I know I should be blogging more, guys. :'( And I'd like to. Because I LIKE YOU, DEAR READER. But the last week was particularly unproductive because 1) I've been so congested that my sense of taste has been sort of nonexistent, which doesn't really inspire me to write about food, and 2) I'm going to Honolulu today and had to prepare work for when I'm gone. There were many 5-hour (or less) nights of sleep this past week (not all work-related; mostly me being terrible at time management). I don't know how my brain is functioning now. I ought to go to bed in the next 15 minutes to get me in tip top shape for...my 10+ hour flight. Hm. We'll see how that goes.
Although I won't be on the Internet much during my trip (Kathy's house is so new, it doesn't even have Internet yet, ooooh), I'll try to post an update during the next week!
But before I leave, here's a quick lil' post.
Although I first heard of Van Leeuwen when they started serving artisan ice cream out their sunny yellow trucks in 2008, I didn't run into one of those trucks until just a few weeks ago at the corner of 5th Avenue and 15th Street. Part of the reason I never sought it out was due to hearing mixed reviews: I heard more "mehs" than "yays." But considering how much the company has grown beyond just being an ice cream truck in the past few years—they recently opened a storefront in Greenpoint and they sell pints at Whole Foods at other gourmet food stores—I figured I had to give it a try.
Out of the available flavors—pistachio, vanilla, espresso, chocolate, hazelnut, mint chip, gianduja, Earl Grey tea, and strawberry—I went with mint chip and strawberry ($3.95 for a small). It's easy to tell which one is mint chip, but the strawberry scoop barely had any color. And that lack of color translated into lack of flavor. (In case you're wondering, I ate this before my week of congestion.) If the ice cream doesn't taste like much—and I'm not sure I would've been able to identify it in a blind taste test—it doesn't matter much that it's made with "sun ripened strawberries sourced seasonally." For strawberry ice cream done right, check out Blue Marble in Brooklyn. Their strawberry ice cream is some of the best I've ever had.
The mint chip made with "organic Oregon peppermint with Michel Cluizel 72% flakes" fared better, but still tasted like it needed an extra ass-womping of peppermint. I mean, I don't want the ice cream to taste like I shoved a handful of peppermint leaves in my mouth (...or maybe I do), but I want more than a whisper of flavor. I liked what I tasted; I just wanted more of it.
Aside from the flavor problems, the textures of both scoops were not particularly dense nor rich, despite what their website says. I know they're using good ingredients—fresh milk, cream, and eggs—but for some reason the combination didn't reach its full potential in my bowl.
I've been told that the best flavors are ginger (which was sold out that day) and Earl Grey, so I feel like I should try those before giving Van Leeuwen a full, "Meh." You know I'm not one to write negative reviews. I like that they use high-quality ingredients and environmentally-friendly serving ware, but those aspects aren't what's going to pull be back: that's up to the ice cream. So far, I'm not pulled. If you think I'm way off base, feel free to let me know. I'm down for any excuse to eat more ice cream.
And just to bring a little sunshine into this post, here's a random doodle I made during Tristan's birthday get-together:
IT'S FAT BUNNY (nickname: Fat Squat) ROLLING OVER! HOOHOOOHHOOAEEHA...
It is time to go to bed. (Remember when I said "15 minutes" in my introduction? It's been 45 minutes. Fail.)