Cool Moon's Thai Iced Tea and Kulfi
Cool Moon opened in the Pearl District neighborhood back in 2007, right across the street from a park. It's a fun place with bright walls, a chalkboard menu, and many flavor options. Hundreds over the years. PB&J with marionberry jam, black sesame, Turkish coffee, horchata, and umpteen more. You can tell they take ice cream seriously, but not too-too seriously (no foie gras flavors, thank goodness). Since I'm a sucker for bright orange, we went with the Thai Iced Tea, which had a subtle tea flavor and heavy creaminess. Underneath, that's a scoop of Kulfi, a pistachio-based ice cream with a bold punch of cardamom and rosewater. It's a little tough to taste anything after that cardamom-bomb.
Ruby Jewel's Black Orange Licorice
Gotta love a place that does ice cream happy hours from 4 to 7 p.m. We sampled just about every flavor from the daily-changing menu (cow-free options available too) before deciding on the Orange Black Licorice. Any place that can turn black licorice skeptics like us into fans deserves some serious points. This one's definitely a grown-up ice cream flavor, almost like sipping a Pastis. Anise-y and warmly spiced with some orange peel, it's more like the Panda brand of black licorice than that of Red Vines.
Ruby Jewel's Toasted Coconut Soft Serve
What's the Scoop's Bananas Foster
The newest scoopery on the scene, here you'll find big tanks of liquid nitrogen behind the scooping station, and if you're really lucky, you'll see husband-and-wife owners Jodie and Brian Ostrovsky in action! Cold smoke billows up from the Hobart mixers as they churn the cream, freezing it ten times faster than normal methods. This fast-freezing process yields smaller crystals, which makes for a smoother texture. Some of the flavors are classic; others are more unusual. Our Bananas Foster sorbet was made with roasted bananas, brown sugar, dark rum, and lime juice. The Cortadito, inspired by the Cuban coffee Jodie enjoyed in her hometown of Miami, is made with brown butter and Bustelo coffee. See more behind-the-scenes photos here!
What's the Scoop: 3540 North Williams Avenue (map) 971-266-1787
Saint Cupcake's Coco Caramel with Oregon Sea Salt
Saint Cupcake is a cupcake-centric bakery that started making ice cream earlier this summer. Look for the "Melty Goods" cooler inside, which is filled with scoops and ice cream sandwiches.
"I've heard people curse when they try that one," said the gal behind the counter when we reached for the Coco Caramel with Oregon Sea Salt. It's Oregon's answer to salted caramel ice cream, with a rich cocoa addition.
Saint Cupcake's Oregon Peach with Hazelnut Crunch
We also loved the Oregon Peach with Hazelnut Crunch, which was like biting into a juicy, fleshy peach with bits of caramelized hazelnut nuggets (hazelnuggets?) swirled throughout. Saint Cupcake rotates flavors with the season, so right now you can find the fall line-up: chai ice cream with oatmeal whoopie pies and nutmeg ice cream with pumpkin whoopie pies.
Salt and Straw's Coffee Bourbon
Salt & Straw started as a tiny ice cream cart in 2011 and now has two brick-and-mortar scoop shops. We waited at least 20 minutes in line, and we probably needed all that time to figure out our order. Widmer Marionberry Gose? (Do we feel like a berry-beer ice cream?) Or how about Foie Gras with S'mores? So intensely gamey and savory, we couldn't take a second spoonful of that one. Some of the flavors are perhaps too wacky for their own good. On the other hand, we loved the Coffee and Bourbon, made with Stumptown's single-origin Gajah Aceh coffee mixed with some local chocolate from HolyKakow and enough Burnside Bourbon from a nearby distillery to make you feel a little warm inside from the cold scoop. This stuff is 17% butterfat; it ain't messing around.