I've actually had Jeni's ice cream before because Plum Market in Ann Arbor sells their ice cream for $10 a pint (Yes, you read that measurement correctly. Not $10 for a half-gallon, a pint). I decided to splurge one day and give the Queen City Cayenne a try (chocolate ice cream with a hint of cayenne pepper) and it was a revelation. The texture was perfect and the heat was just enough to tickle the back of your throat.
Seeing as how Jeni's has a bunch of different and unusual flavors, I was excited at the prospect of visiting their actual shop and getting to sample as many as I wanted without having to shell out $10 a pop. So we decided to leave Michigan a couple hours early on Saturday in order to make a Jeni's pit stop before the ceremony at 2:30.
There are actually a few Jeni's locations in the Columbus area, the one closest to the ceremony was in Dublin, and from the nondescript outside (right below an orthodontist's office), no one would expect the party in your mouth you will experience once you walk in the door.
|I'm thinking this nondescript exterior is more of a Dublin town rule than something Jeni herself decided on|
In my review of Jenni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home, despite my dislike for using cream cheese in all of her at-home bases (which given my discerning palate, I think messes with the pureness of the flavor you're trying to achieve), I have to give Jeni props for all of the experimenting she has done with trying to get just the right creamy texture for her ice creams. Jeni's in-store ice creams do not use cream cheese, instead relying tapioca starch to achieve the right texture, which does not affect the flavor the way the at-home cream cheese base does.
I was extremely impressed with the friendliness and helpfulness of the girls working behind the counter, even going to far as to let me sample from their ice cream sandwiches, which is a much bigger profit loss than a small spoonful of ice cream. Grateful for their generosity at allowing me to sample the sandwiches, and being smitten with the one I tried, I decided I needed to order an orchid vanilla macaroon ice cream sandwich so I could have it all to myself.
This ice cream sandwich was a revelation y'all. I know I keep throwing that word around lately, but I don't even know how else to describe it. Ugandan vanilla ice cream between two almond macaroons, smothered in black currant jam.
|I can still taste it right now: orchid vanilla macaroon ice cream sandwich|
|Left: views of some of the more unusual flavors Right: my husband's brown butter and almond brittle cone coupled with roasted strawberry buttermilk|
After this delicious sweet detour, I've decided that I'd even be willing to spend the ridiculous amount of money it costs to ship Jeni's ice cream to my house. Luckily I can just go to Plum Market in Ann Arbor and spend $10 for a pint every time I'm feeling a hankering, but nothing will ever replicate the experience of making the trip to this ice cream mecca. Well, maybe if I can get my hands on one of those orchid vanilla macaroon ice cream sandwiches at Plum Market...
If you ever find yourself in the Columbus area, do yourself a favor and seek out one of their nine locations (one is actually in the Cleveland area and there are two in Tennessee as well). Your taste buds will thank you.