Sweet things

Tonight we throw caution to the winds. Tonight we eat ALL THE SWEETS.

On my way to/from lab this evening, I stopped by three sweet shops.

First stop: Tin Pot Creamery.

Tin Pot Creamery opened over Memorial Day weekend in Town & Country, a fact I was not aware of until I was browsing aimlessly through a decrepit copy of the local newspaper a few days ago. People compared it to Bi-Rite in SF, and naturally I was intrigued.

When I got there, and especially when I left, there were people out the wazoo. It appears that while Rick’s Ice Cream is great and lovely, what Palo Altans really crave is good old-fashioned slightly bougie artisan ice cream. (Let me preface this by saying I really liked Tin Pot’s ice cream, and while it was a little on the pricey side, it was nothing exorbitant.)

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My sincerest apologies for the sketchy out-the-car photo. In a desperate attempt to not seem like a creeper standing in the middle of the parking lot taking photos of innocent ice cream shoppers, I opted to shoot through my car’s back window. Which is obviously so much better.

This was also shot in a car, since I lack the self confidence and dexterity to whip out an unwieldy camera in the store and snap me a photo.

This was also shot in a car, since I lack the self confidence and dexterity to whip out an unwieldy camera and snap me a photo in the store.

That’s Salted Butterscotch on top, and as you can see (no you can’t), Rich Chocolate with TCHO Shards underneath. The salted butterscotch was quite great, sort of what I’d hoped Bi-Rite’s salted caramel would be like – sweet and only the slightest bit burnt. Side note: I’m not sure if I can tell the difference between butterscotch and caramel. This was distinctly less burnt-tasting than Bi-Rite’s salted caramel though.

The rich chocolate was surprisingly good. Now, I am not a chocolate ice cream kind of girl. I sit solidly in the vanilla camp, and that goes for cake too. (As for the actual substance, I’d probably choose a chocolate bar over a vanilla bean, if offered as a snack.) I was quite wary of such a pure-chocolate if ice cream, but this TCHO business interested me. Turns out the shards were fantastic, and it was actually a dark chocolate ice cream rather than milk chocolate, so that was great.

Another refreshing point was that the ice cream in Tin Pot looked very…pale? They didn’t have the saturated hues of ice cream from other shops, which looked like they were full of artificial coloring in comparison.

Second stop: Monique’s.

Monique’s is the only one of these three places I’ve been to before. I’ve had good experiences with their hot chocolate, which is thick and amazing. Not as thick and dark as Spanish chocolate, but it can definitely hold its own in the States. Last time I visited, I was intrigued by their white salmon chocolate. “BBQ salmon + white chocolate,” the sign proclaimed. As it turns out, there is a reason this combination is so rarely seen. While definitely interesting, it took a few bites to get used to the unusual taste, and then shortly thereafter it just tasted kind of fishy.

This time I opted for a honey white chocolate and a fleur de sel caramel.

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Fleur de sel caramel on the left, honey white chocolate on the right.

But that does nobody any good, right? So let’s crack these suckers open and see what we find, shall we?

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The honey white chocolate was not bad, but not exceptional either. I probably shouldn’t have gotten honey since I’m not a huge fan of the flavor, but the bajillion dark chocolate choices stressed me out.

The fleur de sel caramel was nice, if a little burnt-tasting. Very chewy. Appropriately salty. No complaints, really.

Maybe I should just stick to normal dark chocolates. That’d probably be the smart thing to do.

Third stop: CREAM.

CREAM (“Cookies Rule Everything Around Me”) was first introduced to me by Amy, while I was visiting Berkeley. We didn’t eat there, since Amy said it was over-hyped and too sweet. The last time I “saw” CREAM, it was an under-construction storefront in downtown Palo Alto with a cheerful “CREAM – coming soon!” sign on it. If CREAM was putting in so much work to be here, then, well, I guess it’s only fair that I come back soon too. It opened less than a month ago, but I haven’t been in the area recently so I haven’t stopped by yet.

After grabbing two chocolates to go at Monique’s, I walked over to CREAM, blithely preparing myself to wait in a long line. That’s okay, I thought. I’ve seen long lines. I’ve been to Ici on a Saturday evening! Apparently I have not been to CREAM on a Saturday evening, within a month of its grand opening. This line was no joke. It stretched out the door and down 4/5 of a block, past about 4 store fronts. And this was not a orderly single-file line either. It was a line full of teenagers, meaning it was about three people across and took up most of the sidewalk with clumps of super chatty friends. When I first encountered this line, I thought it was just a clump of kids deciding on their next hangout spot, but unfortunately there were like thirty such clumps, lined up on the sidewalk.

So, after dinner on a weekend evening is clearly not the way to go. I actually wouldn’t really have minded waiting – apparently the line moves fast, and I don’t exactly have other plans – but I figured that it’d be more time-efficient to come back when the line was shorter. I briefly entertained the notion of paying Tin Pot another visit, but decided this was probably a sign that one double-scoop serving of ice cream was enough for one day. And anyways, it had just closed.

Your faithful dessert scout,
Tammy

Edit 7/14/13: Went back to CREAM today and stood in the ridiculous line. Somehow it didn’t look as bad as yesterday night, but in retrospect it was just as long. Thank goodness for smartphones and Tumblr! It “only” took 30 min though. When I stood in line at Tpumps in San Mateo with two friends a while back, the line was 60 min – exactly the length of time between two Caltrains.

CREAM storefront

CREAM store front

Inexplicably, I got strawberry ice cream between two white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. While I was never a fan of chocolate ice cream, strawberry was my go-to flavor for most of my childhood, and I’ve gotten tired of it many times over. (But it was pink, so.) I should have picked the new flavor, peach perfection, since I love peaches and I love peach ice cream. I guess I thought strawberry and white chocolate was A Thing, possibly because of a strawberry white chocolate smoothie I once had at Max Brenner. It turned out all right, in the end. The strawberry ice cream was satisfying in a rather conventional way, and the cookies were nice and soft. I was alarmed when the shopgirl informed me she was warming up my cookies, but the ice cream somehow didn’t melt that fast even when surrounded by warm cookie. I suspect this cookie-warming is what’s slowing down the service and causing the huge line.

Look at it! It looks so perky!

Look at it! It looks so perky!

I took this photo right in the store! Aren’t you proud? Granted, it was on a smartphone camera, and a bunch of others were Instagramming their ice cream sandwiches. But still.

The snack was possibly, shall I say, not worth the half hour wait. It was delicious, certainly, but you do have to be needing a huge sugar fix for it to be truly satisfying. It was, as Amy had warned, quite sweet.

–Tammy

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