Sunday, July 17, 2011

Oregon Ice Works

(NOTE: Oregon Ice Works has closed for business. They were located at the now-closed D-Street Noshery pod.)

(Second Review -- December 2011)

Oregon Ice Works is located near SE Division St. and SE 32nd Ave. in Portland, Oregon.

Owner/founder Kevin Bell with his Oregon Ice Works food cart
Owner Kevin Bell, raised in Philadelphia, brought a bit of Philly with him to Portland, serving up his version of Italian ice for everyone to enjoy. Kevin blends water, sugar, and all-natural ingredients (most coming from the Willamette Valley).

And for people wanting something more filling, Kevin even serves up another Philly favorite: roast pork sandwiches!

But for me, it was all about the Italian Ice. I signed up to be on their email list and got one free scoop (given that you purchase at least one scoop). But first, I tried all the flavors they had to offer:

Oregon Bosc Pear: The newest flavor, but a limited-time offering here. The pears were from Hood River, and I liked the flavors in this one.

Lemon: Mistakenly referred to as lemon ginger (they crossed out the "ginger" part), the lemon was very refreshing and balanced well whenadding the sugar to the mixture.

Blues Berry: Obviously a blueberry flavored Italian ice. Also very nice if you like blueberries, but again, quite pedestrian in flavor in the grand scheme of things (what can I say...I like more unique flavors!).

Triple Berry: A mixture of marionberries, strawberries, and blueberries, this was another big hit with me. The berries were the star, and the berry burst of flavor felt like a party in my mouth.

Mango: Really liked this one. Refreshing and sweet. Not much more needs to be said.

Marionberry: Nice clean berry flavor, but to me, just ordinary.

Vanilla Coconut: Now we're talking. Being from Hawaii, coconut is very familiar to me. The tropical tastes of the coconut meshed well with the sweet vanilla. I'd say the coconut really got elevated as the star here, with the vanilla serving as a launching pad.

Kalamansi Lime: Now this was the runaway winner for me. The lime looks like an orange and tastes like passion fruit. One website explained the taste as a "cross between a lemon, a tangerine, a kumquat, a hand grenade, and a water fight." Native to Southeast Asia, this lime blew my mind.

Oregon Bosc Pear (on top); Kalamansi Lime (on bottom)
I got two scoops for $3 (when it would normally cost me $3.50). I got a scoop of the Kalamansi Lime and a scoop of the Oregon Bosc Pear (only because the pear was a limited-time offering). The lime Italian ice was just extremely smooth and so awesome. Again, if you like passion fruit, you will like this. The pear was a bit more granulated in texture, but perhaps the texture of the pear itself had something to do with the final product. Remember, Kevin uses all-natural ingredients, no artificial flavorings or fructose corn syrups here!

I applaud Kevin for a fine, made-from-scratch Italian Ice product. If Kevin continues to make new flavors that rival the Kalamansi Lime, that would bode good news for an increased rating. In the meantime, I will have to come back to try the roast pork sandwich, since I've heard great things about that as well! Oregon Ice Works is off to a nice start! 7/10

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