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29 April 2017
Morning Sedition

You Won’t Scream For This Ice Cream

Street View of Cones (Ice Cream Artisans)

Street View of Cones (Ice Cream Artisans)

Without ice cream, there would be darkness and chaos.

— Don Kardong, 1976 United States Olympic Marathoner

A few weeks ago I found myself in the West Village with some time to kill while my takeout was being made. Since life is always uncertain, I decided to eat dessert first. Across the street was Cones, a purported purveyor of delicacy ice cream and sorbet. (Yeah, you know where this review is going.)

The shop was opened in 1988 by two Argentinean brothers who apparently wanted to create delicious sorbet and ice cream. Or so said the reviews hanging in the window. Consider, for example, this glowing review from the Village Voice:

The current best ice in the city is found at Cones (272 Bleecker Street, 414-1795), that elite purveyor of the city's most expensive frozen treats. The sparkling and alarmingly acidic grapefruit is the only one that's worth the whopping $9 per pint, and I blush to admit my pint-a-week habit.

"Summer in the City Food & Drinks" by Robert Sietsema, Village Voice, 25 May 2002

I walked in and discovered that the floors had just been mopped, with a deliciously strong odor of porn-shop disinfectant. I was lost in reverie for a moment, thinking of my fond memories of the deuce before Adolf Screwliani disneyfied it. Anyway, the glowing reviews overcame the stench, which, it turns out, was a mistake.

Now, I said earlier that Cones "apparently wanted to create" a quality product because that's what the reviews in the window proclaimed; my experience say they were trying to create something not as good as Hagen Daaz at a whoppingly huge premium the better to sucker people in the West Village with more money than taste. But, back to the sorbet. I chose raspberry and lemon. The raspberry was not particularly flavorful and was loaded with seeds. Seeds! The lemon wasn't flavorful and had no lemon zest. Yeah, it was better than the cheap artifical crap you'll get from most restaurants, but only marginally so. Service was perfunctory. I wasn't impressed overall, and it cost me around five bucks for two small scoops. (Ahhh, the sacrifices and depredations I endure so that you, the loyal reader, can get accurate reviews.)

Business Card for Cones

Name: Cones
Location: 272 Bleecker Street
between Morton and Jones Street)
Manhattan
Phone: 212.414.1795
Taste: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Decor: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Service: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Value: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

If you want quality sorbet from a store, you gotta go to NYC ICY in the East Village; over twice the quality at about half the price. (I'll write them up presently. The only advantage Cones has is they'll do flavor mixing, which is a strict no-no at NYC ICY.) But for real quality you have to get yourself an ice cream maker and brew up your own. I've done this, and let me tell you, it's truly awesome. I made raspberry sorbet using a pack of frozen berries and sugar, and it was intensely flavorful and, overall, simply amazing. But, suppose, for the sake of argument, you don't want to walk to the East Village and you don't have the time or motivation to prepare you own. Then I suggest you go to your local supermarket and buy a premium brand commercial sorbet. You'll get a whole pint for the price of two small scoops and you'll enjoy it a whole lot more.

Mandrake, do you realize that in addition to fluoridated water, why, there are studies underway to fluoridate salt, flour, fruit juices, soup, sugar, milk, ice cream? Ice cream, Mandrake. Children's ice cream?

— General Jack D. Ripper, Dr. Strangelove

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