Monday, June 30, 2014

Bobtail Year 2: Introduction

Welcome to my second Bobtail Year! Thanks again to Chris over at Bobtail, who was a fan of my posts during year one, I will continue receiving two pints of Bobtail Homemade Ice Cream a month and reviewing my favorites. We're sponsored, baby.

Bobtail Year 2 Rundown
June - Olaf
August - Apple Crêpe 
October - Spooky Crunch
November - Butterfinger
December - Cinnamon
January - (Bye Month)
May - Butterscotch Chip Cookie Dough

Update from 2015: Be sure to read the end-of-the-year recap.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Atlanta on a Stick: King of Pops

King of Pops Window and Headquarters.
There aren’t many places I’ve heard of that are famous for popsicles, but one place, Atlanta’s King of Pops, has been on my radar for years now. It only seemed natural that before celebrating democracy at the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum—the fourth president I’ve checked off—I bow before a monarch of dessert.

The Corner.
But why, you might ask, do popsicles need a king when other desserts seem to have political neutrality? I’m no political science expert, but the explanation behind the coronation can be found in some simple math: Hammer + sickle = communism. Subtract the hammer (the voice of the working class), drop the k from “sickle” (via the type of healthcare only royalty or the 1% can afford), add patriarchy (patri-, father, pop) and there you have it: Monarchy = Popsicles. But I digress…

Within a short distance from one another are the two most important King of Pops locations, the Corner and the Window. My first stop was the Corner, the original location to feature a King of Pops cart. Waiting for me was a small cart, an umbrella, a smiling face and a seven-item menu. Having heard praise of their Sea Salt Chocolate, I dove in. This sweet-salty snack was the perfect chocolaty thing to smack my lips to on a warm day. Shame it wasn’t peanut-themed, eh, Jimmy?

Menu at the Window.
Later that evening, when it came time for dinner, I pointed my car toward Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q. (Perhaps the best ribs I’ve ever had, by the way.) Before I hit the gas, though, I concluded that since the day continued to be warm I would probably need another popsicle to cool down. It was practically on the way anyhow, being so close to the Window and all. Plus, I’d probably want lemonade with my proper southern meal, so why not eat a popsicle instead. This is the type of logic we use here at Ice Cream U Scream.

Tucked amongst brick and artful graffiti, the Window functions as the headquarters of King of Pops. Were it not for two things that indicate one has come to the right place—the eye-level signage and the chalkboard sign detailing the fifteen flavors available that day (out of over 100 rotating flavors!)—it would be easy to miss because the eponymous window peers out from a basement. Met with another smiling person happy to serve me what I was happy to eat, I hemmed and hawed for a while before settling on Blackberry Ginger Lemonade. Walking away eating the juicy frozen heir to the throne, I realized it didn’t matter what I’d chosen because anything would have been incredible. Well, almost anything. (I’m looking at you Strawberry Banana.)

Pop royalty.
Following this line of thinking, I turned around to test the theory by ordering the Mystery Flavor. For a buck less than their already affordable prices, King of Pops dares customers to put their fate in the hands of the jovial window-worker. When I ordered, he held out several popsicles and asked me to choose. I gently explained my burning hatred feelings about bananas, which sent one of the choices back into the freezer. (Good riddance!) I settled upon a cantaloupe-colored pop that looked the most adventurous. The jovial window-worker offered to tell me what I’d chosen, but I wanted to guess. While the taste wasn’t my favorite of those I tried, this flavor was the more refreshing than the others! It was light and tart, with a tingle of herb. Grapefruit Basil, I guessed, but I’d guessed wrong: Grapefruit Mint.

A pop veiled in mystery.
I’m happy to report that Atlanta is no longer the only place to find King of Pops (see the pull down arrow at the top left on their website); indeed, they are snuffing out democracy in shops and farmer’s markets both near (just 90 minutes away in Athens, GA at Ike & Jane Cafe and Bakery) and far (as far west as Chattanooga and as far north as Richmond, VA). So now you have the option to enjoy warm weather the Atlanta way without being in Georgia! Enjoy!

For another way to cool off in Atlanta, check out Atlanta in a Cone!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Atlanta in a Cone: Morelli's

The name Less-elli's was never considered.
Atlanta is hot. This is obvious to anyone with a basic understanding of weather systems on planet Earth. Still, like many cities, it has acquired a cute-but-annoying nickname used by non-residents: Hot-lanta. (This might be the most sigh-worthy of such loathsome nicknames, which is saying a lot being from *sigh* Chi-town, pronounced shy-town.) Non-residents and newbie transplants use these vapid cute-isms to indicate that they are knowing insiders when, ironically, doing so exposes them as superficial frauds. That being said, the fact remains that Atlanta does get hot and, therefore, anyone who finds themselves there would benefit from knowing different ways to cool off. And, as I live only to serve you, I’ve found two of the best options available.
Great photo, Brad!
Thanks, self!

Today, I’ll talk about Atlanta in a Cone. Later on, I’ll tell you about Atlanta on a Stick.

• • •

The moment I landed at ATL, I hustled my bustle straight to the rental car place, hastily agreed to numerous contractual obligations and turned on my phone’s GPS. I had one hour to get to my destination before it closed for the night, a business whose “Away on Vacation” sign had broken my heart when I last passed through Atlanta in 2009, a business that since has grown to add two more locations, a business whose flavor concepts stuck with me even before I tasted them.

Night photography is hard, y'all.
Dr. Pepper, Lard Raspberry, Salted Caramel, Coconut Caramel Macadamia. These are some of the rotating options I tried at Morelli’s. Their original location, tucked away from the street, is a walk-up window with a handful of cafe chairs sitting at umbrella-shaded tables. Though the surrounding area may seem a little rundown and, based on my experience, you will likely be solicited for money in the parking lot, something about a summer evening spent relaxing with a cone or bowl outside of Morelli’s adds a touch of class that resonates much longer than the “Am I in the right place?” feeling one gets driving there at night. (For guests who want more of a typical scoop shop vibe, their second of three locations is in an open air shopping center called Edgewood. Formerly a Cold Stone, the spot has indoor seating and an ice cream freezer you can peek in to see the flavors.)

Salted Caramel in the middle.
And then there’s the ice cream itself. Morelli’s dense, creamy scoops each offer something unique. Take, for example, the Salted Caramel. At first, one might think them just another dessert distributor jumping on the band wagon, believing themselves to be a James Beard contender simply by sprinkling some Morton’s in with some runny nonsense they slanderously refer to as caramel. But one taste proves that Morelli’s may have the best Salted Caramel creation available, certainly the best I’ve ever had. Rather than tasting sweet and salty as two separate entities, they arrive as one. The caramel has a dark and rich burnt sugar taste to it and the salt serves only to kick the other flavors up a notch, not to steal to the show. With flavors like this, it is no wonder they've won so much acclaim. It’s also no wonder that I visited Morelli’s three times during my short stay!

Next time: Atlanta on a Stick!