Munchin’ with Michael: frozen treats

Michael Barthelemy, Food Critic

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Ahh, the first day of school. A time to reminisce on all the memories you made over the summer and daydream your way back to those July days. Here at Munchin’ With Michael, we figured we would follow suit and talk about the national food group of summer: frozen treats. 

Whether it be ice cream, gelato, or frozen custard, the highlight of a summer day is to cool off with a frozen treat. While all these forms of frozen dessert may seem similar, in reality they’re quite different from one another and deserve an investigation as to which treat reigns supreme.

For this tasting, I looked at the standard chocolate flavor of ice cream, gelato and frozen custard, as it is a universal flavor every shop serves. While I personally am I bigger fan of vanilla, I know this opinion is the most popular and after all, I’m a man of the people so I figured I would give the people what they want.

Alright, without further ado, let’s get to munchin’.

 

Hartigan’s

 

Nothing signifies small-town America like a local ice cream shop, and while Evanston isn’t a “small town” the fact that establishments like Hartigan’s exist creates a cozy and inviting atmosphere.

Now for the ice cream, it matches the same comforting aesthetic. The variety of flavors Hartigan’s offers is outstanding, but for the sake of this review, I stuck to chocolate.

Getting their ice cream from Cedar Crest, high quality is expected, and biting into the ice cream, high quality was delivered. The creaminess of it created a soft texture that is exactly what you want in a scoop.

The chocolate flavor was quite rich, which was expected. It tasted better than your average chocolate ice cream, but chocolate ice cream can only be so great.

The one issue I ran into isn’t something I typically experience from Hartigan’s, earning them a pass. At points when I was eating, I noticed little pieces of ice in my ice cream, a result of lying in the freezer all day. This isn’t preferable obviously, but then again, there isn’t much to stop this from happening.

Overall, you can tell Hartigan’s isn’t cheap ice cream. You’re not going to find this level of quality at the grocery store, making a trip to the shop a productive one.

 

Score: 4.3/5

 

Andy’s Frozen Custard

 

If Hartigan’s is the representation of small-town America, Andy’s is representative of the campus life in Evanston. A popular spot for both ETHS and Northwestern students, Andy’s is a fan-favorite that seems to thrive night in and night out.

As for the product itself, I am a huge fan of frozen custard to begin with. The soft yet dense texture is reminiscent of biting into a Tempur-Pedic pillow, which tastes how you think it does. Despite this, typically when I go to Andy’s I opt for the vanilla custard, making chocolate custard an unknown realm of flavor.

Now, I realize that chocolate anything is designed to be extremely rich. That’s why, as I mentioned before, I typically lean towards vanilla. But after eating this custard, I felt like I had cavities everywhere. It was simply too rich for me to choose over other flavors.

In the end, I was pleased by the custard. Despite the rich flavor, I would come back for more, partially because it tasted pretty good but also because I’m a frozen dessert enthusiast. 

 

Score: 3.8/5

 

Frio Gelato

 

I generally forget about gelato as a whole. For a long time, I thought it was just ice cream with a fancy name but after my visit to Frio, I realized that I was greatly mistaken.

Gelato has that soft texture of frozen custard, but rather than having a dense feeling, it’s instead extremely light and airy. When you bite into it, it feels like you are eating a whipped cloud.

On top of the great feeling of the gelato, the flavor is great. As I mentioned before, the main knock I have on chocolate dessert is that it’s often overly rich. To combat this reality, Frio does an exemplary job to create a more subtle taste of chocolate than most other places. 

Between the taste and light texture, Frio is able to create a placebo effect that their gelato is not as unhealthy as it truly is, and while that isn’t true, it’s satisfying to not have to guilt yourself after eating it.

Overall, Frio blew my expectations out of the water. The one important piece to consider before you go to Frio is to make sure you order the gelato and not the sorbet, as the sorbet was simply terrible.

 

Score: 4.7/5