Mashti Malone’s: Inspired Persian Ice Cream in Hollywood

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Mashti Malone's inherited four-leaf clover signage from previous owner Mugsy Malone.

Iranian immigrants Mashti Shirvani and brother Mehdi opened their unique ice cream parlor in a sketchy Hollywood strip mall in 1980, occupying the shuttered home of the Mugsy Malone ice cream shop. I say “sketchy” because I’ve witnessed a hooker threaten to “cut” her pimp in the parking lot. Despite that (hopefully) isolated incident, it’s still worth visiting Mashti Malone’s for the brothers’ exotic and delicious rosewater-flavored ice creams.

Mashti Malone’s naming process has become legendary among L.A. ice cream aficionados. Starting out, the brothers only had enough money to replace “Mugsy” on the existing sign…, which explains the enduring four-leaf clover.

According to Hilary MacGregor’s near-definitive 2002 write-up in the LA Times, Mashti’s family has been making ice cream for over 75 years, and by his teens, he was already running the family ice cream shop in Iran.

There are good versions of standard flavors like black cherry, strawberry and mint chocolate chip, but the reason Mashti Malone’s ice cream has gained a following is their “exotic house specialties.”

An informative ingredient key hangs on the wall. The milk they use has “no bovine growth hormones.” Evidently, rose water acts as a “regulator of menstrual flow,” cardamom is “useful for flatuation,” and Arabic gum is “known to sooth irritations of mucus membrane.” When eating ice cream, I can do without the words “menstrual flow,” “flatuation” and “mucus.”

Five of the “exotic house specialties” are Herbal Snow (sorbet studded with poppy seeds), Rosewater Saffron, Faludeh, Sour Cherry Faludeh and Pomegranate Sorbet.

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The other three unique flavors are Ginger Rosewater, Creamy Rosewater and Orange Blossom. In comparison, Mango seems pedestrian.

The more ice cream you buy, the better value. A single costs $2.75, a double costs $3.75 and a triple costs $4.75. There are also sundaes and banana splits. Considering all the compelling flavors, it makes no sense to deprive a cup or cone of anything less than two scoops.

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This cup cradled a double ($3.75) of Sour Cherry Faludeh and Pomegranate Sorbet. According to Mashti Malone’s website, pomegranate is a “symbol of fertility” and “is believed to cleanse the soul of envy.” Sour Cherry Faludeh is a fragrant sorbet that contains “rice starch needles,” aka strands of rice vermicelli. Pomegranate sorbet was more intensely flavorful.

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Here’s a double ($3.75) of Ginger Rosewater and Chai ice creams. The ginger contained a noticeable bite.

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A Mashti ($2.80) is an ice cream sandwich, two waffle-pattern wafers containing rosewater saffron ice cream studded with pistachios.

Online, Mashti espoused about saffron, calling the world’s most expensive spice “a great antispasmodic, aphrodisiac and pain reliever.” It makes sense that saffron is so valuable, since it’s derived from the dried golden-hued stigmas of purple saffron flowers. That’s a lot of work for such little yield.

Despite all the increasingly saturated ice cream and gelato market, Iranian influenced Mashti Malone’s has managed to occupy a unique and delicious niche.

Mashti Malone’s: Inspired Persian Ice Cream in Hollywood


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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