I am a food trend hater (enter rolled ice cream). We are all familiar with the foods that fill up our Instagram feed, that show up on our Facebook walls, that are linked in an email from your mother with the subject line "check out this new thing [insert food trend everyone in the world has already heard of]". I hate this, because I really do believe that good food should never be a trend.

I am firmly of the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" mentality so I scroll angrily past those videos of people eating rainbow bagels (ew) and cronuts (come on), wondering why some trendy NYC bakery couldn't just LEAVE ROUND FOODS ALONE.

And then there's Thai Rolled Ice Cream. The Facebook videos have been flowing through my feed for months, and, admittedly, they are hypnotizing to watch. So, salty that I had managed to be dragged into this trend, I ventured into Washington, DC with a taste-testing squad to empirically investigate this new way of consuming frozen milk and sugar. 

1. Hypothesis: 

Rolled Ice Cream tastes exactly like normal ice cream, but costs way more and is somewhat more Instagramable

2. Procedure:

I ventured into the city on a Saturday afternoon with my participants, ready to go eat some frozen rolls of cream. Said participants were chosen carefully: Swati, who has tried the fabled rainbow bagel and hated it; and Diana, who is decidedly cheerful and likes to like things. 

[let me acknowledge that I chose the wrong time of year to try this. When the ice cream was sampled, the temperature outside was 36 degrees Fahrenheit. Not great.] 

We approached the storefront, wallets in hand. Here is a picture of me, #alreadyoverit: coffee, wine, pizza, beer
Amelia Bowen

I ordered my Rolled Ice Cream, and good God, it was expensive. Accepting that this is the nature of trend foods and that the cost I paid was for science, I watched as my ice cream art was created. 

I'm going to be honest: I was swept away by the process. It was beautiful. Unchurned ice cream was poured onto a frozen slab and mixed up like a frozen, chocolatey omelet. 

Once churned by the chopping-and-folding process, the now condensed ice cream was spread out into a smooth sheet on the panel.

Then the magic happens. With long, sweeping movements, the sheet of ice cream is incrementally rolled into spirals, which are then arranged into the cup and artfully topped.

The final product was nothing short of a master piece. 

I ordered the Chocolate Mousse:

ice, ice cream, chocolate
Amelia Bowen

Diana ordered the mango:

buttercream, chocolate, cream, cake
Amelia Bowen

And Swati ordered the Cappuccino:

cookie, cake, chocolate
Amelia Bowen

These were admittedly beautiful. The whole process of them being made was enthralling. 

I came back to earth once I tried it.

The ice cream wasn't bad, but that's as far as I'd go. The texture was off because of the way it had been prepared, and it was icy enough that it crumbled when you pushed your spoon into it. The flavor was lacking, though it wasn't bad. The mango was definitely the best, since it could pass for a fruit sorbet with the texture. 

3. Discussion

Here are my thoughts: I was absolutely enthralled by the process and Instagram-ability of this dessert. The Rolled Ice Cream process was fun to watch, the presentation was perfect and I took enough photos of the dessert to start a whole Insta account around this one trip:

cake, cream, chocolate
Amelia Bowen

That all being said, the ice cream itself was lacking. It didn't taste just like normal ice cream - it was weirder and less flavorful, with the taste of the cream being the most present in the Chocolate Mousse and the Cappuccino. The ice cream was hard and the beautiful display came at the cost of it being very hard to eat. The texture was the biggest kicker, and was inconsistent between each of the three cups. Here's Swati, thoroughly unimpressed by the consistency of her ice cream:

coffee
Amelia Bowen

The first part of the experience, the price,  put a damper on the whole thing. At $9 a cup, this is not a snack you pick up on your way home from a long day at work; if you aren't planning on Instagramming it, the flavor is not enough to be worth your hard-earned food budget. If you are going to Instagram it (as I have successfully done), you must weigh what price a lot of 'likes' come at. 

4. Conclusion:

To me, food should be expensive because it is delicious. Despite what an unsuspecting social media browser might think, your food, more than anything, is for you to eat. Because of this mentality, I must say that I found Thai Rolled Ice Cream expensive and not entirely satisfying. That being said, going with my friends, watching this be done, and doing a full-blown photoshoot with our masterpieces was a riot; my day was made substantially more fun by this outing.

To you, I say this: go try it, expect to pay money for it. If you bring friends and are ready to light up your Insta-feed, you'll enjoy it. If  a delicious cup of ice cream is your main prerogative, go elsewhere. And if you want to try a major food trend, this is an easy way to get in on the conversation.