Wait, there’s actually garlic and onion in it?
When my friend Nancy informed me that a woman-owned ice cream shop in our neighborhood had turned the dearly-beloved breakfast totem, an everything bagel, into ice cream, I was both skeptical and hopeful. Considering how excellent the sesame, poppy seed, salt and garlic flavoring is in boiled and baked bread form, wouldn’t transferring that flavor profile to ice cream only be a good idea? But how would they get the bread element into the mix? And would a slightly savory ice cream be good, or would the sweetness ruin the balance? All these questions distracted me for a solid few hours from the anxiety of 2021 so far, and getting the answers by obtaining a pint for myself seemed like another good way to procrastinate getting anything done.
While Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams isn’t necessarily a “local” business, it still manages to feel like one, committing to initiatives like zero waste and adopting a fellowship model to continue working with and supporting local suppliers. Like other speciality ice cream brands founded by brilliant female chefs — Salt & Straw, to name one — Jeni’s has exploded since its inception in Ohio in 2002 and now has locations in multiple cities like Nashville, Atlanta, Chicago and LA. Luckily, there’s also one just a few blocks from my apartment, so a few days ago I headed to the Los Feliz location to get not one, but two pints of the limited-edition flavor.
My skepticism about the flavor was outweighed by how annoying it would be to go get more if I ended up loving the ice cream. And in the end, I know myself too well and both pints were gone within the span of 48 hours. And even at the time of writing this, the flavor has already sold out, but I’m still covering it because one, it will be restocked soon, and two, it should be recognized for the genius idea that it is. Creativity in ice cream is definitely at a zenith right now, but even with all the oddball flavors floating around at the moment, this one really takes the (heh) cake.
Jeni’s Everything Bagel ice cream uses a cream cheese-flavored ice cream for the base, “schmeared” with a doughy streusel that represents the “bagel” aspect in the equation. The result is sort of like cookie dough ice cream reverse engineered to taste like a bagel and cream cheese, and it’s a brilliant way to get both the creamy flavor and the carb or bread element into the mix. I wouldn’t think the garlic and onion added would taste good with the sweetness of the ice cream base, but it was just subtle enough. And I think without it, the whole flavor wouldn’t have worked as well because it would’ve been too sweet.
The base for the flavor works well because instead of standard vanilla, which can be too cloying, the cream cheese adds a tanginess to the ice cream, making it the perfect vehicle for the salty, seed-y and doughy “gravel” that brings a lot of the other flavors into the mix. Another wonder of production here is that the “everything bagel gravel” (love the word gravel in a food product) is also gluten-free, making it available to a whole slew of people who probably assumed this flavor would be off-limits for them. It was a savvy design choice, and indicative of Jeni’s overall thoughtfulness when it comes to making strange, wildly addicting new flavors.
Sorry vegans — even if Jeni’s does have dairy-free offerings, this one isn’t one of them. You can check out their dairy-free collection here and the Everything Bagel pints, when they come back in stock, can be found here. What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than a $12 IOU for a pint when it comes back around? After all, the key to surviving quarantine for me, has been building in things to look forward to in the future. Ice cream for breakfast just got a whole lot more reasonable. My advice when it comes back in stock? Don’t get one pint, get two.