Ballard Ice Cream Tour review: Parfait

This is the first installment in my new series, Cranky Mom’s Review of the Ice Cream Joints of Ballard. This idea came about when I decided to take the girls for ice cream on a Friday afternoon, the first sunny afternoon we had this spring. I realized there were no less than a dozen ice cream places in our neighborhood of Ballard alone, how could we ever decide? So naturally, we must try them all. I often enjoy mocking the people lining up down the block in cold, rainy weather for the latest hipster artisanal locally-sourced small batch non-GMO ice cream shoppe because you could save time and money by stopping by the freezer aisle of QFC for essentially the same thing. Perhaps my ice cream samplings will open my eyes to this trend and by the end of the summer you’ll find me waiting in those long lines with the Patagonia-clad man-buns of Ballard, anxious to try the new balsamic beet sesame ice cream flavor. Or maybe the girls and I will just have a lot of sticky fun on this tour.

We have pretty loose criteria for the ice cream places: Miriam requests mint chocolate chip, Daphne requests Blue. Both girls want cones with an optional bowl for when it gets melty. My arcane criteria are perhaps only explained by the fact that I’m an old cranky, reluctant Ballardite who eschews all things hipster and trendy. I grew up in the Midwest, where you chose your flavor by color by looking through the scratched, finger-print smeared plexiglass. If you were fancy maybe you went to Ben and Jerry’s sometimes because there were chunks of things in the ice cream. Based on that, you may guess that I was disappointed the second we stepped into our first stop on the Ballard Ice Cream Tour: Parfait.

The day’s flavors were written on chalkboard signs behind the counter, and all the tubs were hidden under metal doors beneath the counter. I didn’t even bother reading off the flavors to the girls because a) I didn’t have two hours to explain what black sesame vinaigrette meant and b) I wouldn’t have been able to read the descriptions without a sneer. Also, I could have just waited until the next hipster came in, gazed at the menu, and gasped with appropriate incredulity, “Black sesame seed? Am I reading that right? I’ll have that!”

“Do you have mint chocolate chip?” I asked.

“Sorry, our mint from the garden isn’t ready yet.” Sigh.

“Do you have anything blue?” Blank stare. She offered matcha flavor, being green, but I declined. At least they had chocolate and vanilla, so the girls were somewhat placated by that. I think we give it five out of five stars for flavor. It’s not a very discerning scale, but basically if the girls consume most of something I call it a win. I give the service 3 out of 5 stars, because while they gave us samples, we then had to wait until the server thoroughly discussed the merits of the locally sourced artisanal rosemary and then waited while the customer savored his sample with appropriate ecstatic mumblings before she would turn to us to give us the extra bowls I requested before we left.

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