We all scream for ice cream
I tasted all the ice cream in Encinitas to determine who holds the creamery crown
May 11, 2023
Well, the countdown for summer break is on! Summer break means beach days, exotic vacations, and sunny days filled with friends and…ice cream. I don’t know about you guys, but I personally LOVE ice cream. Like a lot. Okay, I might have a slight obsession. So, when the idea came to me to rank the different ice cream in Encinitas, I knew I had to do it. A few years ago, our town was, quite frankly, barren of ice cream. Then, out of nowhere, there were suddenly stores popping up on every corner! Out of these, I’ve selected five stores to partake in my review. In no particular order, they are
- Baked Bear
- Cali Cream
- Gelato 101
- JoJo’s Creamery
- Thrifty’s (through Rite Aid)
Please note that any outside opinions about these stores will not be taken into consideration. These rankings and ratings are based solely on the ice cream. Now, let’s get into the fun part.
It’s no surprise that Thrifty’s ice cream is the most affordable ice cream. At $2.50 for a single scoop, this shop brings a blast from the past that is much appreciated. Though not top tier in the quality of ice cream or atmosphere, all of that blurs after taking the first lick of ice cream. Thrifty’s ice cream is sure to bring instant flashbacks of childhood.
Pro tip: the Chocolate Malted Crunch is AMAZING, so if you don’t know what to get, just trust me and order it.
Known for its variety of flavors, Cali Cream does not disappoint. They have a whopping 59 flavors, topping the charts for number of flavors in this ice cream review. Out of these, they had four dairy-free and two sugar-free. I ordered the “peanut butter salted fudge”, which was very sweet and creamy and filled with lots of fudgy swirls and peanut butter cups. The serving size was quite a lot more than your standard single scoop ice cream, but the quantity is good for the price you pay ($5.25 regular or $6.25 with a waffle cone).
Pro tip: if you don’t think you can finish the amount of ice cream given to you, get a milkshake!! That way you can save it if you want to and don’t have an ice cream cone melting all over your hands.
Best ice cream sandwiches
Pretty sure we all know the winner of this category. Come on up Baked Bear, claim your prize! I mean, who doesn’t love ice cream sandwiches, especially when you get to choose from a variety of cookies and ice cream? Home to ice cream that on its own is yummy but when combined with a selection of cookies that varies from the classic chocolate chip to gooey butter cake is simply next level, Baked Bear does not disappoint.
Pro tip: get your cookies toasted. The juxtaposition between the warm cookie and the ice cream is quite possibly heaven.
Best atmosphere and presentation
When Gelato 101 first hit the streets of Encinitas, no one was prepared for the hold it would have over the community. With idyllic and comfortable (not to mention plentiful) seating, this shop is the perfect place to hang with friends on a hot summer day. Walking inside, the gelato presentation is immaculate. When I say immaculate, I mean there are bright purple flowers adorning the Passion Fruit flavor. Gelato 101 has 16 flavors out at a time that constantly rotate seasonally, all of which are made without artificial ingredients and are quite delicious.
Pro tip: when going with indecisive friends, split a boba and gelato so you get the best of both worlds!
Best quality ice cream
Tucked away amongst the hidden stores of the Lumberyard is JoJo’s Creamery. This delightful gem is home to some of the best quality ice cream in Encinitas. Whether you prefer fruity flavors or chocolate based, vegan or gluten-free, there is truly a flavor for everyone. Not only is the ice cream made with natural ingredients and oh-so-creamy, but for each ice cream you buy you also get a free cookie! Warning: JoJo’s is quite addicting, which is good for their business but possibly bad for your wallet.
Pro tip: the waffle cones are homemade and quite possibly as good as the ice cream, especially because they are continuously made throughout the day.
Honorable mention to Little Fox Cups and Cones, which closed last September but was home to the best ice cream tacos you will ever have (they are opening a shop soon in Oceanside).