Ice Cream Review: Ben & Jerry’s That’s My Jam

Still unable to find the new cookie cores anywhere in Ann Arbor, I settled for one of the original cores. Relative to other flavors, the description—chocolate and raspberry ice creams with fudge chips and a raspberry core—isn’t especially spellbinding. I have to say, though, I was pleasantly surprised. The highlight has to be the viscous raspberry jam. Not only is it laced with seeds, which provide a great texture, but the tartness of the raspberry serves to cut through the rich chocolate base.

While it’s not often that I crave fruit and chocolate amalgams, when I do, I can easily see myself tossing one of these pints into my basket.

Pr(Buy Again): high

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Ice Cream Review: Zingerman’s Peanut Butter Gelato

Having lived in Ann Arbor for the past 4.5 years, I’ve eaten my fair share of Zingerman’s. What stands out is the high variation in quality control. Fried chicken, pastrami and brownies have been uniformly excellent every time I’ve had them; by contrast, pulled-pork has been laced with aluminum foil, cheeseburgers are habitually overcooked and topped with unmelted cheese and their vaunted mac and cheese often just amounts to a puddle of béchamel devoid of all of the caramelized bits of cheese that make the dish such a delight to eat.

Alas, Zingerman’s peanut butter gelato falls into the latter grouping. And I had modest expectations, even at the price of $8.99 for a 12oz container. The quality of the gelato was a major letdown. Zingerman’s must have Ron Burgundy levels of (unearned) confidence in its gelato as the container did not include any mix-ins.  The texture was awful, almost as if it had been overchurned. Whereas Talenti and the line of Haagen-Daaz gelatos provide creamy bases, this was gritty and just distinctly unpleasant.

Pr(Buy Again) = 0

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Ice Cream Review: Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Half Baked

Here’s the thing: I like ice cream and eat ridiculous amounts of it on a weekly basis. An average week will see me consume 3-4 pints, so I thought I would chronicle some of that gluttony, starting with Peanut Butter Half Baked, a variation on Half Baked. In lieu of vanilla ice cream and cookie dough, Ben and Jerry’s incorporated peanut butter ice cream and peanut butter cookie dough.

While the mix-ins are unimpeachable—if there’s a better brownie than Greyston’s I’ve yet to find it—both the chocolate and peanut butter ice cream bases are muted. After a few bites, I find myself largely ignoring the ice cream, homing in instead on the mastodonic orbs of cookie dough and chewy brownie pieces.

I certaInly didn’t have a problem finishing the pint, but in contradistinction to a number of flavors that have met the cruel fate of the flavor graveyard—Crème Brûlée, Oatmeal Cookie Chunk, and Scotchy Scotch Scotch—I can’t say I’ll miss this limited batch offering.

Pr(Buy Again): low

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Highlights from New York

I was lucky to have four extraordinary meals in New York recently; below are some of the highlights.

Poached Hen’s Egg, Sourdough Cavatelli, Kale and Shaved Goat Cheese at betony

Pork belly, Foie gras, Tonkotsu broth, Burnt shallot oil at betony

Roasted Kabocha squash with pear, chestnut, and radicchio at Eleven Madison Park

Roasted Kabocha squash with pear, chestnut, and radicchio at Eleven Madison Park

Celery root en vessie with black truffle at Eleven Madison Park

Celery root en vessie with black truffle at Eleven Madison Park

Seared foie gras with blood sausage, cranberries and kale at Eleven Madison Park

Seared foie gras with blood sausage, cranberries and kale at Eleven Madison Park

Cauliflower cooked in crab butter with almonds, lemon and tarragon at The Modern Dining Room

Cauliflower cooked in crab butter with almonds, lemon and tarragon at The Modern Dining Room

Pistachio-stuffed chicken  with acorn squash, chanterelles and a chicken-foie gras jus at The Modern Dining Room

Pistachio-stuffed chicken with acorn squash, chanterelles and a chicken-foie gras jus at The Modern Dining Room

And here are links to photos from all of the meals:

betony

Eleven Madison Park (1)

Eleven Madison Park (2)

The Modern Dining Room