(Photo courtesy of http://www.koin.com)
I am the world’s slowest ice cream eater. Give me a simple scoop perched on a sugar cone and prepare to watch me laboriously slurp and enjoy for at least an hour. While most of my friends and family finish within fifteen minutes, there I am, painstakingly savoring every drop. But hear ye, hear ye—an ice cream revolution is upon us! And none other than Portland’s beloved Salt & Straw heads the front.
The concept’s really quite admirable. This ice cream novelty rallies for local organic products, wacky new flavors, and Oregon pride. And honestly, I’m impressed if people are willing to stand in the sweltering heat for forty minutes to get ice cream. Them cows must be the cream of the crop. Swoonworthy milk and the like, you know.
Salt & Straw is also the classic example of hipsterdom. There are the cool employees with rainbow hair and tattoos and friendly personalities while the whole design of the place seems kind of like a quaint country barn with classic Coke bottles and farm antiques.
No shame—I’ve gone to Salt & Straw twice in one week. I fondly remember the first time I passed by it as a curious pedestrian, when my eyes boggled out of their sockets as I witnessed the snail-paced line that streamed around the corner. “Please, people,” I muttered. “It’s just ice cream.”
But I’ve been happily converted!
The first time I scouted the place, imagine my astonishment at the lack of a line! ’Twas around two o’clock on a Tuesday, so waiting was not a worry. My best friend had her eye on the birthday cake with blackberries, and I opted for the more sublime deep pink-hued raspberry lemon sorbet with multitude flecks of basil. I anticipated how the basil would work with the whole fruity theme (because normally I associate basil with those plates of veggies that accompany Vietnamese pho #classicAsianthought.) The whole combination tasted refreshingly tangy and also packed a nice wallop of basil flavor.
I sneaked a bit of my friend’s ice cream as well, which, delightedly, evoked the flavor of real buttery birthday cake and sweet sugar frosting. Swirled with fresh blackberries, I loved the authenticity of the creamy dessert.
Oh, and bless you, Salt & Straw, for your generous samples. Truly though, the experience wouldn’t be the same without the free scoops of deliciousness on little spoons. The second time I went, at least ten spoons jangled in my water cup after the tasting. In the end, I was swayed by the the coffee and bourbon flavor. (Which was eagerly championed by the cute employee who brought me and my mom the samples.)
You might say it was a little naughty—imagine if I went to a high school dance afterwards and was subjected to a random breathalyzer test hardy-har har. I was curious about how the booze would work with the coffee and noticed that the shoppe used the famous Stumptown brand (gotta love the local). Coffee ice cream sounds pretty simple at first, but the one I enjoyed was the smoothest, creamiest coffee ice cream I have ever tasted. Better than Tillamook’s. I can’t really pinpoint the flavor. It was like a gourmet latte in ice cream form, and the bourbon was subtly laced into it somehow without overpowering the coffee. I can’t wait to go back again and again, each time with a different flavor in hand.
Tourists and Portland natives alike—Salt & Straw is a must! I do hope that Portlandia does a special on it too. Keep Portland weird, my friends.
(Photo courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/SaltandStraw)