Passing the halfway mark of our epic Portland ice cream crawl, Scoops' out for Summer, we visit a local dessert stalwart.
3901 N. Williams Ave. #D, 282-6539; and 3402 SE Division St., 232-4407, pixpatisserie.com.
Price per scoop: $2.50
Most popular flavors: Mocha, mostly because it's the flavor used to create Pix's beloved beer float.
The person in front of me: A group of college-age girls in the midst of an intense chat session over creme brulee.
Best for: Macaroons, tarts, truffle cakes, mousse—really, any confection comes before the ice cream.
Nothing against the ice cream at Pix—it's fine, really—it's just that, considering all the other destructively rich items you could order at the venerable French-themed pastry shop, walking in and asking for a scoop of almost anything feels sort of… I don't know, irresponsible? It's sort of like going to a Mexican restaurant and ordering a hamburger. It might be surprisingly outstanding, but still, that's totally not the point. It's an afterthought. Just look at Pix's Web site: its menu lists all the numerous, brightly colored, knee-buckling desserts the shop is famous for, and the only mention of ice cream is buried in the "About" section.
That said, on a sweltering summer afternoon—one of those days when the North Williams location opens its hoist-up doors and lets the store air out—there are few things more comforting than the smooth subtlety of Pix's basil ice cream. It's the best of the flavors I sampled. As a standalone—that is, minus the beer—the mocha was the most disappointing: standard in taste, overly granular in texture.
The specialty flavors cycle in and out about every week and a half or so. Among these is the Manic Panic, which contain hearty chunks of its chocolate Queen of Sheba truffle cake—almost too hearty. It tastes more like a really cold brownie than ice cream. It's not something you'd spit out into the street, of course—it's quite good for what it is—but it didn't strike me as something particularly ice cream-y.
No matter, though. On the day I came in, there was a stuffed monkey sitting on the counter. And really, what goes better with ice cream than stuffed monkeys?
Day 14: Alotto Gelato
Day 13: YoCream
Day 12: Ruby Jewel
Day 11: The Waffle Window
Day 10: Alma Chocolate
Day 9: j. Gelati
Day 6: Cool Harry's Yogurt
Day 5: Ohana Hawaiian Cafe
Day 4: Roses Ice Cream
Day 2: Oregon Ice Works
Day 1: What's the Scoop?