Blue Marble Ice Cream = Best I've Ever Had
So after meaning to stop by since they opened a year or so ago, I finally stopped into Blue Marble Ice Cream on Atlantic (South side, between Bond & Nevins? Just across from Bacchus and Stan's Place)
Lots of nice little things about the place:
-- Free wifi
-- Stack of magazines to read
-- Biodegradable cups AND spoons
-- Extensive recycling of ALL types of trash
-- Two different sizes of scoops (which they call "marbles")
-- 100% organic everything in the ice cream
-- Balsamic vinegar as a topping (Don't laugh. Amazing on vanilla if it's good balsamic)
-- Malted milkshakes (not enough malted milkshakes nowadays)
-- A nice, old heavy duty 3-prong, folding blade Hamilton Beach milk shake machine. I used to have one of these -- it makes a mean milkshake.
But far more important than any of that... the ice cream.
With an eye towards trying them out, I got 3 scoops of the small (for $4.50 -- a good price). Butter Pecan, Strawberry, and Chocolate.
The butter pecan was fine. Flavor aside, very well executed high quality ice cream. The right level of creaminess and flavor but the little bits of pecan were not candied at all so they were kinda dry and... nutty? I don't like nuts in my ice cream. Oh well. My bad.
But then.... the chocolate. Good. VERY good. Probably the best chocolate ice cream I've ever had. I was surprised. People haven't really been talking about this place.
And THEN... the strawberry. The STRAWBERRY.
Oh. My. God. Not only the BEST strawberry ice cream I've EVER had but possibly the best ice cream I've ever had of ANY flavor. And really? Combined with the chocolate, possibly one of the food highlights of the last few years for me.
(And the last few years has included plenty of good stuff: Lucali, Difara, applewood, Spicy & Tasty, a trip to Per Se, and dozens of other excellent places, both fancy and plain.)
Words fail me, but I'm telling you -- this strawberry ice cream was an apotheosis. I found myself alternating back and forth between the chocolate and strawberry -- trying to decide just how much I wanted left of each for my last bites.
Sadly, it's a bit out of the way for me so I'll probably only get there every month or so. But if this place were within a 10 minute walk of my place I'd be there several times every week.
Have I made my love of this ice cream clear? And this isn't coming from some Tas-tee D-Lite person. Ice Cream is a VERY serious thing to me.
Now get thee to Blue Marble.
Went yesterday and tried strawberry, blackberry and culture (with balsamic topping). Really really amazing ice cream, I think the best I've had in NYC. The slightly tangy taste in the strawberry brought me back to childhood, making homemade ice cream with fresh picked strawberries. Lucky it's a 40 minute ride on the G train because Blue Marble could become a serious addiction.
re: Astoria Lurker
I was there the day before to try another new flavor -- Tangerine Creamsicle.
Tangerine sorbet swirled with vanilla ice cream. It tasted EXACTLY like the orange creamsicles of youth. And it had a great runny softness to it.
My only complaint is that there was not enough vanilla. When it comes to mixed specialty flavors they seem to have a problem getting the quantity ratio between ingredients correct. Maybe I should hire myself out to them as a quality control expert? ;)
I was in for my third visit last week when I discovered... Green Tea flavor! I LOVE green tea ice cream so I was very happy. One of the workers actually asked my impression of it, so I suppose I was in on a day when it was a relatively new flavor. It was very good, creamy, soft like many of their other flavors, the flavor seemed to increase with every bite. I think I had a double mini marble with the green tea and the blackberry. Or maybe it was the strawberry - I love them both as well!
To the poster commenting on the serving sizes - my last trip there I was served a much much more generous portion than on previous visits (and even previous visits seemed to have more than adequate serving sizes), so perhaps your concern has been addressed.
A short update...
After being out of town for a week, my first stop was Blue Marble...
-- I tasted the peach sorbet... I wasn't blown away. Maybe it was too frozen?
-- Despite what another said above, I again found the portions to be ample.
-- They have a great new flavor -- chocolate banana fluff. Chocolate ice cream with homemade banana flavored marshmallow fluff. It was great except for one problem. My particular portion had next to no fluff. I literally only got some (not a lot) banana/fluff in 2 bites of a large scoop. The rest was plain old chocolate. (Had there not been a line of 10 people waiting to order I would have politely asked for a bit more -- heavy on the fluff.)
Anyway, their ice cream continues to rock.
Where we recommend books so good, they'll keep you up past your bedtime. ;)
Swung by today for maybe my 10th visit to Blue Marble.
Sadly (SO SADLY) the Chocolate Banana Fluff was a limited flavor. They only had 2 tubs of it. I expressed my dismay to the owner -- hopefully they'll try it again. Even if they just offer banana fluff as a topping that one can add to the chocolate ice cream, that'd be fine. (Even better actually -- you'd probably get a lot more fluff that way.)
So, deprived of my banana fluff, I had a triple mini-marble of strawberry, blackberry, chocolate.
The strawberry continues to be amazing.
The blackberry is excellent (I think I had it once before.)
The chocolate was MUCH better than the lame chocolate I had once but not quite as good as my first visit. Still very good though. I suspect the lack of flavor, and the variation, has a lot to do with how frozen the chocolate is. The strawberry and blackberry were very soft while the chocolate was bordering on rock-hard.
Anyway, the real point of this post is to campaign for the return of Chocolate Banana Fluff. It was too good to deprive us. Please, please bring it back!
My ONLY GRIPE about Blue Marble is the size of the portion. It seems like they are trying to chintz out all the time. And since when did it become okay for someone to sell a pint of ice cream with gaping airspace inside. Eff that BS!!! The marble on top of the cone is just that. I agree that the Ice Cream is superlative, but at Greene Grape for the same 3.50 you get a heaping mound of CiaoBella, which is almost as good, and sometimes more is better on a hot day...
I think Blue Marble and Laboratorio are on a par, but I dig the Laboratorio experimenting with flavor attitude. I also really repect the Grass fed dairy vibe at Blue Marble. Just fill the damn pint all the way and give a decent portion.
Wow. Lots to reply to there.
First, Laboratorio may experiment more, but they've been around for years now -- at least 5, yes? Blue Marble is BRAND new. Not even a year. So give them some time to get their fundamentals in place and they may get a little more adventursome.
Second. Laboratorio was founded (and is still owned I believe) by the original founder of Ciao Bella (he sold it after 5 or 10 years at the helm and then missed gelato so started up a new place after some time had passed). So he's got a LOT of experience with gelato.
Third, Blue Marble is committed to 100% organic -- and when it comes to experimenting with flavors, organic ingredients may be hard to find.
Lastly, on size of portions. Personally, I love that they offer two sizes of scoop. I wish lots of other places would do this. Second, in 10 visits, I've always felt my portions to be fairly sized (with the exception noted as follows). Third, I expect there's a bit of growing pains here. When I got a single scoop on a cone at the Flea Market the teenager who scooped the very hard ice cream really just placed a hollow curl on top of the cone -- maybe 1/3rd the ice cream that should have been there. I was kind of annoyed but wasn't going to say anything. Fortunately the owner saw it as it was being handed over to me and she said "what size is that?" When told, she promptly took it back, added a ton more ice cream, and gave the employee a dirty look.
Moral of the story? I don't think small portions are purposeful by the owners -- I think it's just some poor staff training. Even better, I know the owners read Chowhound religiously so speaking up here will indeed have an effect.
Oh, and finally, kudos to Blue Marble for the innovate toppings. I can't think of a single other ice cream parlor that offers maple syrup or balsamic vinegar as a topping. Yum!
Books so good they'll keep you up past your bedtime. ;)
Anyone been by Blue Marble this Summer? I'm curious as to whether any seasonal flavors have been added to the menu. I'm guessing they do a killer peach. Reports from the field needed!
Books so good they'll keep you up past your bedtime. ;)
I agree! I've been on an ice cream kick recently and have been all around the city, and this stuff is shockingly good. The strawberry really is the best ice cream hands down I've ever eaten. I wonder if they put a touch of balsamic vinegar in it. Wonderful sourness. Also the hot fudge is top quality. It's markedly better than any of the other ice creams people rave about on here, at least ones I've tried. Hoping to god they stick around.
I'm sure this has been posted somewhere else, but they recently opened a new shop in Prospect Heights on Underhill and Sterling (I think). It's attached to a preschool of sorts, which is pretty brilliant. Totally worth the trek if you're in the park, BKLYN Museum, North Slope, etc.
Original poster here with an update...
After a lovely dinner at The Good Fork in Red Hook the 2 of us declined dessert there so I could head back to Blue Marble for a second tasting.
(My posting above was a bit rapturous and I wanted to make sure I wasn't off-base). Results are as follows:
-- Noticed another amazing topping -- maple syrup! Genius. I use this all the time at home on my ice cream but have never noticed it as an option in a retail place. Genius.
Sampled a few flavors:
-- Vanilla. Honestly? Nothing special.
-- Cultured. Basically a tangy frozen yogurt. Pretty good.
-- Mixed berry with organic marshmallow Fluff. Pretty awesome. I'd imagine a bog bowl of it with some hot furge would be a great thing.
For my actual ice cream I got 3 flavors: Strawberry (again), Blackberry, and chocolate (again).
The chocolate was not remotely as good. I suspect it was because it was so frozen. Not overly so, but solid enough to mess with the mouth-feel.
The blackberry was VERY good. As good as it gets really. It was on the softer side -- I think their ice cream is better when softer (the un-amazing vanilla above was quite frozen too).
The strawberry? It remained a transcendental experience. It has a tanginess that almost makes me think they use a yogurt culture of some sort despite it being called ice cream.
My friend pretty much agreed on the assessment of all flavors.
Next up? The toppings. I bet they do a kick-ass hot fudge. ;)
Hooray for this post!
I haven't yet tried the strawberry, but I also love love love love Blue Marble. If I didn't live so far away they would see me weekly, if not daily.
This is serious ice cream. The toppings are serious. The flavors are sincere, as are the owners and the atmosphere. It's contemporary and comfortable, conscientious and tasty and really, for the quality, not very expensive.
I heart blue marble.
Peter - based on your rapturous post I just went and bought a pint of chocolate and a pint of strawberry. It's still too early in my day to really do some serious ice cream eating but based on a limited taste test I agree with you. Both flavors are phenomenal but strawberry probably wins out (and I am not usually a huge strawberry ice cream fan).
Also the place is really nice and the folks that work there super friendly. They also carry brownies and cookies from Baked which earns more kudos from me as I don't have to trek out to Red Hook for certain things.
Thanks for the tip - I'll be back for sure. Oh and I mentioned this post to them and they were thrilled.