Saturday, March 1, 2014

This May Be The Closest To a Food Blogger I'll Ever Be...

What does a newly employed, still in her twenties, single woman living in one of the most colorful cities in the country do on a prime Saturday night? Well, if she's me (and in this case she obviously is), the answer is clearly go on a road trip looking for Ben & Jerry's new Core ice creams. 

If you follow my Tumblr, you already know that March 2014 is seeing four new flavors debuting for the ice cream conglomerate. Designed to be two separate flavors of ice cream separated by a thick, rich core in each tight package, these pints should appeal to everyone with a sweet tooth. The four flavors are Hazed & Confused (chocolate ice cream with fudge chips, a “core” of Nutella-like hazelnut fudge, and hazel nut ice cream on the other side), That’s My Jam (chocolate and raspberry ice creams separated by a raspberry jam core, Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge (chocolate and peanut butter ice cream flavors, mini peanut butter cups, and a fudgy center), and Salted Caramel (sweet cream ice cream, blondie piece, and a (duh) salted caramel core). Being that today was the first of the month, I didn't think it was too much to ask that my local supermarket have a full shelf in stock.

Unfortunately my local supermarket (Ralph's) disagreed. When doing my regular grocery shopping this afternoon, I stopped in the frozen aisle with Hazed & Confused on my mind...only to find they had no Core flavors. Not completely deterred (because there is a Gelson's right across the street), I figured I'd be spoon-deep in no time. Gelson's did not have any Core flavors either. Neither of these supermarkets had tags for the Core flavors, showing that they were once in stock and now just sold out. The absence of tags led me to believe they had not been delivered to stock yet at all. Things were starting to look a little bleak. 

Yesterday a friend Tweeted that she found the Core flavors in her local Target. She lives over the hill from me in Los Angeles, and I was not about to get on a freeway for some ice cream (apparently I have some limits and they involve the 101), but I thought my local Target would surely have what hers has, being that we're in the same general metropolitan area and really only about two dozen miles apart. When I arrived there in the early evening, I found three favors, and not my beloved Hazed & Confused but one called Karamel Sutra that had not even been on the initial new flavor release. Suddenly my energy was reinvigorated. What other previously unannounced flavors might I find if I soldiered on!? I was up for the adventure!

As I went along, I Tweeted about my stops, and in doing so my friend Jean alerted me that Karamel Sutra was actually an old flavored that they re-branded with the Core label, probably to drum up some new interest. I had never seen it before, though, and not only did it sound like the original Core but also flavors that were right up my alley, so I took this as a sign I was on the right track.

Normally I would start at my closest stores and expand a small circle outward (a trick anyone who has ever had to find street parking surely knows), but my friend Diane pointed me in the direction of the Vons on Laurel Canyon in Studio City. She had visited earlier in the day and purchased a pint there, so rather than make a bunch of stops that might be closer but also might be busts, I headed east to what I thought was a guaranteed purchase point.

They only had Karamel Sutra.

Since I was in the neighborhood, I popped into the Ralph's on Coldwater Canyon (an old stomping ground of mine), but they did not have any Cores either. Apparently Ralph's didn't get the memo that these are a must stock!

Another friend tipped me off to the Target on Victory in North Hollywood. He assured me they had the Cores, but it is a location that is usually outside my radius for errands-- and a location that smells oddly of an airport inside, which just makes me uncomfortable-- so I put it off, thinking there was no way I wouldn't find a closer option first. It turns out, I should have just listened to him and skipped all of the in-between stops because sure enough, it was a sure thing.

I mean, jackpot, right!? All the four Core flavors! 

Could I have found them closer if I stuck to my original, usual strategy of checking all of the half a dozen different supermarkets in my neighborhood and the directly adjacent ones first? Perhaps, but let's pretend that's not true. Could I have saved myself time if I didn't make the stops I did but instead went only to the ones I was told definitely had them? Of course. If you feel the need to learn a lesson with each blog post, the one here is clearly to stick to one strategy when tackling a project, not try to mix and mash up two or more. But I had nothing else to do on a rainy night, and at least my car got a free wash as I drove around.

And just which flavors did I bring home? Well the coveted Hazed & Confused, of course, considering I could have stopped after my trip to the first Target if I wasn't looking specifically for that one. But I snatched up Karamel Sutra even though it "doesn't count" and the Salted Caramel Core, which is the only one to offer only one flavor of ice cream in the pint, and I'm curious if it works better in that more simple recipe. I passed on Peanut Butter Fudge because I'm just not that into peanut butter, and I passed on That's My Jam because the raspberry jam core has seeds, which is a texture I just don't need in my ice cream.

I expect them all to be delicious and well worth the drive, and maybe I'll just have to review them on video ala Community's Leonard next...

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