Ice cream in Echo Park. Hmm, yes -- or, rather, no. There used to be trucks everywhere -- hand-painted, sometimes piloted by drug dealers, sometimes by undercover cops. Not that I ever made use of the ice cream trucks. The truck that used to cruise nearest my house -- then on Sargent Place -- played a memorable piece of the Macarena (is there more than one part?) for the whole arroyo/canyon -- drove up and down Morton, where there were more children than I see these days (talking late 1990s). Of course, in the 60s and 70s, there were the Maoists and the co-op and the ice-cream scandals. Then, in this millenium, Chango opened and offered scoops for a while. But I haven't seen ice cream in their freezer for some time now. Which leaves the Spiderman ice cream truck. What happened? There are new gelato places all over Silver Lake. In East L.A. and in Hollywood you can get amazing Central American flavors (Ciudad magazine has helado info). And, now, Esotouric Tours, has sponsored a "suite" of limited-edition (thank God, actually) designer flavors in honor of a rock-and-roll tour of the Sunset Strip and "other places of subcultural importance."
As a special treat for passengers on the tour's debut excursion [Oct. 21], gelato master Tai Kim of East Hollywood's cult favorite Scoops is creating a suite of new flavors inspired by the mind-altering, hard-living spirit of the 1960s and 1970s Sunset Strip scene. It's a playful opportunity to imagine: if Jim, Janis, Jimi and Iggy ate gelato, which flavor would they pick? Tai's special flavors, available for a very limited time and free to tour passengers, include Hemp Oil and Honey, Vanilla and Jack Daniels, Pomegranate and Poppy Seeds, Mint and Jim Beam, Nicotine and Peppermint (made with crushed Nicorette gum), Juniperberry and Pear Sorbet, Guinness Tiramisu and in a bizarre take on the 1970s health food fad, Avocado and Beer Sorbet.
The problem, or perhaps the saving grace, is that you have to leave EP for Nicotene ice cream. ...Some day, though, they'll have the Echo Park pop-music tour. I am trying to imagine the ice cream that would inspire. Eucalyptus-moonshine...Loquat-pot...Elderberry-brown rice. The future is hard to see, and harder to taste.