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Everyday these notifications populate my phone, directing me to a new coffee shop, a health orientated restaurant, or an “Instagram worthy” dessert bar. Over a nine month period my friends and I accumulated a list of places that we longed to go to because the food looked mouthwatering— the key word being looked. Finally, after months of waiting we decided to dedicate a day driving through various Los Angeles neighborhoods and indulging in....(drum role please)...ICE CREAM.
As we piled into the designated vehicle, stomachs ready for goodness, we blasted Declan McKenna’s newly released album “What Do You Think About The Car” and headed to Downtown. On the corner of S Spring St and W 7th St was our first stop: Little Damage— an instagram famous shop known for their charcoal soft serve. The “Mother of Dragons” charcoal ice cream had a modest almond taste—not strong enough to taste like marzipan, but not utterly bland. The interior aesthetic of the shop was definitely more pleasing than the actual dessert; the unique black-goth appearance of the ice cream juxtaposed with the colorful neon signs decorating the shop gave you a solid picture perfect moment. Simply, the image was stronger than the taste.
After typing the next desired address into our iPhone’s maps we began walking towards Gresescent Ice Cream— a whimsical parlor celebrated for their ice cream bouquets, which is a just 10 mini scoops of ice cream, 5 different flavors, for $9 in a huge waffle cone. Overwhelmed by the copious selection of flavors the employees reassured us that we could try as many samples as our hearts desired. Our chosen flavors were: blackberry mint mojito, honey hazelnut pistachio, lemon bar, salted caramel buttercake, and sea salt chocolate ganache. The blackberry mint mojito was by far my favorite: the citrusy fruit complimented by the touch of alcohol had a very interesting kick to it. The remaining flavors— each suited for very specific palates— were quite memorable. Unlike Little Dragon’s loud aesthetic, Gresescent’s all white, simple, and modern appearance allowed the ice cream to truly shine. Overall, it was a splendid experience!
From the New York-esque streets of Downtown we traveled east to Koreatown for our final stop: Somi Somi— a dessert shop known for their Taiyaki soft serve and goldfish-shaped waffle cone. The available flavors are matcha, ube, milk, and black sesame. Personally, the matcha was slightly too bitter and the milk too sweet (they would have been the ideal swirl, but unfortunately it wasn’t being offered at the time). My friends each ordered their own waffle cone with Nutella filling and a single flavor. We all devoured the ice cream: waffle cone falling apart, ice cream melting, Nutella sopping all over our hands, and absolutely no care in the world for how messy it was. While it might not have had the most glamorous store front, Somi Somi’s quality lead us to recognize it as the best ice cream of the day (by our amateur standards).
What once was spread by word of mouth is now popularized by social media: social networks hold the biggest influence over millennials. Not only are we using Instagram, Snapchat, etc to decide where to eat but also what to eat. Rather than reading through menus we judge food by pictures and choose to order the most posted meal. Nevertheless, just because something is labeled “Instagram worthy” doesn’t denote high quality.
While Instagram famous locations are “trendy” I challenge you to seek out your city’s hole-in-the-wall restaurants. Sometimes the best places are hidden from the public eye.