By Jasmine Zahedi
Last year at my club volleyball banquet, I received the “most likely to find a five-star ice cream place anywhere” award. A running joke with my coaches and teammates is that no matter where we travel to for our tournaments, whether it’s Louisville, Kentucky or Kansas City, Missouri, I’m in charge of Yelping and finding the best restaurants for dinner and dessert. I pride myself on this skill and am particularly confident in my ability to choose the best places to satisfy a person’s sweet tooth. My personal favorites in Los Angeles include:
I first tried their soft serve with some of my teammates, who also have a sweet tooth, after our annual club volleyball holiday party. What impressed me the most was actually not the soft serve itself, but the chocolate honeycomb I chose as a topping. The honeycomb added a perfect “crunch” to already decadent soft serve. Fun fact: all their soft serve flavors and toppings are made in-house.
Salt and Straw
A favorite among USC students, Salt and Straw semi-recently added a new scoop shop in the Arts District. With their unique flavors such as Avocado & Strawberry Sherbet and Black Olive Brittle & Goat Cheese, the highly successful chain has charmed both hipsters and traditional ice cream lovers alike. Whenever I go, I always order a scoop of Honey Lavender in a sugar cone.
I first fell in love with these vegan donuts at Smorgasburg last summer. Their slogan is “Donuts Done Differently,” which I immediately sensed when I tasted the chili powder on my “Yo La Mango” donut. Their donuts not only look almost too beautiful to eat, they also taste heavenly and unlike any donut you’ve ever had before. If I’m being honest, Donut Friend puts California Donuts to shame.
Mashti Malone’s Ice Cream
If you’ve never had Persian ice cream or even knew that Persian ice cream existed, then there’s no better place to start than with Mashti’s saffron rosewater ice cream. It sounds weird, but it’s actually one of the tamer flavors. Rather than getting it on a cone, I recommend getting it sandwiched between two wafers for a Persian version of an ice cream sandwich.
Blackball Taiwanese Dessert
The first thought I had when I sipped my “Fresh Milk with Boba” was “this tastes exactly like the boba I used to drink almost every day when I worked in Taipei.” If you’ve been to Taiwan’s famous boba cart in Gongguan, you know what I’m talking about. In addition to their boba, Blackball Taiwanese Dessert is known for their grass jelly desserts that you can top with sweet potato balls, taro balls, and boba. Trust me; it’s better than it sounds.
Jasmine is a senior pursuing a major in Psychology and a double minor in Chinese for the Professions and Forensics and Criminality. Born and raised in Palos Verdes, a city about 45 minutes away from USC, Jasmine is extremely fond of hikes at sunset and the beach, where she loves playing beach volleyball. Growing up in a Chinese-Persian family is what initially sparked her interest in languages and the cultures of distant lands, particularly China and Iran. Last year, Jasmine studied abroad in Shanghai, which not only helped her improve her Chinese, but also allowed her to eat xiaolongbao and drink boba to excess. While abroad in China, she developed lesson plans to teach English to fourth graders at migrant schools and realized how much she loves interacting with people of different cultures. In her free time, Jasmine loves finding new places to eat in LA, playing volleyball, and reminiscing about her travels through Southeast Asia.