On what I like to call my “West Coast Tour”, I wasn’t expecting to eat much ice cream, since so many donut shops popped up as I researched my trip. Turns out, there is some great ice cream in Portland and Seattle. The ice cream is so good, I briefly contemplated ordering a few pints to be shipped to my home (until I caught wind of the exorbitant shipping fees… oh well!). Here are the ice cream shops in Seattle and Portland that I really enjoyed. One of them serves plant-based ice cream, which means it’s dairy-free and vegan! If I’ve missed your favourite, let me know in the comments!
Salt and Straw
Address: 3345 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97202, USA (view on Google Maps)
Hours: Open every day · 11AM–11PM
Phone: (503) 208-2054
Visit Salt and Straw on Facebook or on their website for more information.
I didn’t know much about Salt and Straw when I lined up. Turns out they serve some crazy ice cream flavours, like pear and blue cheese, Arbequina olive oil, or strawberry honey balsamic with black pepper. Really interesting flavours. I tasted about half the flavours available at the Division Street location in Portland before deciding on two scoops: Cinnamon Snickerdoodle and almond brittle with salted ganache. The thing I did not realize when I ordered two scoops at Salt and Straw was the size of the scoops. Holly hell! They are VERY generous with their scoops of ice cream. Two scoops at Salt and Straw might just add up to almost a pint if you measured it. That is a crazy amount of ice cream for one person for one serving. Of course, I ate it all, and then I lined up again a day later for more (this time for half scoops in an attempt at being “reasonable”—honey lavender and Alberquina olive oil, which was a masterful combination of ice cream flavours, if I may say so). The great thing about Salt and Straw, besides the killer ice cream, is that they do their best to use as many local products as they can, which is a great thing. Sample everything before you settle on a flavour.
You know how much I love Earl Grey tea. I’ve baked it into a Earl Grey layer cake and infused it in Earl Grey panna cotta tarts. So when I saw the Earl Grey tea ice cream on the board at Molly Moon, I could not resist! I paired it with the lavender ice cream for two reasons: first, because I’d just had the honey lavender ice cream from Salt and Straw the day before, and so I might as well take this opportunity to compare them, and secondly, because I used to love lavender Earl Grey tea and so I knew the combination of the two ice creams would be great. Interestingly, the lavender ice cream at Molly Moon is not purple like the honey lavender ice cream at Salt and Straw. The lavender ice cream at Molly Moon is much more lavender-forward. I really enjoyed it. But the Earl Grey ice cream is where it’s at. If you love this floral tea, you will adore Molly Moon’s Earl Grey ice cream. The location on 19th Avenue is shared with Hello Robin, a cute bakery. You know what that means? You can choose your cookies and your ice cream, and then they will make you a Molly Moon x Hello Robin ice cream sandwich!
Frankie & Jo’s
I am always hesitant when it comes to vegan dairy-free frozen desserts. I can’t help it. I guess I’m #teamdairy. But that being said, I will always give it a try, and sometimes I am pleasantly surprised. In terms of pints you can buy at the grocery store, I’m a fan of the So Delicious cashew milk frozen dessert products which I used to top roasted peaches. I also like their coconut almond bars. I tried to keep an open mind when I walked into Frankie & Jo’s in Seattle, but when you combine buzzwords like “gluten-free,” “vegan,” and “plant-based” that could spell disaster if done wrong. I have no room in my life (or in my daily caloric intake) for bad ice cream. I hesitantly tried all the available flavours at Frankie & Jo’s. What a delightful surprise! These ice creams are really, really good. In the end, I went for the California Cabin flavour (with cardamom and shortbread pieces) and tahini chocolate, which was fantastic. I wish I had had more of it. I’m not one to mix sesame flavours with chocolate but this ice cream flavour worked great and proved me wrong. The waffle cones are also gluten-free.
Please note that the hours of operations of these ice cream shops are subject to change. Check their websites or Facebook pages to keep up-to-date!
Janice Lawandi is chemist-turned-baker, working as a recipe developer in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. She studied pastry at Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa and cooking at l’Académie Culinaire. She has a BSc in Biochemistry from Concordia University and a PhD in Chemistry from McGill University. Visit janicelawandi.com to see my portfolio.