Los Angeles is home to numerous dessert shops that feature a range of treats from cupcakes to doughnuts to shakes. Urban Confections will select dessert restaurants whose only West Coast location is Los Angeles, highlighting students’ opportunities to taste the city’s distinctive flavors. Follow columnist Lindsay Weinberg around Los Angeles as she samples local confections and suggests how students can take advantage of these iconic desserts.
I hopped off the bus and was plopped into an intersection with a hodgepodge of shops. Pico and Westwood Boulevards host Landmark Theatres, an iPad repair business, Nordstrom, a mattress store and, around the corner, Atticus Creamery and Pies.
Naturally, the last captured my attention as a whimsical sky-blue sign bearing a mustache graphic invited me in. A chalkboard stand on the sidewalk listed some of the shop’s ice cream flavors, including Nutella Ferrero Rocher, while diagrams on the windows analyzed and labeled the intricate layers of cross-sectioned pies like a science proposal.
Once inside, I made a beeline for the ice cream counter, because this treat has always been a favorite of mine. The manager and employee greeted me, offering samples of ice cream on metallic spoons. Like a fervent child, I tested a few of the homemade ice creams, eyes wide.
“Honey Honeycomb” is a popular choice, as it packs a glacéed honey crunch into the comforting frozen treat. Though based on a vegetable, the sweet corn ice cream ended up being, indeed, sweet with a light tinge of that corn-on-the-cob summer spirit. If I had not known the ice cream’s name, I probably would have been able to recognize the taste but not identify it, since the dessert was so brilliantly subtle.
I was looking forward to Atticus Creamery and Pies’ “Ube” ice cream, created from Japanese purple yams, since I genuinely love Okinawan sweet potatoes and was curious how the taste might translate into ice cream. However, it was not offered that day, and I was informed that one of the two chefs chooses which flavors of ice cream to prepare each day.
I settled on “Brown Sugar Apple Pie” ice cream, which had a flawless concentration of cinnamon without being overpowering. A $4 scoop swirls in chunks of crisp, glazed apple pie which, like all the store’s pastries, are made fresh daily.
The shop itself was just as endearing as the food, decorated like an antique store with overlapping vintage book pages as wallpaper. Metal café tables and chairs were arranged around the shop, and orchids, a fanciful clock, a canvas map, string lights and assorted picture frames added an antiquated look.
Adding to the picturesque bakery look, a glass cabinet at the store’s entrance displayed another key dessert of Atticus Creamery and Pies: individual serving-sized pies, of which I tested the mango and strawberry pistachio versions. The former didn’t taste artificial; on the contrary, it contained actual chunks of fresh mango for a fruity sensation. My strawberry pistachio pie, marked by a thin and sadly unnoticeable layer of pistachio paste on the bottom, was filled with whipped strawberry cream similar to airy mousse, which was fluffy but not a standout.
The celebrity couple of the excursion was the lemon lavender pie à la mode with the “Lemon Lavender” ice cream for about $8. The pie is more lemon-based, filling the thick crust walls with lemon curd that oozes out and is garnished with a dollop of whipped cream and dried lavender flecks. Its ice cream counterpart is lavender-dominated, a blissful hint of this potent flower encapsulated in a refreshing dessert.
I’ve eaten lavender ice cream and other rare flavors previously; they’re enjoyable as a novelty, to try a spoonful. At Atticus Creamery and Pies, however, the creation was light like cucumber water, allowing a full portion to be savored without becoming sick of the potentially aggressive taste. The blend of lemon pie with lavender ice cream was complementary, reminding me of classic, tea party flavors.
My only complaint about the pies is the thick, tough crust, likely made with a fair quantity of butter. Using the plastic utensils provided, I struggled to cut pieces of my miniature pie and eventually just hacked off maimed bits. I would suggest avoiding cutting slices daintily, but instead finding a creative solution like mixing the pie and ice cream in a cobbler style.
Atticus Creamery and Pies only opened in the fall of last year, but with its charming atmosphere and mellow tangs, I’d recommend this dessert shop to those seeking a light afternoon treasure.
– Lindsay Weinberg
Do you prefer classic or inventive ice cream flavors? Email Weinberg at [email protected]ucla.edu.