Saturday, November 13, 2010


Last July, when we met with Michael and Bill in Columbus, we were unaware the annual Doo Dah parade was going to be held that day. The line at Jeni's was out the door and past a few storefronts.

After a nice walk along High Street recently, we noticed the coast was clear...

Jeni's Storefront
Jeni's storeside

...and strolled in. With just a few people ahead, it felt like we were somehow cheating.

Jeni's Store
I'd like...yes

Bug and I were awed by the choices of unusual and tweaked standard ice cream flavors. I wanted to try everything. A few that immediately stood out were star anise with candied fennel, celery with rum soaked sultanas, Oakvale young gouda with vodka cranberries, ... I could go on. No, really, I could.

As we gawked around with cameras in hand, a chipper greeting drew my attention to the man smiling behind the counter. With tasting spoons in his hands, the painfully obvious question was asked, "Is this your first visit?"

We were offered sweet corn and black raspberry ice cream, wrapping up its final week of the season. My knees buckled as the dark berry sweetness burst forth and left a light, nostalgic essence of summer.

He would have happily obliged with a spoonful of each flavor, but a logjam had formed behind us of similarly dazed tourists and politely waiting regulars. Michael and Bill had ordered and were already seated. Bug and I ushered 3 families to go ahead of us as we chirped excitedly about which ice cream, yogurt, or sorbet to try.

My jaw dropped when I read the creative sundae and float concoctions. Aside from the scoops, I was torn between:
- Black and Tan (salty caramel ice cream, smoked almonds, chocolate and caramel sauces)
- Manhattan float (bourbon brown sugar ice cream, Maker's Mark soaked black cherries, Boylan's black cherry soda)
- Ohito sundae (mint ice cream with lime, muscovado rum sauce, turbinado)
- pumpkin tiramisu parfait (black coffee and heirloom pumpkin 5-spice ice creams, marsala caramel sauce soaked cake, mascarpone and dark chocolate shavings)
- Chocomole (cayenne ice cream, caramel sauce, Spanish peanuts, cinnamon sugar)

The Manhattan float was at the top of my list, but we were concerned the alcohol would pose a problem for me, so I ordered the Ohito sundae ($6.50). Bug, who had his eye on several other ice cream flavors, was gracious and ordered the Manhattan float ($5.50) so I could try a sip.

Jeni's Ohito Sundae

Standing at the register, I noticed a small glass refrigerator with bottled drinks. It reminded me of the thirst that always follows ice cream, so I nudged Bug to get a soda.

The Dry sodas intrigued us. Should we try the lemongrass? Rhubarb? Lavender? Kumquat? Juniper berry? Vanilla bean? Back and forth. THE DECISIONS!

Rhubarb Dry soda at Jeni's
Rhubarb Dry ($3.00)

Before taking a bite of my sundae, I took a conservative sip of the rhubarb soda. Crisp, dry, effervescent, slightly tart with a fruity tinge, and most importantly, not very sweet. The perfect drink to accompany rich and creamy ice cream.

For flavors that highlight summer simplicity, the Ohito sundae was decadent. The Backyard Mint ice cream was luxuriously creamy, not Day-Glo green. Another creamy bite captured a squirt of lime that reeled me back from the dark, sweet, and smooth rum sauce swoon.

Mint leaves tend to be inedible. To my surprise, I tore a piece to munch on and found no bitterness, just the spritely flavor of mint and the crunch of several rogue turbinado crystals.

Jeni's Ohito Sundae Rhubarb Dry Soda
Lovely afternoon

Before my lips brushed the straw of Bug's Manhattan float, my nose wrinkled. One whiff would make a recovered alcoholic stammer. Oozing with black cherry goodness from the Maker's Mark soaked cherries and Boylan's black cherry soda, the bourbon brown sugar ice cream lent a really sweet, indulgent, boozy creaminess.

Jeni's Milk Bottle Lamps
Milk bottle glasses

On the way out, I noticed a small refrigerator filled with ice cream sandwiches near the entrance, and wanted to kick myself for not noticing it earlier.

Earl grey ice cream with cherries sandwiched between almond macarons?!?!

My fingers extended fruitlessly toward the treats as Bug pulled me across the threshold onto the sidewalk. I cried out, as a tear welled up then trickled down my cheek, "Earl grey ice cream sandwich! I will be back for you!"

(Played in my mind, of course.)

- Cassaendra

714 N High St
Columbus, OH 43215
Tel: (614) 294-5364

2 deep thoughts:

Michael 21 November, 2010 23:54  

Hey Cassaendra. I can't believe it already has been a month since we were sitting together enjoying our ice cream at Jeni's.

I forgot to mention to you while we were there that I've had the lavender and lemongrass sodas as well here in Seattle. They were a refreshing departure from the normal soda's you'd find at the grocery.

Cassaendra 24 November, 2010 00:05  

Hi Michael,

Dry sodas are a bit pricey, but they are quite good. How did you like the lemongrass soda?

The time is fleeting for old futs, huh?

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