Hello, my lil snacks! It is a new semester and a new age for FoodieBooty! This week highlights the magical ice cream shoppe, Stella Jean’s.
I come happier, hungrier, and with a little bit of stress, so that means more food, more posts, and more reckless spending of my savings account to get some tasty yummies in my tummy.
Anyways, back to the food.
My latest food venture came from my ice cream obsessed friend who we’ll call Rico like the guy from Hannah Montana (and yes I am rewatching it on Disney plus). Rico is one of two friends of mine who can authentically relate to seeing ice cream as a passion, or more likely a way of life. Every time we taste new ice creams, we talk about its texture, flavor profile, color, aftertaste, and our feelings post first taste. We discuss the worth of a split scoop and the appropriate heft of the average scoop. We don’t just eat ice cream, we experience it.
Rico was the person who pointed me towards remarkably delicious ice cream places such as Salt & Straw and previously reviewed, An’s Dry Cleaning. This time she led me to a place called Stella Jean’s Ice Cream. A small batch, completely handmade ice cream shop in the heart of Park Boulevard. I went not knowing what to expect, but I left enamored with the style, flavor combinations, and free sprinkles!
I visited the shop two days after Valentine’s Day with my non-dairy boo. The storefront has an old school feel from the outside with crisp white paint, a contrasting pink ice cream cone saying “Stella Jean’s” and a large window with gold and white lettering saying “ University Heights Handmade Ice Cream.” As soon as we walked in, the old school feel faded and gave way to a modern and vibrant ice cream shop which has been called one of the top ten ice cream shops of 2019 in the U.S. by USA Today.
The smell of freshly baked waffle cones pervaded the air and the name of fourteen different flavors called out my name. Luckily, enough for my non-dairy boo, six of the fourteen were vegan flavors!
As our server explained, all of the ice cream is made in house and in small batches with a lot of love and care. Both the vegan and non-vegan flavors can be paired up with a sugar cone, gluten free vegan cone, or cup. The flavors change with the seasons and you can try as many of them as you like before deciding which one you want to order, which is a very important detail when you take ice cream as seriously as I do.
The flavors include:
Grapefruit + Cranberry Sherbert (V)
Sweet Mint + Cacao Nibs (V)
Mango + Sticky Rice (V)
Brown Butter Pecan
Earl Grey Citrus Tea Cake
Salty Caramel Corn
Mango Sorbet (V)
Tarragon Apple Jam
Matcha Pistachio (V)
My non-dairy boo and I tried all of the vegan flavors the first time I went… But I sneaked back with Rico a couple days later to try some of the milky ones for all of you guys. Duty calls.
I’ll start with the vegan flavors because those came first. My favorites were the matcha pistachio, the grapefruit and cranberry sherbert, and the mango sorbet. The matcha pistachio is the glory of all glories and the reason I will keep coming back to Stella Jean’s until the end of my days. It is the perfect ice cream for those fans of matcha who think that most matcha products don’t taste like matcha at all. It is earthy, velvety and at times crunchy due to the pistachios delicately spun into it. It is perfectly sweet but not too sweet. The grapefruit and cranberry sherbert is incredibly refreshing yet incredibly tart so it is not for the faint of heart. If you love citrus and you love IPAs, you would probably love this sherbert for its sharpness and tang. The mango sorbet is just one of the brightest and most cheerful ice creams I have tried in the past year. Tasting it just made me smile instantly.
From the milky flavors, my favorite flavors were the earl grey citrus tea cake and the salty caramel corn. Earl grey enthusiasts will LOVE this ice cream flavor since it perfectly delivers on the floral and tea-ish notes of earl grey. Tasting this ice cream brought me distinct memories of sitting by my window in 9th grade, reading Salinger, and sipping earl grey tea with a fat splash of milk. The salty caramel corn flavor is a beautiful creation which truly celebrates the natural flavor of yellow corn. Paired up with a dancing ripple of salty caramel, the corn ice cream shines through and perfectly infuses with the salty and sweet notes of the caramel. If you’re expecting the taste of popcorn, do not order this flavor. What you get is a lot different, and in my opinion, A LOT better.
My least favorites from all the flavors were the chocolate covered banana with almonds and the sweet mint with cacao nibs. It feels bad to say least favorites because I actually did like these flavors but there was just something about the combinations that felt a little lackluster in contrast to the other INCREDIBLE flavors. The cacao nibs were a bit of a nuisance in an otherwise perfect sweet mint ice cream since they are very hard to munch on and also very bitter by nature. I loved the concept which played on a classic mint chip ice cream, but the actual delivery was not my favorite since I wanted less cacao and more chocolate.
Banana in general is a flavor which I find extremely tricky to deal with in ice cream, since it is so easy to have it taste completely artificial and treacly. I give my props to Stella Jean for having one of the most natural tasting banana ice cream profiles I have ever tasted. Yet, I found the chocolate flavor profile in the ice cream too weak and the almonds in the ice cream not offering the right texture as a contrast to the smoothness of the ice cream.
Overall, Stella Jean’s is an unequivocal landmark of quality, depth of flavor, and originality within the San Diego ice cream scene. From seeing the shop to tasting the flavors to ordering your cone, Stella Jean’s delivers a beautiful ice cream eating experience that is minimalist and cheerful in nature. With its original and tasty flavors, free sprinkles option, reasonable prices ($7.00 for a double scoop on a waffle cone), and excellent customer service, Stella Jean’s is worth a million visits! It is a small, local ice cream business that makes all of its flavors in house with so much passion you can actually taste it. I give it a closed 4 booty points out of 5!
I now leave you with a watering mouth and all the information you need to visit Stella Jean’s below.
4404 Park Blvd ste b
San Diego, CA 92116