Thursday, September 13, 2012

[DIY] Feed the Animals: Passalacqua + Treat Dreams

Passalacqua getting into some serious business. Photos by Nicole Rupersburg.

You may know them as "Mister" and "Blaksmith." I know them as Bryan Lackner and Brent Smith because really I'm not that cool. But a rapper by any other name would still sound like Passalacqua, and last week I had the chance to sit down with the boys and eat some ice cream.

We met at Ferndale's Treat Dreams and chatted with proprietor/Head-Ice-Cream-Maker-in-Charge Scott Moloney. Talking to Scott is sort of like that scene in Forrest Gump when Bubba talks about all the different preparations for shrimp, and I mean that in the best possible way. He's made candy corn ice cream, pizza ice cream, spaghetti ice cream, salt and vinegar ice cream, Sunday breakfast ice cream (with bacon -- one of his most popular), Better Than Bacon ice cream (a cult food trifecta of peanut butter, bacon and Nutella), Dark Dark Goose ice cream (a chocolate-coffee-bourbon-beer ice cream made for B. Nektar Meadery's anniversary party earlier this year), Hennessy ice cream (for the Hennessy family) ... you get the drift. Since opening Treat Dreams in 2010, Scott has made a name for himself as the guy who makes all the crazy ice cream flavors, and that's how Bryan and Brent first got to know Treat Dreams.

"I've been coming since the last DIY," Bryan says. That was when Scott made his Macaroni and Cheese ice cream -- which sounds disgusting but Bryan assures was actually really good and made him a Treat Dreams devotee. "At first it's just a lot of combinations of flavors you wouldn't necessarily associate with ice cream," Bryan says. Then you get hooked. "You're always going to come in and see something different."

Passalacqua will be meeting with Scott again soon: they'll be passing out ice cream at the DIA to celebrate the end of summer on Sunday, September 30 and Scott needs to concoct a special, exclusive Passalacqua signature flavor for this occasion. So what will the official taste of Passalacqua be? We toss some ideas around.

Brent: "We don't want to duplicate a flavor that's already been done. We have to do something original!"

Me: "So what are you goes really passionate about? What do you guys really like? What says 'Passalacqua'?"

Bryan favors dark beer and coffee (a winning ice cream combo for sure). Brent's feeling more like cognac, pear and cinnamon, which would certainly be more in line with Scott's more experimental nature. (And, after all, he did make an ice cream exclusively for the London Chop House to serve to the freakin' Hennessy family.) For the record, I tossed around some ideas of my own for a signature Eat It Detroit ice cream. (Scott shot me down on poutine ice cream, though Bryan and Brent promised they'd try it.)

As it so happens, the hip hop duo lend themselves particularly well to having their own ice cream flavor. With songs like "Pineapple Faygo" and "Better Made" (a nod to being "a cut above the average rappers," not a song about potato chips), and a tradition of chanting "WHEN I SAY ICE CREAM YOU SAY SUNDAE! ICE CREAM!" "SUNDAE!" "ICE CREAM!" "SUNDAE!" onstage (not for any reason; it just became A Thing), Passalacqua seems like a natural candidate for one of Scott's more creative concoctions.

These colors don't run.

Speaking of creative concoctions, I asked Scott to bring the guys a few random flavors mixed together to shove their faces into. For journalism! After we all sampled some other flavors like the Butter Bacon (Bryan and Brent both liked it; I thought it was too much bacon ... contrary to popular belief I'm not actually made of bacon), the Chocolate Sauerkraut (Scott promised it's just like the coconut in German chocolate cake ... I don't like the coconut in German chocolate cake; Bryan and Brent were more enthusiastic about other flavors), the White Russian (Bryan liked it so much he bought a pint; Brent kept saying "Oh yeah"), and the Lemon Ricotta (this was an across-the-board winner), Scott brought out a towering sundae of Swedish Fish, cookie monster and chocolate mint ice creams. I recommend you taste these individually and not together. (But holy SHIT the Swedish Fish tastes JUST LIKE SWEDISH FISH. Brent on the Swedish Fish ice cream: "Whoa whoa whoa whoa." And that's all that needs to be said about that.)

So where else do rappers go to eat when they're not sampling a bunch of esoteric ice cream flavors?

How fitting: Scott now has a Passalacqua T-shirt.
Bryan explains he usually stays home for dinner, but for breakfast he's all about Mae's. (In fact this is where they hold their "Rapper Brunches.") Brent is loving hard on Harmonie Garden Cafe in Midtown right now, huge portions of tasty Mediterranean at cheap prices. It's also right next to the new Jet's Pizza location. "If I were still at Wayne State I'd be really fat!" Brent jokes. Hey, those freshman 15 have to come from somewhere. Brent also mentions Green Dot Stables as they place everyone is talking about but with good reason. Nutella and marshmallow fluff sliders? Mystery meat? $3 beer? LET'S GO. (In the colloquial sense. But also in the literal sense. What are you up to right now?)

Passalacqua will be playing the Metro Times Stage at 9:15 p.m. on Sunday at the DIY Street Fair. Treat Dreams will also be there with several flavors including Scott's latest savory creation, grilled cheese ice cream made with cheddar cheese, bacon, toasted brioche, and Slow Jams tomato jam. (If you're extra-lucky, I'll be the one serving it to you. Yep, living out some treat dreams of my own this weekend.)

For more about Passalacqua (like, actual stuff about their music), check out their website. And here's a pretty cool article I found about them too.