Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Drop everything and go to Moxie's for ice cream.

Before I wrote about how much I liked Coldstone Creamery out in Stuyvesant Plaza, and about the ambience at Snowman. I had not yet tried the ultimate in ice cream: Moxie’s. Moxie’s is far east of central Troy on Spring Ave, and as you drive, you keep thinking, “there can’t possibly be ice cream here, let alone great ice cream.” It becomes rural; crickets chirp and the smells of the countryside sooth you. Then, just when you think there must be some mistake, you see the ginormous bug light, then the Moxie’s sign, and it’s like an oasis of pleasure in the worn down grind that is the Capital District.

I would like to empower you in your search for the good life here, the pleasurable things that aren’t necessary to sustain life, but without which life can become dreary and deadening. It is possible to live la dolce vita in the Capital District, but it takes some doing.

Moxie’s is a roadside stand of ice cream pleasure. And we’re not talking garden variety. We’re talking serious ice cream buffs. There are FIVE different types of vanilla ice cream at Moxie’s, all homemade, depending on where the vanilla bean was imported from (Haitian, Tahitian, Mexican). You can even get a sampler: “around the world with vanilla,” trying all six flavors, plus Moxie’s signature flavor, blue moon-- and a bottle of water “to cleanse your palate.” There is a flavor called Horchata, that has a creamy cinnamoney flavor (it is based on a rice pudding-like concoction). There is a flavor called chocolata peppercino, which is chocolate with a little aftertaste of spicy heat. These are all excellent flavors, and much much better than anything else I’ve had in the area. Not all the flavors are great: for example, fig was a disappointment (not much flavor, tasted too much like plain vanilla), and the pomegranate cherry was not as vibrant as it could be, either. Tonight, I had a sundae, and the fudge sauce is only so-so (I prefer my hot fudge really dark chocolate; this was too sweet). And the whipped cream, although supposedly from a better brand, was out of a can and not impressive (Ben and Jerry's has the real whipped cream).

Despite these minor flaws, there is a European influence here, and the proprietress has traveled to Italy when not running Moxie’s, during the winter. This year she plans to go to El Salvador, and says we’ll just have to see what new flavors get inspired by her travels there. Moxie’s has its own lovely backyard park with lots of space to run around and playground equipment for children, and picnic tables where you can sit and enjoy your icy confection.

Another benefit here is that the sizes are reasonable: a regular cup consists of two scoops of ice cream, not a whole pint. This is sensible! This is good. Prices are very reasonable, with a regular cone at $2.95; you can buy a half gallon of this heavenly stuff for $6.15.

Moxie’s is a family business, having been started by a father and now being run by his daughter. It’s in Wynantskill, at 1344 Spring Ave. Other flavors that sound good I have ended up not liking: the fig doesn’t have much ‘figgy’ flavor, and the cherry pomegranate was similarly disappointing. However, when they get it right here, they get it so right that it is downright addictive.

Moxie’s remains open only as long as supplies last. As of tonight (8/16/06) they estimate staying open only until the 29th. They aren’t making any more ice cream, and already the vanillas are gone (except for a vanilla with peppermint). So go now, and enjoy summer while it lasts.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

At the Farmer's Market: Vegan Creations

I took this photo a week ago of Rada and Nena, purveyors of Vegan Creations at the Troy Farmer's Market. Their cookies are one of the weapons in my diet arsenal. See, I have to have something sweet to nibble on during the day. Most days around 3 p.m. I hit this real low. I get a craving for some little tidbit or sweet morsel to go with a cup of tea or decaf. But this can lead to a cookie here, a piece of cake there... and before you know it I'm up a waist size.

The solution is to nosh on something delicious and tasty but light. Enter Vegan Creations, with the just-right-sized cookies they sell in many flavors. My favorite are the double chocolate and the regular chocolate. Just one or two of these fulfills my craving, and you see since they are Vegan, there is no sinful butter or egg.

Just for the record, I am not vegan. I am a lacto-ovo-fisho vegetarian. But vegan baking intrigues me (it's such a challenge: how to make delicious baked goods without the dairy or eggs?). It's not often well met. But Vegan Creations have figured out how to do it, at least for the things I've tried.

They also sell baklava, and things like carrot cake. Some of their delights are wheat- free as well, and their card says they specialize in seitan.

Their telephone number is: 518-479-5112
They also take orders.

The other intriguing development here is that they say they will soon start selling their baked goods at a vegetarian cafe that's supposed to be opening up in Averill Park (not far from Troy) called Slow Jed's Mud House Inc.

Here is their web site, but the links don't seem to work yet: Slow Jed's

More when I know for sure what the story is.