This past weekend we wandered into Green Tea Terrace (on Westwood Blvd. in Westwood Village) expecting to have mochi ice cream balls. We all ended up ordering dishes of very nice looking Japanese-style ice cream in the usual flavors (mango, green tea, red bean) but the hit of the evening was their (relatively) new Black Sesame ice cream. The search for goma ice cream on this board has been going on for a long time, for example:
These threads frequently begin something like, "Wow, we had the black sesame ice cream for dessert at Kiriko on Sawtelle last night, it was fantastic, where else can we find this where it isn't served up in teeny-weeny scoops for an arm and a leg?" Unfortunately, no reliable source has been established, except for some reports of a Sweety Brand mochi ice cream sometimes found on sale at 99 Ranch Markets.
Well, now the westside apparently has another source. It turns out that this is a (relatively) new product of the Maeda-en Company, which is co-owner of Green Tea Terrace and a big distributor of tea and other products. It wasn't up to the superb standard of Kiriko's awesome goma ice cream, but it was very good, and a damn sight cheaper (less than $2 for a fairly large scoop). So far, it appears that Maeda-en sells the sesame ice cream only in 1.5g "food service size" containers, evidently designed for use in ice cream shops, but they don't have sesame mochi or smaller-size cartons, although I guess you could get them to hand-scoop a container.
More on this at http://www.maeda-en.com/productsinfo.htm , and a nice flyer at http://www.maeda-en.com/pdf/black_ses... which reports that black sesame is "Said to 1, Lower cholesterol, 2, Prevent high blood pressure, Good source of calcium, magnesium and iron." (As a lawyer I like that use of "Said to". ) I dunno about the health claims but this is a nice ice cream, and maybe we'll be seeing more of it in other ice cream or boba shops.
The counterman at Green Tea Terrace warned us that they have been running out a lot, however, so be duly advised.
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