Dole Whip

If I had to name my all-time favorite summertime treat, it would be the Dole Whip, a creamy yet dairy-free pineapple soft serve ice cream that’s sold at the Tiki Juice Bar in Disneyland. I was going to hold off on writing about the Dole Whip until my next Disneyland trip, but because of my foot issues I probably won’t be back there for a while. In the meantime, people visiting the Happiest Place on Earth this summer need to know about the Dole Whip. My advice to them is: Get thee to Adventureland and dig into this refreshing treat before doing anything else in the park.

I was looking through my photo albums for a shot of the Dole Whip for this blog, but couldn’t find one. “How could this be?” I wondered. “I’ve eaten a Dole Whip every time I’ve gone to Disneyland” (and let me tell you, that’s a lot). Then I realized that I was always in such a hurry to tuck into my Dole Whip that I couldn’t bear to wait two seconds to take a picture of it.

So the picture you see here is actually of a Dole Whip I had at Lappert’s, an ice cream shop in Palm Springs. Lappert’s originated in Hawaii; hence, the tropical bent of its menu. Lappert’s Dole Whip did, indeed, taste like the real thing. But you have to get one at Disneyland to truly appreciate how special it is.

dolewhip
Enjoying an unexpected Dole Whip in Palm Springs.

Disneyland’s Tiki Juice Bar, sponsored by Dole, is the first thing you see when you enter Adventureland. It’s the little thatched hut with an enormous line in front of it. Don’t be deterred — the wait is well worth it. You can either get a Dole Whip or a Dole Whip Float. The float is a Dole Whip that’s swimming in pineapple juice, adorned with a paper umbrella and maraschino cherry. This latter option can be quite nice if you’re thirsty. You can also order plain old pineapple juice, which is sometimes served in a really cool souvenir tiki cup.

tikicup

Here’s an insider tip: There’s a (usually) shorter line on the other side of the Tiki Juice Bar, inside the Enchanted Tiki Room waiting area. While you’re in line, you get to watch vintage Dole Plantation films that show pineapples being harvested. The Enchanted Tiki Room is a classic Disney attraction that features singing animatronic birds, a tropical thunderstorm, and other freaky effects that you need to see for yourself. On a hot day, there’s nothing more rejuvenating than enjoying a Dole Whip while relaxing inside the Enchanted Tiki Room.

parrot

The fact that you can only get the Dole Whip at Disneyland and a handful of other places adds to its mystique. I once drove all the way to a Lollicup in Alhambra because on Yelp it said they had Dole Whips. Their Dole Whip was pretty decent, but the next time I went back, they no longer had them, claiming it was out of season. Of course, Disneyland has Dole Whips all year round.

lollicup

You may think this is much ado about nothing, but the Dole Whip really does deserve all the fanfare it receives. It’s a tasty dessert by anyone’s standards, but if you’re lactose-intolerant, it’s the Holy Grail. I’d been eating Dole Whips for years, popping Lactaid pills in order to digest them because they were too delicious to resist. The day I learned they were dairy-free and I could eat them without a Lactaid was a happy day indeed. I adore both pineapple and soft serve, so what could be better than this perfect blend of the two? And dairy-free, no less!

UPDATE (as of 1/2/17): Brian’s Shave Ice on Olympic in West L.A. has the Dole Whip. This is a dream come true… but ironically, I haven’t gotten a Dole Whip since I reviewed Brian’s Shave Ice last October. Why? I don’t want it to stop being special.

TIKI JUICE BAR, Disneyland, 1313 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, CA 92802

LAPPERT’S ICE CREAM, 130 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, CA 92262

LOLLICUP, 228 West Valley Blvd. Ste 106A, Alhambra, CA 91801

BRIAN’S SHAVE ICE, 11301 W. Olympic Blvd. Suite 103, Los Angeles, CA 90064

Slicetruck’s Grandma Pizza

pizza
“It’s a circular Italian food object.” – Tim Robbins, explaining pizza to Howard the Duck

A few months ago, I reviewed Slicetruck pizza made with Daiya vegan cheese and promised to review their “Grandma Pizza,” a thick-crust version. This weekend I finally tried it. I ordered a mini Grandma with Daiya cheese, homemade sausage, and porcini mushrooms. Much better!

The reason I usually don’t like thick crusts is that they’re too soft and doughy. The crust on Slicetruck’s Grandma had a nice crunchiness and just a hint of a burnt flavor — in a good way, like it had been licked by the flames of a wood-fired oven. Plus, the thickness of the crust was able to support the weight of the toppings. Unlike their thin-crust pizza, this one didn’t fall apart when I picked up a slice. Even topped with Daiya cheese, which is wetter than real cheese, the slice stayed intact. There was also no grease whatsoever.

As for the toppings, as I mentioned in my earlier post, the sausage and mushrooms are beyond reproach. The Daiya cheese is a little odd, but bears enough resemblance to real cheese that I would rather have it on my pizza than go without. And this time I noticed big chunks of fresh tomato on my pizza — not just tomato sauce. This, along with the fresh basil, puts Slicetruck way above your average pizza.

The bad news is the price. I ordered a mini pizza for $10.75 because the regular size was $19. (Toppings cost extra.) Usually when food is placed in front of me, my reaction is, “I’ll never be able to finish that.” This time when I opened the box, I was like, “I’m gonna eat that in ten seconds.” They’re not kidding when they call it “mini.” Took me longer than ten seconds to polish it off, but not by much.

But if money is no object, then order up a regular-sized Grandma Pizza with Daiya from Slicetruck and you’ll be happy. It’s a winner for us lactose-intolerant folks.

SLICETRUCK PIZZA, 1523 S. Bundy Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90025

Kippy’s! Organic Non-Dairy Ice Cream

For a long time, every time I’d drive by Kippy’s!, a hippie-looking non-dairy ice cream parlor in Venice, I would get excited about trying it, especially when I learned that they use coconut cream to make their ice cream. One day I finally went in. They let me try a taste of every flavor they had that day, and I didn’t like any of them. But I felt like I had to order something because they were so nice about giving me samples. Then the sticker-shock set in. There’s nothing worse than spending way too much money on food you are not enjoying. I respect what they’re trying to do here with the natural, organic, raw ingredients, but contrary to what their website claims, Kippy’s! does not taste like ice cream.

Why do people like ice cream? Because it’s creamy, right? The smooth texture is what makes ice cream appealing. Texture is incredibly important; if you don’t believe me, try eating a wilted salad or a soggy sandwich. Ice cream needs to be smooth. Kippy’s! is grainy. Especially the flavors that are sweetened with dates. Those are truly awful.

DKPG-LTPG-Stockpiles
The texture of Kippy’s! non-dairy ice cream

Plus, the toppings they offer are super-healthy items like nuts and seeds, the kind of stuff you’d find in trail mix. There may be some folks who want this, but I’m not one of them. I’ll take my trail mix in trail mix form, not on my dessert. The closest thing they have to a traditional topping is a chocolate sauce that hardens like Magic Shell. As I was never a fan of Magic Shell, I did not partake.

What I don’t understand is why Kippy’s! is so popular. When I went, there was a line out the door. My guess is that people subconsciously believe you have to suffer to be healthy, and so they think grainy, flavorless ice cream is the best they can expect. Not true! There are much better dairy-free ice cream options, like Coconut Bliss and Ben & Jerry’s. Hopefully one day we’ll be able to walk into any ice cream shop and have a plethora of dairy-free choices. Let us dream.

KIPPY’S! ORGANIC NON-DAIRY ICE CREAM, 245 Main Street #3D, Venice, CA 90291

The Simple Pleasures of Summer

Bomb Pop 1

To me, the Fourth of July is when summer really starts. The weather gets hot, kids are running around rampant, and there are watermelons everywhere. But it seems like these days, summer stirs up a lot of worries for people, for instance, mosquitos with the Zika virus, forest fires, sunscreens that don’t work, even — as I saw on the news one July fourth — “flip-flop danger.”

In the face of all this, let’s remember to have fun and embrace the simple pleasures of summer.

I think we all have food-related childhood memories of summer, like hearing the tinkling music of an approaching ice cream truck and running outside to catch it so you can buy a popsicle. Is there anything that makes you feel more like a kid than eating a popsicle?

One day last summer, my husband and I went to the beach and bought a Bomb Pop from a guy pushing an ice cream cart. It was the original red-white-and-blue one from my childhood. Cherry, lime, and the ubiquitous blue raspberry. (Which, by the way, is one of the strangest flavor inventions ever created by food scientists. “Hmm, how do we distinguish all these red fruits from one another? I’ve got it! We’ll make raspberry antifreeze blue!”)

That Bomb Pop was a refreshing, nostalgic treat that made me happy. There’s nothing more American than a red-white-and-blue popsicle. Okay, you may say apple pie, but then you’ve got the whole “a la mode” dilemma to deal with. Bomb Pops are dairy-free!

So this Independence Day, when you hear “bombs bursting in air,” think of that tasty little food science miracle. And whatever summer treat brings you to your happy place, enjoy it with gusto and no guilt. You can worry about the impending apocalypse some other time.