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July 13, 2010

Top Ten unusual ice cream flavors

mr. yogatoOld Bay ice cream seems to have gone the way we all fear Maryland crabs could go. By which I mean extinct.

Last summer, an intern here at The Sun got one of those dream assignments meant to trick gullible youngsters into devoting their lives to journalism. She was asked to sample, and write about, offbeat local ice cream flavors. Among those she turned up was Moxley's Old Bay ice cream.

But since then, Moxley's has become Gifford's, where the wackiest flavor on the menu is Blueberry Pomegranate.

Not to worry. There are still plenty of oddball ice cream flavors out there to ward off that chocolate-vanilla-strawberry ennui.

In just the past three weeks, to accommodate a Food Network request, Dominion in Charles Village expanded its vegetable ice cream selection from four flavors to 11.

Which brings us to this week's list:

Top Ten unusual ice cream flavors

1: Cucumber (Dominion)

This is one of the flavors Dominion added after The Food Network asked to shoot an episode "Chefs vs. City" in the shop, at 3215 North Charles. The show had four chefs guessing which ice creams contained which veggies, something that isn't always obvious because the vegetable taste sometimes is masked by fruit, said Dominion owner Donna Calloway. The show wanted lots of vegetable flavors, so Dominion added to its original lineup of spinach, carrot, sweet potato and tomato. They've kept the new flavors on the menu and one of them, cucumber, has quickly become a best seller.

2. Beet (Dominion)

3. Sweet Corn (Dominion)

4. Red Cabbage (Dominion)

"Tastes like strawberry," Calloway says.

5. Garlic (Dominion)

I'm reserving judgment on this one, but Calloway assures me it's good. The two other new flavors at the shop are Butternut Squash and Jalapeno Pepper.

6. Tomato-Fennel "dipping dots" (Volt restaurant, Frederick)

I'm not sure I'm ready for savory ice cream, but if you are, Volt has it in itty-bitty bites as part of a playful take on chicken parm.

7. Granny Smith Apple Sorbet (Volt)

I loved this sorbet, which burst with pure apple flavor.

8.  Bac-Os (Mr. Yogato, Fells Point)

This is not an ice cream flavor, but a topping option at Mr. Yogato in Fells Point. Or it will be a topping option if manager Lindsey Shanklin gets them this weekend as planned. "They're vegan," she said. "Everybody can eat those." She thinks they'll be good on chocolate frozen yogurt. I'm skeptical, but you never know. Full disclosure: this place also offers balsamic vinegar (in the photo above) and olive oil as yogurt toppings, so eat at your own risk.

9: Peach-Tarragon Sorbet

I made this at home last night to use up some wonderful farm stand peaches that got mushed in the bottom of the bag. I got the idea from a Martha Stewart recipe for White Peach and Bay Leaf Sorbet, which suggested tarragon as an alternative to the bay leaf. It involved pureeing the peaches (mine were yellow) in the food processor and combining that with a simple syrup infused with the herb. I'll post the recipe if anyone wants it. The result was a very refreshing, licorice-y treat.

10. Honey-Lavender Ricotta Ice Cream

Another homemade favorite from an old Cooking Light recipe. You need to make your own ricotta or buy the fancy fresh kind at a place like Whole Foods. (The regular supermarket variety makes for a  grainy ice cream.) You'd never know it's a light ice cream -- unless you let it stay in the freezer more than a few hours; then it gets rock hard. But the stuff usually disappears right away.

Sun file photo of balsamic vinegar being added to a Mr. Yogato frozen yogurt

Posted by Laura Vozzella at 6:48 AM | | Comments (17)
Categories: Top Ten Tuesdays


Woodberry Kitchen had Basil on its menu a few weeks ago (not sure if they still do), and it was to die for.

That's interesting, Mitch. Was it a sorbet or ice cream? And was it sweet or savory?

Moxley's (which my husband and I still miss) used to have Old Bay ice cream. We didn't order it, just tasted a sample spoonful of it. It tasted like you would expect it to.

Guess who only read the top 10 list and not the intro?

I used to be a production manager years ago in the basement of Moxley's in Towson.

While Old Bay was a great novelty hit, and the saltiness did surprisingly well with the sweet cream, it wasn't the only odd ball in the group.

For one restaurant contract we had, we used a loaf of brown or soda bread and a half-gallon of Bailey's Irish Cream. It was interesting, to say the least, but apparently the restaurant went through a bunch of it - we made it every other week.

I recall making a strawberry daiquiri sorbet with rum, which didn't work well when frozen due to the alcohol, even with the -40 degree blast freezer It did make an oddly wonderful alcoholic strawberry slop, though.

We also made a small batch of Guinness Ice cream, using a six-pack of extra stout for flavoring. It was wonderful.

Since these would require a liquor license, they were never meant for public consumption, just personal use!

I'd have to tap the memory banks to see what else we made, but do the math:
Young kid about 20 to 22, working around sweets, trying to think up new flavors in the vein of Ben & Jerry's.

My memory may be a bit foggy at this point.

A personal note from El G Frozen Treat Labs -- basil pairs wonderfully with watermelon or kiwi in sorbets.

in recent weeks, Cinghiale has had a bunch of creative (if unusual) sorbets and ice creams:
mango-basil, salted caramel, watermelon-cucumber, peach-spearmint, red wine-strawberry, nectarine-elderflower

A reader just e-mailed this link to a New York Times magazine story titled, "I'll Take a Scoop of Prosciutto, Please."

I think the James Joyce Pub in Harbor East is the restaurant that serves the ice cream with brown bread and Bailey's that Stagger Lee mentioned ... or at least, it serves it now!

There is a new ice cream parlor that opened in Locust Point recently (I can't remember the name, but it is on the corner of Towson and Clement Streets). In addition to more traditional fare, they have a few unusual flavors. From what I remember, there was a Honey-Lavender, some type of peppery-chocolate, and a ginger flavor.

I'm not sure how often they rotate their flavors, but the ones I sampled were good, but nothing to blow you away.

I have had that basil ice cream at Woodberry and Mitch is right, it is to die for. When I had it, it was served along a plum tart and tangerine sorbet (I was last summer). Also, it was ice cream, and sweet with a very interesting basil finish.

Also, Taharka Brothers in Mt Washington is doing interesting flavors. Salted Caramel is almost always on the menu, plus in the winter they had a Maker's Mark flavor.

Wegman's sells a green apple sorbet that we all like. I especially like it with fresh blueberries.

Ginger ice cream is da bomb!

Dominion also has an amazing cardamon ice cream that is my favorite of theirs, but the new cucumber really is good, and the first of their vegetable ice creams that I've tried which actually tastes like the vegetable.

There's a place in Toronto's Distillery District (can't remember the name) that has blueberry basil sorbet and another with gorgonzola both of which were excellent.

Also a place in Princeton, NJ called the Bent Spoon that does plum melon and Blueberry Marscapone, Chocolate Earl Gray, cardamom & ginger, chocolate habanero, etc. It's crazy good.

My favorites here are Taharka Bros. flavors, especially salted caramel and honey graham and key lime pie, but none of those are that weird.

Jack's Bistro has an absolutely delicious pink peppercorn and lavendar ice cream dessert (paired with a warm sugar cookie). I'm an extreme chocoholic and usually won't even touch dessert unless it has chocolate in it...but that ice cream wins every time.

Last month at the PA Lavender Festival, they, of course, had lavender ice cream in vanilla, black cherry and both milk and dark chocolates. We were all very mellow afterwards.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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