Frozen Flavors

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As summer heats up, turn to these cold treats to cool you down.

By Sharael Kolberg


Summertime in Laguna Beach typically means enjoying a day of fun in the sun—and whether you’re frolicking in the waves, going for a hike or lounging on the sand with a book, one of the best ways to cool off on a hot summer day is to indulge in a frozen treat.

Luckily, there are plenty of options to choose from in Laguna, from sweet treats like gelato and ice cream (including newcomer South Swell Hand Dipped Ice Cream) to healthy acai bowls. Here are a few local favorites to help you beat the heat.


watermelon soft serve _courtesy of The Stand Natural Foods
Fresh fruit soft serve at The Stand Natural Foods | Photo by The Stand Natural Foods

The Stand Natural Foods

Serving vegan food in Laguna since 1975, The Stand Natural Foods is the perfect place to take a seat under a shady tree with ocean views and dine on delicious snacks, like the fresh fruit soft serve. It is made entirely out of frozen fruit, with no sugar added, and comes in a variety of flavors, such as banana, strawberry, blueberry, peach and pineapple; you can even mix two flavors together. Owner Alizabeth Arciniaga says that watermelon is particularly popular during the summer months. “It tastes like you’re eating fresh watermelon,” she says. “Since fruit is the only ingredient, the sweetness depends on how sweet the organic fruit is.” The frozen fruit is run through a special juicer to make a consistency that is similar to soft serve ice cream. To add some crunch, choose from toppings like organic almonds, dates, vegan chocolate chips or shredded coconut. (949-494-8101;


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Dolce Gelato has 32 flavors. | Photo by Sharael Kolberg

Dolce Gelato

For a handcrafted, made-from-scratch frozen treat, Dolce Gelato is the place to go. The shop offers 32 different flavors of traditional gelato as well as almond milk and vegan sorbet varieties, plus house-made fruit cobblers that are best served a la mode. Chef Lindsey Nelsen makes fresh, innovative flavors in the on-property kitchen with a unique theme and new options each month. “We like to make flavors that are fun and excite people,” says owner Safa Alawi. Past themes have included Star Wars, gods and goddesses of love, and “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” with flavors such as Imperial Stormtrooper, Eros and Everlasting Gobstoppers. Made using premium ingredients, including milk, cream and sugar, gelato has less fat than ice cream plus no artificial colors or flavors. Cooked and then slow churned, it is also creamier than ice cream. (949-715-9249;


Frozen yogurt at Active Culture | Photo by Sharael Kolberg

Active Culture

Just a couple blocks away from the beach, you’ll find Active Culture, a cafe serving up vegetable-forward fare in addition to delicious frozen yogurt. The nutritious eatery typically carries 10 flavors of soft serve “froyo” (including no-sugar-added flavors), ice cream or sorbet. Grab a bowl and help yourself to as big a serving as you’d like. “Our customers love mixing the vegan vanilla coconut and pomegranate raspberry flavors,” says manager Brianna Wilkinson. “And we offer healthy toppings, such as fresh fruit, carob chips and granola.” The frozen yogurt is made by pouring a liquid yogurt mix (which includes gut-healthy active cultures, hence the name) into the machines that spin and scrape it off the frozen internal barrel, resulting in soft serve that’s finished in about 20 minutes. (949-715-5188;


Banzai Bowls’ Maui Sunrise with fresh fruit on top | Photo by Sharael Kolberg

Banzai Bowls

Named after a popular surfing spot called the Banzai Pipeline on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, Banzai Bowls specializes in acai bowls and smoothies that are high in antioxidants. The owners, who are avid surfers, love having acai for an energy boost before they head out into the ocean. The Maui Sunrise bowl blends together acai, bananas, strawberries and mango along with coconut milk and pineapple juice, which is then topped with lots of fresh fruit—including bananas, strawberries and blueberries—as well as honey, granola and shredded coconut. For an extra boost, request to add ingredients such as bee pollen, dark chocolate, goji berries, hemp protein or maca. Everything is made fresh, so consider ordering ahead to pick up and go. (949-715-8989;


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The Orange Inn Smoothie | Photo by Sharael Kolberg

Orange Inn

It’s been nearly a century since Orange Inn opened along the California coastline, presenting an array of fresh-squeezed juices, sandwiches, pastries and more. But the main attraction for many is the Orange Inn Smoothie. This must-try treat has been enticing locals and visitors alike since the 1930s, filled with fresh fruit like strawberries, bananas and blueberries plus dates, bee pollen and juice. Blended together with crushed ice, this smoothie has the perfect consistency and is a great snack for hot days in the sun. Other frozen treats to enjoy here include thick, hand-scooped milkshakes in flavors like date, Oreo, espresso, raspberry or peanut butter; they can also be crafted using fresh guava, peach, apple, orange, mango or grapefruit juices. (949-494-6085;

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