by Ari Solomon

Last week, Los Angeles’ first vegan ice cream parlor opened its doors. Sandwiched halfway between Hollywood and the valley, NiceCream is situated in a cozy strip mall right around the corner from the amazing SunPower Natural Café.

NiceCream, which has been in development for a couple years now, has been anticipated by vegans and health-conscious eaters alike since their marquee went up about a year ago. Pulling up to this modern ice cream parlor, I could barely contain my excitement! Of course, living in LA, I immediately noticed that there was ample parking in their lot, with spaces allotted just for NiceCream.

The first thing you see when you walk into this delectable depot is the glass case filled with over 12 flavors of ice cream! We’re talking maple pecan, mocha, mint chocolate chip, ginger basil… it’s bananas!! And they taste even more amazing then they look. One spoonful of the mint chocolate chip and I nearly passed out. So refreshing, so creamy… I was told by Mollie, the mastermind behind NiceCream and the daughter of Café Gratitude’s Matthew Engelhart, that the mint is organic and picked from her own garden. Indeed, all of NiceCream’s ice cream is homemade and mostly raw and organic. Some flavors are made using a cashew or almond base, but don’t let that deter you if you have a nut allergy, they also serve coconut-based flavors as well.

After nearly having an orgasm over the flavors in the case, my eyes were then drawn to a huge — wait for it — soft serve machine! Oh girrrrrl, say it isn’t so! Out of this machine came the most fluffy, the most silky, the most insane vegan soft serve EVER. Seriously, you have to strap yourself in for this one. The day I came the only soft-serve flavor they had was chocolate but more flavors are on the way. And the soft-serve is also homemade. Can you handle it?

But NiceCream isn’t just about ice cream and soft serve (though we’d be fine with just that); they also offer banana splits, brownie sundaes (raw brownie upon request), smoothies and juices. There are also truffles and a freezerful of pints for sale.

According to Mollie, this week’s opening has been incredible but not without controversy. NiceCream, which does have the words “vegan ice cream” on their marquee, uses honey in three or four of the their flavors (you can read their explanation here). But, the varieties that contain honey are clearly marked if you wish to avoid them.

My two cents, get your asses down to NiceCream and eat that shit! Take your dairy consuming friends and let them see just how incredible vegan ice cream really is. And for Café Gratitude fans, I also got scooped on a Los Angeles Café Gratitude coming our way this fall.

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Ari Solomon is the President and co-creator of the celebrated vegan candle line A Scent of Scandal®. After graduating from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Ari first worked as an actor in New York and Los Angeles, and later hosted the wildly popular ARI’S HOLLYWOOD UPDATE on Miami’s Y-100FM. Now a prolific activist and writer for animal and human rights, Ari’s letters have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Miami Herald, and The Advocate. He regularly blogs for The Huffington Post.