(Coco)Nutcracker: Mitchell's Ice Cream
July 9, 2006

At a dinner a few weeks ago, Joy and I subsided into mutual raptures over Mitchell's ice cream. Thanks to my husband's long-distance adoration of San Francisco, I knew all about Mitchell's at least three years prior to moving here. (He was lucky to attend a wedding where a Mitchell's ice cream cake was the wedding cake. The same wedding served root beer and played the closing theme to Star Wars' instead of any other recessional -- all of which made it the most unique wedding I ever regret missing.) (I also knew about El Farolito burritos years before moving out here, but that's another chapter in my Annals of Obsessions.)

Where Joy and I parted ways, however, was which of the two coconuts Mitchell's offers is the ultimate in coconuttiness, the Coconultimate, if you will. I have long adored Macapuno (sweet coconut) and order it on most ice cream runs, but Joy swears by the Buko (baby coconut). Keen to settle this debate in our own minds, Mathra and went out and bought an undisclosed amount of Macapuno and Buko for a side-by-side taste testing.

And these are the results:

Buko: Buko is so in bed with the coconut, it tastes like the heady smell of a well-oiled beach. There is no mistaking that this is coconut! ice cream. It is light and cloudy, and all the sweetness appears to come only from the coconut.

Macapuno: This ice cream has an overall richer texture -- compact and velvety -- and a much sweeter profile. The first thing you taste is the sweet cream, after which you taste the underlying coconut.

Both have satisfying chunks of chewy coconut tucked into soft folds of ice cream, both are intensely addicting, but when it comes right down to it, I really can't make up my mind which one I prefer. This is pretty much how the tasting went:

Me: "This is it. This is the one."

Mathra: "Better than this? Try this again."

Me: "Yeah, no -- I think this the best one."

Mathra: "I don't know, you might have been right the first time. Here, taste."

Me: "Dammit -- I need to start all over again."

Mathra: "Are you actually saying 'dammit' to eating more ice cream?"

Me: "Good point. I'll get more bowls."

I've heard tall tales of the ephemeral existence of yet another Mitchell's coconut: aged coconut. I'm sort of scared.

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