I don't know why I dislike Brentwood as much as I do. Perhaps it's the sheer concentration of thoughtlessness, privilege and pretense. Maybe it's just the sucky parking. A comfort over the years, however, is that there hasn't really been a reason culinarily to travel up San Vicente into the Heart of Harshness.
Sadly, this is no longer the case. A friend of mine turned me on to Sweet Crush the other night (admittedly, over my strenuous objections). The last time I was forced North of Wilshire or South of Sunset, I went to a highly overrated ice cream shop that was a Rose by any other name. I went with an ice cream fetishist and she thought it tasted a lot like any of the 10 other artisanal spots on LA's East side. Sweet Crush, on the other hand, is very special. The design is cool but the proof of their pudding is most especially in the eating.
Now I love Class 302 and the traditional Taiwanese approach. They are unquestionably the best purveyors of that take on shaved ice. But Sweet Crush isn't quite the same thing. It's a more chef-driven, Westernized take on shaved ice. The ingredients make the difference. I went in with a group and tried several of their flavors. I don't know what kind of chocolate they use but it's high end. Same for the vanilla. They're clearly not using the non-dairy creamers that help stabilize the more authentically taiwanese versions (to be clear, I have nothing against the artificiality of ingredients). Their clever take on the tea- flavored one uses Earl Grey and you can actually taste the difference between some other blend. One of the members in my party is a vegan (to be clear, I loathe vegans but make an exception for her). She tried two of the non-dairy flavors and, again, I was blown away by the purity of the flavors they achieve. They obviously use a pretty high quality of fruit. I assume this contributes to price but I say it's well worth it.
Thank you, Sweet Crush, for being so good and if I am forced to go to Brentwood, I will be back.