Summer's Ice Cream
How patiently we waited for you, Summer('s). Errand-running ragged around the city, we were in search of exemplary ice cream, atmosphere and a place to rest our feet. Summer's Sweet Memories delivered all of these things with old-fashioned panache and a name so...err, sweet? that it could elicit tears of nostalgia with its very utterance.
I love going for ice cream late at night, probably because of the associations it carries. When I was much younger, it seemed like the most exciting thing a person could be allowed to do; combining the treat-iest of foods with the most dangerous and promise-filled of hours. What can I say, the suburbs didn't have much else.
This is why it is imperative that we go at night; it shall be an event.
Despite being an unseasonably cold evening (what else is new?) the place is pretty much packed when we enter. A line winds from the waiting area to the front of the dairy case, where everyone is choosing and moving fast. I know this won't work for me and my over-contemplative sister.
A few flustered "you-guys-go-aheads" and side-stepping our way behind the crowd, it suddenly clears up and we're left with ample space for a tasting session.
Ron, the owner, energetically offers up so many enticing facts that we can barely keep up- "we've started roasting the hazelnuts (in our hazelnut ice cream)", "the blueberries are fresh," the cookie dough is homemade, my mother's own recipe;" we try every delicious one, our indecisiveness growing by the second.
This family-run business has been around for 25 years, since 1991 at this particular location, with Ron taking it over only two months ago. His enthusiasm seems to agree with this fact.
The place looks the way I see every ice cream parlour to in my head. And it wins for not manipulating and manufacturing this via my urge for nostalgia in a (post)modern age, but for being the type of place that created that fantasy in the first place. For someone my age, anyway, it's entirely possible.
There is none of the new-business sheepishness, a sort of slumped posture ("so? Do you like it? Will you come back?") that one is inevitably saddled with until they have proven themselves in the difficult business of serving food. In its place is a refreshing confidence of an established business, that has clippings of Kate Hudson endorsements on the wall.
However, this confidence does not equate to resting on one's laurels of past success. Ron is clearly keen on maintaining and expanding; he speaks of the website his wife is putting together- bearing the very current copyright of 2009- and shares another tech/business anecdote.
That of an iPhone application which, through its shaking, conducts a lottery. This app chooses a dining destination for its user at random. One of their customers that afternoon saw Summer's appear three times on his and swore that he had to check it out. Oh, technology. We are both pretty amazed.
That unmistakable scent of freshly made waffle cones has fully settled over us in a blanket of intoxication. It really smells better than most things I can think of- though I worry about sweetness overload (it's just this thing I have). I know I must make sure my sister gets one so I can try it, a feat which proves to be pretty easy.
For us, it's strawberry rhubarb all the way. If there was anything more summer than ice cream, it's this.
The ice cream is pretty perfect. Some of the smoothest and creamiest I've ever encountered, it goes down thick and slow, but surprisingly easy on the (slightly lactose-intolerant) belly. The tartness of the rhubarb is just enough to give the flavour some bite.
My sis has barely dug in when I glimpse an almost terrified look on her face, coupled with a hushed tone. "It's warm! " she practically gasps in elation. Ah, yes. The cone. I've never been one much for cones, but I think it's because most of them don't taste like this one. Yes, like an actual waffle, albeit slightly flatter.
This is Sweet; this is Summer, baby.