Salt & Straw vs. Jeni’s: Which One is Better?
When I first moved to California, I missed my (not so) local ice cream shop, Haagen Dazs. While I have had an ice cream shaped hole in my heart ever since, I’ve been on the prowl for a reputable place to get a delectable dessert. There are two ice cream shops in my area, Salt & Straw and Jeni’s. Many people frequent them both, yet it seems no one can decide which one is better. That’s why I’m here to tell you which of these shops is the supreme ice cream shop
First off, let’s get familiar with these shops. Founded by cousins Kim and Tyler Malek, Salt & Straw is a Portland-based ice cream shop whose range has since expanded to include multiple locations in Los Angeles. Their ice cream is handmade in small batches, similarly to how the company first started. Their name is a homage to original ice cream making techniques, to how the (soon to be ice) cream would need to be submerged in cold salt water and then packed in layers of insulating straw to harden the ice cream. “Our name celebrates where ice cream came from. And Salt & Straw is where ice cream is going,” the Salt & Straw website professes. They pride themselves on their unique flavors, strong community connections and local sources for their ice cream.
Jeni’s, meanwhile, touts itself as a “modern American ice cream company devoted to making the finest ice creams the world has ever known.” Named after the founder, Jeni Britton, who’s an award winning ice cream maker, Jeni’s has over 65 shops in the U.S., an online store system, and distribution in supermarkets. Similar to Salt & Straw, Jeni’s started small, though in Ohio, with just Jeni scooping ice cream in 2002. It began to expand in 2005, and Jeni’s continued to grow “outside of the market—and ha[s] continued to grow ever since.” Reviews from The Washington Post, Wood & Wine and Popsugar are displayed on their ‘About Jeni’ page. They’ve also partnered with Ted Lasso to create ice cream based off the Apple+ show.
In this article, the ice cream that’s sampled will be given a final rating based off of three categories:
- Will be judged on creaminess of the ice cream, texture, possible frostbite and overall taste.
- How much the ice cream costs per (reasonable) proportion and affordability.
- A mix of taste and price; it considers how much ice cream is given per portion, if the ice cream is crumbly or creamy, and its density vs. frothiness.
Each category will be worth five points. Then at the end, the total score for each flavor will be calculated and compared. Additionally, the flavor picked will be similar enough to compare them fairly (e.g. strawberry compared to strawberry would be a proper match but strawberry compared to goat cheese and raisin would not). Let’s get to the judging!
Salt & Straw
The flavor that was picked from Salt & Straw is one of their Classic Flavors: Chocolate Gooey Brownie. It seems the easiest one to match up with Jeni’s and chocolate is a good base to judge off.
- The texture was smooth (despite it being slightly melted when it was time to finally compare them) and almost chewy, or as chewy as ice cream can be. It was refreshingly cool in the 70 degree weather. The brownie bits, while slightly soft, were very chewy and chocolatey. The base ice cream was rich and sweet, and overall, very chewy, smooth and good. 4.8 points.
- Their prices are mildly reasonable. The price for a single scoop is $5.95 and while it doesn’t feel completely worth it, it’s still a decent portion for the cost. The prices do seem slightly too high due to the cents not being rounded up to a dollar so it seems like you’re paying more than you’re getting. It doesn’t entice the consumer to go there too often, but maybe once in a while for a treat. 2.5 points.
- This scoop was very dense, it felt that there was lots of ice cream packed in. It was slightly melted due to the heat but held up quite well. Overall, a very good quality scoop. 4.9 points.
This store is definitely the right place to occasionally get a high quality, flavorful treat.
The closet match I could find to Salt & Straw’s Chocolate Gooey Brownie was their Texas Sheet Cake. The only issue was that the flavor is dairy-free, so judging will be slightly altered to accommodate.
- The texture was slightly crumbly, due to the dairy-free nature of the ice cream, but still a decent texture. There is a lingering tinge of coconut, most likely because their dairy alternative is coconut milk. The chocolate cake bits were extremely good; they definitely raised the score for this category. This flavor would be very bland without them. 4.5 points.
- A standard (which is two scoops) is $6.95. While two flavors can be ordered in one standard, based on the size of a scoop, it feels too expensive compared to the portions given. Despite all the buzz around Jeni’s, it feels too expensive for what you get. 2 points.
- (the portion shown isn’t accurate, I ordered one instead of two scoops by accident)
- Overall, the quality is great. There’s no issues with ice cream itself; it tastes good despite the price. 4 points.
Jeni’s is an extremely good ice cream spot, yet the price of their portions certainly gets in the way of enjoying their wide range of flavors.
When compared, Jeni’s total is 10.5 points and Salt & Straw’s is 12.2. While the points do clearly show which store is the better ice cream place, that’s purely subjective and up to the individual. Each store is good for different reasons and both have their own specialties. We all scream for ice cream at the end of the day!
2 thoughts on “Salt & Straw vs. Jeni’s: Which One is Better?”
As someone who lives near both, I appreciated this article. It is truly fair and balanced. Personally, I go with the flavors, my favorite being Jeni’s goat cheese and cherries. On the other hand, Salt & Straw’s gooey chocolate brownie is my super indulgent sweet treat. I loved this thoughtful and respectful article.
I’m angry with Salt & Straw right now ’cause they moved in next to Pazzo Gelato-lovely article:)