Brooklyn Froyo/Ice Cream Crawl 2013

My friend Bev and I had been talking about our love of various frozen treats. The ranging flavors at places like 16 Handles and the new addiction I had for Pinkberry since it was the closest option near my place of employment. And then it struck us...there are a crapload of frozen yogurt and ice cream eateries in Brooklyn. Since Bev loves her area and I don't get to Brooklyn as much as I'd like we proposed a #froyocrawl. (In the end our crawl was more like an ice cream one than frozen yogurt but you get the idea.) So, "end of summer" being Labor Day weekend seemed like an ideal time. People may be out of town and we could get our grub on. We knew we wanted to go to a handful of places. The way to organize a crawl or tour of any sort in which food is involved is to be realistic. Don't stuff 10 places into a day. Any amount of food may get you full and the last few places will fall by the wayside. And when sweets are involved at some point everyone will want something savory to offset the sweet intake. We picked 5 places. Bev routed it better than I did.

Luckily we had a group of 5 that turned into 6 at our second location, which is ideal for places in terms of seating and also tasting as much as possible without getting too full or too overzealous.

First stop was Blue Marble in Cobble Hill. Our objective was at each stop to get the smallest size possible so we wouldn't overdo it. We got the child size or minis at every location (some got smalls, but hey you get the drift). Each person got a different item and we all tried. There were sampling spoons aplenty.

Our flavors at Blue Marble were: banana split, marcona almond, green tea, mint chocolate chip, and raspberry chip.

My fave was the banana split it had chunks of banana and a chocolate swirl with peanuts. It tasted like banana bread. And the same could be said of the marcona almond which tasted just like an almond cookie. The green tea, we were warned, was like getting a dose of green tea and there was caffeine in it. It was smooth in texture and flavor. I liked. I'm not a fan of mint chocolate chip so wasn't too keen on this in general but again it was definitely better than the mass marketed stuff you may have had. And the raspberry chip was a raspberry swirl ice cream with chocolate chips in it. Good stuff.

The ladies at Blue Marble were super nice and let us sample other items once we told them we were doing a formal crawl of ice cream eateries. Their vanilla is perfection. We enjoyed very much and it seemed that the marcona almond and green tea were big faves of our group. I'd highly recommend Blue Marble's ice cream and wish I could get it in Queens. I'd buy that stuff by the pound, especially the banana split and green tea flavors.

Funny enough the ladies mentioned that Blue Marble would be available at our next stop: Brooklyn Farmacy and Soda Fountain a few blocks away.

The feel for Brooklyn Farmacy is old school all the way. One of the waitresses reminded me of Lucille Ball in her polka dot skirt, low heeled shoes, and curls swept up with a handkerchief. Our waitress was absolutely lovely and friendly. The feel of the place is total early 20th century with games, books, typewriters, indexes reminiscent of what libraries relied on for reference before the computer became our main mode for info, and so forth. Wood all over and floats and sundaes and comfort food with lots of carbs in the forms of tasty sandwiches.

You have the option for egg creams, which apparently have NO egg in them (turns out the name is a butchering of the original European name, go figure), and sundaes, ice cream, and floats which are their big thing. I had a chocolate egg cream so I could scratch that off my food bucket list and the rest of the group had floats (Brooklyn Farmacy originals with a scoop of ice cream in a big ole glass). I also got their biscuit with homemade preserves (raspberry) and butter and I was in HEAVEN. They reminded me of my grandma's, just buttery perfection that puts all other biscuits to shame. To shame, y'all. I would travel to this place for the biscuits alone. But I digress, we're hear to talk ice cream.

At Brooklyn Farmacy and Soda Fountain the floats were as follows The Kiki x 3 (ginger soda with a scoop of vanilla ice cream), The Flatbush (a vanilla egg cream with a scoop of strawberry ice cream), and The Pink Poodle (hibiscus soda with a scoop of vanilla ice cream). Of the floats the Kiki was a hit hence three people ordering it. I really enjoyed Bev's Pink Poodle. The hibiscus soda was a welcomed taste and is being used more in food items. The egg cream was a bit lackluster to me since I wanted more dairy and creaminess but meh the biscuit more than made up for it.

After that we were getting full. Well those who had big a** floats were. Our next location was a bit of a walk but luckily Bev's friend David had a car and we squeezed in and he drove us over to Park Slope for the last three places.

Next up a fave, Culture! I highly recommended anyone and everyone get the key lime topping and original yogurt. I loves it to death I tell ya. I got original with strawberry balsamic topping. Someone got watermelon with crystallized candied ginger, someone else got mint with crystallized candied ginger (noticing a trend?), someone did get the key lime topping, and someone else got the blueberry pie topping with original yogurt.

While many did not taste the balsamic in the strawberry topping it was still lauded. I did get a hint because it sweetened up the strawberries. What you can say about Culture is that their flavors are subtle. Nothing will overwhelm or overpower making toppings and yogurt work well together and part of it's overall charm. The watermelon yogurt was tangy but not too tangy. The mint was a hint in their yogurt and I being not a fan of mint in frozen items would've gotten it because it was faint but good. The toppings add to it all and I'd suggest getting their pie ones or something beyond the basics of candy or chocolate. Go for their signatures, definitely worth it and a good midpoint spot so you're not too hungover from dairy overload.

At this point some people were wearing down but we were off to SkyIce Sweet & Savory further up the block. This was also the point were savory items were desired. Since SkyIce is also a Thai restaurant some of us got entrees. Luckily for us they also have samplers for ice cream. Huzzah! We got the 12 sampler of mini scoops which was perfect. We each got a couple of bits of each and didn't have to worry about too much being left over while trying a wide variety of items.

Our choices were as follows: Thai tea, Thai coffee, durian, mango, green tea, black sesame seaweed, honey ginger, white miso sliced almond, caramel sea salt, belgian chocolate brownie, lychee rose sorbet, and cucumber lime sorbet.

The sorbets were deliciously refreshing. Everything had a good melting consistency and wasn't too icy or chalky. The ice creams were creamy as well but I was a huge fan of the sorbets, especially the cucumber lime. The other two ladies, Alex and Bev, really dug the rose lychee and I dug it as well. Thai tea is apparently the most popular flavor at SkyIce and we liked it. I was least liking the durian flavor but the black sesame seaweed and white almond miso had an interesting flavor that wasn't too savory but worked well in the combos. The miso upon second tasting wasn't as good but I still liked the taste of the black sesame seaweed because the sesame and seaweed worked well with a slight peppery flavor there. Cool stuff.

At that point people were tapped out and understandably so. More than half of us had entrees at SkyIce but people, I was determined to finish this out. I did not come all this way to Brooklyn to stop now! So we walked to the final place: Ample Hills Creamery.

Unlike the other locations which were relatively tame Ample Hills was a bit of a mad house with families and such. I was the only one who wanted anything since a few people had had it before and informed me of how intense the flavors are there. Damn straight. I hauled myself right inside and went for the salted crack caramel. I'd heard good things. The lady behind the counter strongly suggested that I try it before ordering a small cup. She offered me one and I smacked my lips and said, "Yeah, thanks. Lemme try the honey one." The salted crack caramel had A LOT going on. And to me there was a strong hint of coffee. As someone who does not like coffee I would not have been happy and was highly appreciative for this lady to sway me to try before committing myself to one intense ass ice cream. The sweet as honey flavor was much more my speed, especially after all the dairy we had. The sweet as honey has homemade honey comb in a sweet cream. It was a great sweet item but tame enough to appreciate it too. So I offered some to taste to those who still had the will to do so and finished off my kids cup.

Slamming it into the garbage can on the corner I proclaimed our crawl complete. Success! And time for a nap.

Of all the locations I'd probably say Culture was my fave for the fact it's not too heavy or overwhelming or intense. Next up would be SkyIce for the sorbets. But if I was having people over for ice cream only Blue Marble and for biscuits?!? Brooklyn Farmacy. I'll have to go back to Ample Hills at some point when I have a stronger hankering for ice cream but that sweet as honey was a tasty treat to end things on.

Next up, possibly a mac n' cheese crawl, so stay tuned peeps.