Saturday, September 24, 2011

JP Licks: Amazing Ice Cream, Surprisingly Good Coffee

Several people had enthusiastically recommended JP Licks to me when I moved to Boston.  I figured it was just another ice cream chain so who cares, but I was happy to learn I was wrong.  On top of the facts that they started in my neighborhood (Jamaica Plain) and are a local company, they also have wonderful ice cream.  They even have lactose free and no sugar added options, frozen yogurt (both soft and tart), frappes, smoothies (dairy or non), shakes, sorbet freezes, egg creams, ice cream cakes, sundaes, splits, ice cream sandwiches, great coffee, and even pastries (though I'd focus on their forte, the ice cream).

You can sign up for JP Licks points, where every $50 you spend earns you $5.  You'll also get a free small sundae with three toppings on your birthday, and trust me, you do not want anything bigger than small for yourself:

My birthday sundae: Oreo cake batter ice cream with espresso bark bites, cookie dough, waffle cone bits: um fuck, oh god.  The espresso bark is delicious (better than the one thing I liked at Modern Pastry), so creamy, to the point of a wonderful chewiness that I think was due to the cake batter aspect. Man oh man.

Beautiful

humina humina

Sometimes I stop at the JP Licks near Brigham and Women's Hospital after working there, and I do my coffee + writing at one of the many seating options.  I can't believe an ice cream shop bothers to have coffee that good.  Then I can't resist getting some kind of treat with my coffee because a sip of my medium* red eye between every bite elevates both the coffee and the ice cream to still greater heights of mmm:



Lactose free vanilla

At first bite I thought, "Wait, is this really lactose free?  Should I take a Lactaid just to be safe?!" Then I could taste the difference, could feel the different texture, not quite as creamy, more crystalline, a fate that seems to haunt all tolerable ice creams. But it was still cold and tasty. I added some coffee after a while for a little coffee float:



That was good too, but it's better to just take a sip of coffee right after a bite of ice cream.  The hot coffee goes through a tunnel of cold ice cream residue in your mouth and down your throat and transforms itself along the way through several stages of deliciousness.  Try it!

Lactose Free Apple Cider

Witchcraft!  That's the only reasonable explanation. How could lactose free ice cream be this good?!  Candied green apple chewy, creamy deliciousness.


As long as you're okay with only a few flavor choices each month, you can totally replace your Pink Berry habit with JP Licks' lower calorie, tart frozen yogurt, or frozen yogurt X as they call it at JPL.
Black Currant

It tasted like black currants!  Yum!  

Blood Orange X

The blood orange flavor was fun, though a bit more subtle than I'd've preferred.

On a less strongly willed occasion, I indulged in the Baileys chocolate chip cheesecake ice cream, my notes for which were: "omg omg omg"


Bailey's Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

It was amazing.  As was a similar indulgence the time I finally went to the original location, the big JPL in JP:

Kowlua Brownie - "Chewy chunks of chocolate brownies float in our homemade Kowlua ice cream - great all day, but an especially superb nightcap!"

Because of the alcohol, it's too melty for serving in a cone and also so goddamn smooth and creamy and so fucking good with coffee.  Perhaps next time they'll have a cappuccino chocolate brownie batter cheesecake.  I can't imagine anything better than that.




Lactose Free Oatmeal Cookie Ice Cream





Oatmeal Cookie (Lactose Free) - Tried this now too.  I still can't believe it was lactose free.  Christ on a cracker.  I guess crumbling up oatmeal cookies into the lactose free vanilla ice cream masked the texture issues, but I dunno, it was so smooth and creamy I still feel like it can't be true that it's lactose free!  Perhaps JP licks has somehow healed me of my lactose intolerance with their ice cream products!  Okay probably not, but as long as they keep awesome lactose free flavors coming, it's not so bad.
Peanut Butter Cookie Dough: Unless you have people to bring this to, I wouldn't suggest taking a pint home with the idea that you'll have the willpower to eat it in reasonable portions.

September's Caramel Apple Sundae

"Vanilla ice cream, luscious apples, gooey caramel, whipped cream and crushed oatmeal cookies" - except I want to try that with another September special: instead of the vanilla ice cream, I wonder how it'd be with the green apple froyo.  I sampled the green apple frozen yogurt X, and it was fun, a little candy-ish in flavor, and so it might not work out too well with real caramel, but it'd still be fun to try.  My friend Andrew got this sundae the regular way when he was in town.

I honestly didn't care for it too much, too much caramel and not enough brownie chocolate espresso etc.  Seriously though it's too sweet.

As soon as I read this email, announcing JP Licks' debut of vegan coconut milk ice cream, I ran to the nearest Licks to get on it.  They have three flavors for now: Coconut Almond Lace, Chocolate Coconut, and Pineapple Coconut (pina colada in other words!).  I had a sample of the almond, and it was more almondy than I care for, and then I proceeded to order a small chocolate coconut:

Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream

"Oh gaaaaawd yes," I thought as I let each silky bite of smooth, lactoseless, creamy vegan bliss slide down my throat.  The rich flavor from the brown rice syrup and agave syrups, the coconut milk, and whatever magic fairy dust they use for chocolateyness is almost perfect, wonderfully sweet, but not too sweet.  This arrival as well as Trader Joe's brand coconut milk ice cream has inspired me to start working on a coconut milk ice cream comparison post, so watch for that.

Does anybody else's mom get at least seven samples at the ice cream counter before finally deciding, telling the kid serving her what she thinks of each flavor, "Yecck, too sweet," she'll say as she squinches her face up as if in a bit of pain, or, "This chocolate's fine, but I like my chocolate tart,"  or else, "Mmm, that's okaaaybut I've definitely had better Black Raspberry than that before, and I know good Black Raspberry." I finally guided her toward getting her what I wanted her to order, though she doesn't know that I do this to her.

Regular Maple Walnut Ice Cream and (Vegan) Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream

See, I've had this theory for a while that, since I love coconut milk ice cream and think it pretty much tastes even better than regular cow milk ice cream, except that there is that thing that's so satisfying about the sweet creamy milk from the teats of another species that is just inherently and inexplicably more satisfying, so that the two kinds should we combined together into one ultimate ice cream. Sure the vegans are out, and the Lactards have to remember the Lcataid, but this would clearly be the most amazing ice cream ever, so someone needs to just make it. We kind of made that happen here with this experiment. It was great and all, but it wasn't what I wanted it to be. Basically the two textures and two flavors weren't really mixing properly. This just means that they'll have to make this stuff in a laboratory-esque kitchen is all, to figure out how to mix these molecules properly. They could call it CocoCow Ice Cream*. Can't wait.

*Or Cownutmilk**, obviously.

*Cowconutmilk, Cowcownutmilk, just covering all my bases.

They ran out of the coconut milk for a while and tried some hemp ice cream out while awaiting the return of the coconut juice.

Peanut Butter Lace Hemp

The hemp is crumblier, less creamy. It has that earthy, nutty taste that's a little funny, but it is still chocolate peanut butter! I want coconut milk back though. If you let your iced hemp melt for five minutes or so it's a lot smoother and creamier.  All in all, unless you're allergic and/or opposed to milk, soy, almonds, and coconuts, then fuck hemp products.

Soy Coffee Lace Sundae

For my one year anniversary of having a "Cow Card," I got a free small sundae. In an attempt to be more healthful, I got walnuts and almonds for two of my toppings and just a small scoop of Oreos for my third. This was all free, in case that wasn't clear. Dear god. The soy was creamier than the hemp, but I want my coconut milk back, damnit!

I've been to three locations so far:

-JP - there's a line at busy times, but it moves fast, and there's a shit load of seating as well as a restroom that doesn't require being let in.

J.P. Licks on Urbanspoon

-This one is near BWH in Mission Hill.  It's pretty large with lots of good seating.  There's a restroom, but it requires being let in by way of asking for a restroom coin if you're a customer.

J.P. Licks on Urbanspoon

-Brookline: This one is small, with only a few seats and no public restroom, but the ice cream's still cold and the coffee's still hot!

J.P. Licks on Urbanspoon

*I'm cutting back from a large red eye!  I've also cut down to only doing two things at once.  Think progress, people!