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Burbank is home to some of the best sweets in the LA area — donuts from Donut Hut, guava pastries from Porto’s, and tea cakes from Martinello’s. A little over a year ago, Quenelle opened up in a little storefront on Magnolia to guarantee Burbank also had the best ice cream. John Park, who was formerly the pastry chef at Lukshon and Father’s Office, works with his wife and co-owner, Christina, at his side.
The trend in artisanal ice creams is exotic flavors, like cucumber, rhubarb, and wasabi. With Quenelle, you get the funky flavors in their purest form. Sure, there is always Scoops, and Mother Moo’s; each shop is special in its own way. As Park put it in an interview with Dessert Professional after being named one of their Top Ten Frozen Dessert Retailers,” they are “Not trying to be different. Just focusing on using solid techniques and sourcing out great products.”
Where Quenelle really shines is with their riffs on famous baked goods and with unexpected flavor combinations that often include Asian ingredients like lemongrass, yuzu and lychee. Their most popular flavors are also my personal favorites — Blueberry Pie and Strawberry Shortcake. Recent flavors have included pandan (which causes the pale green shade in many Thai desserts), which comes from a leaf and tastes similar to vanilla, or some say Corn Pops cereal. Ube is a purple yam that is a chef’s darling right now. Not only does Quenelle occasionally serve frozen treats flavored with Chamay and Guinness, like true Angelenos, they also offer Golden Road IPA. There are traditional toppings like fudge, caramel and raspberry sauce, or crunchy bits like caramelized rice and candied pecans. But to me, that’s gilding the lily.
The shop rotates flavors to offer 16 ice creams and sorbets daily. Besides scoops, they also have a large selection of “Otter Pops,” “push-pops” and ice cream bars to go. These treats also rotate flavors. The Thin Mint Ice Cream Bar and the strawberry-lavender push pop with just a hint of lavender are particularly memorable..
If you want to go crazy and add a real cookie to your ice cream, or squirrel away a snack for later, Chef Park also sells a selection of baked goods. Favorites include snickerdoodles, salted chocolate chip cookies, and Peruvian alfajores, a shortbread sandwich cookie with a caramel-like dulce de leche filling.
The shop has no tables. Six customers standing is a tight squeeze. If you are lucky enough to be the lone customer, you can taste every one of the big flavors that come come out of this little shop. Ice cream is only $3.50 and frozen treats rage from $3-$5. Closed Sundays and Mondays. Cash only. 2214 W Magnolia Blvd Unit A Burbank, CA 91506. (818) 843-1035