Trend-O-Meter Says: Weird Ice Cream Is In (6/12/09)

Esteemed chocolatier Jacques Torres got a total beatdown by New York magazine readers with the opening of his new ice cream stand; turns out regular old chocolate and vanilla (even if they’re served on a tasty waffle with caramel sauce) just aren’t good enough anymore. “Conservative and boring,” sniffed one commenter. Scoops with nonstandard flavors—perhaps more appropriately dubbed “shock cream”—are what’s exciting people now. San Francisco is all over the trend: You can get ube (purple yam) ice cream at Mitchell’s, durian flavor at Marco Polo, and Ricanelas (cinnamon with snickerdoodles) at Bi-Rite Creamery. Humphry Slocombe has a revolving menu that has seen the likes of foie gras, hibiscus-beet sorbet, pistachio-bacon, and “secret breakfast” (bourbon ice cream with corn flakes). “I’m not a classically trained pastry chef. I worked in savory,” explains Slocombe’s owner, Jake Godby.

In Columbus, Ohio, Jeni’s serves Thai chili flavor and goat cheese with roasted red cherries, among others. Then there’s NYC’s Il Laboratorio del Gelato, making mastic, aromatic bitters, and a gazillion other intriguing varieties. Take that, Jacques Torres, you conservative ol’ fuddy-duddy chocolate-maker guy you.