After the final activity of October’s reunion weekend, a behind-the-scenes tour of Hopkins Marine Station located on the old family home site, some of us stepped across the street to the American Tin Cannery. Kai Lee Creamery had been based here for a year at that point.
The owner mans the counter. Since the ingredients are promoted as organic and local, I asked the source of his milk and whether he uses commercial base. He was reluctant to answer me until I prompted with, “Since there aren’t any Monterey Bay organic dairies, do you use Clover, Straus or ?” Then he said that he uses Straus ice cream base. I tasted about four flavors, none that I can recall now other than pumpkin. They were judicious with the sugar but the flavors didn’t really pop for me. He offered me a “mystery” flavor, and after I made a couple guesses, still would not disclose what it was. I turned to the customers behind me and quipped, “It tastes like either squid or sardines”. We did not exactly hit it off.
Though I wasn’t in love with any of his flavors, I did buy a single cup (good-sized) since I had sampled and want to support a small business. Though Kai Lee uses Straus base, the product can’t compare to the quality of Bi-Rite, Killer Baking, Mission Hill and others that start with Straus. Much of the draw seems to be the gluten-free cones and the careful attention to avoiding allergens. While commendable features, they’re not selling points for me.
Kai Lee Creamery
125 Oceanview Boulevard #128
Pacific Grove, CA