Salt & Straw Ice Cream Shop Opens On Abbot Kinney
Portland's small-batch ice creamery Salt & Straw debuts on Abbot Kinney this Friday with a sweet selection of its famously inventive flavors.
What started in 2011 as an old-timey ice cream cart outfitted with a classic red-and-white striped awning quickly grew into a popular name in artisanal treats. Led by 27-year-old creative director and ice cream mastermind Tyler Malek and his cousin/ co-founder Kim Malek, Salt & Straw is known not only for churning out supremely delicious ice cream made with quality, locally sourced ingredients, but more so for the delightfully unexpected ways in which the flavors are crafted. They range from straightforward pairings like the all-time favorite Honey Lavender, to more adventurous, almost savory situations like the Black Olive Brittle & Goat Cheese.
Think 31 flavors is a lot to consider? Malek has already created more than 250, and the ideas keep coming. Like a chef-driven menu, his inspiration comes from what's available at the farmers' market, and it's what prompted the decision to expand in L.A., a plentiful selection of year-round, sun-ripened produce. The first L.A. shop opened last year in Larchmont Village, Venice will be the second, and two more are due later this year, one in the Arts District Downtown and another in Studio City.
Some of the staple Portland flavors will remain on the L.A. menu, including that Honey Lavender and the Almond Brittle with Salted Ganache, but everything else is new, and the seasonal selections will continue to change monthly. January's batch, for example, includes a Happy Birthday Elvis with swirls of peanut butter and banana in honor of The King's birthday, and an almost effervescent Sparkling Mimosa Sherbet to ring in 2016. Seventeen flavors will be featured at a time, and any of them can be made into a milkshake or sundae. Pints are available to grab and go, too.
Malek will also continue to explore collaborations with local chefs, another abundant resource here in L.A. One of Salt & Straw's most popular flavors is the Stumptown Coffee and Compartes Love Nuts, which is made with hand-dipped chocolate pecans from L.A. chocolatier Jonathan Grahm. To help share the stories of his favorite finds, Malek keeps the shelves at Salt & Straw stocked with treats that range from whole Compartes chocolate bars to Rose Avenue Sweets caramels and caramel popcorn and other assorted goodies that make for great ice cream toppings or can be enjoyed on their own.
Other local touches in the Venice scoop shop include candy-colored stain glass detailing from Sherry May of Beauvilla Glass Designs on Abbot Kinney and a mural which will be painted on the outside wall by L.A. artist Adi Goodrich.
In preparation for the debut, the Salt & Straw scoop truck has been making the rounds on Abbot Kinney over the past couple of months with proceeds of more than $4,200 donated to Westminster Elementary.
Salt & Straw Venice // 1357 Abbot Kinney Blvd. Venice CA 90291 // Open daily 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.