Sunday, March 21, 2010

in which fair kim undertakes unfair quest

I don't really go on quests all that often. I'm not exactly a questing sort -- I'm not a huge fan of the great outdoors, lonely journeys or even, if it comes down to it, artfully shaped goblets. But yesterday was different. Yesterday there was no ice cream.

Perhaps you do not appreciate how grave a situation this was. I come from a country flowing with coke and ice cream. A city with, as far as I ever knew, more ice cream places than bars. And a house with two freezers full of ice cream. To not have ice cream is a tragedy of epic proportions.

Generally I seem to cope fairly well, considering, but yesterday was the end of summer. It was hot. And, I was going to start a pre-Hawaii-get-ready-bikini diet the next day. I needed ice cream.

Specifically, I thought I'd like Ben & Jerry's. A few had actually just opened in Sydney, and I knew I could count on Ben. However, I'd left my quest until rather late in the day (I told you I'm not really much of a quester) and had run out of time to make it to Manly. Neutral Bay had to suffice.

I don't think this is actually standard questing protocol (being a girl, I'm not exactly standard questing material either), but I started by asking my flatmate for directions. She said I could find some up the road a bit, in a place I fairly distinctly remembered there being a gelatissimo. Now, gelatissimos are all very well in their own rite, but really, they are not ice creameries. I wanted something thick and creamy, not smooth and slightly shiny. Still she insisted there were a couple places, so I decided to give it a try.

May I just take a brief minute here to point out that, while Australia does many foods well -- raisin toast, Tim Tams and Max Brenner chocolate spring to mind -- ice cream is not its forte. (Neither's Mexican food, but that's another story.) Not ice cream in parlors, not ice cream in stores. It's a bit hit or miss, but the hits are really rather rare and never out and out amazing.

Coming from the city of Graeter's, I do know amazing ice cream when I find it. I used to work at a place called Ritter's, which wasn't bad at all, but closed because it had too much competition: a couple Graeter's, a handful of UDFs, a Carvallo's, the Cone, a Dairy Queen or two, a TCBY, a few Steak 'n Shakes and some Coldstones. Not to mention two grocery stores a stone's throw away that carried entire aisles of Homemade, Edy's, Breyer's, Sara Lee, Graeter's and who knows how many off brands. All that to say, I think I know good ice cream when I find it.

And, unfortunately, good ice cream was not what I was finding. I found the gelatissimo, but, well, it still wasn't ice cream. I allowed myself to be distracted by nearby greeting cards (clearly this was not, like others, a quest to the death), and even used the opportunity to ask the salesgirl if she knew of an ice cream place nearby. She suggested a frozen yogurt place a few shops down, so I gave it a try (TCBY would have sufficed), but was discouraged to find it featured only fruity flavors.

Time was now running out and I lacked the necessary motivation to meander side streets in search of my treasure (besides, I told you I wasn't that fond of the great outdoors), so I set my sights on that beacon of hope masquerading as the grocery store Coles.

Displaying real presence of mind (maybe I should take up this questing thing after all), I realized well before reaching my grail that it would really be rendered useless without a trusty spoon. Thankfully I just happened to be passing a Subway, which I knew from my extensive American quests would be sure to supply a stalwart quester with a lovely white plastic spoon. It wasn't. Thank goodness there was an Oporto's next door.

Displaying an even greater presence of mind, I requested two spoons. You never know when one will break, leaving you with a miniature spoon head stuck in a mound of delicious ice cream, while you try desperately to think of another way of eating it. I believe I once had to resort to a pen in my purse, but had vowed never to repeat that experience. The Oporto's cashier, though, rose grandly to the occasion (when she noticed me three minutes ater I entered the store) and gave me two without batting an eyelash. Oh, sweet success!

The end was then in sight and I triumphantly strode promptly to the very back of Coles, where they hide their miniature range of ice cream. Clearly, they are ashamed of it, which they really should be because there was absolutely nothing to be proud of. Obviously I needed a small tub, of the pint size or thereabouts, and, if I wanted to pay less than $7 for this minor of requests, I had but one (one!) choice of brand. Thankfully it was Sara Lee, which raised my spirits considerably, but even Sara had less than half a dozen flavors and I was really only moderately torn between three. Generally being desperately torn between six or seven, this was a new experience for me, and I was able to settle almost immediately on cappuccino. (Chocolate and toffee crunch weren't really putting up much of a fight. Where was the peanut butter crunch? The s'more swirl? The cookies 'n cream? The mocha chip? The, oh ecstasy, blackraspberry chip? No where in sight, that's where.)

Cappuccino in hand, then, I bought it and proceeded across the street to wait for my bus, which was fortunately rather late, thus allowing me ample time to eat entirely more than I needed. This was good, though, because when I arrived at church two people immediately suggested I stash the ice cream in the freezer. Which I did. Which is where it remains to this day, as the kitchen got locked up before I remembered to go back and get it.

Just call me Donna Quixote.


Mom said...

No wonder you were hurrying off to the church's annual business meeting when we last spoke to you! There was ice cream waiting to be rediscovered in the church fridge!

KIM said...

Yep ... and, side note to anyone reading from CBTB -- sorry, I made it back today and claimed my loot. X no longer marks the spot.

Regina said...

Black-raspberry Chip is almost always the best flavor. As an experienced eater of this flavor, I can tell you with confidence that the Breyer's version of it is a good match for Graeter's and you can often get half a gallon for the price of a pint of Graeters. We will have to explore this further when you return to the states.

Laetitia :-) said...

If you want Mexican, visit Queensland and go to a Montezuma's restaurant. Definitely better than anything I've found in NSW (although with them spreading south from Qld that will change).