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The Katchup

How ‘Afters’ Carefully Brought Prestige To Ice Cream [THE KATCHUP PODCAST]

[UPDATE] Afters’ revenue numbers were updated to a more accurate figure. 

Ice cream has always been an essential part of the dessert game, but while shops like Baskin-Robbins and Cold Stone Creamery had their times of popularity, the last five years have been dominated by a boutique-style shop called Afters Ice Cream.

With 26 shops sprinkled around Southern California, Afters Ice Cream brought in revenue of over $50 million to date since opening their doors, but more importantly, created a culture where their ice cream was desired by all, with people traveling from far and wide to get it.

Similar to sneaker culture, their very first location in Fountain Valley, California, and every location thereafter, regularly saw people wait in line for up to four hours to try their famous and innovative Milky Bun, an ice cream donut sandwich hybrid that was the perfect vehicle for success.

We got a chance to Katchup with Afters co-founder Scott Nghiem, AKA Scott Afters, as he gave us a look at how the popular ice cream company came to be, the challenges he faced, and the carefully executed ideas that helped turn an ice cream shop into a pop culture phenomenon.

Be sure to catch new episodes of The Katchup Podcast every Wednesday on iTunes, Podbean, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Here are some edited excerpts from The Katchup Podcast with Scott Afters below:

Getting ahead of the food wave, and making things happen (19:04):

“When the Cronut came out, I was like, ‘Dude, this is the time.’ The Cronut was very pioneering, for sure. And obviously the food trucks were very pioneering, you know, the Kogi truck. I just knew that this is the time. If I’m going to do dessert, it needs to be right now. All these news channels were just waiting for the next big thing. All of a sudden, it was Afters ice cream and the Milky Bun.”

Resurrecting a Dying Ice Cream Industry (28:00):

“Ice cream has been dead in the industry for a long time. It was all yogurt at that time. And for us to utilize the potential of social media at that time, and bring it to mainstream, where people saw, ‘You know what? No. 1, this is run by young people, obviously. Two: Ice cream is back all of a sudden, because it’s hip, it’s trendy, it’s cool.’ People needed something to Instagram.”

Why Stuff a Donut with Ice Cream? (37:09):

“The Milky Bun started existing when I was really trying to think of something that would make people want more than just ice cream. At that point I was like, ‘Dude, we need to come up with something next level.’ And then, when looking for other ice cream sandwich alternatives, I literally was driving around the neighborhood… saw a Winchell’s, and said, ‘That’s it!’ I put it together, we tried it, and it was like, ‘Dude, this is fire. What ended up happening, the psychology behind it, was it sparked interest in your mind.”

The Image of Being Successful (1:10:00):

“You don’t need to have a flashy image. You don’t need to have nice cars to show that you’re very successful nowadays. The winners will slowly evolve out of that realm, and the guys that are just frontin’ or showing off, their true colors end up showing. For me, that’s what really ticks in my mind. I don’t care about all my cars. Priorities change.”

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Culture Hit-Or-Miss Sweets

Dodger Stadium Goes All Out For Its World Series Menu

The World Series is upon us and as Dodger Stadium gets ready to host the first two games, they’ve loaded up their menu with food as impressive as the teams on the field.

Over the last couple of years, stadium food has evolved into a competition to see who can come up with the most Instagram-worthy dishes, and Dodger Stadium has done its due diligence in that sense.

From Flamin’ Hot Cheetos-covered elotes, to upgrading their nachos and smothering them in al pastor taco meat, Dodger Stadium’s food scene is going to be lit for the World Series.

If you were one of the lucky few who was able to get tickets to one of these games, you might as well go all out and try something a little different than the usual Dodger Dog.

Some of these items aren’t brand new, while others are making their debut, but none of them lack the wow factor that would make the person sitting next to you ask where you found them.

We’ll see if they keep these on the menu for next season, but for now, its a championship  food lineup, worthy of being on the World Series roster.

Check them out below:

Al Pastor Fries in a Helmet


Staying true to the Los Angeles street food scene, Dodger Stadium will have a souvenir helmet filled with crispy fries topped with al pastor-style pork, pico de gallo & avocado crema. These can be found at LA Taqueria on Field level (section 10), and Reserve level (section 15).
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Al Pastor Nacho Helmet


The nachos, like the fries, will be topped with al pastor, and can also be found at LA Taqueria on Field level (section 10) and the Reserve level (section 15).
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Cheet-o-Lote


Not only are they going to have an elote, but they’re covering it Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. These can be found at the King’s Hawaiian Grill on Left Field Plaza and LA Taqueria on Reserve levels (section 15).

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Chicken & Waffle Sammy


L.A. is known for the legendary Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles, and the Dodgers are putting their own twist on the concept. It consists of spicy fried chicken and candied smoked bacon in between a Belgian waffle that’s covered in maple syrup. These can be found at Chick N’ Tots on Field level (section 8), Lots O’ Tots on Loge (section 136), and Tenders Etc. on Reserve level (section 14).
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This Team Dodger Dog


You can find everything and the kitchen sink in this Dodger Dog. It’s a 1/3 lb. all-beef dog topped with chili, cheese sauce, pastrami, and then drizzled with spicy mustard and pickles. These can be found at Extreme Loaded Dog on Field level (section 48), Loge level (section 135), and Reserve level (section 2).
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King’s Hawaiian Lobster Roll


Dodger Stadium works closely with King’s Hawaiian, which results in some amazing items, like this lobster roll. It consists of a New England style lobster mix on a King’s Hawaiian Sweet Roll, served with a side of garlic fries. This can be found at the King’s Hawaiian Grill on Left Field Plaza.
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Short Rib Waffle Fries


If you’re in the mood for barbecue, these waffle fries are smothered in braised short ribs, red wine reduction sauce, and crispy cheese curds. These are located at Bud & Burgers booth the on Field level (section 47) and Top Deck Dogs Too on the Top Deck (section 4).
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Smoked Chicken Leg Platter


Keeping with the barbecue theme, the smoked chicken leg and thigh is smothered in sweet, smoky BBQ sauce, and served with roasted corn, ramen slaw, and corn bread. These can be found at King’s Hawaiian Grill on Left Field Plaza.
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Dodgers Wagyu Cheeseburger

Getting a little fancy with their burgers, they put together a Kobe-style American beef ½ lb burger, creamy American cheese, crispy bacon, grilled onions, herbed mayo on a brioche bun with kettle chips on the side.
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Shrimp Shooter


The only thing better than a Michelada is probably a michelada with a jumbo shrimp to shoot. These can be found at Blue Heaven on Earth Bar in the Right Field Plaza, and #ITFDB Bar on the Left Field Plaza.

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Vegan Nachos


Dodger Stadium is starting to cater to the vegan community, and has a couple of menu items for those who do not consume meat. Located in LA Taqueira on the Field level (section 10), these nachos consist of Crispy tortilla chips topped with Vegan cheese, pico de gallo, jalapeños, and salsa verde.
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Vegan Noodle Bowl

The second vegan option is a Vietnamese bean thread noodle bowl with nappa cabbage, shredded carrots, diced cucumber, peanuts, diced jalapeño, and peanut sauce. These will be served at Base Bowls on Field level (section 45).
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Churro Sundae Helmet


It’s going to be over 100 degrees in L.A., you might want some ice cream and churros. These will be at Trolley Dodger Treats on Field level (section 46), and LA Taqueria on Reserve level (section 15). You’re welcome.
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Ice Cream Donut Sandwich


A bit of an homage to the After’s Milky Bun, this donut sandwich will be covered in blue glaze, blue and white sprinkles, and stuffed with blue vanilla ice cream. The treat can be found at Trolley Dodger Treats on Field level (section 46).
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Candied Apples


For kids and big kids alike, the caramel apples come in three flavors: Crushed Oreos, S’mores, or Chamoy. These will be at the Trolley Dodger Treats on Field level (section 46), Marketplace on Loge level (section 137), Reserve level (section 5).
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Souvenir Moscow Mule


This mule consists of Ketel One Vodka, lime juice, ginger beer, and a lime wedge. Probably the coolest thing is the sweet ass souvenir mug it comes in. Find these at Blue Heaven on Earth Bar on the Right Field Plaza, and the #ITFDB Bar in the Left Field Plaza.
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Blue Slugger


You’ll probably need a cold drink in the heat, and this Blue Slugger could help you out. It consists of Vodka, Blue Curacao, pineapple juice, and fresh lemon sour mix with a splash of Sprite. These can be found all over the place, like the Think Blue Bar on Field level (section 1), Reserve level (section 13), Blue Heaven on Earth Bar on Right Field Plaza, #ITFDB Bar on Left Field Plaza, Hite Bar on Loge level (section 107), Rita Cabana Bar on Loge level (section 161), and Top Deck Buds on Top Deck (section 5).

Categories
Sweets

EXCLUSIVE: Guys Who Started ‘Milky Bun’ Ice Cream-Filled Donut Trend Announce 2 More Locations

It’s been a whirlwind of a year for the founders of Afters Ice Cream, a humble little ice cream shop that opened in early 2014 in the unassuming Orange County town of Fountain Valley, CA. The ice cream was good, the location was questionable, but it was their Milky Buna warm glazed donut stuffed with cold ice cream and toppings of your choicethat took the local foodie scene by storm.

Following Foodbeast’s initial coverage, “A ‘Milky Bun’ Is What Happens When A Warm Donut Is Stuffed With Cool Ice Cream,” kids started flocking to the Fountain Valley location. The geniuses behind the brand capitalized on the hype. Their press page is now littered with accolades, everyone from Ryan Seacrest pretending to eat it (we all know the dude only eats almonds and the juice from said almonds) to a visit to Popsugar studios as part of a piece entitled “10 Mind-Blowing Food Trends Already Dominating 2014” (see below). Their social following has since ballooned as well, with their Instagram page now boasting 40K+ followers.

Following the success of the first location, the Afters team pushed on and managed to open a second location in Chino Hills, CA before the end of the year. That location was embraced with equally open arms, immediately seeing long lines like their Fountain Valley location:

2015, Three More Locations

It doesn’t end there. Our source tells us there are plans for three more locations before the end of 2015. In fact, the next two locations should be opening within the next two months. Here’s the information we know about two of the next three Afters Ice Cream locations:

Tustin, CA — Opens April 20, 2015

Located at 13662 Newport Ave, Ste C, Tustin, CA 92780, located across the street from a popular Korean BBQ restaurant. It will be taking over a now-closed Ice Cream & Frozen Yogurt joint called Tasti D-Lite.

Long Beach, CA — Late May 2015

No word on exact location yet, although construction starts this week.

Categories
Features

10 Mind-Blowing Food Trends Already Dominating 2014

Quite a few new food trends have made the news over the last year. Between deep-frying your spam into fries and shot glasses made from chocolate chip cookies, this is truly a time to enjoy food. Our friends over at PopSugar compiled a list of 10 of the top mouthwatering food items you absolutely need to try. We couldn’t agree more with the list.

10. The Monkey Style Burger

monkey-style-in-n-out

Animal Style Fries stuffed into your In-N-Out burger. A Monkey Style Burger is loaded with gooey gooey deliciousness and totally real. Savvy food lovers may remember this from 2013, but it’s quickly gaining popularity as more die-hard In-N-Out fans get word.

9. The Everything Bacon Burger

EBBList

A burger that utilizes an excess of bacon in every single aspect from the pure bacon patties to the onions.

8. Spam Fries

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Fried sticks of glorious Spam are the perfect snack for those watching their carb intake. Pretty sure it’s protein, right?

7. Ramen-Crusted Wings

ramen-chicken-wings

If I could only choose a handful of foods to eat for the rest of my life, ramen and chicken wings would be at the top of that list. Thankfully these ramen-crusted wings could narrow that down.

6. Cheese-Stuffed Doritos

doritos-hero-open

Cheese-stuffed into Doritos. Nuff said.

5. Waffle Tacos

how-to-make-waffle-taco

Nothing says breakfast this year more than the waffle taco. Filled with breakfast goodies, you can literally eat a well-balance breakfast while driving. Not that I’d condone eating and driving…

4. Movie Theater Popcorn Cake

popcorn-cake

An ingenious conception that combines all movie theater snacks into one glorious bite. Definitely saves time fumbling through the different candy containers.

3. Chocolate Chip Cookie Milk Shot

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Why waste both hands enjoying your cookies and milk when you can do it all in one? Cookie shots for the house!

2. Chocolate Chip Cookie Cinnamon Roll

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The best of two desserts, Dude Foods combined a cookie with a cinnamon rolls. Sweetness overload.

1. The Milky Bun

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Possibly the biggest thing to happen to ice cream since Magic Shell, the milkybun combines donuts and ice cream in one melty fried pocket of pure dairy-gasm.

More YumSugar Recipes

Categories
Sweets

A ‘Milky Bun’ is What Happens When a Warm Donut is Stuffed with Cool Ice Cream

milky-buns-product-shot

Don’t you dare call it an ice cream sandwich.

The latest dessert to take the pastry game comes from Orange County-based ice cream shop Afters, a collaboration between clothing industry veterans Andy Nguyen (CEO of IM King) and Scott Nghiem (Owner of Thorocraft footwear). Named the “Milky Bun,” the doughy confection features a slick twist on the classic filled donut and stuffs a thick glazed bun with your ice cream of choice.

The process of making one of these involves four key steps: choose ice cream, fill, seal, and eat. The shop uses a waffle-iron like press to seal the bun and what you end up getting is a phenomenal contrast of warm, dense sweetness and cool, creamy flavor.

The ice cream line-up on deck is impressive, with everything from chunky Cookie Monster to Mint Chocolate (pictured below) to Jasmine Milk Tea. In the words of Marc K, say hello to the “Jelly Donut Killer.”

Here’s what people are saying on Instagram:

Here are some photos that Rudy scooped:

Mint chocolate chip filling, extra chips, caramel drizzle, chocolate and whipped cream.

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Also, milk and cereal-flavored ice cream with hand crafted and sweetened corn flakes.

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