Portlanders are so wild about ice cream that even our vanilla isn't vanilla—it's single-origin Tahitian vanilla bean. Fun flavors in the city usually feature savory ingredients, and many scoop shops rotate seasonal specials or collaborate with chefs for limited-edition runs. Since there's always a cool new flavor to taste, here are our picks for this summer’s best scoops.
Stop, Guac & Roll, Salt & Straw
This limited-edition guacamole is made with avocados, vanilla, and fried buttered tortillas dusted with cinnamon and sugar. Salt & Straw often teams up with local chefs for special flavors, but this time they asked local elementary school students to pitch some flavors. Salt & Straw will donate 15 percent of proceeds from the sale of Stop, Guac & Roll back to the school.
Pistachio Matzo Brittle, Ruby Jewel
This flavor stuck around long after Passover because it's perfectly nutty and sweet. Ruby Jewel is known for its massive made-to-order ice cream sandwiches—you pick the ice cream flavor and the cookies that flank it. For the Pistachio Matzo Brittle, we suggest the chocolate or the almond cookie (or one on each side).
Passionfruit with Sichuan Pepper, Fifty Licks
This vegan option isn't spicy, but does make your mouth tingle from the pepper. Fifty Licks is a haven for people with food allergies who can’t abandon their sweet tooth. It prides itself on dairy-free flavors, the whole shop is nut-free and offers gluten-free waffle cones. (Yep, that’s their truck in Portlandia's Allergy Pride Parade sketch.)
Ayers Creek Popcorn, Lovely's Fifty Fifty
Lovely's is primarily a wood-fired pizza shop, but it selectively makes a few flavors by hand, resulting in extra-smooth ice creams. Instead of including whole corn kernels, this lush option is steeped in popcorn that was grown at nearby cult favorite Ayers Creek Farm.
Arbequina Olive Oil, Salt & Straw
Made with oil harvested from an olive grove in Oregon wine country, this flavor is savory, grassy, floral, and not overly sweet. No surprise, then, that Oprah named it one of her favorite things.
Thai Iced Tea, Ruby Jewel
You can easily pick out the star anise, tamarind, cardamom, and black tea flavors of the classic Thai drink, plus sweet condensed milk, in this bright orange confection.
Tart, Eb & Bean
New on the scene, this shop offers organic fro-yo with a Greek yogurt tang, filled with probiotics but free of artificial flavors and colors (even the sprinkles are dye-free), GMOs, and high-fructose corn syrup. It sounds virtuous—until you go crazy piling on artisanal toppings like salted vanilla caramel corn, date syrup, oat streusel, or cold brew coffee-bourbon sauce.