Ice Cream Social at New Amsterdam Market

The New Amsterdam Market is one of New York City's great regionally sourced food venues. You can buy kale grown in the state or pick up some Kings County beef jerky made in Brooklyn with meat from grass-fed New Jersey-raised cows. Or, you can eat a lobster roll or tasty tacos from the usual food-cart suspects that frequent the City's many outdoor eating extravaganzas. You can even sign up for a meat CSA that will provide you with 3-6 pounds of meat every two weeks.

Today was the Market's Third Annual Ice Cream Sunday, a fundraising event that showcases local ice cream makers producing a range of unique flavors and styles. I wasn't able to get tasting tickets in advance for the option to try 8-10 mini-cones, but that was just as well. My intake compartment for ice cream is limited to about a quarter cup.

Because I went with buddies, I still managed to taste quite a few flavors. The best was made by friends at Luca and Bosco--a budding company that is producing wonderful flavor combinations in a base that is less sweet than the average ice cream. Today we sampled the Mint with Chocolate Freckles. Although the concept is not as unique as their Rosemary Olive Oil with Spicy Cashew Praline or their goat cheese varieties, the flavor was above and beyond any mint chocolate chip I have ever encountered.

The Fowl Triple from the Bent Spoon is the afternoon's winner for creative allure. This trinity of tastes included three variations of sweet cream ice cream, each made with a different egg--quail, ostrich and duck. I'll be honest... I had a hard time differentiating, though I thought the ostrich produced the creamiest texture. LP felt the duck base was the richest. Regardless of the egg source, they were each a little too sweet for me.

Our next sample--the mole ice cream from La Newyorkina--knocked the sweetness right off our palates. This company's specialty is bringing the flavors of Mexico to ice cream. Although the texture was less smooth and creamy than others, it had all the delicious complexity of mole with a nice spicy bite on the finish.

Our final sample was a coffee and green cardamom ice cream from the Rouge Tomate. We all agreed we thought there was too much cardamom and not enough coffee. But, I was happy for the reminder about how much I love drinking coffee with cardamom (and sometimes ginger). If you've never had it but you like cardamom, here's how it's done... crack open a green cardamom pod, grind the black seeds with a mortar and pestle, and add hot coffee. (Don't use pre-ground cardamom; it's never the same!)

With our ice cream tanks full, we headed off in search of a quiet bar with a respectable menu in an otherwise touristy neighborhood. Thankfully, we were successful!