I’ve always considered ice cream to be a “safe dessert.” You know, a treat that you can have anytime, anywhere with generally positive results. When I travel, I make it a point to try the distinct ice cream flavors of the places I visit: Other Asian countries love their red/adzuki beans, and China always has something with black sesame seeds (my favorite). As for the gourmet selection, my go-to flavor has always been Salted Caramel, even before it went mainstream. Merry Moo makes superb Salted Caramel, and their Earl Grey is also a must-try. That said, I’m definitely no stranger to out-of-the-ordinary creations.
The Iscreamist has been on my radar for over a year now. My Dad took us there on a Sunday night for dessert, but found out that they were closed on Sundays. So after a year of wondering when I’d finally get to try it out, M called me up one night to join our friends for a quick ice cream break.
Located in Teacher’s Village, the small ice cream boutique is bathed in blue light from the glowing neon sign in front. My attention was immediately drawn to the counter where all the “magic” was happening. Staff was hard at work pouring liquid nitrogen into stainless bowls and mixing like crazy to freeze the ice cream. Mystical-looking white smoke covered the entire counter and wisped down towards the floor, reminiscent of the vanilla flower scene with Sarah Michelle Gellar and Sean Patrick Flanery in Simply Irresistible (light and cute movie, by the way).
M and I had a hard time deciding on what flavors we wanted. Having heard of this shop as a purveyor of artisanal ice cream, I wanted to “go big or go home” by trying the most unusual thing on the menu. There was plenty to choose from: Bacon Leche Flan, Xecret Breakfast (whisky-based), and Guinness (as in, the stout) to name a few. Dragon’s Breath is also a famous concoction, but was out-of-stock at the time. M wanted to try Butter Pecan at first, but we both eventually agreed on orders of Xycret Breakfast and Guinness instead. Our friends picked Coffee and Blueberry Cheesecake.
For a non-drinker like myself, Xycret Breafast has that alcohol taste and a hint of bleu cheese. I’m sure the base doesn’t contain bleu cheese, but that’s just the impression I got: a creamy, pungent flavor. Corn flakes were sprinkled all over for an added texture. Weird as that sounds, the flakes and flavor go well together. It’s like eating a spiked bowl of cereals, all right.
Guinness was different but the same. I find stouts a bit too strong in flavor, and this ice cream spells yeast right from the first spoonful. With a drizzling of caramel syrup and a topping of peanut butter-filled pretzel pillows, it’s a bar snack and dessert in one. Again, the topping and the ice cream go well together via the yeasty taste of both. Personally, this isn’t my cup of tea, but stout fans will be satisfied.
Unusual as I wanted to go, Java Chip was still the best for me. They didn’t scrimp out on the quality, so it was like taking a cup of Starbucks’ dark mocha. It’ll make a coffee-lover smile.
The shop is small and there are only a few seats, so it’s not uncommon to see The Iscreamist filled with people. Since menu items are made-to-order, you have to deal with the wait time, especially if the place is packed. It’s not exactly cheap as we paid PHP 110 for some of the flavors. The price depends on the ice cream base used. I’m definitely coming back to try Dragon’s Breath, so I hope they’ll have it available again when I get there.
The Iscreamist – 46 D, Magiting St., Teacher’s Village, East Diliman, Q.C.