The line steadily grew as the sun set over Old Town Pasadena. Due to the growing sidewalk traffic, the ushers decided it would be wise to coax the crowd to the opposite side of the building. Indignant horns began to blare when an influx of young people suddenly began to crowd the already cramped alleyway. The ruckus inevitably drew the attention of people on the prowl for dinner—many stopping to ask the reason why there was such a line. The Wanderlust Creamery had arrived in Pasadena and free Friday night ice cream was apparently worth the two hour wait.
Wanderlust Creamery is the creation of Adrienne Borlongan, a food science graduate and granddaughter of a flavor chemist and attorney turned entrepreneur, Jon-Patrick Lopez. Befittingly, the shop decor and their ice cream concoctions are inspired by their travels and places they’d like to visit.
Inside of the shop was no less crowded than the outside, and even more difficult to weave through, when precariously holding an ice cream cone. The selection on display was small in comparison to other ice cream shops, but the creative names paired with the swirls of unconventional colors, ensuring that the line would move slowly as patrons sampled every flavor that piqued their interest. Informative “passport” pamphlets, handed out to assist with choosing, contained a “grand opening special menu” comprised of limited time flavors.
The thai-inspired, unintentionally vegan flavored “Sticky Rice and Mango” is made with fresh mango and coconut milk, much like the traditional dessert, minus the glutinous rice. It was less sweet than the idea of mango ice cream would suggest, but the tartness mixed with the rich creaminess made for a delightful combination.
The “Mascarpone + Raspberry Rose Jam” inspired by their arrival in Pasadena and a selection on the special menu according to the pamphlet, followed a similar pattern. It is a milky sweet medley, with pockets of tartness interrupting the tempo. There are no actual rose petals present, for better or for worse.
There are unique twists to more traditional flavors available, too. “Smoky Road” takes Rocky Road and adds roasted almonds and smoked sea salt for a richer, more Ghirardelli chocolate-esque finish.
Wanderlust ice cream is a great dessert option for the adventurous but lactose-averse ice cream lover. Many of their vegan options use coconut milk in place of dairy and include Passionfruit Cocao, Gianduja, and the very purple Kyoho Grape Sorbet. They can be topped off with a fresh house-made waffle cone or a unique purple cone made from purple yam.
Patrons who suffered through the long line were given a chance to spin a wheel and win a prize. Many left the shop with airpod cases, bucket and dad hats, koozies, and hand-bleached t-shirts.
While the opening night festivities are over, ice cream adventurers can find the Wanderlust Creamery at 59 E Colorado Blvd, 12-11 p.m. on weekdays and 12-10 p.m. on Sundays. It resides where the Pasadena Coolhaus once stood, picking up the unusual ice cream torch it left behind.