This weekend was quite a crazy one. I went down to NYC on Friday with Kevin to visit Ashu. Saturday we walked up to the Guggenheim and then walked all the way down to the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory (to see our estimated route, click here). Seeing as we had walked some on Friday and at least a couple of miles today, and our route (especially across Central Park) on gmap wasn't perfect, we estimate about a 15 mile walk total this weekend...so I am not going to feel too badly about the two different ice cream places I sampled this weekend.
Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory
The reward at the end of crossing the Brooklyn Bridge was a sweet and creamy one. As we walked into the quaint little shop that was once a Fulton Ferry fireboat house, we stood for about 5-10 minutes in line -- a line that was 1. Much shorter than the one we passed at Grimaldi's Pizza on the way to the Factory, and 2. much shorter than the line that was there when we walked out with our ice cream. The line gave us time to take in the atmosphere -- a simple shop that has probably changed little since it was first opened October 13, 2001 (Interestingly enough, the shop was slated to open September 12, 2001, but the events of September 11th inevitably changed that). The focus of this shop is it's smooth, eggless (one might say "Philadelphia Style") ice cream, not the atmosphere in which it sits. The shop though clean, is cluttered with freezers and there isn't too much room to sit down. It is fine this way, as the best way to savor your ice cream is to go outside and enjoy the view of the Manhattan Skyline, and as one most likely does, lament on the broken skyline's missing twin towers.
The eggless ice cream is this way because eggs, owner Mark Thompson believes, give ice cream a "greasy flavor." Instead he uses a Pennsylvania recipe -- a recipe he found sans eggs.With only eight flavors, one isn't overwhelmed with choices, which is a relief this day and age. When I got to the counter I asked for vanilla chocolate chunk, but the kid at the counter told me they were out. Kind of disappointed, but also knowing any of these flavors would be good, I changed my cone to the same as Ashu's -- chocolate chocolate chunk. The ice cream wasn't a disappointment: rich, creamy, and just the perfect amount to satiate my sweet tooth and refuel us for our walk back across the bridge. A taste of Kevin's vanilla was lighter, and just sweet enough. A taste of the vanilla made me wish that they hadn't run out of the vanilla chocolate chunk -- I can imagine that would have been ice cream perfection. But alas, I still can't complain. It was good either way.
While my passion is ice cream, my husband Kevin enjoys a good hot dog, and Ashu indulged us by taking us to some hot dog hot spots. Friday we found Papaya Dog in Hell's Kitchen as we walked from the bus station to Ashu's apartment, Saturday we stopped at a few street vendors, and today she took us uptown to Brooklyn Diner at 57th Street (where they weren't yet serving hot dogs but we indulged in some yummy breakfast as well as a Christopher Meloni sighting) and then up to Gray's Papaya on Broadway at 72nd to try their world renowned hot dogs and see their big sign in the window that supports Obama (Ashu is a huge fan!).
Alas, I digress. While on our way back from Gray's, we saw a Pinkberry (warning: you might want to turn off the sound; this site is kind of annoying!) and after Ashu's negative raving, I had to try. Though not actually an ice cream, but a frozen yogurt, Ashu tells me this is all the rave in the city and the lines at the shop we passed on Saturday proved case in point.
We walked into the stark, clean, stylish shop. There was one other customer in the shop, but he was gone minutes after we arrived. What I found so strange is that this woman took my order (I was the only one that ordered) and she took my name -- as if she would lose my order in the empty restaurant (Later I saw they had printed a little label with my name and stuck it on my cup -- I guess it would be useful when the shop was busy.) I ordered a original with raspberries ($3.95 plus 95¢ for a topping) and the server actually put my order on a scale! Then she used tongs to carefully place about 10 raspberries on the yogurt. The yogurt was just that: frozen yogurt. It wasn't the sweet, ice cream-tasting soft serve you get when you usually order frozen yogurt. It tasted cultured like actual yogurt that had been frozen. It had a bit of a lemony taste. The best part was the amazingly fresh raspberries. I agreed with Ashu in the sense I couldn't understand the lines. It wasn't that good. But it wasn't terrible. Just not something I would choose again. But as Ashu says "If someone were holding a gun to my head, and telling me to eat it, I'd eat it, but..."
Well, enough of ice cream eating in NYC...
Additional information for this post found in the article "Fire and Ice Cream" from the New York Times, Novemeber 25, 2001.
Thanks to Kevin for such great photos and Ashu for being a great tour guide!