You can tell a lot about a person from their ice cream preference. Vanilla: predictable bore who is probably bad in bed. Mint chocolate chip: romantic dreamer. Bubble gum: emotionally stunted troglodyte possessing incredibly poor taste. I'm clearly making this up--stop with the hate mail, bubble gum fans!--but one truth is given: coffee ice cream is clearly the superior flavor. (This probably pegs me as a neurotic, sardonic, caffeine junkie, but I've heard worse.)
After a youth spent settling on Haagen Dazs (or worse), I live in a city filled with small-batch, high-quality ice cream. But whose coffee flavor is best? Parfait, that darling of the local food truck scene, makes a version for true coffee drinkers with Caffe Fiore's French roast that is rich, smooth, and just sweet enough to take the edge off; they get bonus points for the ability to have it delivered to your door. Half Pint, a staple at local farmers markets and a recommendation from fellow Voracious contributor Jay Friedman, has a cappuccino flavor featuring Victrola beans and a hint of cinnamon. I've heard that the mocha almond fudge at Husky Deli is great, and D'Ambrosio's caffe scuro gelato is a personal favorite, particularly paired with the caramello al sale.
This week, though, I came across a dessert that took coffee ice cream to a whole new level of awesome: the cold brew float at Cupcake Royale. (Backstory: the cupcake empire recently launched a line of ice creams--some featuring their cake bits mixed right in, others labeled as "bakeshop inspired"--with the help of Salt & Straw creamery in Portland.) Think of this off-menu delight as a more drinkable homage to the affogato, which you can also get. They start with cold-brewed Stumptown coffee. In goes a scoop of your choice--I strongly recommend their coffee flavor, made with Stumptown's Hair Bender blend and swirled with a dark chocolate ribbon. The resulting cup is perhaps the perfect summer dessert. On its own, the coffee is balanced and fruity, with a bit of a caramel-like finish. If you enjoy your float quickly, you can sip the coffee alternately with bites of the sweet, smooth, delicately chocolatey ice cream. But if you linger a bit, enjoying the company of a friend in one of Cupcake Royale's six cafes, the cream melts into the coffee to form one cohesively sweet and milky beverage that's more nuanced, and more decadent, than your standard cold brew with cream and sugar.
It's a grown-up take on a childhood favorite--one I'll be enjoying many more times before summer ends.