Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Off the Map: We've Come to a Spoon in the Road

Toffee Banofi Sundae -- Sweet Republic Artisan Ice Cream, Scottsdale, AZ
Sweet Republic

Apparently, this is the beginning of the end.  Vodka and Ginger no longer have comparable tastebuds.  And it took a trip to Scottsdale, Arizona to reveal the breakdown in our rating system.
This Is What Happens When We Leave New York
In the past, we have almost always been on the same page about our star ratings.  If there were disagreements about how many stars a certain Best Thing I Ever Ate dish should receive, the one who felt less strongly would almost always relent.

In Phoenix, we are at a standstill.
And Not Just Over Our Ice Cream Flavors
Perhaps it is the ghosts of the western cowboys influencing our rating duel, but we have each turned stubborn and steadfast in our opinions.  First, there was the fried chicken at Mrs. White's (Ginger wanted more stars), then the waffle dogs at Over Easy (Vodka wanted more stars), then the French onion soup at Zinc Bistro (Vodka wanted more stars).

But it is at Sweet Republic, home of Alton Brown's favorite ICE CREAMY dish, the toffee banofi sundae, that our divergent opinions come to a head.
The Impetus Behind the First Blog Rating Smackdown
For an ice cream store in a nondescript strip mall in the middle of a mild Arizona day, Sweet Republic Artisan Ice Cream is fairly packed when we enter its premises on a Saturday afternoon.
And Clearly Quite Proud of Their Food Network Heritage
When we reach the front of the line, we order one toffee banofi sundae and one cookie mintifesto sundae, both in waffle bowls, to split between us.  Securing our own table, we fetch plastic spoons and cups of free water (apparently a requirement in Arizona due to the heat index) and dig in.
One Would Never Know This Is Our Eighteenth "Snack" of the Day
"Mmmmmmm," Ginger hops up and down, licking her lips and murmuring like a certifiable crazy person.

"What?" Vodka asks, gingerly tasting the first spoonful of toffee banofi.

"That's how good I think it is," Ginger explains.
Ginger Using the "Auditory Sounds Automatically Translate to High Ratings" Manipulation Technique
Now, Sweet Republic's sundaes are complex, hearty, and slightly unusual.  The toffee banofi features vanilla ice cream, banana, toffee buttercrunch, salted butter caramel sauce, and whipped cream (plus, of course, the waffle bowl).  The part Vodka likes about it is that it is salty.  The part that Ginger likes about it is everything.
Although Based on This Shot, the Bananas Would Say Otherwise
In both Ginger's and the sundae's defense, all of the components are great on their own -- an ideal first step.  The whipped cream is fluffy, the toffee sticky and sweet, and the waffle bowl close to perfect.  And together, they are good -- definitely good.

But Vodka is hellbent on the fact that they are not, despite Ginger's oohing and ahing, good enough to be 5 stars.

And so, we have come to a spoon in the road.
Two Spoons Diverged in the Desert
The cookie mintifesto produces a similar argument -- the mint chocolate chip ice cream, chocolate chip cookie chunks, hot fudge, and whipped cream combination is good.  But it is still just a sundae, and Vodka is not convinced that she could not procure one just as satisfying at an ice cream chain store -- Baskin Robbins, or Cold Stone, or preferably, for Vodka's custard-loving ways, Rita's.
While Ginger is Adamant That Vodka Has Lost Her Mind
We become convinced that it is our Arizona resident friend who is causing the breakdown in our rating system -- she is always on the side of "more stars" (in this case, Ginger) and provides added ammunition for that person's case.  "If we were here by ourselves, maybe we'd think everything was terrible," Ginger surmises.
And We'd Probably Be Mocking Sweet Republic's Board Game Selections
But as it stands, we've come to the compromise of giving Sweet Republic's sundae 4 stars.  And that, folks, is just the way the ice cream melted.

Sweet Republic Artisan Ice Cream's Toffee Banofi Sundae: 4 stars

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