Friday, December 31, 2010

They're Called Idiots.

Some people don't think it makes sense to eat ice cream in the winter.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Toft's Ice Cream

I knew my stomach would start growling once we hit the Ohio Turnpike. The lunch I had back in Virginia would be a distant memory and Christmas cookies and clementines would not be enough fuel for 12 hours on the road. Naturally, I had a plan. If my anatomy were the solar system, my stomach would be the sun.

We stopped in Sandusky, a town introduced to me by my friends Candice and Logan during our Thanksgiving carpool to Virginia. Sandusky is the proverbial last outpost of Southern sprawl, possessing comfort food chains Lee's Famous Chicken and Cracker Barrel that are far more popular below the Mason-Dixon line. Recharged with chicken and biscuits, we were ready for the last 5 hours. But first we had one more stop.

Pictured is the "small" cone at Toft's. Having had their "small" once before, I knew to order a two piece at Lee's instead of a three piece. This regional dairy's dipping parlor offers dozens of flavor options, so stopping on each of my drives home seems mandatory. Here are some of the flavors I've enjoyed:
  • Orange Pineapple, orange ice cream with pineapple. (pictured, top)
  • Wedding Cake, white cake batter ice cream with red raspberry filling and cake pieces.
  • Graham Central Station, graham cracker ice cream with chocolate covered toffee and graham crackers. (pictured, bottom)
  • Bullpen Chocolate, a rich chocolate cookies and cream with a fudge ripple.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ben & Jerry's Snickerdoodle

Of the seasons' many gifts, love is second only to Christmas cookies. This winter season has also brought a new Dominick's grocery store in my neighborhood, and with it a variety of new ice cream options not previously available at Jewel. This includes flavors that have been ever-elusive (Haagen-Dazs Midnight Cookies and Cream and Ciao Bella's Blood Orange Sorbetto) but also Ben & Jerry's Snickerdoodle, which embraces the Christmas cookie spirit.

Ben & Jerry's came to the long overdue realization this year with their flavor Milk & Cookies that cookies can exist in ice cream fully-cooked, not simply its larval form. Cookie dough, while a good flavor in and out of ice cream, is cooked for a reason. Ben & Jerry's have done it once again with Snickerdoodle, mixing in the cinnamon sugar cookies with the cutesy-wootsy name in a buttery cinnamon and sweet cream ice cream. The flavor is only available for a Limited Time, so try it now if you can shop at places that aren't Jewel.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Somewhere David Lynch is smiling.

I knew I was in for a long night when the opening band didn’t start until after the hour headliners usually wrap it up. My best friend’s band had scored their biggest gig yet opening for Arcade Fire. I’d never been to the venue before and being that it was too small for a group like Arcade Fire—a sort of snubbed nose gymnasium with retractable wooden stadium seating and a balcony, but too small for a basketball court—gobs of people were everywhere. Magically, though, an area seemed to clear everywhere I went, even when I was pogoing on the center floor to James’ music in the brightly lit auditorium. It was then I noticed that a singer for his now sizable back-up band, which previously had fluctuated from two to three and back again, was another friend, John Thomas. Pretty strange since they live on opposite coasts; I hadn’t even been aware that he and James stayed in touch. But there he was, contributing to every song of the set, which other than the opener was entirely new material that focused on the full band sound.

It wasn’t until the after party that I came face to face with John. We were two quiet moths in a swarm of loud partiers when John took a seat across from me and I noticed that he looked like an amalgamation of his younger selves, like a 90-pound weakling college freshman with an 8th grade haircut. I called his name across the modest dining table, but the words must have flown out the darkened window before they could make it to his ear. My facial expressions insisted on eye contact until he confusingly responded to my persistent calls of his name. He said he wasn’t John. I got mad.

These are just early glimpses of one of my rare all-nighters. I made appearances at numerous parties crowded with people, who strangely were all younger than me. It ended serenely at the purple hour of dawn where, taking in the stillness of the moment, I stood outside a crab shack with budding feelings of new love—someone I knew from high school drama club with whom I had recently reconnected on Facebook (though admittedly she’d never crossed my mind between friending her and running into each other that night, just as she’d never crossed my mind between curtain call senior year and seeing her name in my Friend Requests). We stood on a thin strip of land between two bodies of water—specifically an isthmus, though I didn’t know this at the time—marveling that we now occupied the space between day and night: one direction showed the clear horizon changing color, while the cloud covered sky overhead only got darker until far away in the other direction, somewhere, it was still midnight.

But my Glass family ramblings haven’t just gotten me off-topic, it has missed the focus completely. Somewhere between confronting John Thomas’ doppelganger and the purple dawn I stopped in at an all-night backroad ice cream shoppe. I asked the owner what flavors he still had in stock. He named a litany of old standards, but one stood out as strange. “Douglas Fir?” “Douglas Fir.”

The Pacific Northwest is full of weird places, but they are far surpassed by the dream world. I mean, as far as dessert goes, how do you figure choosing conifer trees over deciduous?