Last night I got a chance to attend the Coolhaus/Eater LA Ugly Sweater Hot Chocolate Launch Storefront Warming Party at the recently opened Coolhaus storefront in Culver City (thanks to my mom’s winning hot chocolate flavor idea submission!). If you haven’t heard of it yet, Coolhaus is a new gourmet ice cream sandwich business that has flavor combinations named after famous architects and architectural movements. Wonder where the name Coolhaus comes from? It originates from the Bauhaus modernist design movement, Rem Koolhaas (a famous Dutch Architect), and “cool house” (which is what an ice cream sandwich basically is with a cookie roof and floor with ice cream walls).
Coolhaus founders Natasha Case and Freya Estreller are on a mission they like to call “Farchitecture,” a combination of food and architecture, to discover different ways that food can be used to explore architecture and design. Coolhaus is only the first of many projects to come out of Farchitecture, so get ready to see what concept they will come up with next! As an idea that emerged from Natasha’s thesis project at UCLA’s Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Coolhaus began as an ice cream truck in Los Angeles that expanded to New York, Austin, and Miami. After gaining popularity at the Coachella Valley Music Festival and Whole Foods Markets in southern California, Coolhaus opened a storefront in Culver City.
Besides the tie-in with architecture, what makes Coolhaus different from other ice cream sandwich businesses? They serve ice cream sammies that are all-natural, handmade, organic, and made from local farmer’s market ingredients. Coolhaus also promotes sustainability by using actual silverware for tasting spoons and serving their sammies in edible wrappers made of rice paper and soy-based ink.
I began the night with an ice cream sandwich made of s’mores cookies and pecan pie ice cream (photographed above). I thought the cookies had the perfect texture and flavor: soft and chewy like homemade cookies and not overly sweet like Diddy Riese cookies. While the cookies were pretty tasty, I thought the ice cream was even better: smooth, creamy, and frosty (just as ice cream should be!). Although the $5 price may scare off some eaters who are used to Diddy Riese’s $1.50 price, I think it’s worth it if you are looking for a sweet treat in Culver City that tastes homemade.
Then I sipped on the Coolhaus chocolate chipotle hot chocolate topped with salted caramel whipped cream (photographed above). If you ever get hot chocolate here, the salted caramel whipped cream is a must! Although the first sip is a bit salty, the saltiness goes great with the sweetness of the hot chocolate. When it comes to the chocolate chipotle flavor, I can’t give a solid review since I couldn’t even taste the chipotle (I’m guessing my order got mixed up). Even if it was just plain hot chocolate, it tasted great nonetheless!
I also got to sample an ice cream float with blood orange sherbet (also photographed above). I’m sure these will be a hit once summer rolls around! It definitely hits the spot when you’re in the mood for something bubbly and fruity.
All in all, it was a fun holiday food event with a DJ, festive decorations, and a cranky Santa! Not only was the food a hit, but the story behind Coolhaus thriving during the recession was also encouraging. As someone interested in advertising, I find it interesting that they strongly rely on word-of-mouth marketing to promote their business (check out their fan photo gallery). It shows you that having a good product is what truly matters in the end! Dreaming of my own restaurant venture as I sip on my holiday hot chocolate…
Coolhaus is located at 8588 Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232.