It's the toughest assignment yet on our month-long ice cream crawl, Scoops' out for Summer: facing damp, hungry children in the Pearl. Casey Jarman takes one for the team.
Price per scoop:
Most popular flavors: Belgian chocolate, salty caramel, Coffee Crackle
The people in front of me: Kids with grubby fingers and their spaced-out moms.
Best for: A family stopover before a trip to the bustling Jamison Square fountain across the street.
The first thing that stands out about Cool Moon is the little plank in front of the ice cream freezers. It's designed so that the little ones—who swarm the pocket-sized ice cream shop like killer bees—can rise up over their parental oppressors and order exactly the flavor they want. Kids Rule!
The problem with this strategy, of course, is that kids are indecisive and needy. So a whole rainbow of emotions are on display at Cool Moon:
1) Anger between parents and other people's obnoxious kids; Frustration between parents and other kids' space-cadet parents.
2) Love between parents and their own slow children, whose greasy foreheads and fingers smoosh against the freezer glass.
3) Annoyance from non-parents who wish the parents in line would just fucking order their kids some ice cream and get it over with.
4) Remarkable patience from the Cool Moon employees themselves, who must take some sort of class in child psychology before being thrust out into the limelight.
Adults who erect an appropriate emotional shield to prepare for all of these traumatic, misfiring feelings will find themselves confronted with a number of pleasant options at Cool Moon. There are Moon Pops and Choco 'Nanas (their name, not mine); sundaes and splits. During a 4-6 pm "happy hour" (that's right, start them young!), one can buy a pre-packed pint of some exotic flavor, like the excellent Horchata Cookie, for the Ben & Jerry's-style price of $4.
Before me, a polite little girl orders a scoop of peanut butter and jelly. The server asks if she wants the small cone or something larger. The girl tilts her head in quiet contemplation, looks over at the larger sizes and then nods emphatically and says "yes, please." Meanwhile, a man behind her is pleading with his son. "Charlie, get over here! Charlie, pay attention!"
When it's my turn, I ask the exhausted looking ice cream lady for a belgian chocolate milkshake with a shot of mint. Shakes can be made with up to three flavors of ice cream for a base price of $6.10, but I when it comes to shakes I'm somewhat of a purist (though in hindsight I should have asked for a shot of "nutty peanut butter" flavoring.
The shake is ready in a few minutes and it is rich, as advertised. The mint shot leaves a slightly antiseptic aftertaste, but I think perhaps it was not a combination made in heaven. The consistency of the shake is thick, but not too thick to crawl up the straw while you suck in your cheeks like a runway model. It's a very pleasant, and generously sized shake. The real treat, though, is the flavor experimentation. I haven't done the math, but I figure the flavor combinations are in the thousands. Next time I'll be just a little bit bolder in my selection. Honestly, after watching the employees run ragged by a few families, I just wanted to avoid being a pain in the ass.
More Scoops' out for Summer