Sunday was the perfect day to be eating ice cream. Maybe not so much to take it to Gowanus and serve people though. But what can you do? The annual Takedowns hosted by Matt Timms went down, and it was a grand. Once again Matt organized a lovely event sponsored by PAMA, Il Laboratorio del Gelato, Phin and Phebes, Mikey Likes It, and Enterprise. And as it often is the event was at the Brooklyn gem, The Bell House.
Free cocktails (thanks to PAMA) of PAMA cocktails flowed for the first hour. And even after tasting a bunch of delicious ice cream from participants there was still some to be tasted from Mikey Likes It. Good times.
It is hot and humid on the east coast. Has been for a few weeks and needless to say people can get antsy. But there was dry ice to keep the ice cream chilled and lines to streamline things and people ready to eat and judge and eat some more. Even Tyra Banks, yes ANTM's Tyra Banks, made an appearance and ate and left and maybe she even voted. Who knows? I didn't want to be that person sneaking a picture of her as she tried to enjoy the ice cream, but even Matt Timms was all "Holy crap! A supermodel came to one of the Takedowns."
But yeah, ice cream. And lots of it! Twenty entrants overall and less people in the space because of the heat and precious goods made for a not too packed time with room to roam and slurp and get on lines for more creamy goodness of the frozen variety. There were a lot of great flavors and unique ones at that.
A couple adorable kids and their aunt (Team JujuBeans) presented Coco Cado, a creamy avocado ice cream with toasted coconut that was a perfect merging of flavors. Each relied on the other and it was in my top 5.
Other faves were cannoli ice cream with a cannoli shell and a kind of icy cream with chocolate bits inside made by Kimberly Stein. The shell really made this one. Kimberly said she spent 22 hours making them and they were perfect.
Then there was Daisy's backwoods blueberry sherbet with buttermilk and moonshine that was quite refreshing after having so much cream based items. And she won not only a judge prize but an audience prize as well. Her's definitely stood out among the crowd.
An apple pie ice cream with sugared apples and crumble made by Angela made me think what she made should be mass produced and available to the world. It really had all the elements of apple pie in ice cream form. Something only Angela could produce.
Other standouts included the 3 PBJ which was peanut butter ice cream with balsamic jam glaze and brown buttered croutons. Flavors in all aspects and the crunch! Fantastic.
Add in some butterscotch (which took the top judge prize) and a lemon meringue pie ice cream by Alice (which took the top audience prize) and you have the contrast of cream flavors filling you up to lighter essences engaging your palate.
There were some entrants that may be a bit icy or too melty to properly get the flavors or badly constructed due to the heat but hey that's what experimentation is all about. Previous Takedown winner Adrian was one of the few to have booze and bacon in his while Steve, a Takedown winner from two years prior, also had alcohol and a great sandwich construction with his cakey sandwich and boozy Irish car bomb ice cream sandwich. There was "A Hot Friend Named Ginger" which combined the overall flavor of ginger with some heat that kicks in soon after it hits your tongue. There was a s'mores ice cream with a marshmallow base and then you also had some Mexican Hot Chocolate (won 3rd place by the judges) in spicy or mild. The texture of the Mexican Hot Chocolate was on par with Haagen Dazs.
And like Matt always says you have to give a HUGE round of applause to those who enter these Takedowns. As someone who did the cookie one I know how much work goes into it and in finding the right consistency and texture for your ice cream as well as balancing flavors AND getting it to another borough in 90+ degree weather? Well hats off to you Takedowners for making it happen and showing us a great time and what "amateur" cooks can produce. Though I feel none of these entrants are amateurs in the least!
Congrats to ALL those who entered and Thanks so much for your delicious treats. I will be there again next year and will probably see some of you at a later Takedown. Off to nap now.
To see a full list of entrants check thetakedowns.com for Matt's follow-up post.