Tuesday, May 21, 2013

REVIEW: Steve's NOLA Coffee & Donuts

When scanning over all the selections available from Steve’s Ice Cream, NOLA Coffee & Donuts definitely stood out. My infatuation with the combination of creamy coffee and fried dough has been a long standing one, so the description of New Orleans style Blue Bottle Coffee ice cream with Pies “N” Thighs donut pieces seemed like a sure thing. The Brooklyn based creamery doesn’t stray far from home when sourcing ingredients and reaches out to small-scale, local businesses to create this flavor.

Blue Bottle's preparation method for their New Orleans Style Iced Coffee (Actual Photo: Adam Goldberg)
Blue Bottle Coffee has multiple locations across California and New York, but the Berry St. Brooklyn store sits closest to Steve’s. This artisan coffee roasting company brews a variety of different blends nearly every way imaginable. For their ice cream, Steve’s has opted for the Iced New Orleans Style with chicory. The preparation method and finished product are both pictured above.

(Photo: Buck Ennis)
For the donuts they’ve decided on another Brooklyn institution: the hip, Southern restaurant referred to as Pies “N” Thighs. The three female owners serve up fried chicken and waffles, collard greens and biscuits but also fry up a few different donuts as well. Steve’s Ice Cream chooses the old fashioned, cake kind. I can’t speak on the deliciousness of their donuts, but according to an article from New York Magazine, who awarded them the Best Donuts in all of New York for 2007, “They’re crisp-edged and properly dense, spiced with nutmeg, and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. Buttermilk and sour cream give them a subtle tang, and, because Pies-n-Thighs partner Sarah Buck, in her delightfully quirky way, cuts the batter with a large biscuit ring, each one is about the size of a Texas grapefruit or maybe an undersize boccie ball—which, unlike big bagels, isn’t a bad thing in our book.

At 240 calories per serving, the Blue Bottle infused ice cream is high in butterfat and low in overrun. The slow-melting time of the potent base allows all the flavors contained inside to fully develop without dissipating too quickly. Iced coffee typically produces a bolder, slightly more flavorful taste when compared to hot coffee and this shines through in the ice cream; as well as the addition of chicory. After the first few layers were removed, I finally realized that the old-fashioned donuts from Pies “N” Thighs had been blended up far past what I had been expecting.

Even though the donuts pieces that have been swirled into the iced coffee ice cream remain small in size, this method also ensure that every bite gets at least a few crumbs. This gives the whole ice cream a unique texture that finishes with the taste and feel of authentic donuts. On a few occasions I found larger chunks that were able to fully showcase the feel of the cake. These weren't fluffy or weightless like the yeast-raised versions, but remain dense and chewy throughout. When combined with the super-premium base, the result is an effective combination of one-off ingredients that you literally can’t find anywhere else.

Where I Found It: Steve's Ice Cream Online Store
Grade: A

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