Screaming for New Orleans Ice Cream: Chocolate City

What a delicious way to satirize former Mayor Ray Nagin’s gaff during a speech on Martin Luther King Jr. Day after the horrific levee failures of 2005. New Orleans Ice Cream Co. created a scrumptious combination of their ultra-premium, dense, dark chocolate ice cream mixed with a hefty helping of creamy, white chocolate chips.

Too bad life can’t be as simple as ice cream, because this tastes like harmony to me.

Screaming for New Orleans Ice Cream: Coffee & Chicory

Coffee and me, we’re buddies. We’ve been buddies for a long time. I can remember a love affair with coffee that stretches even before my mom obsessed over her first Bunn Coffee Maker, one that likely originated with my grandmother’s love of Folgers and my mom’s stock of coffee candy that lured me into it’s sticky wrapper again and again after the very first piece. When I scored a job out of high school (that wasn’t at my father’s video store), I did grunt work for a friend who did interior design for the high and mighty rich folk in Hillsborough. Every morning, we had an iced coffee from a tiny coffee house on El Camino Real. This was my first taste of fresh-roasted coffee and I’ll never forget the rich, complex flavor of our daily double espressos over ice.

Naturally, it’s no surprise that one of the first things that drew me in about New Orleans culture just happened to be a cafe au lait made with that notorious coffee & chicory blend at Cafe du Monde. Coffee & Chicory from the New Orleans Ice Cream Company is just like that first delicious cup o’ joy.

This ice cream had a wonderfully creamy consistency and with each spoonful, the rich flavor of coffee, chicory, cream and sugar spreads across your tongue. It’s not difficult to luxuriate over each bite, lost in a world of coffee bliss, until your spoon hits the bottom of the carton and you’ve finished an entire pint. It’s easily the finest coffee ice cream I have ever had the pleasure of devouring in one sitting.

Screaming for New Orleans Ice Cream: Mississippi Debris

Although I was going to save this one for last, I just couldn’t hold it in anymore. New Orleans Ice Cream Co.’s Mississippi Debris is my absolute favorite flavor and I had to share for all those chocolate lovers out there just like me. If you are the kind of fanatic who loves digging chunks of goodies, both salty and sweet, out of your pint, crunching on bits of chocolaty yum, then this is the flavor for you. It’s a munchy paradise of rich chocolate ice cream packed with truffles, malt balls, hunks of chewy brownies, chocolate-covered almonds, cherry cups, marshmallows, chocolate flakes and a delicious fudge swirl…whew!

John and I literally fought over this particular flavor and it was the first one to disappear out of all the different flavors we had. If you live alone, you’ll be safe with one pint. If not, be sure to buy enough Mississippi Debris for everyone or it just might get ugly up in the family freezer…

Screaming for New Orleans Ice Cream: Brandy Milk Punch

For those of you who have never been here, Brandy Milk Punch is a uniquely New Orleans cocktail traditionally served during the holiday season, but you can easily find it anytime of year. A fairly simple concoction, it consists of brandy (duh), milk (double duh) and powdered sugar that is shaken till frothy with ice, strained into a glass and sprinkled with nutmeg. It’s tasty, easy to drink and, if poured by a local, heavy-hand, guaranteed to knock you on your butt. New Orleans Ice Cream Co. took this iconic, Crescent City cocktail and turned it into some seriously fabulous ice cream…

Incredibly creamy, rich and laced with brandy flavoring, the folks at New Orleans Ice Cream Co. have outdone themselves. I can easily say, with no hesitation, that this is one of my new favorites. My poor BF John was only able to score one small taste before I inhaled the rest of the pint. Go get your own!

Sundae on Thursday

After John and I stuffed ourselves silly with Chinese food at Jung’s Golden Dragon last week, I took his hand and literally dragged him about two-doors down the block to enjoy a delicious, sweet dainty from Sucré. Okay, it wasn’t a dainty…it was a sundae! Specifically, it was a Sucré Sundae with chocolate & caramel sauce, chocolate gelato, chocolate croutons (yes, I said croutons), cocoa nibs, a ton of whipped cream and a perfect chocolate macaroon on top. We also got a couple of creamy café au laits.

When our sundae was brought to the table, all heads turned to follow the procession, most of which belonging to women. John made a sly comment about attracting his next girlfriend and though, I had to give him the crusty-eye, I couldn’t help but agree. After all, it’s not babies, diamonds or expensive cars that make my pupils dilate…it’s chocolate!

Finding serenity at Creole Creamery

After breakfasting at Surrey’s, we headed home determined to be productive. Slogging through my daily projects seemed especially onerous to me. Admittedly, doing dishes (by hand) can be particularly grueling, but even walking Pippin, something I can’t help but enjoy, felt like a chore. Something was off.  Something was missing. It wasn’t until late in the afternoon that it hit me.

I didn’t have any dessert!

I had completely forgotten my weekly dose of decadence, but my body, obviously, had not. My mind raced through the available dessert options.  Did I want a Hubig’s Apple Pie? A napoleon from Brocato’s? A thick chocolate malt from Camilla Grill? In the end, the dessert that won out is what usually prevails. Ice cream.

Like a whirlwind, I bounced around the house getting dressed, brushing my hair and grabbing my purse. I was just sliding on my sunglasses when John said “Where the heck are you going?” Rushing through an explanation while pushing him into his clothes, we drove to Prytania and rushed into the already crowded, brightly pink parlor. Everyone else needed Creole Creamery, too.  Maybe it was the moon?

Mostly on my own, I gobbled down a banana split with three luscious flavors of my choosing; Creole Cream Cheese, Salted Caramel and Coffee Pecan Brittle. The split also contained fresh helpings of banana (of course), strawberries, pineapple, chocolate fudge, whipped cream, bright sprinkles and three Maraschino cherries.

John inhaled a Cookie Monster Sundae. A scoop of Cookie Monster ice cream with crushed chocolate chip and Oreo cookies, hot fudge, whipped cream and cookie crumbles…along with about 1/3 of my sundae, of course.

While slurping up the last goopy delicious spoonfuls, I watched people filing into the shop and noticed everyone had that unbalanced look, that physical mark of angst. They were not yet at peace with the world like I was. We left our booth with a smile knowing that they too, would soon find serenity.

Pigging out on New Orleans Ice Cream

A few weeks ago I vented on Facebook about how I can rarely ever find New Orleans Ice Cream Co. flavor Banana’s Foster in supermarket freezers. It seemed like other banana ice cream maniacs beat me to it every time I looked. New Orleans Ice Cream Company owner Adrian Simpson saw my little bitch fest, contacted me and offered to send over a few pints as a sign of good faith. I couldn’t possibly refuse. Adrian and I had met a few years back when had a table right next to New Orleans Ice Cream Co at a Grand Tasting during NOWFE. I’ll never forget my first mouthful of Rum Raisin ice cream or getting “juiced” with Adrian as we tasted every wine on the floor.

Needless to say, I was still a little surprised when a man named Henry showed up at my front door presenting me with a bag of seven pints of New Orleans Ice Cream. Seven! I was all a dither…I mean, how often do you have that much ice cream in your freezer? Especially if you’re dieting?

Several different options ran through my mind. For example, I thought of throwing a mini ice cream social where I’d invite over a few friends, sit around the table and pig-out on ice cream while rating which ones were our favorites and why. I looked around my tiny one bedroom apartment and knew immediately that I could not, under any circumstances, properly entertain guests in my 400 square foot hovel.

I also considered meeting at an outside location, but with the temperatures in 100’s, a typical New Orleans summer, I couldn’t justify dragging my friends outside in the heat to eat what would most likely become New Orleans Ice Cream soup. I kept getting these horrible visions of all my girlfriends melting under the oaks in Audubon Park, drinking their favorite flavor right out of the carton.

For almost a week the ice cream sat in my freezer while I debated what to do. Well, you might have noticed that I didn’t have any dessert on my last cheat to The Lucky Ladle. John, Dani, Posie and I all returned to my place after lunch to watch a movie and I thought…why not have some ice cream?

I shoveled out seven large scoops of each flavor onto a large serving platter and the three of us gathered ’round and dug in.  After tasting all of the flavors, each of us selected a favorite and a runner-up.

My absolute favorite was Banana’s Foster.  I am a die hard banana lover and when I discovered actual slices of frozen banana hiding in the midst of a butter sauce, I was completely won over.  My second favorite was the Cherries Jubilee featuring brandy soaked cherries and a splash of orange liqueur.  Both amusing and highly appropriate, I thought the added alcohol was perfect for the true flavor of a New Orleans dessert.

John’s top pick was the Nectar Soda.  He enjoyed the unique flavor, which was exactly like red cream soda, and he liked the thick, chewy texture.  John definitely prefers ice cream that doesn’t have chunks of “stuff” in it so it’s not surprising that he chose Creole Cream Cheese as his runner-up.  Smooth and creamy with a slight cheesy tang, he easily demolished the rest of the pint later on.

Finally, Dani’s winner was the Toasted Coconut.  She loved the intense creaminess, it was so smooth with no ice crystals mucking up the texture.  Strangely enough, she isn’t a huge fan of coconut, but she couldn’t help falling for New Orleans Ice Cream Co’s delicious interpretation.  Her second choice was the White Chocolate Bread Pudding.  She really loved the complex flavor; the mixture of cinnamon, butter, powdered sugar, white chocolate was admittedly overwhelming.  This particular flavor fought hard with Cherries Jubilee for my second choice, too.

The only flavor left out was the Cajun Rum Raisin.  I do love the flavors of this ice cream…the spicy kick of rum and a ton of plump, juicy raisins, but it simply didn’t make it into the top two.

After our massive ice cream pig out…there really wasn’t much left.  John has been set the task of finishing the remaining cartons and I think he’s just about done.  Don’t worry, he’s so skinny he can stand to gain a few pounds.

I just want to thank Adrian for the ice cream feast.  Don’t stop coming out with these awesome, original New Orleans flavors and I will keep looking for Banana’s Foster, especially now that I am well and truly hooked.

Eating for the ice cream impaired…

I’ve been getting outside more often than ever, walking my dog, running errands and exploring my neighborhood and as much as I am enjoying all this time outside…it’s friggin’ hot out there!  Last week, I went to the Crescent City Farmers Market with my friend Dani and we shopped (I got sunflowers!), taking a total of perhaps thirty minutes.  When I got home I developed a headache, felt pretty woozy and nauseous and then wanted to pass out.  In other words, I got heat stroke!  From a half of an hour in the sun?  Really?

Anyhow, with the sudden onslaught of heat we’ve been feeling the last few days, it seems I can think of little else but ice cream.  I get an image in my head of strolling languidly through my neighborhood, licking on a large scoop balanced atop a sugar cone, so absorbed in its creamy coolness that I’m not really paying attention to where I am going or how long it’s going to take to get there. This wonderful daydream slowly melts away when I remind myself that I can’t have any!  Well, at least not ’till Thursday…

So what else can I do but write about it?

I have a proposal.  How about if I recommend the first few ice cream* sources in New Orleans that pop into my head and y’all can go get some and tell me about it?  That way, I can enjoy the delicious ice cream experience vicariously through you. It’ll be like volunteering to read for the visually impaired! You don’t even have to take my recommendations, just tell me about an incredible ice cream experience.  Deal?

My first stop would have to be Creole Creamery on Prytania.  When I think ice cream, that is usually the first place to pop into my head.  What truly makes it a winner is the creativity of Chef Bryan Gilmore.  I never knew ice cream could come in flavors like Cucumber-Dill, Pistachio Curry or Strawberry Jalapeno Cheesecake and taste fantastic!  They offer simpler flavors too (which are equally delicious), but it’s better to come here and test your limits.  I could go for a scoop of Salted Caramel right now…

Believe it or not, I have to say I get a massive hankering for Peanut Butter and Chocolate ice cream from Baskin Robbins.  I can’t help it!  I know it’s a chain but that particular flavor haunts me!  Something about the thick ribbons of peanut butter probably, digging through the rich chocolate to discover those veins of peanut paradise is one of my favorite pastimes.  I know, I need help.

The final option would be to walk into Rouses and grab a couple of pints from New Orleans Ice Cream Co.  My favorite flavors so far are Creole Cream Cheese, Coffee & Chicory and Cajun Rum Raisin, but all of them are delicious and readily available.  I can even get a pint from the 24-hour Walgreens when I get that ice cream ache late at night.

So get out there all of you who are ice cream enabled!  Eat some delicious, creamy ice cream and come tell me about it.  Spare no detail, I want to know what you smelled, tasted and felt.  I want to know if you laughed or cried, exalted in the ecstasy that is ice cream or even rushed headlong into the adventure and ended up with a bad case of brain freeze!  Enjoy your ice cream episode and share it with me, pretty please?

*I specifically left gelato out of this blog on purpose.  That’s another story!