There were long lines and lots of excitement for the ice cream and dumpling brunch combo on October 30th in the Blank Slate, Ann Arbor parking lot. 

Blank Slate

Blank Slate is a family owned business that opened in Ann Arbor in 2014, and recently opened a second location in Brighton in 2020. Their Ann Arbor location features black board walls for customers to write flavor ideas and play games. Blank Slate makes their ice cream from scratch and sources local ingredients for their ice creams. They specialize in unusual and delicious flavors; Balsamic Strawberry, Lavender Lemon Honey, and Sesame Shoyu Caramel are a few of the current menu highlights, with Fresh Basil being a continually popular flavor. 

Basil Babe

Basil Babe is a mother and daughter owned pop up restaurant specializing in Thai food and dumplings. While they currently do not have any events scheduled, past popups have been at Ann Arbor Distilling Co., HOMES Campus, and York. Menu items have included tofu green curry, a coconut squash dessert, spicy basil stir fry, chicken red curry dumplings, and many more. Vegan and gluten free options are integrated in the menu, and new dumpling flavors are generally featured from pop-up to pop-up. 

What was on the Brunch Collab Menu 

These two local food businesses came together to create a spectacular combination of tasty and unique flavors. 

Mango Sticky Rice

Sofia Mota Cichy

Mango sticky rice is a traditional South and Southeast Asian dessert. We loved trying the Blank Slate x Basil Babe version of this treat, which included mango sorbet, chunks of mango, and a salted coconut cream and sesame seed garnish. The mango sorbet was wonderfully refreshing, with a natural and intense mango flavor. The sticky rice made for a satisfying and texturally complex dish, and the mango chunks added freshness. The combination of flavors was delicious. 

Fried Dumplings

Sofia Mota Cichy

The deep fried dumpling and ice cream combo was our favorite dish. The options of dumplings included spicy basil pork and vegan tofu red curry for non-meat eaters. We went with the pork filling which was beautifully flavored and juicy. The dumplings had a crunchy exterior with a hint of spice and all were garnished with fresh basil and a sweet sauce. They paired very well with the Blank Slate Thai Basil ice cream, which was subtle, creamy and sweet. 

Crab Rangoon

Sofia Mota Cichy

Everyone loves crab rangoon and these definitely did not disappoint. They were crunchy and creamy with thin slices of crab on the inside, bringing out an amazing crab and cream cheese flavor. We paired the Basil Babe Chili Oil ice cream with the crab rangoon. The ice cream had a really interesting savory flavor that I have not experienced anywhere else. It had a strong spicy kick at the end, which went well with the creaminess of the crab rangoon. A good choice for those who prefer some spice instead of sweet.


Overall the flavors worked very well together even between the separate dishes. It was an amazing collaboration that we want more of. If you are looking for something satisfying, whether that be creamy sweet ice cream with one of a kind flavors, or savory fried beyond delicious dumplings, I definitely recommend giving these two places a try.