Joe's Italian Ice - Garden Grove
Organic ice cream made in front of your eyes. "Real" frozen yogurt. Gelato in mochi. Custard cream puffs. Japanese sweet crepes.
All good things. But there comes a time when one wants something that hasn't been PR'd to death, hyped to overstatement, or so trendy that the dessert isn't just dessert, it's a fashion statement.
Ice cream. Yes. Ice cream. Good. Honest. Simple.
That's our thinking when we revisited Joe's Italian Ice last week, after months of pinballing around trying out the latest dessert fads. Joe's had what we needed. Ice cream cones. And syrupy ice slushie things called Italian ice. All in a place the press had long forgotten about.
It had been a few years since we'd been back. And it was just as we remembered.
It's a lonely hut, on a lot, parked along a dark stretch of road, just outside of the border from the pulsing brightness of Disneyland's neighborhood. Standing there in the night, Joe's luminous stand looked like something straight out of an Edward Hopper painting -- a refuge from the desolate, bathed in light.
Italian ices came in 14 flavors. Served in waxed cups, it's tinted with artificial coloring but oddly, tasted like the real deal. The list went like this:
Bada Bing Cherry
Ice cream flavors covered the usual menagerie, but included Spumoni and Toll House Cookie Dough. The latter was a rich ordeal. Too rich. I could only finish half my small scoop before my brain said, "That's enough butterfat, thank you very much!"
The Chocolate Dipped Cone went down easier. But the soft serve used is real ice cream; not ice milk like the fast food chains sell for a buck.
So it took a while for my palate to acclimate itself back to the velvety smoothness, the ultra dense, calorically-concentrated character of it all. And of course, it's piped as tall as torch. No space inside the cone was left empty.
I got my fill of ice cream that night. But I won't neglect Joe's again. Especially when it comes time for me to go try out the new O.C. outpost of a certain L.A. yogurt phenom. Do I even need to mention its name?
Joe's Italian Ice
12302 Harbor Blvd
Garden Grove, CA 92840