Growing up, summer was spent fully submerged in water. With the liquid-air humidity of July and August, whole summers were spent playing Marco Polo, jumping off granite cliffs in Gloucester, or fighting the undertow at the beach reserve.
After swimming all day, my brother, sister and I always had a ferocious appetite that couldn’t be ignored. My mother almost always came prepared with a picnic basket. But sometimes, if we were really good, Mom would give us a dollar so we could go buy ice cream from the Ice Cream Man.
Everyone had their favorites. The creamsicle. The frozen strawberry shortcake. The push-pop. But for me, the best was always a classic ice cream sandwich. Beneath the paper wrapper were two soft, frozen chocolate cookies hugging a rectangle of pristine plain ice cream. Or maybe it would be two mammoth chocolate chip cookies holding together a frozen wheel of vanilla ice cream. Regardless of the formation, the play of textures always captivated me.
I enjoyed the challenge of eating the sandwich. I’d plan each mouthful so that I could avoid the inevitable see- saw of two cookies pushing together and squeezing out the precious ice cream between them. I’d take a bite and quickly lick away the extra, oozing ice cream trying to escape out the side.
Though I loved my ice cream sandwiches, they often left me feeling sad or upset at myself for making a mistake in how I ate my precious dessert. I either rushed to keep the ice cream from melting or savored the flavors too long–only to lose half the sandwich to the ground and the awaiting ants. Sometimes, this was always the saddest of mistakes, I let one of my hungry parents take the sandwich from my hand to “help me.” I’d watch their over-sized tongue lick away the edges of the ice cream and suddenly the ice cream sandwich wasn’t mine any more. After that, I really didn’t have much interest in finishing my ice cream.
So many lost ice cream sandwiches
I haven’t really thought much about ice cream sandwiches. Until now.
Just around the block, at food importer and gourmet marketplace Joan’s on Third, I have discovered the glory of gelato on brioche. Known to southern Italians as the food of choice on hot sweltering days, it’s an adult ice cream sandwich that’s so good you’ll want to stop everything you’re doing to focus on devouring every delicious bite. Its powerful combination of buttery brioche and rich, soft gelato will make you territorial for every last bite.
JOAN’S ON THIRD
8350 West Third Street
Los Angeles, CA
323 655 2285