The first things that caught my eye as I walked into the cold, air-conditioned store front of The Parlor were the cute ice cream doughnut drawings pasted all over the store. Located at 2620 Fair Oaks Blvd, The Parlor specializes in multiple colorful and savory ice cream flavors, and after my friends told me about the doughnuts, I knew I needed to come and try it.
The Parlor is fairly sizable with four large tables, creating a comfortable, spacious setting. At the front of the shop, you are greeted by the menu with all the prices. Above the labels is cute imagery, such as the scoops with faces on the cups, of what the products look like.
Finally, when you turn left, there is the reason the store exists: the ice cream.
The menu contains different sizes of scoops and drinks — single scoop ($4.50), double scoop ($6.75), kids scoop ($3.50), ice cream shake ($7.50) and their main attraction: ice cream-filled doughnuts ($6.50).
The Parlor’s wide variety of flavors, such as Elmo’s Revenge and 50 Shades of Earl Grey, has something for everyone.
The Parlor’s flavor options rotate daily but include: Midnight in Paris, Hello Kalo, Green Machine, Sea Salt, Wendell, Chocolate, Cake Batter, Everything But The…, Shorty Got Cakes, Main-Go, Plain Jane, Buttery Cans and Cocoa Butter Kisses.
To my delight, the ice cream flavors mostly delivered — some more than others.
First, I tried the signature Parlor puffs: ice cream-filled doughnuts.
I picked Elmo’s Revenge, which contains vanilla bean ice cream studded with Oreos, cookie dough and chocolate chips. There were toppings such as marshmallows and M&M’s that could be added, but I decided to go with Fruity Pebbles.
Along with this, I put a non-glazed donut to border the ice cream and heighten the flavor. When I tried the ice cream by itself, I was immediately hit by the strong vanilla flavor, closely followed by a strong flavor of crunchy Oreo and chocolate chips. It was a little too sweet for my liking when I tried it with the puff.
In the beginning, the doughnut’s texture paired beautifully with the ice cream in every bite. However, as I ate more of it, the flavor got old quickly and it started to falter and turn into a weird combination. The sugar that was already inside the ice cream when paired with the sugary doughnut was far too overpowering. Overall, I would not try it again.
Next, I turned to some of The Parlor’s other ice cream flavors by themselves:
Midnight in Paris
This flavor mixed both Nutella pieces and coffee. When I first tried it, the ice cream was very creamy and flavorful. I was delighted to find that the coffee was not too bitter or too sweet. The coffee was very savory and had a slight hint of sweetness, and left me craving more.
The sweet Nutella pieces immediately melted in my mouth, and would have created a beautiful contrast with the coffee flavor had there not been so many of them. They ultimately ended up overpowering the coffee and all I could taste was chocolate at the end. Unfortunately, I cannot give this flavor a complete 5/5.
On the other hand, my first impression of Hello Kalo wasn’t nearly as good. The Hello Kalo consisted of condensed milk, coconut and taro — a flavor I’ve never tried before and was eager to taste.
I was unpleasantly surprised at how strong the condensed milk was. The taro mixed with the condensed milk was not a satisfactory combination. The condensed milk blended poorly with the taro. The ice cream tasted like a blend of spoiled milk and rotten cheese.
In all honesty, each forced bite was worse than the last and I had a hard time keeping it from resurfacing. Although the exterior was a nice shade of lavender, I would never try it again.
The Green Machine
The Green Machine was by far the best flavor for me — a sucker for anything mint chip. The Parlor nailed the right ratio of crunchy oreo cookies to mint ice cream. The perfect smooth texture of the ice cream made each bite more delightful than the last.
Even though there were some points that were unpleasant, such as a leaky roof and an extremely traumatic first impression of taro, I still enjoyed my visit to The Parlor.
I would say that the puff is not something I would return for, but if you like really overpoweringly sweet flavors, it is perfect for you.
The Parlor provides a truly unique experience with its customizability and flavor selection for all ice cream lovers alike.