Cado Non-Dairy Ice Cream


It seemed too weird not to try: ice cream made from avocados. I’ve had non-dairy ice creams made from almonds, cashews, coconuts… even peas and rice. Why not avocados?

When it comes to dairy-free ice cream, the flavor that’s hardest to do well is vanilla. It’s so basic you can’t fake it. So I went for the vanilla bean Cado, as a sort of litmus test.


It looked good. It had the right color and I could see the vanilla bean specks. Upon the first spoonful, I was impressed. I could taste the vanilla, and though a bit thin in texture and not very creamy, it was fairly smooth.

In retrospect, my initial positive reaction was probably due to the fact that I was picturing avocados in my mind, and this ice cream had no detectable resemblance to avocados. So, points for the food science.

But after a few more bites, I grew sick of Cado. The taste of vanilla wears off quickly, leaving you with the overwhelming taste of sugar. Halfway through this sundae, I had to stop. It felt like eating cotton candy.


Cado says it’s the first avocado-based, non-dairy ice cream. So perhaps the science will improve and produce better results in the future. For now, I’ll eat my avocados in guacamole and on toast — and stick with almonds and coconuts for ice cream.


Smoothie House Shave Ice in Taiwan


Although most of my food reviews are about Southern California, I have to tell you about something I ate while traveling in Taiwan: shave ice. I didn’t expect to find any desserts I liked, since many Taiwanese sweets I’ve tried in the U.S. contain red bean or taro, or are heavy on the peanuts and sesame seeds — unappealing to my American tastes.

I’ve never cared for shave ice, because the ones I had were like snowballs drizzled with syrup. But Taiwanese shave ice is totally different. For one thing, the ice is fluffier. It’s like the difference between skiing in New Hampshire and skiing in Colorado — ice versus powder. In fact, Taiwanese shave ice is often called “snow” or “snowflake” ice.

The second big difference is that Taiwanese ice is flavorful. It’s flavored even before it’s shaved — usually with fruit, but I also had a chocolate one that tasted just like ice cream.

And the third difference is that Taiwanese shave ice is piled with fresh fruit, not just syrup. Mango was the most popular choice, since it’s in season right now. But my favorite was the lychee snowflake ice with strawberry and raspberry at Smoothie House.

Right now, $250 NT is equal to about $8 US.

I’m usually a minimalist when it comes to food, easily overwhelmed when there’s a lot going on in a dish. But this shave ice was complicated and it all worked. The lychee base was already delicious on its own. The fresh strawberries and blueberries were a classic combo. Then there was raspberry-flavored jelly (which is like Jell-O) and a bowl of raspberry purée on the side.

Why on the side? So that as you eat down the layers of your shave ice, you can drizzle on additional purée. This is important because the shave ice in Taiwan is typically enormous, a good five or six inches in height.

Finally, just for decoration and delight, it was sprinkled with rose petals and gold leaf flakes, then topped with a pink macaron.


If you’re ever in Taipei, a shave ice at Smoothie House is a must. It was surprisingly hard to find dairy-free options in Taiwan; most boba shops use real milk, and coffee shops don’t usually offer almond, coconut, or soy milk. I found no dairy-free ice cream. But this shave ice is dairy-free and delicious. It’s meant to be shared, like a Vermonster at Ben & Jerry’s. It’s not just a dessert — it’s an event.

There are several Smoothie House locations in Taiwan. The one I went to was in the Da’an District of Taipei, a hip, upscale neighborhood that reminded me of Soho in New York. Despite the weather — 90 degrees and muggy, even at night — we enjoyed our shave ice at an outdoor table, people-watching and planning our next adventure.


When you get to the nearest metro station, you will see huge ads for Smoothie House plastered everywhere, including ones that claim “recommended by CNN.” Believe the hype.

SMOOTHIE HOUSE, No. 15 Yongkang St., Da’an District, Taipei City 10650, Taiwan



Bacio di Latte Gelato


This blog is about dairy-free eating, but every so often I come across a dairy-full food that’s so good it’s worth cheating on my diet for — like the peanut butter pie at Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab in Las Vegas. This time it’s the vanilla & rose gelato at Bacio di Latte in the Century City mall.

I first wandered in looking for dairy-free sorbets. They do have quite a few, and they’re good. But when I saw the vanilla & rose gelato, I had to try it. The rosewater ice cream I once ate at Mashti Malone’s — a Persian ice cream shop in Hollywood — left a sweet memory.


Bacio di Latte is a clean, bright, inviting, and well-run ice cream parlor. My only pet peeve is their ordering system. You’re supposed to pay for your order before trying samples. Personally, I want to try flavors before deciding whether I want a cone or cup, how many scoops, etc. I did it my way and pissed off the staff.


Here’s a tip: Order a waffle cone rather than a cup. It costs the same, but you get more ice cream in the cone — a “cone scoop” is bigger than a “cup scoop.” Plus, the waffle cones are made fresh in-house and they’re delicious.


As you can see, the single scoop in a waffle cone is enormous. I ate every last bite, taking two Lactaid pills to be safe. The gelato was smooth, creamy, and delightfully rosy. What surprised me most was how it didn’t make me feel over-sugared the way many desserts do. It wasn’t until the last few bites of cone that I thought, “I need to stop eating this.” (By then it was too late!) I think this speaks to the freshness and quality of the ingredients.

True to form, I went back a few days later to chase the dragon. This time I got a cup: half vanilla & rose gelato, and half strawberry sorbet. The sorbet was fantastic — bursting with fresh strawberries, and creamy in texture even though dairy-free. It paired beautifully with the vanilla & rose.

Garnished with a rose petal.

There are many more flavors to choose from; the chocolate selection alone is mind-boggling. My husband is also a fan of the affogato — a scoop of gelato topped with a shot of espresso. Everything we’ve had there was top-notch. But the vanilla & rose is the stand-out. Try it and let me know what you think.


BACIO DI LATTE, Westfield Century City, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90067