Thursday, November 24, 2016

Stop Going To Molly Moons! Check Out Sweet Alchemy

Alright, you don't have to completely stop going to Molly Moons. They do pretty decent ice cream. I don't think they do line worthy Ice Cream.  However, the place I am about to tell you currently doesn't have a line...yet!!! So you better hurry and try a small place in the U-District called Sweet Alchemy. This small ice cream shop is on the corner of 43rd and University Way. You would almost miss it if you didn't know it sat there on the corner. It really doesn't look like much from the outside. The sign doesn't really scream Sweet Alchemy and it really doesn't scream "The best Ice Cream you have ever had".

Inside there is a rustic, and old school ambiance created by the white brick behind the counter and the classy lights hanging from the ceiling. 



The floor is oddly a mosaic of pennies. It can be a little bit mesmerizing. All that copper in one place. The ice cream freezer seems to be the same one from the previous business (Haagen Dazs). In fact, the Owner's merely changed the name to Sweet Alchemy. However, it seems as if they just changed products, not owners!


This combats the modern, and contemporary feel I get from Molly Moons. Molly Moons feels like a website that uses way too much Bootstrap CSS. Looking inside Molly Moons you can tell they had a pre decided color palette. There just isn't any character or love in that contemporary feel. Somehow, it feels like the decorum weaknesses pours into the ice cream. Of course, at the end of the day, who cares about the decorum? as long as the Ice Cream is good?


I must come across as someone that hates popular places. First I have a few words to put against Bakery Nouveau and now Molly Moons. Let me just add in that Molly Moons isn't a bad place, but when I see lines going around corners I go in with certain expectations. Maybe, that alone destroys my personal experience. Perhaps...maybe I really just am a Hipster(Oh goodness, I hope not. Otherwise, I would join the things Anthony Bourdain Hates). I don't find myself that picky and really will eat just about anything.

Truthfully, there is one main reason I don't think Molly Moons is the best Ice Cream place in Seattle. The final product they produce is way too sweet and rich. Now, even this is very much a personal preference. Unlike me, maybe there is a greater desire for other people to have a sweeter ice cream. Maybe people like the overly cloying and fatty ice cream that I find unpleasant. I feel sick after only finishing half a small serving from Molly Moons.

Besides this, Molly Moons does a good job at making good flavor combinations.Their Strawberry Balsamic is great, and their salted caramel has that bitter note that cuts the overly sweetness that their ice cream base has.

All that aside, Sweet Alchemy has swept me off my feet. Like prince charming in Snow White, Sweet Alchemy is giving me hope. For the longest time I had given up. The only way I would ever have good ice cream would be making it myself. I have an affinity to frozen gelatos and Ice creams. Working at Cafe Juanita, I was introduced to freshly spun (which is key to the best ice creams) gelato flavors like burnt sugar, fig and rum, fresh spear mint stracciatella (That was my favorite Gelato Flavor). Even beyond that, I was lucky enough to make the Ice Cream and Gelatos at the Herbfarm. I loved trying to figure out new combinations that actually worked. Have you ever tried Douglas Fir Gelato? how about Smoked Bourbon Vanilla Cream? Of course, I was spoiled there, I had a 5000$ Paco jet to play with. How much more spoiled can a chef be? All of this may have made me a little of an ice cream snob. I have made my fair share of bad ones, and I hope Sweet Alchemy does too! That's how I know they are trying to make the best flavors, the best textures, the best everything.



It is funny, I was just thinking, Seattle really needs a "GOOD" ice cream place. Molly Moons has been the closet contender for the past few years. It was where you took your girlfriend or boyfriend out on a sunny Seattle day(Yes, those exist, and they are amazing). There hasn't been any good competition, nothing worth writing about.

Now back to Sweet Alchemy. Who would have even guessed that this place existed? Before it was Sweet Alchemy, I believe it was Haagen Dazs. So I didn't even realize they had changed. I can't even seem to find any articles to get a date on when it was created. All I know is, I am happy it exists.

Just looking at the flavors, I knew I was in for a treat. They didn't have anything too crazy. They didn't go overboard and try to put 80 things that might not work in one ice cream. Nope, most of the flavors were pretty simple. 



 They even had Basil! These people know their stuff if they know how good basil ice cream is (I know Molly Moons occasionally has this available too). Besides Basil, they also had three different Vanillas! They were selling Tahitian, Madagascar and Mexican. You could have a flight of Vanilla Ice Creams.



I was still skeptical at first, was this just another Molly Moons, or was this place going to set itself apart?

Besides Basil, they offered other fun flavors like A tale of Twin Teas, Butter Beer, and Chai Tea (and so many more...). I had to try the chocolate, or "The Dark Side". I hope they are Star wars fans! It touts house made chocolate cookies and chocolate ganache! I find that most places I have a chocolate flavored ice cream it tastes like a fudgesicle, which doesn't taste like chocolate to me.

No, that tastes like coco powder, water and sugar. Why do I want that? No, I want real chocolate in my chocolate ice cream. This was one of the flavors I had to order! 



Now for the second flavor. I tried Sweet Alchemy's Monkey Berry Bash. It had Caramelized Bananas, strawberry and coconut base. It was like taking a hit off some genetically modified drug xxx that was only created to be addictive. One more mind blowing moment...was when I checked the fine print..It was vegan and dairy free. Wait, what, nothing vegan is good right? Well I have been put in my place, that coconut is fantastic. Honestly, if I didn't think it would clash with the "Dark Side" so much I would have ordered it. If you are a fan of chunky ice creams, you can't go wrong here. The little bits of caramelized bananas and Strawberry contrast the creamy coconut base. Thank you to whoever created this combination.

So instead, I decided to go with a classic combination, at least to me. I am sure it exists in the Flavor Bible as well. Yup, you guessed it, or maybe you didn't...

Basil. I get it, some of you only think of basil in its savory form. Paired with tomatoes, cheese, bread, oil, chicken and so on. Yet, that is only one side of this awesome herb. It really does play great with sweat flavors. Strawberries and basil is a classic. Even Molly Moons does a Basil Strawberry sorbet.



So, it really isn't strange. Then, if you consider chocolate and mint, basil isn't too far away.

This cone looks dull, maybe. But don't let it fool you. The basil flavor was so pure. It tasted like I had just walked into the local farmers market. Have you ever walked into a farmers market and seen that guy waving his basil around and just saturated yourself in the smell? Even though I ordered this on a dreary Seattle day, I was transported to summer. I could see fresh tomatoes ripening on the vine, I could smell the black berries and dry hay that hung in the air.

Now, before I tried the two in unison, I had to try the chocolate with a spoon.

I made sure to get both ice cream and a little bit of the house made chocolate cookies.

**Boom**, what train was I hit by? Look, I get it. I understand why they called it the dark side. They aren't Star War fans at all. This chocolate didn't just taste like chocolate. It tasted like dark roasted fresh cocoa beans.



There was almost a little bit of caramel flavor in the chocolate. I assume that was coming from the cookie itself.

This brought me back to one of my favorite flavors. The idea came from when I worked near Spur at Brian and Dana Toughs larger establishment called the Coterie room. They made a toasted chocolate ice cream. This flavor was mind blowing. It was so simple, such an obvious flavor.

When you toast the chocolate itself, you actually get that caramel flavor. Almost as if you had baked fresh chocolate chip cookies. I still remember the name of the Pastry Chef who made it "Matt". I wonder where Matt is. A Enough of that rabbit trail. That is the problem with food, I just reconnect so many dots of places I have worked and foods I have eaten. 


They offer the typical freshly made ice cream cones. They even offer some chocolate dipped cones. Personally, that is overkill. If it is your cup of tea though? Go for it, you only live once. Plus, the smell of fresh cones, well, I don't get sick of it.

Weirdly enough, their ice cream cone doesn't taste like other waffle cones I have had in the past. It had a much more cookie like texture rather than a crispy waffle or pancake type texture. I would describe it like a very thin biscuit. The way it crumbles is just so different. I still can't put my finger on it.

Sweet Alchemy is arguably, the best Ice Cream place I have been to in the Greater Seattle area. Now, I am still yet to try so many places. So I can only say that it is the best place I have been so far.

It actually excites me. I remember going to Dreyers and Baskin Robbins as a kid. Now, we have places like Molly Moons and Sweet Alchemy to save us from the corporate flavors. Don't get me wrong, at some point Dreyers and Baskin Robbins were the Molly Moons and Sweet Alchemy. However, if you look at the ingredients of both I am sure you will see the difference.

There is one CON to Sweet Alchemy. One irritation and maybe it just speaks to the current social standings of people in Seattle or maybe I am finally becoming that old person that complains about how things were cheaper in his day...



Similar to General Porpoise that charges 4$ per doughnut. Sweet Alchemy charges about 4$ for their smallest size. Now you do get two scoops for this cost. Also, it is probably a healthier serving size compared to Molly Moons. I could just need to change my mind set.

Price aside, you should splurge at least once here. Then you can decide if you want to go back. It would make a great place for a first date on a nice summer day after a walk around UW or Green lake.

Do you disagree with me? Are you a Molly Moons fan, maybe Full Tilt is your cup of tea? Let me know why? Or maybe just leave me your favorite flavors below.

As always, I found Sweet Alchemy by recommendation. I was serious about not even knowing it existed. If my friend hadn't told me it existed, I wouldn't have even gone. Please feel free the share the next place I should visit!


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Tags: Where is Seattle's Best Ice Cream, Ice Cream, Sweet Alchemy, Forget about Molly Moons, What is better than Molly Moons;Gelato, How do I make Good Ice Cream

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