A fragrant mix of vanilla and freshly made waffle cones lingered outside another one of Pasadena’s new eateries on Colorado Boulevard. Though it was a cold and rainy evening, it didn’t stop locals from treating themselves to an enticing cold dessert that included out of the ordinary ingredients like turkey skin and sweet potato casserole.

“We like to say we make unbelievable ice cream,” said co-founder and head ice cream maker, Tyler Malek.

The iconic Portland born ice cream shop, Salt & Straw, has officially opened its twentieth location in Pasadena’s historic district, Old Town, and its first location in the San Gabriel Valley.  

“My cousin and I quickly realized we had this really cool opportunity when we create flavors, to take people on a journey,” said Tyler Malek.

Victoria Ivie/ Courier
Store front of the Salt & Straw preview in Old Town Pasadena on Wednesday, November 20, 2019.

Salt & Straw was established by Kim Malek and her cousin Tyler Malek in 2011, starting as a  push cart before turning into a scoop shop. The community-focused company’s platform stands behind food movements such as veganism, how to decrease food waste, raising awareness for issues such as childhood hunger and equal rights.

Victoria Ivie/ Courier
Cheryl Rigali eating ice cream at the Salt & Straw preview in Old Town Pasadena on Wednesday, November 20, 2019.

“Since the beginning, Salt & Straw has found so much inspiration from our local communities, so we’re thrilled to be coming to Pasadena to create a gathering place where we can bring people together and spread joy over ice cream,” said CEO and co-founder Kim Malek. 

In addition to the classic flavors, their menu changes the first Friday of each month and showcases creative ways to incorporate ordinary foods. For the month of November, their limited flavors include “Sweet Potato Casserole with Maple Pecans,” “Roasted Peach & Sage Cornbread Stuffing,” “Salted Caramel Thanksgiving Turkey,” “Spiced Goat Cheese & Pumpkin Pie” and a vegan “Blood Orange Cranberry Sauce” flavor. 

Michael Watkins / Courier
An employee scoops ice cream during the Salt & Straw preview on November 20, 2019.

“We spend a year working on the flavors, and then we launch them, then they’re out for a month—and that’s kind of our never ending tempo,” said Tyler Malek.

All flavors are made up of organic, sustainable, locally sourced and thoughtfully-sourced ingredients. The menu contains scoops, sundaes, shakes and floats. Each flavor is available in a cup, a freshly made waffle cone, or traditional sugar cone and pints to go.  

For December, a theme of holiday comforts will continue with more traditional flavors such as pecan pie with an apple brandy base, a gingerbread cookie flavor made with a homemade gingerbread cookie butter and even an exclusive “Sugar Plum Fairy” flavor for LA Ballet’s annual Nutcracker Tea Party. 

“It allows different ways of thinking about food and about flavor,” said the shop’s manager, Cate Jinnings. “I love to be the best part of people’s day and introduce them to new flavors they’ve never tasted before.” 

The west coast favorite will soon become an east coast one, with their first location opening in Miami during spring 2020.

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