Ice Cream the new way
I’m still coughing like a superannuated Welsh coal miner, but we dragged out to dinner tonight at Lotsa Pasta in Danville with Lisa. Nothing fancy there, just a very good plate of pasta with a goodly variety of sauces and well-turned garlic bread. The restaurant is very small, but there ater 4 or 5 tables outside, and we enjoyed the beautiful evening for a proper meal al fresco.
I was ready for something interesting for dessert, preferably something very cold and smooth to sooth my tired throat. Lisa said there was a new high-end ice cream place a block away on Railroad Avenue and away we walked.
Crafts Creamery is brand new, still in their “soft opening” phase where they are experimenting with hours and systems. Nonetheless, on this balmy Saturday night they were packed to the gunwales and going like the pounding hammers of hell. It’s hard to imagine them doing much more business when they really open.
Crafts is at the head of the latest trend in chi-chi ice cream–the make the stuff on the spot with liquid nitrogen. You order one of perhaps 30 types of ice cream, and the put the mix in a bowl and freeze it right then. Not only does this make some very very good ice cream, but it’s showy and dramatic as well.
Any ice cream story is a good place to find kids, and the little ones like playing in the cool, billowing clouds of condensation that pour out of the machinery.
These are the 4 Nicholson kids, whose dad was in line just ahead of me. I think they enjoyed the process as much as they enjoyed the ice cream treat.
Our timing was good–soon after we arrived the line snaked almost out the door. Ordering takes a bit, with multiple choices of ice cream base, flavor and then topping. Then you get a chair and wait, because somebody has to make your dessert on the spot.
The system needs a bit of refining at the finish. The store is quite noisy and acoustically awful, so it is almost impossible to hear the your woman at the end of process try to call out numbers to get the finished produce to the customer. I suspect they will end up with some kind of sign board that flashes the current number, or they will have to hire somebody like me to be heard above the crowd. No, I won’t work for ice cream.
The show is good, but the most important thing is the product, and Crafts Creamery delivers. I had chocolate hazelnut ice cream with banana, butterscotch and whipped cream, and it was pretty perfect. The ice cream is very smooth, cold but not hard and with excellent mouth feel. The bananas were fresh cut, the whipped cream had the right amount of sweetness, the whole thing was just what I wanted.
To put all that in visual terms:
Not surprisingly, very good cutting edge trendy is expensive. Three cups of ice cream completely chewed up a $20. In this world, you have to pay for your pleasures.
Crafts Creamery is already jammed. Get there soon before you need a reservation for an ice cream cone.