We’ve been going to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams on Rose Avenue in Venice from when it first opened in 2016. On a Sunday afternoon, I love getting a cone and taking a walk. There’s something about walking slowly, (ambling really), looking in shop windows, and half sentences we share between licks that’s almost meditative.
Through the small world of having a business these days, we got to meet Jeni Britton. THE Jeni, and discovered that she’s been a Linus rider since the early days.
I’ve always believed ice cream and bicycles are like cousins, or they could be songs on the same album, or two movies in a double feature… you get what I mean. Over the years Jeni has become a friend and someone we have a lot of admiration for. A single mother who has built an amazing company and continues to be inventive and inspired, whether it’s a new flavor or social activism in her home state of Ohio.
Jeni recently made the switch from her OG Linus Dutchi to a Cesta 500 e-bike and we saw this as an opportunity to check-in with her and see how it’s going:
Why the switch from a classic pedal bike to electric?
Ice cream and bicycles, both are products that bring about a stronger connection to community. Is there a message dear to your heart that we should share to inspire the Linus community?
I just participated in helping enshrine our right to reproductive freedom in Ohio through a constitutional amendment, and now I’m getting into the effort to solve gerrymandering for 2024. Apart from my own political views, it's about saving our democracy for every voice. I'll focus on Ohio for the next couple of years, and I know it will be bumpy everywhere in 2024, but it takes us all. I realized over the last year and a half that it’s complex and overwhelming, but you just have to step into the process. We can all make a difference. And the thousands of people who worked on this in Ohio are a testament to that, and they inspired me so much.
Also, I like to be outside as much as possible. I am in L.A. for a few days and even when I travel, it’s important for me to go check out local flora and fauna. I am walking Santa Monica beach at this very moment! Nature is healing to me, and where I find perspective and peace. There is nothing that can offer that perspective like the ocean or forest or mountains. Wherever you get your nature, it resets your atoms. It’s the antidote to now.
Is there a seasonal recipe inspired by Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams that would be fun to share with friends this holiday season?
Add soft or melted vanilla ice cream to cranberry vodka, shake it with ice until it dissolves, and then strain it. It's a beautiful snowy cocktail drink to serve in a coupe with a cranberry floating on top! You could even serve it on a cup of shaved ice, like snow, which I just thought of. Maybe with lingonberry jam. A cocktail you can eat with a spoon!
What are you currently reading?
What comes to mind….I like to read outside, especially under a tree. I read lots of books this year. My favorite one is How to Think Like a Woman, by Regan Penaluna. I read it in a night, and it’s not a short book. I want to know what a society based on a more feminine nature and instinct looks like. One where women aren’t working under the rules of the old patriarchal order but new rules and order that works for us. Like, raising businesses in ways that make sense to us—less linear, more community-spirited, openness/infinite/natality. And reading philosophers who support this way as much as we read the linear, domination, finite/mortality is the masculine way we’ve all been raised on as the only way. This book unearths four female philosophers and answered so many questions for me. And I adored her writing, which is a memoir alongside the philosophers.