Saturday, August 13, 2011

Salt & Straw Ice Cream (Part 2)


(NOTE: I have been back several times since. Still amazing. It's ridiculous how innovative the flavors get. And all of them are so awesome. Be sure to also find their second storefront on NW 23rd Ave.)

(Original Review -- June 2011)

Yesterday, I returned for Salt & Straw's scoop shop grand opening on NE Alberta St. (Portland, Oregon)! More ice cream flavors awaited!

Salt & Straw's scoop shop grand opening...noon on 8/12/11!
Some new flavors were added since my last visit to their food cart a couple of months ago
They even serve Pie Spot's pies here
(Pie Spot is a food cart in SE Portland, as a note)
I tried three of their newest flavors:

Three Berry Barbeque: This was the one that intrigued me the most, because, yes, there's apparently BBQ sauce in the ice cream. It was just OK. I got the berry right away, and I might have detected a slight, subtle tang from the BBQ sauce. Good, just not mind-blowing.

Big Hibiscus Sherbet w/Coconut Milk: A nice, pleasant flowery taste in this one. Very exotic. It was good, but I couldn't see myself ordering it on a consistent basis.

Banana w/Spicy Monkey Caramel and Oregon Walnuts: Hell yes. Now we're talking. Hands down, my favorite so far at this scoop shop. The banana flavor is front and center, not too overpowering, but you know it's there. The caramel gives a little added sweetness, but still doesn't make the mouth go into sugar overload. The walnuts come in for a lovely texture contrast and also helps neutralizes the sweet banana and caramel. It was also a pretty light ice cream (not heavy)...bonus points for that one!

No contest here. I got a kid's size banana/caramel/walnut ice cream ($2.75).

Banana w/Spicy Monkey Caramel & Oregon Walnuts (kid's size)
It may have been a bit much to pay $2.75 for such a small portion, but I really enjoyed this ice cream. Quite honestly, it's among the top ice creams that I've ever had. Lovely, creamy ice cream; blissful, balanced flavors; and Oregon-grown walnuts for texture and flavor contrasts. Doesn't get too much better than this.

Salt & Straw is quickly launching itself closer to the top of my list for ice cream destinations. If they keep up the great work in adding more innovative flavors, they will definitely break through that coveted 9+ rating.

(****UPDATED AUGUST 2012****)

Well, after about one year, it's clear that Salt & Straw has become the ice cream scoop shop to go to in Portland, Oregon. Not only do they now have the scoop shop on NE Alberta, but they opened a SECOND scoop shop in the ever-busy NW 23rd Ave. area. The amazing, unique combinations that the Maleks put out seemingly every month never cease to amaze.

Their "Chef Series" monthly ice cream flavors, which started in summer 2012, are collaborations between Salt & Straw and a local Portland restaurant chef, at fine places like Aviary and Boke Bowl.

One ice cream flavor that really stood out to me in May 2012 was an ice cream using candied scotch bonnet peppers. While the thought of using scotch bonnet peppers might alarm people who are spice-sensitive, candying the pepper significantly tones the heat down. I personally couldn't detect any spice, but then again, my palate doesn't usually register anything mild anyway.

Salt & Straw has been featured in numerous write-ups, not just in Portland, but around the country. I even wrote an article for Serious Eats when the NW 23rd scoop shop opened around May 2012.

This is hands down the best ice cream place in Portland, and could easily go up against any ice cream shop in the world. Yeah, I said the world. Amazing how far this place has come. It started as a tiny ice cream cart and blossomed into a huge Portland fan favorite.

I've never been disappointed here. In my book, it's as close to perfection as one can get. 9.75/10

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