Tag Archives: ice cream


Spring arrived right on schedule, just a little snow left in the shady places, sunny out and windy in the high 60’s. AB and I did our first real bike ride of the year, going out about 15 miles to the very agreeable Riley Tavern where you eat outside on picnic tables. A lot of people are watching Wisconsin’s basketball season slowly sputter out as the Badgers fail to mount a comeback against the much higher-seeded team from Baylor. Riley Tavern serves amazing ice cream sandwiches with two chocolate chip cookies instead of the rectangular brown things; they’re not made there, they’re from Mullen’s Dairy Bar in Watertown. The thing about an ice cream sandwich is, they use the rectangular brown things which are soft and not very interesting because you can bite right through them without messing up the ice cream. Any cookie with a little more of a resistance to the tooth tends to smoosh the ice cream out the side when you bite down. That’s unacceptable. Mullen’s has somehow found a way to use a cookie with a real bite but give the ice cream itself enough structural integrity to hold itself in place while you eat it. Extraordinary!

I’d figured it had been warm enough long enough for the bike trail to be dry, and that was sort of true, but in many places it was badly rutted from the people who’d ridden on it when it was muddy, and even though it wasn’t really muddy anymore, it was soft for a couple of miles, so that your weight pushed your back wheel down into the dirt, which clutched your tire so that you were perpetually in a kind of low-grade partially submerged wheelie. We fought our way through at about 5mph for the whole stretch. So a more strenuous 30 miles than the usual. But the last 5 miles home, on pavement, felt like absolute gliding.

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By request: notable out-of-town meals of 2008

Sometime commenter Adam asks, re my 2008 cities list: what was the best meal I had in each place? My memory’s not good enough (or maybe the food wasn’t good enough) for me to answer this question completely, but here are a few standouts. We liked Rosendale’s in Columbus, half for the food and half for the enjoyable mismatch between the severe Manhattan decor and the chirpy Ohio waitstaff. Greg’s Ice Cream in Toronto was as good as any in Madison, which is to say really good. Patou Thai in Belmont, MA — the applause for the short ribs in the Yelp comments is merited. Ghar-E-Kabab is an Indian/Nepali place in an unmallified patch of downtown Silver Spring,MD that serves a surprisingly interesting organic lunch buffet, including some Indian-Chinese dishes. Santorini in Greektown, Chicago, delivered the flaming goods. Banh mi from one of the Vietnamese sandwich shops in one of the giant Vietnamese shopping centers somewhere in Northern Virginia — Falls Church? I don’t remember where, but if you’re in Northern Virginia, you’re close to some pretty good banh mi, you lucky jerk. Jalapeno Loco, across the street from the Milwaukee airport, which isn’t technically out of town, but we only eat there when we’re going out of town, or coming home.

But most of my travel this year was to places I’ve been before, so many of my meals were at old favorites. The grand old taxidermy barn that is Southside Market in Elgin, TX, source of Elgin Hot Sausage. Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal, home of poutine au foie gras, and my favorite place to eat in all Canada (since people tell me Tojo’s has gone downhill) though I can’t recommend it if you’re vegetarian or want to talk about math; too meaty, too loud. Ruen Pair in Albany, CA, maybe the best Thai restaurant in America. (I dream of their simple, perfect Bangkok omelet.) A somewhat disappointing trip back to China Village, also in Albany, and a really disappointing trip back to the Center Restaurant in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY. (But my friend in Hastings tells me that this place was bad even ten years ago, when gauzy memory tells me it was good.)

And of course, Mr. Bartley’s, lodestar of my palate, which never changes, and never will, if the world is just. I got to go four times last year. So it was a good year.

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Doglike feeding

Worst of all from this point of view are those more uncivilized forms of eating, like licking an ice cream cone–a catlike activity that has been made acceptable in informal America but that still offends those who know eating in public is offensive. … Eating on the street–even when undertaken, say, because one is between appointments and has no other time to eat–displays [a] lack of self-control: It beckons enslavement to the belly. … Lacking utensils for cutting and lifting to mouth, he will often be seen using his teeth for tearing off chewable portions, just like any animal. … This doglike feeding, if one must engage in it, ought to be kept from public view, where, even if we feel no shame, others are compelled to witness our shameful behavior.

The man who wrote these words was appointed to chair the President’s Council on Bioethics. That’s right — our federal stem cell policy was driven by a system of moral imperatives that includes “Ice cream must be eaten with a spoon, and indoors.”

(via Stephen Pinker in The New Republic.)

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