The sweltering days of summer may finally be showing signs of cooling down, but our readership is always in the mood for something sweet. So I stopped by one of the newest dessert spots for a little refreshment. The Scoops N Scoops management team consists of Adam Houri, Abdullah Jafey and Tauseef Razaque, but Tauseef took the lead in participating in our interview.
How much fun (or not?) did you have coming up with all those iconic creations? It's a blast coming up with the creations! We're like mad scientists with all of our flavorings: pouring different things, cutting up different things and pouring them into bowls. Just using our imagination, and then there's vapor from the nitrogen everywhere as we anticipate what it's going to turn out like when it's frozen! It's a lot of fun, and we get to be very creative with it.
Culinarily speaking, Orange County has the best: The best variety and collection of food from all over the world.
Favorite meal growing up: I'm a fan of BBQ. I love trying different types of meats and a variety of marinades.
Where was your most recent meal? Most recently I ate at Burntzilla in Irvine, right next to our location. I'm a fan of their cheeseburger sliders!
Part of what distinguishes your operation from others is the focus on sourcing high-quality ingredients. Please provide a few examples (like in my favorite, almond date). Our goal was to create ice cream using a process of freezing using liquid nitrogen to provide the most fresh and creamiest ice cream possible. The challenge in that is getting the taste without the luxury of mass producing off-site or over a long period of time. So we focused on the ingredients and creativity with those ingredients to get that taste.
For example, our almond date uses fresh pitted dates from the Middle East, a region known to have the best tasting dates in the world, as well as fresh almonds. Our mango flavor uses fresh mangos, an essence that we bring all the way from South Asia and a flavoring from France. All this is considered to create the perfect flavor for one ice cream.
That's how fanatical we are about our ice cream and the quality of our ingredients.
What are your favorite combinations to have? My personal favorite is the vanilla affogato. It's freshly made vanilla ice cream scooped into a coffee mug. Then we brew fresh a double shot of Nespresso Rissetto, pour it on top of the ice cream and top it with foamed milk and chocolate chips. It's this warm and cold combination going on that's absolutely delicious!
Your best recent food find?: Recently I have fallen in love with Korean BBQ. All you can eat meats and seafood, cooked fresh at the table. What's not to love? There are plenty of great places in Orange County. Then I stop by Scoops N Scoops to have the perfect ending (smiles).
Have you found that certain bases pair better with certain flavor combinations? Like anything, certain flavors work better with certain things. But personal preference plays a huge part, too.
Our premium ice cream base is rich, dense and creamy. It pairs perfectly with everything. If you're looking for a non-dairy option, I personally think the non-dairy coconut base pairs great with the fruit flavors. We use fresh fruits, and it's like a delicious sorbet when ready. If you're looking for something with less calories, our non-fat yogurt base is a great option. It feels a lot lighter, and my personal favorite with the yogurt base is strawberry. It's just perfect!
Biggest challenge to opening your storefront, and how you overcame it. The biggest challenge was putting a menu together. We had so many flavors and creations we had come up with so deciding what to put on the menu was challenging. We did a lot of fairs and festivals and surveys to figure out what would be best.
Let's talk about your test phase prior to launching Scoops N Scoops: Where did you test? How easy was it to execute outdoors? Does that mean catering is an option? We tested our product at different fairs and festivals such as Huntington Beach Music Festival and the Irvine Global Village Festival. The main challenges were the logistics of getting the nitrogen tanks there, as well as our refrigeration and equipment. We had to replicate the set up of our store. Once we were set up, though, we had a blast and it was great!
We haven't officially offered catering as we've been focused with our storefront, but we recommend people that are interested to send us information via our website, and we can assess it based on a case-by-case scenario.
Contrary to popular belief, rainy days are super busy at your spot. Why do you think that is? It's one of those phenomenons that you cant really explain. But personally, I like having ice cream when it's raining, too!
Weirdest thing you've ever eaten: Camel meat was the weirdest thing I ever tried. It felt weird at first because it wasn't a normal type of meat in the US. After I tried it, though, I actually fell in love with it. It was delicious.
What is your hospitality/foodservice industry experience? As a family, we've been in the foodservice industry involved with many concepts for the last 40 years.
Weirdest customer request (and did you do it?): Customer wanted to get a marble chocolate bowl with red velvet flavored ice cream and then cotton candy on top. Normally, the chocolate bowl is a separate pairing item and the cotton candy is a separate one. We have never been asked for both together, but we did it, and we'll always do something if it's possible. That's the whole goal here, for you to be able to create your perfect dessert!
Who thought up including cotton candy, and how labor-intensive is it when you have a line out the door? It was a joint decision. We were just brainstorming one day of what items we could pair with ice cream, and wanted to go out of the box and think of things no one else would do. It's fresh, handspun cotton candy. The process to make each one is not that time-consuming, but when we anticipate a line out the door we make a few extra. They sell fast! People love taking pictures with this creation!
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You're making breakfast. What are you having? Omlette with cheese, green peppers, mushrooms and onion.
We hear there's a location #2 already in the works, but why did you choose Irvine for the flagship shoppe? We are Irvine natives and are big fans of our city. The development and potential here is great. Irvine is picked by many business as their first location or one of the first locations. There is a large variety of different people in Irvine, and we felt it was an ideal place to open our first location.
Scoops N Scoops is located at 14411 Culver Dr., Irvine, California, (949) 786-0170; www.scoopsnscoops.com.