Screaming for ice cream at Tropical Dreams

Restaurateur imports Hawaiian brand to the mainland
By: Toby Lewis, Dining View columnist
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Tropical Dreams Ice Cream
Where: 6889 Douglas Blvd., Granite Bay
Hours: Noon to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; Noon to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Phone: (916) 772-5777

If you’re anything like me, you really love ice cream. I do not discriminate. I believe that any time of year, any occasion lends itself to a cup of that rich, silky, creamy, sugary tastiness.

Is there a better way to cap off an evening on the town, whether dining at a local restaurant or maybe coming home from a movie, than with a good scoop (or two) of sweet, buttery deliciousness?

Granite Bay seems to be blessed with the gradual emergence of more restaurateurs and chefs who are raising the standard, providing a growing number of quality dining options.

So we felt it appropriate with this month’s Dining View to highlight another new Granite Bay establishment doing just that — this time with ice cream.

Ed Jayousi is the man behind Tropical Dreams Ice Cream Shop, located at the Country Gables Shopping Center on the corner of Douglas Boulevard and Auburn Folsom Road in Granite Bay.

Since opening last month, Jayousi says his new ice cream shop has already gained a loyal following.

After a recent visit, I can see why. The secret?

“Short of milking the cows themselves, everything we do here is from scratch,” Jayousi said. “We make all the ice cream here. Our flavors do not have artificial flavoring, we use real fruit in our ice cream.”

Fresh ingredients aside, Jayousi says the real secret to his “super premium” ice cream is using less sugar, and cream that has a higher butterfat content to showcase the richness of the ice cream itself.

“You can actually taste the cream in every bite,” Jayousi said. “It has a lot less sugar than most ice creams, but it has much greater taste and flavor.”

Jayousi, who has owned Fins Seafood Market and Restaurant for 16 years, said he accidentally discovered Tropical Dreams Ice Cream while on vacation in Hawaii with his family.

After looking to satisfy his family’s ice cream craving at a local Cold Stone Creamery only to find locked doors and a sign stating, “out of business,” the Jayousi family opted to try the Tropical Dreams Ice Cream Shop a few doors down.

“We had never heard of it before,” Jayousi said. “We ended up being there every day, twice a day, for seven days while we were in Kauai. We fell in love with the ice cream.”

Turns out, Tropical Dreams Ice Cream has been produced in Hawaii since 1982 and in addition to serving various retail outlets, the brand also services many of the high-end resorts and restaurants throughout the islands.

Jayousi said he contacted company founder John Edney and pitched him the idea of bringing the brand to the mainland.

“When I gave him my background, he was excited about it and we came to an agreement very quick,” Jayousi said.

Jayousi now owns the manufacturing, distribution and retail rights in all of Northern California for Tropical Dreams and is using the Granite Bay store to serve as the flagship.

“We live in Granite Bay,” he said. “This is our home and our community, so it is a good place to start.”

The ice cream

As I previously stated, I consider myself somewhat of an ice cream elitist. While I did state that I do not discriminate, I do differentiate and appreciate quality wherever it is to be found.

That being said, I found the tagline of Tropical Dreams “super premium” ice cream to be quite appropriate.

On my recent visit, Jayousi proudly served me sample after sample of the fruits of his labor, many flavors of which I was quite surprised to find at an unassuming strip mall ice cream shop.

Lychee cream, Tahitian vanilla, Kona coffee almond, salted caramel, chocolate with toasted almonds, brown sugar and toasted coconut cream were but a few of my favorites.

“We toast the coconut ourselves before we mix it,” Jayousi said. “There is something about toasting coconuts that gives you unbelievable flavor, other than just throwing coconuts in there.”

I’d have to say my hands-down favorite had to be the mango cream.

Since Jayousi slow churns his ice cream, preventing air from getting mixed in and thereby producing a dense, rich ice cream, the mango cream was the creamiest, most delicious fresh mango I had ever tasted.

Tropical dreams also produces a Jack Daniels flavor. That’s right — Jack Daniels. (You may not want to tell the kids about this one.)

Jayousi adds about 1.5 liters of actual Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey for each 12-gallon batch of the Jack Daniels flavored ice cream.

“You will actually taste the Jack Daniels in there,” he said. “Our own rule is we don’t serve it to anybody under 21.”

The Jack Daniels flavor comes out creamy at first with very subtle hints of the famous whiskey on the back end.

All told, Tropical Dreams has about 128 different flavors of ice cream, sorbet and gelato to work with. Granite Bay’s Tropical Dreams Ice Cream Shop serves about 24 flavors of ice cream, two sorbets and five gelatos at any given time, all made in-house from fresh ingredients.

The ice cream shop is decorated with custom tropical artwork, two elongated couches and outdoor tables for lounging around.

“If you’re an ice cream lover and you want something good that you will really enjoy, this is the place to come,” Jayousi said.

Toby Lewis is a freelance writer with almost 30 years experience in the restaurant industry. Look to each month’s Dining View for his thoughts, insights and opinions about dining in and around Granite Bay. Follow him on Twitter @TobLewis.