by Christina Morgan Cree
When I first moved to Santa Cruz, Marianne’s on Ocean was the place to go for locals and the obligatory stop on the way home from a long day in the sand and sun for tourists. That was 30 years ago, and it’s still a hot spot with a line out the door day and night. Joining that wonderful institution is a new breed of ice cream shop. Where Marianne’s will give you old fashioned sweetness with a Santa Cruz twist (think “Alice B. Toklas brownie” ice cream), the new shops do for ice cream what the microbrewery did for beer. They offer sweet and savory, ludicrous yet delicious combinations, and use local and seasonal ingredients. There’s always something new and surprising and unexpected.
Marianne’s opened in 1947 on 1020 Ocean St. and was named for the two founding sisters Mary and Annie Becker. It’s changed owners twice since then and has remained the favorite of tourists and locals alike. They started out with 13 flavors and now offer 75 daily. Be sure to take a number, the line is usually overflowing out the door. Marianne’s is an original and a Santa Cruz landmark, with its old timey beach town ice cream parlor style. It hasn’t changed since I moved here almost 30 years ago.
Flavor favorites: recommendations from Yelp www.yelp.com/biz/mariannes-ice-cream-santa-cruz
Penny Ice Creamery
Penny Ice Creamery is located at 913 Cedar Street and at the kiosk in front of Bookshop Santa Cruz on Pacific Ave in Santa Cruz (they also have a store at 820 41st Ave near Pleasure Point). It was created by two friends named Kendra and Zach. The Penny Ice Creamery uses local, organic, and seasonal ingredients. The flavors are constantly changing with the season- you can get anything from cookies and cream to mushroom ice cream. The Penny Ice Creamery has a fresh and delicious taste with the best Tahitian Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Chocolate Sorbet, which are available throughout the year.
Savory, quirky mixes, fresh fruit pops, local, seasonal. Their homemade sodas are to die for.
Mission Hill Creamery
Mission Hill Creamery, founded in 2010, is an ice cream shop located at 1101 Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz. Their ingredients are local and organic. The owner/chef is David Kumec, an “ice cream obsessed” guy who studied culinary arts in France. Mission Hill creamery is a good place for people who like rich and creamy ice cream that is a bit on the sweet side. The salted caramel ice cream is a favorite and they have some excellent sorbets.
Try the toasted marshmallow topping and I hear the Affogato (with an espresso shot) is not to miss!
Check out more of Christina’s Santa Cruz area articles in our travel section.