As visitors devour spoonfuls of sweet, creamy frozen treats at Menchie’s, they may notice a string of ’90s-era sitcom stars arriving to sample the wares and chat with the man in charge. That’s because owner/operator David Lipper first made a name for himself on Full House playing D.J. Tanner’s boyfriend Viper. Today, Lipper proudly sits atop a local frozen-yogurt empire, edging out his fellow cast mates’ enterprises, including Dave Coulier’s network of Swiss banks and John Stamos’s ’50s-themed doggy daycare. Inside the shop, diners select from a colorful array of flavors, such as low-carb pistachio or fruity watermelon tart, and crown their creation with toppings including sprinkles, mocha, hot fudge, and locally grown fruits.
Blends Soft Serve Creations sets their frozen treats apart and puts the power of invention in the hands of the people by offering them the chance to blend individual flavors into their own new creation. Patrons can choose a base of ice cream or frozen yogurt or opt for a smoothie or fruit-juice freeze to sip through a straw. Next, they can infuse the treat with one or a combination of 30 available flavors, including watermelon, cinnamon spice, and peach, and top it off with candy and fruit mix-ins. Blends also lists its recommendations for tasty treats that have passed flavor-quality and brain-freeze-probability tests, including cake-batter ice cream topped with vanilla-wafer crumbles and sprinkles, and fruit punch with cherry and orange flavors, highlighted by cherry, strawberry, and raspberry mix-ins.
It started as a simple idea shared by two moms. Karen Bain and Lisa Kudrika wanted to make their favorite dessert, shave ice, “hip and trendy,” according to 805 Living magazine. So when they opened Shave It—which recently celebrated the grand opening of its new Tarzana location—they made sure to express their sense of style with chic interior design inspired by water, ice, and snow. Inside the shop, blue plexiglass hangs like icicles over steel tables and chairs. Flat-screen TVs broadcast shots of surfers and snowboarders, and a colorful floor changes design with every step.
Each cup of fluffy shave ice comes drenched with fruity “flavas” flown in from Hawaii, such as mango, guava, or green tea, or a combination, such as root beer ice over vanilla ice cream. Beyond the storefront, Shave It also purveys the frozen concoctions on the go, thanks to a mobile truck that is often spotted at beaches and parks, unless its cloaking device is turned on. They also donate a percentage of their sales to their foster-child foundation, Foster a Miracle.
The chefs at Simple Touch Veggie Cuisine believe that just because something is healthy doesn't mean it has to taste healthy. This belief has inspired their menu of American dishes, which swap out meat for alternative proteins and produce. They start with slices of tofu, which they coat in barbecue or spicy Cajun sauces to create hearty sandwiches. For other recipes, they rely on a medley of vegetables cooked in spices to create tongue-searing Thai curries or burritos. One of their most iconic dishes, however, is their mac 'n no cheese, which features 100% plant-based "cheese" that they make in-house.
Entrepreneur Smita Salgaonkar has crafted Indian-inspired ice creams for more than 10 years at the brightly pigmented Saffron Spot shop, scooping more than two dozen exotic flavors into cups and cones. The signature saffron silk flavor sings notes of rose and pistachio as it melts in mouths, while fruity blends such as guava and jackfruit roll around the edges of the tongue like flavorful marbles. Milk shakes join any ice-cream flavor with milk and straws, while hot drinks include coffee beverages and almond-flavored badam milk.
For three decades, the bakers at Melrose Baking Company have used all-natural ingredients to lovingly create fresh, crusty breads from scratch, and without the use of preservatives. Today, the bakery crafts more than 200 different doughy creations, from rosemary-garlic focaccia to soft and salty pretzel rolls disguised as non-pretzel-shaped loaves.