When I found out that Molly Moon’s Ice Cream was opening another shop, my first thought was: in this weather?
November seemed a strange time of year to install a sixth store. I was compelled to find out if Seattle really wanted or needed another gourmet ice cream shop.
I made my visit on a boring Wednesday night, a week or so after the grand opening. The space itself was luminous: the white tiles, the spotless counter, the polished chairs, even the sign glowed in its brand newness. I was dazzled, and I wasn’t the only one. Walking down the newly unveiled south wing of the Village, the streets were empty except for a line of people extending out the door of Molly Moon’s.
Unlike the other locations, Molly Moon’s new opening was constructed to feel less like a traditional ice cream bar—where you can go right up to the counter, press your nose against the glass, and order the one that looks the most tempting—and more like a café, where the menu is handwritten in chalk on a large blackboard above the counter, with no visual help in sight other than the recommendations from the ice cream baristas. With its small tables and stools set up to the side, the U Village location invites its customers to enjoy their cold treats in the comfort of a warm store.
Too bad so many people wanted ice cream. I was already freezing and had to queue up outside. Waiting in line sucks. Waiting in line in the cold? Even worse. My fingers were already numb. How was I going to carry the cone? As I shivered in my jacket and scarf, I tried to stop obsessing over the weather, and its debilitating aspects, and decide on a flavor.
They had their everyday selections, including my two favorites: Lavender Honey, where the lavender is grown in Sequim, Washington, and Stumptown Coffee, using the roasted beans from the Oregon-based company. However, Thanksgiving was just a week away and I was in a festive mood so when it was finally my turn at the counter, I requested a sample of all four of their seasonal flavors: Pumpkin Clove, Pear Elderflower Sorbet, Cinnamon, and Vegan Coconut Chunk.
First, I took up a little spoonful of Pumpkin Clove, then of Cinnamon. If the pumpkin flavor had not come in a beautiful burnt orange color, I could have easily gotten the two confused when it came to taste. The flavor of the pumpkin was present, though not at all powerful, and the cinnamon also presented my palate with more cream than the aromatic spice itself. These might be good to have as a double-scoop since the flavors melded well, but singularly, neither had enough intensity to truly entice or surprise my taste buds.
The Vegan Coconut, however, was surprisingly good. The idea of anything being vegan usually sends me into a this-would-be-so-much-better-with-real-dairy-or-meat-mindset, but I was pleasantly surprised at how creamy it was and how every bite had real coconut flakes with a hint of Theo’s chocolate scattered throughout.
Next, I was given a sample of the Pear Elderflower Sorbet. Because it was a sorbet, and therefore not made with cream and eggs, it was much lighter than the other three, and naturally-sweet tasting. At the first encounter of sorbet to lips, the flavor of the pear shined, then left with a faint floral aftertaste. This became my new favorite. The juiciness of the pear, the exotic taste of elderflower, all scooped onto a freshly made waffle cone, was exactly what I was hoping to experience at Molly Moon’s: a new perspective of flavor on an old dessert.
I left the store with a smile at my delicious discovery and forgot about complaining, forgot how cold it was, even forgot how numb my fingers were. All I felt was delight and childlike excitement at having found a favorite new flavor. As I passed another patron, also happily licking away at her Molly Moon treat, I asked how she felt about eating ice cream in cold weather.
She replied, “Oh it’s the best. My dad always said that ice cream in the cold was a full-body-experience. I swear, it tastes better that way.”
After this visit to Molly Moon’s, I have to say I agree.
And ice cream in the snow? That must be positively thrilling.