Secret Ice Cream: 7 Places to Get Ice Cream That You Probably Didn't Know About
Black sesame ice cream with kinako powder at Kiwami Ramen
At a recent Winter Olympics potluck dinner, a friend brought some of the best green ice cream I’ve ever had, awesome enough to distract us from toe loops and triple axels. Turns out, it was avocado ice cream and it came from an unlikely source, Ba-le, on Ward Avenue. This got us thinking: Who else serves uniquely delicious ice cream in town, right under our nose? Here are a few of our favorites; let us know if we left any out, because no matter how full we get, there is always room for more ice cream.
A tall fridge across from the cashier is stocked with avocado, coconut, mango, lychee, and even durian and soursop ice cream, all made with fresh fruit in prepackaged 8-ounce ($3.50) or 24-ounce ($9.99) sizes. Ba-Le franchisee Loy Lam says he’s been experimenting with ice cream flavors for two years and makes the ice cream in-house every week. In fact, he was mixing up a batch when we visited. If you buy five, you get one free.
Ba-Le, 333 Ward Ave., 591-0935
The Pillbox is a pharmacy from another era, when these were neighborhood one-stop shops with soda fountains and ice cream coolers. A little bit of everything is stacked on shelves that reach the ceiling. On a top shelf in the back are antique jars from an old Chinatown pharmacy with the same compounding products still in them as they were found in the 1800s. The Pillbox opened in 1974 and is a functioning pharmacy, but “the ice cream is the best medicine here,” according to a cashier named Leslie. It serves Cascade Glacier ice cream from Eugene, Oregon, and it’s cheap: prepackaged pints are $3.25, quarts are $6.73, and fresh-dipped scoops range from kiddie size ($1.25) to quadruple ($2.88) in flavors such as macadamia nut, coconut pineapple and salted caramel.
Pillbox Pharmacy, 1133 11th Avenue, 737-1777
We featured Kiwami’s new location on Keeaumoku Street for our Noodle Tuesday, but neglected to mention its black sesame ice cream ($3), topped with kinako powder. The combination is nutty, almost like peanut butter. It comes from La Gelateria, which also supplies black sesame ice cream to other Japanese restaurants such as Gazen and Kona Kai.
Kiwami Ramen, 641 Keeaumoku St., 955-1122, kiwami-ramen.com
Morning Glass Coffee + Cafe
We already love Morning Glass for its full-immersion coffee and hangover-treatment breakfasts, but on their equally satisfying Night Breakfasts and Burger Nights, owner Eric Rose one-ups his mac ‘n' cheese pancakes with his house-made cereal milk latte ice cream: ice cream made with milk soaked in cornflakes. They only serve the ice cream at their night events, and in past events they’ve served snickerdoodle ice cream sandwiches and donut ice cream burgers. At the next Night Breakfast, on Wednesday, they’re going to make a cereal milk ice cream pie—a layer of banana on graham cracker crust with cereal milk ice cream filling and a drizzle of chocolate espresso over the top ($7).
Morning Glass Coffee, 2955 East Manoa Road, 673-0065, the next Night Breakfast is Wednesday, 2/26, 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.; the next Burger Night is on 3/11.
Real a Gastropub
Although there are 24 beers on tap and 200 different bottles of it available at Real a Gastropub, Guinness is a constant. So chef Michael Longworth thought to make a dessert out of it. He cooks it, reducing it and concentrating the flavor, then sends it to Il Gelato, to churn into creamy smoothness. Once back at Real, Longworth uses the Guinness gelato in a float, with a scoop of it dropped into a glass of Guinness stout ($7), in an “Irish car bomb” with Jameson’s caramel and Bailey’s anglaise ($7), or straight up as a scoop ($2).
Real a Gastropub, 1020 Auahi St., 596-2526
This little food stop, tucked into a closet next to a scooter rental near The Breakers hotel on Beachwalk, is like a window into old Waikiki. Whether it's the mayo sandwiches, cut fruit, or its “RL” house-made ice cream, most of the beach picnic food, is made either the night before or the same day. Tia was in when we visited; she makes the ice cream on most nights after she closes and says the ice cream got the “RL” name when her daughter put her initials on a cup of ice cream she wanted. When a visitor bought that cup and went back to Japan publicizing RL’s as the best ice cream in Waikiki, the name stuck. Now they call it “Realicious.” Each cup is about 10 ounces ($5). In flavors such as ube, pineapple/coconut, green tea, chocolate peanut butter malt, Kona coffee, guava, and their best-seller, mango, the ice cream comes hard as a rock, but softens just in time for the beach. It’s better than Dole whip.
Henry’s Place, 234 Beachwalk, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily
This place has won the Hale Aina award for Best Vegetarian for good reason. It’s no secret their vegan menu is satiating, but the menu’s so complete that they make dairy-, egg-, and refined sugar-free desserts as well. If that sounds about as fun as a caffeine-free Diet Pepsi, you obviously haven’t had their ice cream. Chefs Megumi Yamaki and Ari Moriya make vanilla bean, chocolate, and avocado ice creams ($2 per scoop, $4 for a sundae) out of a mixture of coconut and soy milk sweetened with maple syrup. And Peace’s regulars are serious about it; Peace Cafe regularly sells out of the stuff.
Peace Cafe, 2239 S. King St., 951-7555, peacecafehawaii.com