In a previous post, I declared Humphry Slocombe in San Francisco as the road trip's best ice cream. As it was pointed out to me by several Portland friends, this was foolishly premature. Portland has something of an attitude, in my opinion, about their craft food, and ice cream is no exception. From what we’ve seen, food creativity is sweeping the nation, but that’s not to say that Portland is not a great place to eat.
We tried several ice creameries in Portland. We went to Ruby Jewel with some friends who migrated to Portland from NYC and their kids. Their twin boys loved Ruby Jewel and it is a great place. One of their specialties is ice cream sandwiches made from any ice cream, a choice of fresh cookies and an interesting list of toppings onto which the edge of the sandwich can be rolled.
But the new champion is Salt & Straw, which has multiple locations, including California. Their Rhubarb Crumble with Toasted Anise reigns supreme. Imagine a really great rhubarb crumble from a restaurant, the crumbs buttery with a hint of salt. Now blend it into perfectly creamy vanilla with hints of toasty anise nibs.
The other flavors we tried were great too. Salt & Straw is also an early adopter of a brilliant sizing trend – they allow split scoops so that you can try more flavors in one cone. I ordered a whole scoop of Rhubarb Crumble on the bottom, topped with a split scoop of Honey Lavender (they soak the lavender in the cream) and Pear and Blue Cheese (incredible).
However, the line out of the door and the free tastings at Salt & Straw were out of control. I was told by another Portlandian that this is by design – they don’t want to streamline the process because the line out the door is free positive advertising. Fair enough, but it would be just as fair for someone to organize an ice cream strike until they institute a no tastings express line. Just don’t do it in July, because who could resist breaking the picket line for Meyer Lemon Buttermilk with Blueberries?
Kathryn Tully and Shane Sesta are a married couple, one American and one Brit, who are spending a year traveling across America and writing about their discoveries. Sonny is their rescue cat and fried chicken aficionado.