Growing up in a New Jersey beach town, ice cream was a major part of summer. From the ice cream sellers who biked up and down the beach blocks to the custard shops on boulevard, I ate ice cream almost every day growing up. In fact, ice cream was so important to that esteemed Jersey shore culture that when I went vegan my dad actually screamed at me, “What about ice cream?”
Thankfully, there’s a ton of vegan ice cream out there nowadays. But vegan soft serve is still kind of hard to come by. Sure, there are places is doing it – but not in the exciting ways they do dairy. Case in point, last week Ikea announced that they would be debuting vegan soft serve at locations in Europe this summer. That’s awesome of course, but they’re offering one flavor: strawberry. Gurl, I’m sorry, but strawberry ice cream? That’s like one step above sorbet. And we all know how I feel about sorbet.
There is, however, one ice cream shop in Los Angeles that is seriously changing the game for vegan soft serve.
Magpies Softserve, with locations in Tarzana and Silver Lake, is nothing short of a revelation. While not all-vegan (yet) more than half of their handmade soft serve flavors are vegan and they’re truly something to behold. I’m not talking basic flavors like strawberry or vanilla. No, sis. They’re serving up selections such as toasted fluffernutter, birthday cake, and apple pie. Yes, you read that right. For Halloween this year they did a vegan candy corn flavor and I almost needed to call 911. Their staple vegan flavor, which I’ve noticed is always available, is called corn almond. It literally tastes like sugary corn flakes in ice cream form. That might not sound as impressive as the flavors above, but you will lose your shit. Trust me, I’ve seen it happen.
Now let’s talk about Magpies’ toppings. Not only do they have a vegan caramel and vegan chocolate shell, they also make their own vegan honeycomb. Can we just talk about that for a second? Vegan honeycomb. It is light, crunchy bits of sweet heaven. It’s like caramelized sugar but somehow transformed into magic puffs. I want to be buried in it!
Have I got your attention? Good. Because now I’m going to drop some real insanity. Hold on to your wigs, ladies. What Magpies is really known for is its vegan fried ice cream pie – that they sell by the slice. I do not have the words so I’m just going to post pics so you can see for yourself. Truth be told, I have never tasted anything like this in my life. Like the Colosseum or the Great Wall of China, you just have to experience it. But that’s not all, they do several vegan ice cream pies such as midnight pie, mint ice cream pie, and marbled birthday cake pie.
For the longest time, Magpies only made about 50 percent of their flavors vegan but they recently increased that to 75 percent. I spoke with the manager and learned that the decision was made mostly because of customer demand (thank you, people!). But she also let me know that they recently started making ice cream from oat milk which she said is super creamy and a great option for people with allergies. They also use almond milk, coconut milk, and rice milk to make their vegan soft serve.
Will Magpies make like Cruzer Pizzeria or Donut Friend and become 100 percent vegan one day, only time will tell. But in the meantime, they are paving the way for what the future of vegan ice cream can look like – and I’m here for it!