Colorado so be on the lookout for a giant-sized topiary the shape of a popsicle.
64 W. Union St., Pasadena, CA 91103, 626.345.5531