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Ice Cream Lab Makes History As L.A.’s First Store To Use Liquid Nitrogen

Kelli Shiroma |
April 10, 2013 | 12:40 p.m. PDT

Associate Food Editor

Ice Cream Lab recently launched its first location in Beverly Hills (Kelli Shiroma / Neon Tommy).
Ice Cream Lab recently launched its first location in Beverly Hills (Kelli Shiroma / Neon Tommy).
On March 15, Ice Cream Lab launched its first location in Beverly Hills, making its mark as L.A.’s first store to use liquid nitrogen to create handmade ice cream

With blue-and-grey molecular and atomic symbols painted in a graffiti-like manner on its walls, from the moment customers enter the store, they immediately get the feeling that they are going to experience something out of this world. 

According to co-owner Tommy Ngan, Ice Cream Lab employees create the flavors using a combination of ingredients, but then add a dash of liquid nitrogen to form the ultimate cold concoction. Customers can watch the “lab techs” create their made-to-order flavors through the billowing clouds of frozen gas. 

“Our custom-made industrial mixer has an L-shaped nozzle that dispenses the liquid nitrogen into whatever [mixture] we have in our mixing bowls [to create the flavors],” Ngan says. “It [the liquid nitrogen] instantly freezes what it touches.”

The custom flavors featured at Ice Cream Lab change every two weeks, according to Ngan. Examples of previous flavors—some of whose names are L.A.-inspired—include: “Barrington Brownie,” “Blue Velvet,” “Angeles Apple Pie” and “Salt Lick Crunch.” Each flavor starts off with an organic vanilla cream base, and then specific ingredients are added to create the particular flavor. For example, “Salt Lick Crunch” features a combination of pretzels, caramel sauce and sea salt, while “Barrington Brownie” includes brownie chunks, chocolate fudge and chocolate sauce. Ice cream scoops are available in medium and large sizes, and customers can also opt for freshly made waffle cones.

The liquid nitrogen results in solid ice cream concoctions (Kelli Shiroma / Neon Tommy).
The liquid nitrogen results in solid ice cream concoctions (Kelli Shiroma / Neon Tommy).
Upon receiving the ice cream scoops, customers can relax in Ice Cream Lab’s dining area, where they can watch other excited customers indulge in the Lab’s experience and see the different ice cream flavors coming out of the nitrogen smoke.

The ice cream definitely has more solid consistency due to the liquid nitrogen, and each mixture includes a good amount of the various ingredients. But, for those who prefer their ice cream to be on the softer side and slightly mushier—a la Cold Stone Creamery—this might not be the ideal place for you. The liquid nitrogen certainly does its job in preserving the ice cream’s coldness, so melting ice cream will be impossible as the Lab embraces the upcoming summer months. 

Reach Kelli Shiroma here.



 

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