Pro-Tip: Try the Off-Menu Ice Cream Flights at Ruby Jewel, Portland OR

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[Photographs: Erin Jackson]

On my last day in Portland, I was psyched to celebrate a sunny afternoon with an ice cream cookie sandwich at Ruby Jewel, until I discovered something at least three times as awesome: the ice cream flights. They're not listed on the official menu, but thanks to some online sleuthing, I spotted the special on the shop's website. Here's how it works: for $7, you get 6 mini scoops of ice cream (you choose the flavors), served up in miniature glass cups and presented on a sturdy wooden board. Each scoop is roughly the size of a kids' scoop, so you're essentially getting $15 worth of ice cream for a bit less than half price. You can score a flight any time at the Mississippi Ave location, and by request at the West End scoop shop.

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Both shops feature seven standard flavors of ice cream, along with five to seven rotating flavors that change with the season. I went with a mix of standard and special scoops for my flight. Clockwise, from the top, I got chevre with strawberry rhubarb jam, peanut butter with chocolate-covered pretzel, Oregon strawberry, double chocolate, caramel with salted dark chocolate, and honey lavender.

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There wasn't a slouch in the bunch, but I'd recommend the Chevre and Strawberry Rhubarb Jam over the standard strawberry. The ribbon of jam had a more intense strawberry flavor, and the tangy goat cheese provided a delicious contrast. The Caramel with salted dark chocolate was also a stand-out, with its fudgy globs of chocolate buried throughout. It's one of the standard flavors, so be sure to reserve a spot for it. The Fresh Mint Flake was also a winner—it's powerfully minty, and would be a great option to save for the end, as a sort of palate refresher.

Tackling the ice cream flight alone would probably be difficult, but with a partner, it's a fun (if formidable) challenge. And, at an investment of just $3.50 per person, it's not so much about finishing every last bite as it is about getting to taste a broad variety of flavors, from can't-miss standards like mega-rich double chocolate, to taking a chance on something fun and seasonal. Speaking of which, I couldn't pull the trigger on Ruby Jewel's black orange licorice, a take on Tiger Tail, but recently departed SE editor Erin Zimmer, and Drinks editor Maggie Hoffman swear by it.

Ruby Jewel

NoPo Scoops: 3713 N Mississippi, Portland, OR 97227 (map) and West End Scoops: 428 SW 12th Ave, Portland, OR 97205 (map); rubyjewel.net

About the author: Erin Jackson is a food writer and photographer who is obsessed with discovering the best eats in San Diego. You can find all of her discoveries on her San Diego food blog EJeats.com. On Twitter, she's @ErinJax

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