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unusual ice cream?

Any suggestions for a Boston area restaurant serving spicy, herby, salty or otherwise unusual ice creams?

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  1. The most unusual ice cream I ever had was a chocolate chili ice cream with berries and pistachios. That ice cream touched every taste sensation, hot, cold, sweet, salty, crunchy and creamy and it was delicious. It was a special for Hell Night at the East Coast Grill and I believe Christinas next door made the ice cream. So, I would head to Inman Square and see what Christinas has to offer.

    1. I've had basil ice cream at Ithaki in Ispwich, excellent.

      1. Second Christina's. they have the most interesting line up of flavors in the area.

        1. i seem to recall jp licks once having pad thai ice cream. i know they've had/have noodle kugel, which was novel to me anyway.

          3 Replies
          1. re: autopi

            hmmmm I am getting flashbacks to a wasabi icecream that I once had at JP licks in Brookline. It didn't have the burn, but the color and flavor were right on! A very unique experience... not something i would load up in a waffle cone. :)

            1. re: NoAddedSweetener

              JP licks in JP had a nice chocolate + chili ice cream... It had a cheesy name like 'diablo' or something, but it was nicely balanced and had a tingly afterburn.

              1. re: Prav

                JP Licks did a Kugel ice cream one fall, PR stunt through and through. Or should I say threw and threw, as the ice cream had noodles and cream cheese thrown in.

          2. Yup - JPL in JP always has an intriguing odd flavor or two. Christina's has unusual flavors that tend toward spices and seasonal floral. Have had a champange sorbet at Christina's and I swear I could taste the tiny bubbles. Khulfi (cardamom) is always on the list.

            1. Christina's used to have a clam chowder ice cream.

              4 Replies
              1. re: nsenada

                Ugh! That sounds awful. Have you tried it?

                1. re: Elyssa

                  I tried it once, just because I didn't believe that's really what it was. It was just as horrible as it sounds. Strictly a gag flavor, and I mean that in every sense of the word. I'm not sure if they have it every summer, or if it was just that one time several years ago.

                  1. re: Stride

                    Haven't seen it the last few times I went. I do remember the owner saying something about the origins, and I'm pretty sure it had nothing to do with creating something edible. I wonder if it's good heated and eaten in chowder form?

                    1. re: nsenada

                      It's probably not good heated and eaten as chowder unless you like your chowder sweet yet salty yet clammy.

              2. Best interesting ice cream flavors I've had recently were bacon maple pecan and buttered popcorn, but they were in Miami (at Michaels Genuine - housemade) - has anyone seen or had something similar to these locally? - just amazing.

                1 Reply
                1. Ten Tables usually serves their chocolate fondant dessert with sea salt, and it comes with thai basil ice cream. Yum!

                  If you're in Falmouth, Ben & Bill's serves lobster ice cream, with real lobster bits. Ick.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: winedude

                    I second the Ten Tables chocolate fondant with sea salt and thai basil ice cream!

                    Clio does a liquid nitrogen gazpacho that tastes and feels like a rich avocado ice cream.

                    Great Bay has had interesting ice cream flavors from time to time, such as wasabi ice cream.

                    Christina's (and also Toscanini's) would be my recommendation for interesting ice cream at an ice cream store.

                    Craigie on Main makes home-made ice creams, with varying flavors.

                    I also like interesting, savory ice creams, but even P*ong and Room 4 Dessert in New York didn't last very long, so I'm not sure how large a market there is for this. I would also love to hear about other restaurants in Boston that serve such flavors.

                    For any of the specific places I mentioned above, I would call them first to see what they have that evening before heading there just for the ice cream.

                      1. re: Bob Dobalina

                        The website may be active, but the restaurant has closed.

                      2. re: lipoff

                        I was at Craigie on Main a few nights ago for a friend's birthday and one of my DCs had a wonderful tarragon ice cream (with a fresh fruit tart, I think) that I tasted. Delicious.

                        1. re: tsackton

                          I too had the tarragon ice cream at Craigie and it was fantastic. Last year I had the DELIGHTFUL chance to have Christina's ROSE ice cream. I believe they only make it once a year for a week or so. Jump on it! Hmm...I should give a call and see when it may be available.

                          1. re: Deelicious47

                            Just talked to them today and they said "not yet" and "probably next month". I agree that we should be on the look out --- I've had this before by happy coincidence and it was wonderful, and I'd love to catch it this year by design!

                      3. re: winedude

                        I had this dish at Ten Tables and it was outstanding!

                      4. not exactly ice cream but Benatti serves a Negroni terrine dessert (more like a flan or panna cotta) which is definitely alcoholic

                        1. Clink serves a salty peanut ice cream that is divine.

                          1. I like the Aztec Chocolate at Toscanini's

                            1. emack and bolio's on Newbury used to have lucuma ice cream back in the day. (S. American flavor-- Peru/Chile) But I haven't seen it there in years-- if anyone knows where to find it, I'd love to know. My personal stash of lucuma is about to run out.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: cambridgesidefoodnerd

                                frio rico in east boston usually has lucuma ice cream

                                1. re: galangatron

                                  OMG, for real?! I haven't had that since I was a little kid, don't even remember what it tastes like. I should check this out. I don't ever remember seeing it at Emack and Bolio's.

                                2. re: cambridgesidefoodnerd

                                  Oh man! Just the words "Emack and Bolio's" just brought back so many memories from my childhood. There use to be one somewhere on the North Shore (maybe Salem?) that I went to as a child. No strange flavors---but I have fond memories of their cookies and cream ice cream.

                                3. BTW, Toscanini's is always a good place for unusual flavors generally, like Khulfi and Guiness (those are 2 flavors, not together). I don't recall any salty or herb ones, though.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: winedude

                                    Toscanini's has recently been offering Salty Saffron, but in the past I've gotten Honey Thyme, Honey Lavender, and other delicious flavors.

                                  2. Whole Foods' gelateria had pineapple basil flavor last I was there. I tasted it and I thought it was a bit too heavy on the basil.

                                    1. Though I don't know of a restaurant that sells it, you might look out for Magnolia brand Filipino ice creams, which feature flavors like corn&cheese, avocado, or purple yam (ube). Christina's was selling one of these, too, a while back (maybe avocado? or maybe corn). My favorites are corn & cheese, ube, and macapuno (="freak coconut", or "sport strings"). The mango is pretty good, too, but a bit too sweet for my taste. Super88 used to sell some Magnolia flavors (admittedly, at an *outrageous* markup), but at least the one in Allston seems to have discontinued them. Same for C-Mart. I think Sure Pinoy in Quincy still carries it (and perhaps Kam Man).

                                      1. Any place have garlic ice cream like they do in Gilroy, CA?

                                        1. Dolce Fredo in Methuen has a chocolate cayenne gelato that is fantastic. They don't keep it in the case. You have to ask for it.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Essex County

                                            I was in Lawrence earlier today at the airport and stopped in Methuen to visit Dolce Fredo. I did indeed ask for the Chocolate Cayenne Gelato, and it felt like giving a secret code. The girl behind the counter nodded knowingly, and disappeared into the back to return a few minutes later with a little bowl topped with a sphere of Chocolate Cayenne Gelato. And boy was it good. Much better, in fact, that Toscanini's Chocolate Pepper ice cream, which I happened to try later in the same evening.

                                            Toscanini's Saffron Ice Cream was terrific however.

                                            I'm not sure when I'll next make it up to Methuen, but you were right on about the Chocolate Cayenne Gelato --- wow! I just wonder why they don't advertise that they have this?

                                          2. Though I think they've backed off the heat level on it in recent years, the Mad Dog Mango Sorbet at Lizzy's (in Harvard Sq and Waltham Ctr) is still spicier than virtually all non-East-Coast-Grill-Hell-Night foods. It's a nicely-done mango sorbet made with generous amounts of Mad Dog habanero-based hot sauce - sweet, fruity, and (even at the new reduced strength) mind-blowingly spicy.

                                            I generally order it with an equal-sized Vanilla or Sweet Cream ice cream on the side, as a "chaser."

                                            1. Speaking of unusual ice creams, I just had the "Charles River Porter Ice Cream" dessert at Evoo. This is a sphere of Charles River Porter (beer) flavored ice cream, rolled in spicy peanuts and served next to a cup of espresso. The ice cream itself is fabulous, with the stout notes of the beer coming through clearly. The spiced peanuts are great by themselves, but they are so strongly flavored that the dessert is overpowered by them. Similarly, the espresso was quite good on its own, but didn't really pair well with the ice cream. I like espresso with ice cream --- affogato style --- but this ice cream was slightly bitter on its own (a good thing!) but the slightly bitter espresso (also a good thing) made the combination too bitter, instead of balancing each other. To be honest, I'd rather they just served a few spheres of the unadorned ice cream!

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: lipoff

                                                I was at Dolce Freddo in Methuen yesterday and besides having their wonderful slightly burnt-tasting Caramel Brownie, I tried a novel flavor the owner suggested, Lulo. This is the tropical naranjilla, a nice clean almost limey flavor.