Shaved ice comes in many forms — piled high and topped with fresh fruit and condensed milk a la Guppy House, scooped into a cone and flavored with a rainbow of syrups, and lastly, a dessert whose fans will vehemently exclaim is spelled without the d – Hawaiian style shave ice. And then there’s Blockheads Shavery.
The cute square penguin joined the Little Osaka / Sawtelle scene in 2011 and brought with it a frozen treat they call snow cream. Combining the best traits of creamy ice cream and fluffy shave ice, snow cream is shaved to order from giant ice blocks here at Blockheads and comes in at least five flavors at any given time: plain/original, green tea, strawberry, black sesame, and a seasonal flavor or two that varies from cantaloupe to cappuccino to peach.
If the menu offerings seem daunting, have no fear — you’ll have plenty of time to decide. There is always a long line out the door, especially on Friday nights when UCLA students flock to Sawtelle to congregate at SushiStop and a Blockheads dessert afterward. While waiting, take a look around at the adorable penguin paraphernalia, including the Andy Warhol style artwork on the walls. And the soft, soft plushie. Yes, I splurged on one.
I like the build-your-own shave ice. Just pick a flavor, a few toppings, and a drizzle. The pricing model starts at $3.50 for a regular bowl of just the ice and one drizzle. Add $0.50 for each topping, so choose wisely. The variety of toppings include fresh fruit, mochi, jelly, rice cakes, red bean, and so much more. There are about half a dozen drizzles as well, but I think the most noteworthy ones are the condensed milk and the chocolate syrup. In case you get overwhelmed, they do have a menu of “favorites” that feature popular combinations of toppings.
After hugging my newly purchased plushie and admiring the doodle wall for a few minutes, I finally heard, over the din of grinding ice blocks, my name called to pick up my order. Matcha (green tea) shave ice topped with cubes of almond jelly and a generous drizzle of condensed milk. Keepin’ it simple. The almond jelly reminds me of childhood and the condensed milk adds just the right touch of sweetness to the light and fluffy ice.
Dining Companion #1 ordered the strawberry snow cream topped with fresh mangoes and drizzle of condensed milk. The fruity combination was like a taste of the tropics on a hot summer’s day.
Dining Companion #2 assembled the black sesame snow cream with azuki (red beans) and drizzle of condensed milk. She remarked that the flavor combination was distinctly Asian and reminded her of some of her favorite desserts growing up. Black sesame, surprisingly, is one of Blockheads’ most popular flavors — clearly there’s a demand for their supply.
With the weather warming up, Blockheads Shavery is a great place to beat the heat and grab some sweet frozen treats. Gather a group of friends with similar tastes and order the large – it’s pretty massive and looked like tons of fun to dig into.
Check out Blockheads Shavery: blockheadsla.com
11311 Mississippi Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90025
See their Yelp reviews here!