Saturday, April 23, 2011

Rocket Fizz Soda Pop & Candy Shop - Blast from the Past on a Saturday Afternoon in Sherman Oaks

Maybe it was because tomorrow is Easter, candy is being pushed from all directions, and even with an incurable sweet tooth, I have a Peeps hangover before my lips ever touched one.  Maybe because I just scored bags of amazing locally produced small batch treats from Artisanal LA last week.  But I haven't had a desire to visit candy / sweets stores recently. Until today - walking down Ventura, my feet involuntarily screeched to a halt when I came across a barely noticeable storefront - lodged in an unassuming space between a hair salon and Indian restaurant - that also peddled mass produced candy, yes, but on closer inspection revealed a cavernous treasure trove of sugar-packed nostalgia.

One step inside and I felt like I was in a theme park - a dream for kids of all ages, a place designed to induce whiplash not only with its featured attractions: soda and candy, but with every detail crafted carefully to give guests an immersive experience. 

Everywhere I looked, I saw something that brought back sweet memories (had to do it!), or piqued my interest by introducing me to something new - from the little pills of fizzy candy that comes in little plastic soda 'cans'? To those sugary dots that come on sheets?  (And for 13 Going on 30 / incorrigible chick-flick fans, Rocket Fizz sells Razzles!!!) To Turkish taffy.

They also had row upon row of bottled sodas from standard orange to sassaparilla to black cherry flavors. 
All surrounded by walls lined with cool vintage 'tin' signs featuring tongue-in-cheek updates of Hollywood hits and iconic posters from the 20s/30s, to comic superheroes.  While Beach Boys tunes form an audio backdrop.

It was so much fun to glance through all the treats scored from around the world as well - there were Australian Style Licorice (in flavors from blueberry to green apple); Japanese treats familiar to 'kids' who shop at Asian markets around LA, but may be a novelty to everyone else: Kasugai fruit flavored gummies and all flavors of Pocky chocolate covered pretzel / biscuit sticks; and previously mentioned Turkish taffys.

You can also hit up the self-serve candy bar, and make your own custom bag of taffies and other individually wrapped candies.

I loved seeing some of my favorites from the UK (that formed their own food group as part of my self-prescribed 'perfectly' balanced diet as a kid):  Crunchie (chocolate dipped honeycomb bar $1.69), Toffee Crisp ($1.69), Smarties (Britain's answer to M&Ms) - and Polo mints!  Some new discoveries recommended by the shopkeepers were Violet Crumble ($3.99) and Kit Kat Chunky ($1.39). 
There were so many varieties and brands of soda that it was almost overwhelming!  I made a mental note to remember the Root beer sampler (10-pack $17.99) as a nice, unique gift set for a friend when her birthday rolls around. 

Aside from nostalgic / gourmet sodas, there were also novelty ones, from Sopranos branded soda to "Gamer" soda (bottle full of win? ;)) - not sure what these really involve, and not into tasting them, but thought they were a fun part of the overall collection.

There were even Jelly Belly flavors like Crushed Pineapple, French Vanilla and Strawberry Jam (had no idea Jelly Belly made soda - they need to make a pina colada soda!)

Speaking of novelty, there were also some unusual candies that were fun to see, like "Ant Candy" - yes, sugar candies shaped like ants.  Red ants.

While at the cashier, I noticed they also had other fun non-edible but food-themed novelty items - like Bacon Strips - bandaids printed to looke like pieces of bacon!

Overall, a fun time at the Rocket Fizz - will definitely be coming back next time I need a sugar fix / dose of nostalgia!

Rocket Fizz Soda Pop & Candy Shop
14613 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
Ph: 818.981.9009

(Other locations in CA, NV, NE and AZ - check website for details)

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