I like the idea of Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. They provide a different dessert option among the sea of Chinese bakeries (there's also a Häagen-Dazs across the street, but I'm in the mindset that I should support the local business over the one owned by General Mills, even if the latter is tasty), they offer Asian flavors that you won't find at regular ice cream shops, and their mascot is that cool fat dragon dude who looms over Bayard Street.
But I never recommend it to anyone these days (maybe I would've back in 2005 when I first tried it), an idea reinforced by my visit there last Wednesday out of convenience. My tummy said, "Give me taro ice cream." Despite remembering that their taro wasn't all that awesome the last time I tried it over two years ago, I gave it another go. And the result was this string of unsophisticated thoughts: "This doesn't really taste like taro. And there are all these funny little bits in it. Are these taro bits? They don't really taste like taro. What does this taste like? Vanilla? Not really. Sweet? Yeah, ok. WHAT AM I EATING?"
The black sesame fared a bit better in the flavor department, but the texture killed it. String of unsophisticated thoughts, part deux "This is rather fluffy. And not all that creamy. And not very smooth. I haz a sad."
I can't vouch for all the flavors at Chinatown Ice Cream factory, but if they can't do my two favorite flavors well, I don't see the point in going back. I'd rather walk to Sundaes and Cones in the East Village for my Asian flavored ice cream fix if necessary. Their flavors tend to taste like what they're supposed to, and the textures are more creamy and smooth. My problem with Sundaes and Cones though is that they only let you get one flavor per "scoop" when they could easily fit in two, like CICF does, among most other ice cream/gelato shops. It's not hard man, just shove the scooper in two different bins. That might add a few seconds to the process, but I think they can handle it.
Yeah, that one-flavor-per-huge-ass-scoop makes me stupidly grumpy. See that cup above? That's a "two-scoop" cup. But damn, it's got like four scoops' worth in there; "scoop" is the wrong unit of measurement. Small, medium, and large make more sense. YOU'RE DAMN RIGHT I'VE GIVEN THIS TOO MUCH THOUGHT. I haven't been to Sundaes and Cones in about a year; if they changed their policy I'd be happy to go back.
Am I being too harsh on Chinatown Ice Cream Factory? I rarely write negative reviews, and I love Chinatown and ice cream, but I feel like it CICF should be...better. And that they have the capability to do so. And I want to know why the taro fails to taste like taro.