//Written by Joy Cho//
I am an ice cream fanatic. Like, I am 110% sure I can eat a whole pint of Ben & Jerry’s all by myself. I bought an ice cream machine last summer on a whim, obsessed over recipes, and made homemade ice cream for three months. I can eat ice cream multiple times a day. There is really no dessert (or food, in fact) that is as happiness-inducing as ice cream: I’m sure of it.
When Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams opened in Columbus, Ohio (my hometown!) twelve years ago in 2002, it was just a small, cutesy neighborhood ice cream shop. It quickly became all the rage, and now there are several scoop shops in good ol’ Columbus. People absolutely love the unique flavors and classy yet comfortable atmosphere, and I don’t blame them. One time I went to Jeni’s three times in two days. It’s just that good.
Imagine my excitement when I learned that a Jeni’s had opened in Chicago last fall. Yes, it’s pretty far up north in Southport, but I hadn’t given up all hope of going there someday. Last week, that hope was brought to fruition. Four friends and I uber’ed up to Southport on a gorgeous Friday afternoon for some highly anticipated ice cream. I had hyped it up so much that I would have been embarrassed if my friends were not impressed.
There was no reason to worry: Jeni’s fulfilled and exceeded expectations. The characteristic orange sign and bright interior, the mess of different ice cream flavors and the chalkboard menu – they were all so familiar to me and immediately put a smile on my face. We tried as many flavors as we could before we became “those annoying people” (pro tip: try as many flavors as you can before you become “those annoying people”). Among the many I sampled were Black Walnut Divinity, Roxbury Road, Chocomole (a bit too spicy for me), and Goat Cheese with Cherries.
After minutes of sampling and deliberating, I finally settled on one scoop of Banana French Toast and another scoop of Brambleberry Crisp in a waffle cone. Brambleberry Crisp is my brother’s favorite flavor, and I think it is now one of mine too. The sweet fruit and crunchy streusel complement each other perfectly; it’s just like eating a slice of really good quality pie (in ice cream form). The Banana French Toast is a new flavor, and it was literally love at first bite. The pieces of chewy French Toast Gravel, the slight crunch of the pecans, and the subtle notes of maple syrup, cinnamon, and coffee were beautifully incorporated into Jeni’s Bananas + Honey ice cream. The homemade waffle cone was a bit harder than I prefer, but the slight sweetness of the cone was right on point with what I’m used to having back at the Jeni’s at home.
Standing outside in the early Spring weather, with an ice cream cone in hand, I could have been the happiest girl in the world, if only for the moment. Although the prices are quite steep – they raised prices again to $5 for a small, which is two scoops—the ice cream and the experience were phenomenal. Nowhere will you find flavors as unique, ice cream as perfectly textured and creamy, and ambiance as clean and classy. So go give Jeni’s a shot: it’s pretty darn splendid, indeed.
|Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams|
|Address||3404 N. Southport Ave. Chicago, IL 60657|
|Hours||Monday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.|
|Price Range||$5 for a small (two scoops), additional $1 for homemade waffle cone|