Old Bay ice cream seems to have gone the way we all fear Maryland crabs could go. By which I mean extinct.
Last summer, an intern here at The Sun got one of those dream assignments meant to trick gullible youngsters into devoting their lives to journalism. She was asked to sample, and write about, offbeat local ice cream flavors. Among those she turned up was Moxley's Old Bay ice cream.
But since then, Moxley's has become Gifford's, where the wackiest flavor on the menu is Blueberry Pomegranate.
Not to worry. There are still plenty of oddball ice cream flavors out there to ward off that chocolate-vanilla-strawberry ennui.
In just the past three weeks, to accommodate a Food Network request, Dominion in Charles Village expanded its vegetable ice cream selection from four flavors to 11.
Which brings us to this week's list:
Top Ten unusual ice cream flavors
1: Cucumber (Dominion)
This is one of the flavors Dominion added after The Food Network asked to shoot an episode "Chefs vs. City" in the shop, at 3215 North Charles. The show had four chefs guessing which ice creams contained which veggies, something that isn't always obvious because the vegetable taste sometimes is masked by fruit, said Dominion owner Donna Calloway. The show wanted lots of vegetable flavors, so Dominion added to its original lineup of spinach, carrot, sweet potato and tomato. They've kept the new flavors on the menu and one of them, cucumber, has quickly become a best seller.
2. Beet (Dominion)
3. Sweet Corn (Dominion)
4. Red Cabbage (Dominion)
"Tastes like strawberry," Calloway says.
5. Garlic (Dominion)
I'm reserving judgment on this one, but Calloway assures me it's good. The two other new flavors at the shop are Butternut Squash and Jalapeno Pepper.
6. Tomato-Fennel "dipping dots" (Volt restaurant, Frederick)
I'm not sure I'm ready for savory ice cream, but if you are, Volt has it in itty-bitty bites as part of a playful take on chicken parm.
7. Granny Smith Apple Sorbet (Volt)
I loved this sorbet, which burst with pure apple flavor.
8. Bac-Os (Mr. Yogato, Fells Point)
This is not an ice cream flavor, but a topping option at Mr. Yogato in Fells Point. Or it will be a topping option if manager Lindsey Shanklin gets them this weekend as planned. "They're vegan," she said. "Everybody can eat those." She thinks they'll be good on chocolate frozen yogurt. I'm skeptical, but you never know. Full disclosure: this place also offers balsamic vinegar (in the photo above) and olive oil as yogurt toppings, so eat at your own risk.
9: Peach-Tarragon Sorbet
I made this at home last night to use up some wonderful farm stand peaches that got mushed in the bottom of the bag. I got the idea from a Martha Stewart recipe for White Peach and Bay Leaf Sorbet, which suggested tarragon as an alternative to the bay leaf. It involved pureeing the peaches (mine were yellow) in the food processor and combining that with a simple syrup infused with the herb. I'll post the recipe if anyone wants it. The result was a very refreshing, licorice-y treat.
Another homemade favorite from an old Cooking Light recipe. You need to make your own ricotta or buy the fancy fresh kind at a place like Whole Foods. (The regular supermarket variety makes for a grainy ice cream.) You'd never know it's a light ice cream -- unless you let it stay in the freezer more than a few hours; then it gets rock hard. But the stuff usually disappears right away.
Sun file photo of balsamic vinegar being added to a Mr. Yogato frozen yogurt