Here's something from LA that hasn't hit SF (at least as far as I know. Correct me if I'm wrong, folks): Snow Ice! I first heard about this new dessert trend earlier this summer from my brother, who lives in Silver Lake and likes to eat as much as I do. He explained snow ice to me, but it was really hard to visualize; I had to see it with my own eyes and taste it with my own mouth to truly get it.
Snow ice first became popular in Los Angeles in the San Gabriel Valley, which, if you read Thursday's story about LA neighborhoods, is "the real Chinatown." It's a Tawainese dessert (xue hua bing) made up of very delicate slices of ice milk, loaded with toppings and sauces. It's made by placing a round disc of flavored ice on an ice shaver that cuts very thin slices from the wheel, almost like a deli slicer. The sheets get layered and double backed upon each other in the bowl until they end up looking more like phyllo dough than a frozen dessert. Because the ice is so thin, the texture is more creamy than crunchy, and doubly so when topped with condensed milk flavored sauces.
The snow ice above is from New York Snow on E. 3rd Street, just a few doors down from Poketo in the Arts District of Los Angeles. Joe Saavedra, the owner, was really excited to be serving a snow virgin, and patiently explained all the flavors and the process of how to order, and recommended what to get. I ended up ordering a combination of the original and matcha flavored snow with red beans, mochi, and taro and coconut sauces. Damn, it was good. What makes New York Snow different than other snow ice places in LA? They use soy milk for their shavings. (Vegans, before you get too excited, although you can abstain from the condensed milk topping, New York Snow still uses white cane sugar in their recipe, so buyer beware.)
When I asked Joe if he was from New York originally, he said no, he was born and raised in Los Angeles. The reason he named his shop New York Snow is he's opening another location at 5108 York Street in Highland Park, an area in LA that's undergoing some changes (again, read Moving to LA for Jessica's explanation), and he wanted to reference that with this shop. The name is a little confusing (and to me, New York Snow sounds like something someone who likes to party might actually crave more than a sweet fiend), but hey, I can't hate on something that tastes so good.
So SF, what's up, can we get some snow up in you already?