March 1, 2011

More Than Just Ice Cream

This weekend we found ourselves wandering around aimlessly looking for a place to eat dinner. We had set out with a specific plan but found our first choice restaurant closed for the day, so began racking our mental MenuPages map thinking of an alternate quick, cheap, and fun spot to eat. A few places sparked our interest, but as it was prime dining time, we couldn't get a seat. Eventually we approached More Than Just Ice Cream (MTJIC, worst acronym ever) and decided to give it a shot- a first time visit for us both.


The restaurant opens into a large counter with a variety of ice creams and desserts, with the dining room semi-hidden beyond. The place is pretty spacious and was fairly quiet throughout our meal.

Wanting to save lots of room for dessert (let's not take their name quite seriously; this place is best known for their monstrous desserts), we skipped the appetizer and instead each ordered a main dish and a side. J went for the salad I was eyeing myself: the Cosmopolitan ($12.75). The hefty salad contained chopped romaine, grilled chicken, generous piles of chopped tomatoes, carrots, mushrooms, and roasted peppers, half an avocado, a hard-boiled egg and some olives. All tossed in a tangy balsamic-based dressing. Whew! Pretty much the kitchen sink salad, all of things we love.

While it was certainly an enjoyable salad, it was nothing out of the ordinary, and certainly didn't preclude the ridiculously long wait we endured post-ordering, pre-food. With a mostly empty dining room and very simple menu items, I haven't the faintest idea why the cooks needed 40 minutes to prepare our order. Our waitress didn't seem at all concerned, not even coming to check on us during this time. Rant: Over.

J balanced her mostly-healthy salad with a semi-unhealthy side and went with the Sweet Potato Fries ($3.75). Probably the best part of our entire meal, I kept snagging a fry here and there. About as crispy as sweet potatoes can possibly get (they're notoriously soft and soggy), possibly due to their solid width vs. length dimensions, and quite delicious.

The very diner-esque menu wasn't screaming anything too loudly at me, so I went with a perennial favorite: the Garden Burger ($7.75). For some reason I was expecting some sort of non-pre-packaged veggie burger, but instead truly ended up with a Gardenburger. Thankfully, the price was about right for a grilled patty on a bun with a "special touch" of sauteed mushrooms, garlicky hummus, lettuce and tomato. I loaded on extra condiments to try to eek out some flavor. All of the sandwiches are served with a pickle and a "fruit garnish" which is literally that- not a side of fruit, but a single piece of canteloupe. Am I the only one who finds this a little bit lame?

I wanted my own version of sweet potatoes, so went for the roasted variety ($3). Another total bummer- at least in terms of expectations. What seemed like a whole (small) sweet potato was sliced, steamed until completely soft, and served plain. Roasted.. sweet.. potatoes.. where are you? Don't get me wrong, I like them any which way, but I wanted wedges of potato with crispy edges and at least some salt and pepper.

At this point I was a little peeved-- a long wait for a truly mediocre meal-- but thankfully, the dessert saved both me and MTJIC (I went home happy and MTJIC is escaping my blog wrath). J wanted ice cream, but I also forced an order of Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie ($5). Don't worry, we did have a third party member helping us out a tad!

The Peanut Butter Pie was built on a thick crust of crumbly Oreos which added a sugary crunch to each bite. A huge pile of peanut butter flavored whipped cheesecake filling, pretty much what my dreams are made of, made up the middle of the pie with a cold chunk of hardened chocolate ganache forming the top. A drizzle of chocolate sauce and a pile of whipped cream ALMOST took it over the edge-- but not quite. I will be back for this pie, hands down.

J's "side" of coconut ice cream was also top notch: an order of "a scoop" produced three generous scoops, served plain. Some of the creamiest ice cream I've had in recent memory, with large strands of sweetened coconut throughout and a strong, sweet coconut flavor that seemed anything but artificial. I may or may not have also continued to steal bites long past the point of fullness.

MTJIC has an altogether ridiculously long name- made worse by the fact that they really don't do other food a lot of justice. If only they named themselves "More Than Just Ice Cream: We Make Other Desserts Too!"... Regardless, I'm sure we will find ourselves back here when the urge for dessert is calling and Rita's just won't cut it.

More Than Just Ice Cream (No website!?)
1119 Locust Street

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