Monday, April 28, 2014

Getting the Skinny on Real Ice Cream

It takes Alchemy to make great ice cream. I know.

I'm an Ice Cream snob. I grew up eating good ice cream. It's the one thing I would always choose over anything else including an ice-cold martini.

A self-anointed ice cream expert who has tried just about every flavor out there, I keep going back and forth as to what my favorite flavor is exactly.

Today it's lemon because I frankly can't find a single lemon in the city of San Miguel.

So much for making it today.

I have a long history with ice cream. My daily obsession back in the late 60's was Bing's Flan de Limon. In fact, Bing's Ice Cream was reason enough to be living in Guadalajara as far as I was concerned.

Last year, when I came to San Miguel, I was suffering from ice cream withdrawal after a few months. Actually, I was pretty surprised I made it that long.

The Mexican ice creams from the street carts just didn't do it for me.

I was an addict on a mission to find "real" ice cream.

So what is "real" ice cream? Well, how many times have you sat down with a spoon and polished off a tub in one sitting and wouldn't share it with anyone? That's "real" ice cream.

Here's some of what makes it so delicious...

Butterfat Content

The butterfat factor is one of the most important factors which defines great ice cream. Premium ice cream contains anywhere between 13% to 17% butterfat.

High Quality Ingredients

Ice cream is only as good as the ingredients used to make it. In other words, high quality ice creams are made with high quality ingredients.


Remember your ice cream takes on a whole new flavor and texture dimension when you add mix-ins.

Have you ever noticed the amount and quality of mix-ins in high quality brands vs. the less expensive ones? You have to really dig deep to get them. And some of them do not taste like the real thing. Oreo cookies are a good example.


Ice cream has air whipped in. The less air added, the higher the quality. High quality brands may cost more but you're paying for more air if you buy a less expensive brand.

When Thrifty came to SMA last year, I was at their shop the day they opened. They used imported ingredients and added chunks of fruit and cookie pieces to their ice cream. In fact, Thrifty contains 10.25 percent butterfat so by Mexican standards it's pretty rich. 

For awhile, I stopped obsessing about ordering an ice cream maker from Amazon and was content to walk the 2 km just to get a square scoop which ran 27 pesos or $2.11. My ice cream habit suddenly got a lot cheaper.

When I first did a post on Thrifty, the owner of Ambrosia emailed me and told me that Ambrosia was the only ice cream in San Miguel that was made with all natural ingredients.

In fact, if I had known then what I know now - they grow their own fruit and painstaking pay attention to each and every flavor - this love affair with Ambrosia would have started a long time ago.

Never mind that I've eaten Ambrosia a dozen or more times at many of the restaurants in town I frequent. I just never paid attention. In fact, my favorite dessert, the Salted Caramel Sundae at the Restaurant is made with a special order Ambrosia.

Once I found this out, I bought a carton of each flavor at Via Organica and Bonanza. I couldn't get enough. At this point, I was just making up for lost time.

Having mastered the art of making ice cream at home, there is one thing I learned early on: Vanilla is the benchmark and basis of all other flavors. If you can make a great vanilla, then you can make anything.

Ambrosia's vanilla was finally under the microscope and the first spoonful earned a moment of silence.

This was the perfect ice cream ... right here under my nose all along!

Buen Apetito!

SMA Shorts

Good Morning San Miguel!

The Best Thing I Ate This Week:

Paella at La Pluga by Chef Patricia Salazar Meymar

The Great Lime Crisis of 2014:

"By weight, Mexican limes are commanding a higher price than Mexican crude oil," the Wall Street Journal writes.

What else to do with your muffin tin?

Freeze Citrus Ice Cubes

Colorful fruit slices make water taste better and also make clear water pitchers look extra pretty.

Just fill a muffin pan with lemon, lime, or orange slices, and cover them with water to create fun oversized ice cubes.

Just had: Apple Pie Whiskey, Atotonilco Brewing Company. A little goes a long way.
Not sure of the proof but one sip is all you need!


Girls in White Dresses

Island Dreaming

Calla Lilies


Ice Cold Beer

White Chocolate and Strawberries

Good Chinese. My House. Saturday 6PM

Stacking up nicely: Petit Four's Almond Cookies. To die for!

Fresh Coconut Water: Corner of Canal and Hernandez Macias

Helmets: Pink one please!

Alex's Flautas loaded down with veggies. I've tried them all over in San Miguel. His are the best. El Tucan/Hernandez Macias 56

Congrats to: La Mezcaleria now #1 on Trip Advisor

New Hotel: Casa Chiquita Bed and Pizza
Correo 45

This young architect also owns Casa Mata in Morelia. Not your typical Bed and Breakfast.

Soon they will be cooking and serving pizzas from their own wood pizza oven in the hotel's tiny lobby.

The Bicycle is their version of a delivery truck.

Just Looking!

The view from my bed. Another Saint's day celebration last week.

New Dish for Brunch: Sopas with Chorizo, Black Beans, Ranchero Cheese and a Poached Egg.

What does 65 pesos buy?

Nectar Casa de Te en Camino Silvestre

Lemon Sorbet by Ambrosia
60 Pesos

Served with 2 cookies and a sugar ice cream cone.
Cookies are made for Silvestre by Petit Four Bakery. Almond and Rosemary.

A 60 Peso Lunch...
La Mesa Grande at Zacateros 49
Delicious homemade pepperoni pizza and a Bohemia

Delica MITSU Japanese Deli - Round 2
#49 calzada de la luz, col.Guadalupe
3 salads for 65 Pesos.

Love the fresh and healthy fare at this tiny Japanese Deli.

Family Salad
Tofu and soybeans with seaweed and sea salt

Asian Pasta Salad
With peanut sauce and wheat pasta.

Curried Chicken Salad

Opens at noon. Closed: Tuesday and the first and third Monday

Perfect Eggs Benedict?

Dona Urraca Hotel and Spa
Hidalgo 69, Centro in San Miguel. There is also one at Calle 5 de Mayo 117 in Querétaro.

One thing we can vouch for is that they do actually use lemon juice in the hollandaise sauce. A first?

We were told that they also toasted the bread.

Well, one out of two isn't bad.

My new addiction: Lemon Meringue Pie by Claudia's Bakery

Weather too hot?

I love the fact that I can spend the day swimming at the Posada De La Aldea at Ancha de San Antonio 15 for just 60 pesos.

Nothing healthier than swimming off everything you ate the night before.

Buying and Storing A Whole Fish
Saveur Magazine

1 The eyes should be bright and shiny, not cloudy or sunken.

2 Look for bright red gills; avoid fish whose gills are a dark rust color.

3 If you poke a freshly caught fish lightly with your finger, the flesh will spring back quickly rather than remain indented.

4 The skin of a fresh fish glistens with a rainbow sheen.

5 Use your nose as well as your eyes and hands: The freshest fish will smell like the ocean; it will not smell fishy.

Once you take your catch home, use it quickly—within a day or two—as it's highly perishable, or freeze it. Proper storage is key to maintaining quality.

Store whole fish in the coldest part of your fridge wrapped in parchment or butcher's paper on a tray of crushed ice. Make sure the fish does not come in direct contact with ice, which can cause frost damage.

Change the ice frequently, as melting ice will waterlog the flesh, deteriorating the flavor and texture.

What has more protein than an egg?
Pumpkin seeds

Two Things I Do Every Day:

1) One thing I fear.

2) Say hello to everyone I pass. You always meet the most interesting people!

And then there was one!
Blowing up Judas on Easter Sunday

The only one left standing ...faulty fireworks! Check out the grin...

Missing: not so much!

Buen Apetito!