So much for that "cold" front. Walking the short distance between my office and the parking garage has me perspiring like a pig again, and it’s a rare summer day that I don’t take at least two showers to rinse off the sweat. The proverbial silver lining (to the clouds that I wish would shield us from the sun) is that we still have an excuse to seek relief from the scorching heat with some icy, sweet treats. Although a double scoop will do the trick, why not go full monty and tuck into a monster sundae? Here’s where I satisfy my craving for creative combinations of creams, syrups, and toppings.
No suborning is required to make me indulge in one of Sweet Bribery’s selection of baller banana splits, which include a “classic” version as well as “banarchy” edition that involves vanilla wafers and fancy-schmancy Frangelico banana caramel. On the sultriest of summer evenings, however, I gravitate toward the Southern Grasshopper for the double chilling effect engendered by the softball-size scoop of cool mint chocolate ice cream abed a thick, moist brownie layered with creme de menthe. A dusting of crushed mints provides texture and the generous pour of bitter dark fudge tempers the sweetness.
For those unfamiliar with frozen custard, think of it as ice cream’s thicker sibling. The addition of egg yolks congeals the cream base, rendering it denser and richer and thus making it perfect for heavy sauces and hefty decorative candies. Connie’s exploits this property in exciting fashion by offering a diverse menu of custard sundaes, the “fan favorite” being the “Texas Turtle” invented by some chap named J.B. Served in a clear plastic cup so you can see that beautiful marbling of hot fudge and cream caramel across the vanilla custard, its signature accouterment is a large handful of whole roasted pecans. Salty, sugary, crunchy, and creamy, the Texas Turtle is a triumph.
It can’t be the personality of the proprietors that inspired the name of Fat Cat Creamery, because they sure ain’t kittens when it comes to constructing fierce frozen treats. Its hallmark confection is the “Every Day is Like Sundae,” a “cat-crafted” assemblage involving two scoops of ice cream (Mexican vanilla is standard but be bold and request a seasonal flavor), house-made sauce, cherries, fluffy whipped cream, and a baked good.
The “More” descriptor in the title belies a bevy of marvelous items, such as the fresh tropical smoothies, Mexican candies, and delicious aguas frescas. The dairy diva in me is most smitten with Magnolia's selection of sundaes, especially the banana caramel sundae for its starchy simplicity. Spirals of soft serve are interwoven with more than a dozen slices of just-ripe banana and ribbons of buttery caramel, then crowned with whipped cream and a cherry. Particularly charming to me is how the caramel simultaneously coats the ice cream and the container such that you find yourself scraping the sides to secure every last bit of sauce.
It’s hardly surprising that a shop that dishes out delightfully unorthodox creams such as pandan, red currant, and toasted rice would also proffer a banana split that is a fabulous far cry from tradition. Wedged in between a bifurcated banana is a triplet of scoops in your choice of flavors (select three different types) that are dressed in liberal drizzles of chocolate sauce, fruit jam, a nut crumble, and whipped cream. This bodacious boat of a sundae is meant to be shared, and in my case, I willingly do so with ... my imaginary friend.