The scoop on the mayor’s nuptials: Family cat inspires wedding-dinner ice cream, with a topping of generosity

Tommy Garcia-Mendez will likely not attend the wedding of his parents—Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia and his fiancé, Matthew Mendez.

Tommy, however, was the inspiration for a just dessert that will be served at their wedding on Dec. 22. It’s called Purrfect Wedding, an ice cream crafted by Long Beach Creamery—it’s a fitting name for a treat inspired by a fine orange tabby cat.

In Tommy’s name, $5 from the purchase of each pint will go toward The Little Lion Foundation, a local nonprofit whose focus is pulling orphaned newborn kittens from shelters, providing neonatal and medical care for them, finding loving homes, and educating the public about how they can do the same.

His nibs: Tommy Garcia-Mendez. Photo courtesy of Tim Patton.

“I really give all the credit to Dina,” Garcia said. “We go to Long Beach Creamery all the time, and we wanted to do something related to Tommy—that was Matt’s idea. We wanted to donate to charity, and Dina suggested Little Lion.”

“Dina” is Dina Amadril, Long Beach Creamery’s creator, owner and formidable ice-creamist. Amadril is familiar with Little Lion’s work, and she herself welcomes visits from her neighbors’ cats. She and her label designer, KD Maleki, whipped up the feline-inspired treat and its packaging after sitting down with Garcia and Mendez to conceptualize the special sweet.

Mayor Robert Garcia and Matt Mendez got engaged last summer. Courtesy photo.

“We were going to do superheroes, because they’re both nerds in that category,” Amadril said. “But Matt came up with the idea of honoring Tommy, who came from the shelter. He also came up with name, Purrfect Wedding, and KD’s drawings provided the rest. It all came together organically.”

Mendez and Garcia have a thing for ice creams that have a little cake in them. When Amadril mentioned the idea of butter-cake ice cream with strawberries in it, there was an audible “ooh!” Amadril, more or less figuratively speaking, put the icing on the cake by blending in mascarpone cheese and roasting the berries into a jam and putting that in there, too.

“It’s like a strawberry shortcake, but the butter cake is made with cream cheese and the mascarpone is in the base,” Amadril said. “There’s a lot of cheese in that baby!” Be still, your beating hearts. And loosen your belts.

KD Maleki’s label design commemorate the Garcia-Mendez union, honor The Little Lion Foundation, and present an ideal marriage of ingredients. Photo courtesy of The Little Lion Foundation

Getting one taste of ice cream—particularly ice cream this good—for an article throws all objectivity to the wind. I wanted to throw the tasting knife to the wind, hurl myself into the display case, and attack the container with a large spoon. Purrfect Wedding needs no crumbled walnuts, no syrup, nothing. If you believe, as is printed on novelty kitchen towels and magnets, that cat hair is a condiment, you’ll have to provide your own at home. I bought several pints and shared them with the neighbors.

Little Lion founder Claudia Marie was awestruck over the choice of her organization for the couple’s benevolence.

“Oh, geez, we’re always in the red. Every penny goes for the kitties, kitten food and vet bills,” Marie said. “We’d been trying to do a fundraiser with Long Beach Creamery, but we were so busy. So when we found out about this—Dina messaged us from Facebook—we were in shock.”

Perfect Wedding will be sold throughout December in both scoops and pints at both Long Beach Creamery locations: 4141 Long Beach Blvd. and 222 East Broadway Ave., both in Long Beach. Each pint is $11.75, $5 of which will go help those little neonatal kittens.

“Congratulations, and congratulations to Tommy, too—I’m glad they picked us!” Marie said. “Now I gotta go get some of the ice cream.”

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Kate Karp is the Pets Columnist for the Long Beach Post covering the world of animal activism, pet adoptions and lots of cute cats. She’s called Long Beach home since 1994 and has written for the Post for about 10 years. Kate’s day job is as a copyeditor, which she discovered a love for during her 30-year tenure as a teacher. She describes the job as “like taking the rough edges off a beautiful sculpture.”