I’m spending the month in Los Angeles researching Persian food. My trip to Iran didn’t come together in time, so I came here, the place with the biggest population of Persians outside of Iran, to eat at Persian restaurants, shop at Persian grocery stores, and hang out with my extended Persian family eating homemade food.
On my first day here, my cousin Reyhanak (which means little basil in Farsi) told me about Mashti Malone’s, a place that she sometimes drives forty-five minutes to in order to satisfy a craving for freshly made Persian ice cream.
We went the very next day, and I got a cone of Rosewater Saffron with Pistachios, a bright yellow ice cream studded with green pistachios. Yum!
James got a cup of rich, earthy Turkish Coffee, and we sampled the Sour-Cherry Faludeh, the distinctly Persian dessert of frozen sorbet with rice noodles.
What makes the ice cream distinctly Persian is the presence of rosewater. The taste is pretty intense if you’re not used to the flavor of rosewater, but in Iran it’s a common ingredient for sweets. I’d compare it to the way vanilla extract is used here.
You can buy Mashti Malone’s ice cream in stores all over L.A., but there’s nothing like getting a couple of scoops on a cone right where the ice cream is made. The store looks a little run down, but you can sample all of the flavors, squirt sour cherry syrup or lemon juice onto your ice cream from plastic squeeze bottles, and the guy behind the counter couldn’t be any sweeter or more patient with answering questions about the ice cream.
Mashti Malone’s Ice Cream, 1525 North La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Tel: 866-767-3423, 323-874-0144. Mashtimalone.com.