Artisanal ice cream is everywhere, and it’s great. But let’s be honest. We’ve seen some crazy flavor combinations that have no point other than “just because.” Artisanal ice cream is sometimes like the art at the Broad that you don’t understand, but you take a picture anyway and post it on Instagram because it looks like a thing we all should understand.
In a world full of absurd artisanal ice cream, Wanderlust Creamery has purpose. “We’re not just weird to be weird,” says co-founder JP Lopez. “There’s meaning behind every ingredient.” Each flavor combination represents a destination, a memory, or an experience from places all over the world, so every flavor has a meaningful origin story. “This is my way of introducing exotic flavors to people,” says chef and co-founder Adrienne Borlongan.
Its globetrotting flavor concept has caught on, and after much success at its original Tarzana location, it has recently opened a second location in Atwater Village – in addition to a weekly residency at Smorgasburg.
All of its ice cream is crafted in-house from scratch. It source the best ingredients from all over the world. We’d expect nothing less from Borlongan, a flavor scientist whose mixology work you may have seen, or drank, in certain SBE venues such as Hyde.
Half of the menu changes monthly as they launch all new whimsical and truly unique ice cream flavors. From a Cuban pastelito flavor with guava and cream cheese (coming soon!) to Ukrainian sunflower seed butter with candied sunflower, the flavors are totally authentic to each location in the world. “I think of a place and wonder what kind of sweets they like there or what’s ubiquitous in that cuisine, and then I develop a flavor off of that,” says Borlongan.
Besides their ever-changing monthly specials, their signature flavors, which represent memories of places they’ve been and places they want to go, are always available. Both the abuelita malted crunch and ube malted crunch were inspired by Borlongan’s childhood memories of eating her favorite chocolate malted crunch ice cream from Thrifty’s.
The ube flavor, inspired by their Filipino upbringing, tastes of real purple yam and pairs well with another Southeast Asian flavor, sticky rice and mango, which has rich notes of coconut and mango puree. Their Thai tea ice cream should be standard in all Thai restaurants. Most surprising of all the flavors was their British-inspired earl grey, which will blow your mind when you try it with sea salt and Italian Bergamot olive oil.