LOCATION: Smorgasburg LA (777 South Alameda Street, Los Angeles, CA 90021)
As a person trying to avoid eating any cow’s milk dairy, stopping by a place serving ice cream probably seemed a bit counterintuitive. But my friend Angie had tried the ice cream from Wanderlust Creamery before and convinced me that the place was well worth the stop.
That day at Smorgasburg, the California sun was pretty much beating down on us the entire time we were there, so a nice, cool dessert was just the way to cap things off on our way out of the market. Imagine my surprise when I took a closer look at the signs for the different ice cream bars they were offering to find one that was actually dairy-free; my ice cream choice got a whole lot easier.
If there is such a category as artisanal ice cream bars, what Wanderlust was offering definitely fit the bill. Violet marshmallow ice cream dipped in white chocolate and sprinkled with rose crystals and dried flowers? Or perhaps an ube malted crunch ice cream dipped in ube white chocolate sprinkled with crispy rice and malt crunch? Certainly doesn’t sound like something you’d be picking up at your street corner ice cream shop.
The dairy-free bar that I ended up going with had passionfruit cacao ice cream dipped in Valrhona passionfruit cocoa butter, sprinkled with cacao nibs. I have to say, I was amazed that the ice cream bar did not use regular milk, because you wouldn’t be able to tell at all. That smooth ice cream texture was still there, with the passionfruit’s sweet and slightly tangy taste right at the forefront, but not too overpowering. The cacao nibs also provided that dark chocolate bitterness to counter the sweet flavors. Before I knew it, I had inhaled the entire ice cream bar and for a moment, regretted that I hadn’t gotten a second one.
Angie let me try some of her ice cream as well: the Sakura, which was sakura ice cream (cherry blossom) dipped in matcha white chocolate and sprinkled with crispy strawberry pearls and strawberry pieces. Even though it was definitely not dairy-free, I decided it was worth the risk. Just from my small bite alone, I was still able to get the fruity notes from the cherry ice cream and strawberry bits; the subtle sweetness from the matcha and white chocolate complemented everything else very nicely.
The stop at the Wanderlust Creamery booth was definitely a sweet way to end the day. The diverse selection of creative flavor combinations helps cater to if you’re feeling more on the traditional side (vanilla with homemade honeycomb candy) or outside-the-box (ube, or purple yam, with malt crunch). The only downside, in my opinion, was the steep price tag. One ice cream bar racks up a $7 bill, for which you might have been able to get two items at another booth. But if you’re willing to shell it out, you will definitely be rewarded.
Let’s now take a look at the Wanderlust Creamery Ice Cream Spotlight. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended dishes.
And finally, here are my rankings for Wanderlust Creamery:
Food: 4.75 / 5
The flavor combinations that Wanderlust comes up with certainly aren’t something you can readily find elsewhere. My passionfruit cacao bar was able to have that richness for a dessert but at the same time still achieve a balance of flavors with its ingredients.
With over 60+ food vendors at the outdoor market, that definitely attracts quite the crowd. Tons of people standing in lines, sitting down and eating, and different food smells coming from all directions. Just the sea of food choices alone made it hard to choose what to go for.
Service: 4.25 / 5
Ice cream bars are probably the easiest to dish out real quick. My guess is that the ice cream is already on the stick, they dip it into the coating, put any finishing toppings on there, and send it off to satisfy someone’s sweet tooth. We got ours in almost no time at all.
Price: 3.5 / 5
No matter what way you spin it, $7 for a small ice cream bar is pretty steep. I’d say it’d be worth closer to $5 or $6, but I guess there’s a premium to pay for the exclusivity of those artisanal flavor combinations.