The Lunar Cheesecake at Baskin-Robbins

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[Photograph: Dave Katz]

Baskin-Robbins is all about commemorating pivotal moments in American history. When the first man landed on the moon in 1969, the company celebrated by launching a Lunar Cheesecake ice cream flavor. Now, 43 years later, they've dug into the deep freeze and pulled the flavor out of retirement to honor yet another great moment in American history: the release of Men in Black III.

The original Lunar Cheesecake featured "lunar green" cheesecake ice cream with an "Apollo 11" marshmallow ribbon. I have to admit to suffering from some confusion over the marshmallow—Apollo 11 symbolism, but I probably just need to spend some more time in outer space. Regardless, today's customers will find said marshmallowy ribbon omitted in favor of a more cheesecake-focused rendition of the '69 classic.

The 2012 Lunar Cheesecake boasts stripes of cheesecake-flavored ice cream, one white and the other an alarming shade of pale neon green. Mixed into the ice cream are chunks of real cheesecake and bits of graham cracker "crust."

Despite the off-putting color, the ice cream itself is pretty tasty: a little sharp, more than a little sweet, and oh so creamy. It definitely reads "cheesecake" and hits all the essential notes. The chunks of real cake are a nice touch, save that some bits were frozen so solid that they were more icy and grainy than they were smooth and soft. Similarly, a fair amount of the graham cracker turned out to be freezer burned.

My good bites had a tangy, cream cheesy brightness cozied up to warm caramel notes of graham cracker. Unfortunately, those bites were few and far between, since the unpleasantly crunchy texture of the cheesecake, coupled with the flavor-sapped icicles of graham cracker, consistently detracted from an otherwise pleasant flavor combination. To be fair to Baskin-Robbins, I should add that this was literally the last scoop in the container, so I'm inclined to think that my serving suffered more temperature changes than most. That said, it probably would have been wiser to throw that particular scoop into the waste bin, rather than onto my cone.

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