Archive for the ‘Ice Cream and Shakes’ Category

Bambu

September 24, 2017

Bambu is a popular national chain of Vietnamese dessert/tea cafes, originating in the great state of California in 2008 and now with a surprising number of locations, especially in Texas. Their Seattle location is in the International District, and it’s a well-lit, welcoming place with families and teens hanging out. They specialize in “dessert drinks” that combine all kinds of unexpected ingredients (basil seed, avocado, grass jelly, mung bean, etc) with tapioca and coconut milk. It being a hot summer evening, I was more intrigued by the shaved ice:

I got the “green tea cheesecake” – a layer of green tea shaved ice, topped with a layer of “cheesecake” flavored shaved ice, topped with fresh fruit. The fresh fruit was a lovely addition, and the texture of the shaved ice (especially the cheesecake) was smooth and creamy.

My companions got something similar, with chocolate instead of green tea. In both cases, I thought the flavor was a little light (I like more intense flavors) but if you don’t like overwhelming tastes or textures it’s a perfect dessert. There are many spots in Seattle that have started doing shaved ice, so I need to do more “research” and see how Bambu stacks up to the more local establishments!

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Wann Yen

June 17, 2017

A lot of Americans wouldn’t expect to see the words “Thai” and “dessert” in the same sentence, but it would be a shame to reduce Thai cooking to Phad Thai and Thai iced tea (when I spent a summer in Thailand I never even saw these things offered). Wann Yen, in the U-District, will change your perceptions of what Thai food can look and taste like – they do a few more traditional Thai dishes, but their main focus is on their sweet beverages and attractive desserts (although, to be fair, these are mostly Taiwanese and Hong Kong “inventions” with some Thai twists). There’s a full range of dessert-like drinks and shave-ice concoctions – I chose the “caramel glass jelly” drink.

Sweet and textured (the squares of “glass jelly” were like the tapioca balls in bubble tea, this would have been enough of a dessert on it’s own. But to round out the meal, I decided to try their bubble waffle:

And yes, that’s a scoop of Thai iced coffee ice cream on top, cuz why not? Wann Yen is a fun spot to try new sweet Asian food fads (I still need to come back and try the shave ice). It’s a perfect place to see what food looks like when cultures mix (and make waffles!).

Frankie & Jo’s

May 2, 2017

Seattle is one of the few places in America you can be successful while describing your ice cream parlor as “A plant-based ice cream shop,” which is Frankie & Jo’s self-descriptor. It’s also one of the few places you can get away with charging $12 for a pint. Yet both times I’ve visited there’s been a substantial line (even in this cold, rainy Seattle so-called spring).

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With unique flavors like chocolate-tahini, gingered golden milk, and salty caramel ash, it’s easy to be intrigued – and the friendly folks that work there will happily let you sample away.  I liked the chocolate tahini, with the sesame paste providing both texture and flavor, but to get the full experience I got the “Date Shake” with “Moon Goo” topping.

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The Date Shake flavor was made with coconut milk, dates, and maple syrup and, though not as creamy as dairy ice cream, satisfied my sweet tooth well enough. Moon Goo is their version of caramel sauce, and I had to admit that a little went a long way in terms of flavor and and sweetness.  I’m still partial to Bluebird when it comes to Capitol Hill ice cream, but I wouldn’t say no to another mini-scoop plus Moon Goo!

Market Treats Round II

September 7, 2016

The South Lake Union Saturday Market has a wealth of dessert options (including macaron ice cream sandwiches, as mentioned below). One spot that’s gotten a lot of hype is Susu, an on-trend rolled ice cream stand.  If you’re wondering what rolled ice cream is, it’s like a cooler, more modern version of Dippin Dots. The flavored cream is poured onto a freezing surface and spread out like a square crepe. Cookie crumbles or other toppings are added for texture.

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Then, sections are rolled up with the spatula, just like you’d roll up a yoga mat. Susu’s flavor/topping choices range from S’mores to Tiramisu. I got the earl grey tea with sesame seeds.

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The joy of Susu is partly in the flavors, partly in the texture, and largely in watching the process. It’s ice cream art and it’s worth savoring (and Instagramming).

Shug’s Soda Fountain

July 16, 2016

If you’re tired of the retro decor/food scene, Shug’s probably isn’t for you. But if you are looking for a spot you can take your kids, hipster friend, date, or silent reading group, Shug’s will work for you! (Yes, there was a silent reading group there when I visited, and no, I didn’t ask how to join even though I really, really wanted to.) The space is light, friendly, and hip without being pretentious or gimmicky, and the location makes it a perfect post-Pike Place Market cool-down.

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There are novelty items (which would actually be standard items in New York) like an egg cream and lime rickey, beer floats, shakes, sundaes, and house-made sodas. The Sundaes were the most intriguing part of the menu – the Brown Derby involves a Mighty-O donut – and I selected the Crested Lourie:

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Coconut ice cream, pineapple, Grenadine, and cashew-coconut brittle. I gave the sundae a thumbs up overall, although the pineapple could have been fresher and the brittle would have been easier to deal with if it were broken up. My date got the Kitty Canutt:

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Cinnamon ice cream, apple compote, and graham cracker crumble. I’d like to return and try their egg cream, malts, and sodas… and maybe that Brown Derby sundae. Because donut.

Issaquah Farmer’s Market

September 18, 2015

Summer’s wrapping up, but last month I was able to make it out to Issaquah for one last sunny summer market day. I posted a couple years ago about my friend Kelly’s ice cream stand – Cosmic Creamery – and on this visit I decided to take things up a notch by combining her ice cream with a Waffly Good Waffle. The result was better than the sum of two parts.

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Waffly Good Waffles, based in Renton, makes their Belgian-style waffles right in front of you by hand and injects them with pockets of nutella and other yummy fillings. In case that wasn’t enough (and it’s NEVER enough) I took home a treat from the Irish Rose Bakery, which specializes in custom cakes but also sells more manageable treats at the market.

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This market never disappoints, and I love their food truck selections. I will be back next summer!

 

Sweet Bumpas

August 2, 2015

In case Seattle needed another player in the Ice Cream game, Matt Bumpas (formerly the pastry chef at Poppy) has created a winner with Sweet Bumpas. I stumbled upon this food truck at the Terry Ave Saturday market and I’ve been a huge fan since. The flavors are unique but they totally work – think sweet corn & lemon, banana and coconut, and cinnamon basil. I got pints of the chocolate malt and the banana coconut, and I’ve been obsessed ever since.

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The best part is, they also make their own ice cream sandwiches that are pretty much the most perfect things ever. I had to have both the peanut butter and jelly sandwich and the banana pudding sandwich.

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Both were outstanding with flavors that were true to their names (not just sugar, cream, and a cookie – these really tasted like their names).  I’m hoping they start selling these (or even just ice cream pints) at Madison Market or PCC because I need to be able to have this ice cream anytime – not just when I’m at the Terry or Fremont markets!

Sweet Stuff at the Farmers Markets

July 24, 2015

I’m addicted to Seattle Farmers Markets. Besides the meat and produce being way better than what you find in the grocery store, there are lots of cocktail-making opportunities and PLENTY of desserts. What’s not to love? Recently I’ve been market hopping in order to try every micro ice creamery, of which there are many. Let’s start with Half Pint.

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The flavors are fun, and tend towards the fruity. I fully enjoyed the vanilla and blueberry pints I bought (they go great with a fruity dessert, or just with some fresh fruit). The owner is from New England so you know she knows her ice cream! You can find Half Pint at the U-District Market, along with several other smaller markets. Next up was Whidbey Island Ice Cream Company, which has been around for years and makes not only excellent ice cream but these gourmet Klondike-type bars:

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Lots of flavors of ice cream are available in these chocolate packages, and I got the peanut butter flavor because nothing says “chocolate, I love you” like peanut butter. And indeed it was love at first bite. The bars are available at the Wallingford Market along with several others, and also at some grocery stores (including, I was excited to find out, Madison Market). You can also buy the pints at some locations. Try ’em out while the sun lasts!

 

We All Scream…

June 18, 2015

I now count 5 ice cream parlors in walking distance to my Cap Hill apartment: Bluebird, Molly Moon’s, Cupcake Royale, Old School Frozen Custard and now Kurt Farm Shop. I’ve had their cheese before – OMG YUM – so I was pretty psyched when they opened a dairy stand in the new Chophouse Row site. They do the cow raising themselves (no, not in Cap Hill – the farm is on Vashon) and the ice cream is pretty unique in both flavors and texture. I got a scoop of the chocolate and a scoop of the salted plum to eat together.

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The flavors played nicely together but the chocolate was the real standout (I sampled a few other flavors as well). Rich, but strangely not very creamy, this had a deep chocolate flavor. Next time I’ll probably try it with the strawberry, but in any case that’s going to be my go-to flavor.

Speaking of micro-ice-creameries, I was lucky to come across Balleywood Creamery, usually found at the Ballard Farmer’s Market. The owner happened to be stationed on 15th Ave in Cap Hill for a day, and I happened to be walking down the street wanting ice cream (not an unusual state of affairs for me).

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The owner was super friendly and I was intrigued by the flavor combinations that featured more savory ingredients  – case in point, the strawberry ice cream was chock full of basil, balsamic, and black pepper (and far better than the Molly Moon’s balsamic strawberry flavor).

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I also bought the coconut milk lime flavor because if it’s vegan it must be healthy… right? It was amazing, as were all the flavors. I wish this little cart would catch some buzz, because it’s way under-hyped and just… really really good.

 

Trove

December 20, 2014

Trove, a new “concept restaurant” on Cap Hill is unique and inventive, without being too gimmicky. It’s a four-part restaurant: noodle bar, beverage bar, BBQ restaurant, and ice cream parlor. I went to 3 out of 4 (skipping the noodles) and was pretty pleased but I’ll just focus on the dessert portion.

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Ok, so maybe it’s a little gimmicky. The ice cream section of the restaurant group is themed like an ice cream truck. You can get the parfaits from their walk-up window, or order it for dessert in the restaurant. It being winter, I did the latter. The menu offers two versions of each parfait: a classic take and a Korean fusion take (the restaurant overall is Korean-fusion). For example, you can get a “new school” Snickers parfait: black sesame cake, miso caramel, and candied peanuts. I went with the “old school” Snickers, pictured on the left:

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My friend got the root beer float parfait (new-school style). I ended up wishing I had tried the more innovative new-school version because mine was a little bland. I liked it, but I think Frozen Custard does it better. I’ll be back to try the new-school options when it warms up!