I must say, I only have a few weak spots in this cold, hardened exterior of a woman, and one of them is ice cream. That sweet, frozen cow juice is probably my all-time number one dessert option, fills any void in my life I may have at the moment (or ones my shrink missed by the time I ran out of money), and brings me back to a gastronomic meditation spot no matter where I am.
Take the case of yesterday, where I (and my long-suffering husband of nine years, Bobby) happened to be stuck in Massachusettes traffic at rush hour, with a bunch of massholes (the inconsiderate drivers of said state), trying to figure out how to get back to my sister’s house in Providence without going to Canada along the way. It was becoming…annoying, to say the least, and the fine dinner we had in Salem was still technically unfinished in my mind – we had skipped dessert to avoid the traffic we were currently crawling in. I wanted dessert. I wanted out of traffic. I wanted what I wanted, and so, tasked my smartphone to find me an ice cream establishment. I knew the risks were great that I would be slapped with a list including Friendly’s, McDonald’s and the like, but no risk was too great compared to our dropping gastank level and my mounting irritation ( I was on vacation, dammit! I didn’t decide to ignore my business for an entire week to sit in frickin’ traffic!).
Fortunately, my phone understands my artisanal food standards and alerted me that a homemade ice cream joint was around the next exit. My joy was increased as I cross-references the place with reviews and found I had struck possible pure gold – they had some interesting flavors, great reviews and…oh my heavens…could it be? BAKLAVA ICE CREAM! I ripped the steering wheel from Bobby’s hand and demanded he use the all-wheel drive to roll over the cars on the offramp. They had baklava ice cream! Hear me?!? This was going to be legen-dairy!
My husband managed to restrain me and keep control of the vehicle, and navigated us to this promised land of dairy delight. I was busy imagining how baklava ice cream would taste, detailing in my mind the subtle nuances resulting from combining two of my favorite sweetnesses (is that even a word?) into one cold taste orgy. I was drooling like Pavlov’s dogs by now. Bobby held my hand, telling me everything would be all right, that we would be there soon, and please stop drooling on his shoulder. Following the smartphone’s directions, we soon landed in the parking lot of milk, honey and baklava ice cream…
…which was a pretty dumpy-looking strip plaza. Massively underwhelming would have been a massive understatement, but since some of the best food I’ve ever had came from place that looked condemned by the board of health, I hopped out of the car and ran to the opened the door. I was greeted by a blast of sweet coldness, the smell of sugar, and a huge menu board that had at the very bottom…baklava ice cream. Ordering soon commenced, and after the longest three minutes of my life (jeeze, can’t this kid dip any faster?), I was in possession of two scoops of that much lauded, never eaten anywhere else, nobody in Jersey has thought to create this yet, baklava ice cream. The spoon in my hand was my golden ticket.
All sexual references aside (and no disrespect to my husband), this ice cream was the most amazing experience I had ever had (involving food, that is). I was not disappointed. It surpassed the toasted coconut and cinnamin roll ice cream we had in Annapolis, the Indian spice ice cream I had in Princeton, and the peppermint stick ice cream I had in Santa Barbara. The flaky pastry chunks, honeyed nut swirl, and sweet cream ice cream base were perfectly blended. And this was not pre-pelletized baklava, ala Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough, oh no… this was actual baklava, crumbled into the mix. Tres fantastique!
I tried not to make too much of a scene licking every last drop from the waxed paper cup, and regained my composure as the religious ecstacy of my taste buds began to calm down. I apologized for dampening Bobby’s shirt while I blotted him dry with the extra napkins, and avoided the stares of the other customers who were wondering if all Jersey people were like this, and not like Snookie. We walked back out to the car and used the last drops of gas to get back to Providence. The traffic had cleared, the wife was satiated, and the husband didn’t have to break out the tranquilizer gun again.
Ice cream truly fixes everything.