Thursday, May 26, 2005

Just Desserts 6: Ralph's Ice Cream Store

RESTAURANT: Ralph’s Ice Cream Store
LOCATION: 501 Port Richmond Ave, Staten Island
DATE: May 22, 2005
DESSERT: Large Cream Ice with Chunky Monkey and Birthday Cake; Large Cream Ice with Apple Crumb and Pistachio Spumoni
PRICE: $5.00

What’s the way to end a day full of cheese? More dairy, of course. Especially when it comes in the form of Ralph’s crème ices. Danny, a Staten Island native, grew up on the stuff, but for me the dessert was as untrodden a terrain as the borough in which Ralph’s is located.

Situated literally across the street from Denino’s, Ralph’s seemed a Crying of Lot 49 like sign, and while I don’t share the paranoia of Oedipa Maas (at least not usually), Ralph’s did appear as an inescapable portent of PWT’s finale. Stunned by the extensive list of flavors, it took some time for us to decide – Ralph’s serves ice cream, crème ices, and Italian ices, with a litany of different flavors for each. I eventually went with the Chunky Monkey and Birthday Cake. The Chunky Monkey had an understated hint of banana and the southern crunch of pecans, a very refreshing combination. But I fell in love with the Birthday Cake, an ice bursting with all the sprinkles and frosting of Chuck-E-Cheese birthday parties, but without the greasy arcade joysticks and freakishly large electronic mouse to spoil the fun. The crème was such a splendid sugary sensation, Danny and I stopped paying attention and missed the 44 bus back to the ferry.

Given lemons its best to best to make lemonade. Ralph’s policy is to close when the staff “feels like it” so faced with our bus predicament, we decided (I’d argue logically so) to order another round. While I was less impressed with the Pistachio Spumoni (tasted too strongly of corn syrup and artificial pistachio extract) and Apple Crumb (oddly more lemon meringue than apple deep dish), Ralph’s was still a meteoric end to PWT ’05. We caught the next bus and made it back to Manhattan in time to fill the full weight of 12 slices and two large ices finally sink in. I live in fear of the day when my metabolism starts to slow down…

RATING: 7.2/10

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