Thinking Outside the Cone

Two new dessert shops with creative twists

It sounds like one of Kramer's schemes on Seinfeld: a sweet shop specializing in desserts served in miniature ceramic cups.

Chocolate bread pudding ($6) in ramekins. Banana cream pie ($6) in ramekins. Guava and kiwi sorbet ($4) in ramekins.

Turns out it's not such an off-the-wall idea after all. Los Feliz's Ramekin is churning out baked-to-order goods and ice creams dreamt up by chef Jason Park, along with raw milk, pressed juice and Rishi Organic Tea.

A rotating selection of cookies, including a s'mores version smothered in brûléed marshmallow, arrive intentionally "under-baked" to gooey perfection.

Across town in Beverly Hills is high-tech startup Ice Cream Lab. The secret ingredient here isn't the Straus Family Creamery base (frozen yogurt is also available, naturally), but the addition of liquid nitrogen, which billows smoke across the counter whenever a frozen-to-order batch is spun.

While the end product isn't very futuristic–it's essentially ultra-creamy ice cream–the add-ins here are quite cutting-edge.

The Salt Lick ($5), made with crushed pretzels, caramel and sea salt, has savory crunch. The Angeles Apple Pie ($5), with graham crackers and apple-pie filling, tastes like a molecular riff on the holiday classic.

Good thing someone paid attention in chemistry class.