In restaurants, as in romance, sometimes the timing is just off. I passed Moody Ice countless times before I finally stopped there last night. But the result when I finally did was blissful.
The year-old dessert spot from entrepreneur Anna Cho isn't unique just for its chalkboard illustration of Vanilla Ice spitting out "Ice, Ice Baby" or the Parasaurolophus (I think) posed next to a cactus. Though the business' raison d'être is frozen treats, ice cream has no part in the picture.
There are two primary options at Moody Ice: Hawaiian shaved ice and the literally, if unhelpfully named "Moody Ice." The former is just what you'd expect—plain ice drizzled with homemade syrup. Moody Ice, however, is its own state of frozen water. The counter staffer helping me last night said that it was similar to Italian ice. Once I tried it, its icy, though fluffy texture (Italian ice is more dense) made me say "granita."
What stands out even more is the thoughtful, all-natural flavor combinations. There are tart varieties, which serve as palate cleansers (perhaps after a pizza next door at the Mellow Mushroom), like lemon-and-lavender or cucumber-and-lime sweetened with pineapple chunks on top. Strawberry-and-habanero has a genuine kick that's calmed with a topping of fresh strawberries and chocolate chips.
But I settled in with watermelon-and-mint. It's precisely as advertised, pure watermelon flavor flecked with refreshing pinches of the herb. On top, there are juicy strawberries intensified with Himalayan pink salt. The friend who joined me tried one of two fruit-free options, vegan chocolate, which tasted much like a chocolate-covered banana. Tiny, crisp cookies just slightly bigger than pieces of Cookie Crisp cereal decorated its perimeter.
And next time I'm in the neighborhood, I won't pass by this (relatively) healthy dessert.