3077 University Avenue, North Park
It comes as a surprise that North Park didn’t have a hipster ice cream shop before Hammond’s Gourmet Ice Cream opened in the past couple of weeks. But — sporting yet another badge-style logo, minimalist design, and a chic display of retro ice cream scoops — the new ice cream parlor fits right in to the neighborhood.
Cutesy design aside, they scoop some tasty ice cream, namely the 32 flavors of the Tropical Dreams brand, produced in Hawaii. Billed as super-high fat content, and correspondingly low on incorporated air, the ice cream is dense and rich. Flavors partly reflect Hawaii (Kona coffee, macadamia nut, etc.), and conventional flavors (chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, et al.), with a few trendy options (like salted caramel) in the mix.
About $5 buys enough ice cream to satisfy even a greedy little ice cream muncher.
The biggest draw is the option to buy the ice cream in “flights” of 4-8 tiny little cones served in a holder. Indecisive snackers can work their ways through half a dozen different flavors. The concept is undeniably adorable, and also practical.
As ice creams go, this stuff is pretty good, a mixed bag of excellence and meh. The Tahitian vanilla lacks luster (a bummer for the plain-Jane fans out there), and the pistachio has a weird taste, almost like the artificial fruitiness of Pebbles cereal. The mac nut could be nuttier. The Kona coffee is excellent, as is the ginger flavor. The various coconut variations work well, too. The truth is that it’s on par with what you’d get from other local ice cream stalwarts (Gelato Vero, Mariposa, etc.), but no innovation in ice cream service. It is very much the neighborhood ice cream parlor it claims to be, which is rather refreshing, when you get right down to it.