Just like it does every March 21st, spring came to town this past weekend. But at least here on the East Coast, the weather was not so spring; there was snow on the ground and freezing temperatures all around. More balmy weather is in the forecast, though.
How appropriate, then, to find a dish that matches the wacky weather. It's the dessert at Mission Cantina in New York City: Soft serve from local ice cream heroes Oddfellows, with French fries for dipping. No spoons. Right now Danny Bowien and Cantina chef Alison Rivera are serving miso and black cherry swirl (summer) with the fries (I know, fries are year round, but to me the thicker frites are what you eat inside on a cold night). Bowien says he got the idea from his Oklahoma CIty childhood. "Wendy's frosty and French fries combo was my first love," he says. "I would always get a frosty and fries, and dip." Wendy's was not only place where he indulged in this habit. "For as long as I can remember, my parents would get me a cone from McDonald's, but they made me get it in a cup, so I wouldn't get it all over the car. It made it easier for me to dip my fries." In fact, as unlikely as it sounds, it's a great combo, especially with a pungent soft serve like miso: it's like a sweet, well-chilled dipping sauce for salty crispy fries.
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Bowien isn't the only midwestern-raised, F&W Best New Chef to mash up his soft serve and fries. When Cleveland's great Jonathan Sawyer came to town recently to do a pop up at Momofuku Ssam Bar, he served chocolate-tobacco malted marmite frostees with duck fat fries for dessert. "This is inspired directly out of many a high school memory involving late night parties," says Sawyer. "Salty and sweet, hot and cold, with umami from the marmite, and some proper pommes frites. It's a perfect nightcap."