Archive for June, 2011

29
Jun
11

Rehoboth series, part 2 of 3: The Ice Cream Store

We hit 3 places at Rehoboth Beach last weekend to get a sampling of the sweets scene: Cake Break, The Ice Cream Store, and Annie’s Banannies. In case you’re wondering, the famed Candy Kitchen was not one of these, because (1) I’ve got way too many fillings to be eating stuff like taffy (2) fudge is one of the worst bastardizations of chocolate I’ve ever encountered, and (3) the place is a madhouse swarming with kids who could spontaneously combust from sugar overload at any moment.


Much like Nicola Pizza (home of the famous Nic-o-boli), the Ice Cream Store has become a Rehoboth tradition. Our obsession is mostly based on morbid curiosity: what disgusting-sounding flavors will they come up with this time? Unfortunately, this past visit we didn’t see anything that intrigued us–if only because we’ve seen or sampled many of these flavors before.

So Mr. X-sXe went for the Samoas, based on the beloved Girl Scout Cookie. It had bits of the cookies in it, as well as a caramel ribbon. While it was good, it didn’t hold my interest (the only ice cream that does these days is a Drumstick or Magnum). However, if you’re a chocolate-caramel-coconut fan, you’ll probably tear into it.

Advertisements
27
Jun
11

Rehoboth series, part 1 of 3: Cake Break’s Guinness cupcake

We hit 3 places at Rehoboth Beach last weekend to get a sampling of the sweets scene: Cake Break, The Ice Cream Store, and Annie’s Banannies. In case you’re wondering, the famed Candy Kitchen was not one of these, because (1) I’ve got way too many fillings to be eating stuff like taffy (2) fudge is one of the worst bastardizations of chocolate I’ve ever encountered, and (3) the place is a madhouse swarming with kids who could spontaneously combust from sugar overload at any moment.

Cake Break came to our attention in Washingtonian magazine: we were intrigued by the mention of beer cupcakes, in particular. The cupcakes are $3 each, the going rate for “boutique” (non-Safeway) cupcakes these days.

Sitting in their glass counter, the cupcakes reminded me of beachgoers on a 90 degree day. The cakes looked sticky-sweaty, their icing nearly wilting in the heat. Since it was closing time, we hastily ordered a Guinness cupcake. I was expecting some hint of stout somewhere. Alas, there was none to be found. Was it because they had to make it kid-friendly? This just tasted like a chocolate cupcake with sweet buttercream icing. I was “bitterly” disappointed (wah wah). Having said that, though, it does look like a fun place to take your kids for some interactive dessert-ing.

24
Jun
11

Cow, we won’t need your services today (vegan cake from Elizabeth’s Gone Raw)

Mr. X-sXe and I tried Elizabeth’s Gone Raw a few weekends ago, an all-raw, vegan restaurant in a townhouse near McPherson Square. Never having been to an all-raw place before, I wasn’t expecting an amazing taste experience. But wow. From spicy kale chips to truffled mushrooms to a creative interpretation of cannelloni, we walked away thinking we could eat like that every day (if we had a raw personal chef). Especially since I’m a lactose-intolerant Asian who could evacuate a small auditorium after consuming dairy.

What’s also cool about this place is they list every ingredient that goes into their dishes. Imagine if other places did that—it’d probably make you hesitate when you saw how much butter, cream, and sugar is sneaked into restaurant fare.

So here’s the dessert that capped off the meal, a cacao layered cake with goji berries and chocolate mousse. Ingredients, for those wondering: almond milk, agave, maple syrup, vanilla extract, coconut oil, almonds, maca and cacao powder, goji berries, cashew flour.

The cake was divinely rich, with layers of chocolate mousse, nuts, and hints of coconut mingling at the party in your mouth. My only gripe is that the sauce was too earthy to do it justice. The chocolatey-ness screamed for a tarter accompaniment. Regardless, we scraped our plates clean.

PS: Live Green DC card holders can eat at Elizabeth’s for half-price every 3 months. So it’s 2 for $75, as opposed to $75 each, for 5 courses. Given the tasty food, good service, and unique townhouse setting, it’s not a bad deal.

16
Jun
11

I’m not anti-pie. I’m just pro-cake.

The same can’t be said of Nathan Heller, who seems to have a personal vendetta against pie. He goes so far as to call it un-American. Hear that, Pie?

Read the diatribe at Slate.com.

Illustration from slate.com

09
Jun
11

Health department to Missourians: No more cicada ice cream for you!

Next time those pesky cicadas decide to pay us above-grounders a visit, let’s make ‘em into ice cream! Great idea, except that someone tried it in Missouri and got shut down by the health department. Apparently the flavor was like butter pecan except with cicadas, not pecans. The first (only) batch sold out quickly despite looking like this:

Image of Sparky's cicada ice cream from columbiamissourian.com

Remember when people’s pets were lapping up cicada carcasses last time they hit DC, then vets were doing overtime to surgically repair the clogged plumbing? I’m still haunted by footage of Rover’s cicada-infested innards.

Normally I’m game for trying novelty desserts. Bacon cupcakes, no biggie. Chicken ice cream, sure. But cicada ice cream—nope, not trying it. You shouldn’t put anything into your mouth that’s lived underground for that long and comes in units called swarms. Plus, have you seen the bulbous devil eyes on those things?

 

 

07
Jun
11

Scratch, a bakery that makes you want to become a regular

Every town in American deserves a place like Scratch. It’s a small bakery with a down-home feel in Durham, NC. This part of downtown Durham was never fully commercially “revived,” despite decades of efforts. So there’s a certain peaceful eeriness to the area, where small pockets of independently owned cafes, boutiques, and shops sit in the shadow of (or inside) former tobacco warehouses.


We paid Scratch a visit on a Sunday. The area around the bakery was so quiet, a group of teens were skateboarding down the middle of the road with glorious abandon.

I like a bakery that serves savory options side-by-side with the sweets. We had the sausage biscuits, which were probably the ungreasiest I’ve had in my life (for those of you who prefer a bit of biscuit with your butter instead, head to Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen) and a side of cheddar grits that would promptly shut down any misconceptions about grits being bland.

As for the sweets, Mr. X-sXe got the chocolate sea-salt crostata. It was so rich, you could split it 3 ways and leave perfectly satisfied.  It had too much chocolate filling, if that’s even possible.

I went for the lemon chess pie, figuring that if there was only 1 slice left, it had to be good. And it was. Not overly sweet, good level of tartness, flaky crust. I’m generally not a huge pie fan,* but  I’m definitely a fan of these pies.

*Unless it’s key lime or pumpkin, which should be available year-round.

05
Jun
11

Locally sourced popsicles, popping up everwhere

Shortly after learning about the Pleasant Pops truck in DC, we stumbled on Locopops in Chapel Hill, a local chain. Its cheery storefront has taken over a former laundromat next to Great Harvest bread.

Summer always comes early to NC (like DC, spring is just a fleeting hope), so when we visited over Memorial Day it was hot as the third circle of hell. The Locopops were a great way to cool down. And guilt-free, if you opt for a no-sugar flavor like the cucumber-mint on the right.

For something sweeter, try a flavor like the Mojito (left). Like Baskin-Robbins’ daiquiri ice, it’s a refreshing cocktail-inspired flavor with no alcohol kick. (Even though I always felt like I was getting away with something when I used to order the daquiri ice in junior high.)