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EVERYTHING BAGEL ICE CREAM : THE GLUTTON REPORTS

By : The Glutton

8 Min read





Everything bagel has been having a moment. The bagel has arguably never not been in the spotlight following its inception in New York around the late 1970s, however the seasoning has now transcended its original platform. Repopularized by Trader Joe’s everything bagel seasoning, the flavor has appeared on bagel chips, BlackBird donuts, and even as a central, existential image in the 2023 Oscar-winning best picture Everything, Everywhere, All at Once. The new frontier—everything bagel ice cream at JP Licks: a sweet cream-based featured flavor with schmears of cream cheese and loads of texture from garlic and onion, poppy and sesame seeds, and chunks of bagel. 


JP Licks—the ice cream confectionery based in Jamaica Plain—specializes in scooping over twenty flavors of the creamy, kosher, and locally-made dessert across 17 stores in the Greater Boston Area. Their assortment includes several flavors swirled with cookies and cream and popular New England summer drinks like raspberry lime rickeys, root beer floats, and ice cream sodas. You’re likely to see a line out the door on a sticky-hot day—and hear a worker yelling out “canwepleasekeepthatfrontdoorshutsothattheicecreamdoesntmeltTHANKYOU!”


Everyone enters JP Licks expecting a sweet treat, so why not craft up something disgusting? To keep regular customers rotting away their sweet tooths and asking for an inappropriate amount of samples, the shop peddles out 3-4 monthly flavors that range from old classics like “cherry ortiz'' to collaboration-born flavors like The Blue Man Group's “exploding marshmallow mouth.” That’s when controversial flavors like Grillo Pickles’ “fresh pickle,'' tabasco-addled “disco inferno,” and “everything bagel”' shine for a limited time. 


The Glutton reports: at first whiff, the ice cream smells exactly like an everything bagel—garlic, onion, and a touch of heady yeast dominate my nasal cavity. I approach the smell neutrally; this is exactly what I’m expecting. The first bite—confusing. The sweet base spreads out like a green and blue countryside over the tongue, while the garlic advances like the thick atmospheric smog enveloping it. I’ve witnessed this first taste by friends and strangers alike, and there is always a pause, a hesitation, some calculation to parse in the consumer’s head. That first, sly smile (“I’m being soooo adventurous today!) melts away into a disappointing blankness—then a chuckle or a quick shake of the head (“Haha. I’m never being adventurous again.”). 


My hot take: I LIKED IT. There is so much more to a flavor that is unlocked after the first bite. After a couple sample-spoonfuls, the palette adjusts as it would to a complicated goat cheese and a twinge of salted caramel climbs through the mouth, into the throat, and into the brain. Other bites introduce a de-spiced wasabi. Something about the puzzle of the experience beckons me to keep biting. Poppy and sesame seeds sprinkled throughout the cream cheese confection embed themselves into the cavity crannies of my teeth; some break open and invite bitterness to the awkward mouth party. My only textural horror: flash frozen chunks of actual bagel—harder in some places, soggy in others. These were not pebble-sized;. They were ⅛-¼ the size of actual bagels, enough for a hamster to store in his cheek and sleep peacefully knowing that it would serve him many meals in the future. I suffered through a couple chunks before removing them from the bowl, as if the flavor was an abandoned gravel quarry and I shucked larger stones. 


The ogre-like afterbreath of this dessert—good god, it could vaporize a vampire—is fermented garlic. Half in earnest, half in jest, I asked my partner if I should brush my teeth after licking the remaining glob on my spoon. He paused to deliberate before very, very politely requesting that I consider it upon returning home. Crazily, the only thing that could round out this experience for me is the addition of a calamitously clashing, cheap red wine that would further acidify my palette and balance out the savory-sweetness of this ice cream. Don’t show my dentist this article.


A kiddie size or small is enough for this ice cream to have a punching match with your tongue and triumph. Consider whether you like being in a tense confrontation with something as simple as an ice cream flavor. Consider how many hours you work in a week and how often you go to get ice cream. Consider whether you’d like to pay upwards of six dollars to collect a mundane yet peculiar experience to share with your friends. Consider getting an everything bagel frappe, and I’ll call someone to check on you. 


—The Glutton




Originally published in-print in Boston Compass Newspaper #169 May 2024

 

Check out all the art and columns of May’s Boston Compass at www.issuu.com/bostoncccompass

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