By Kate Krader, Restaurant Editor, Food & Wine
Compared to the fast-paced world of juicing and organic chocolate, not much happens in the land of ice cream sundaes. There are exceptions: Like when Burger King sticks a couple strips of bacon in a chocolate-and-caramel sundae.
Personally, I'm less cutting-edge than the people at Burger King. And if I decide I need more fat and calories in my sundae, it's going to come in the form of a brownie base, or more hot fudge, not bacon. For those like me, who live in an idyllic sundae past and aren't ready to mash up their charcuterie plates with their vanilla ice cream, the following are some places to check out. Especially if you don't want your dog to feel left out when you dig into your ice cream.
Slideshow: Best Ice Cream Spots in the U.S.
Ever So Slightly Cutting Edge Sundae: Bi-Rite Creamery, San Francisco. Bi-Rite's superdeluxe ice cream is made with organic dairy products from a local creamery. Their add-ins are cooked at the adjoining bakery -- they even house-make graham crackers. So, no surprise that their sundaes rock the house. Sam's Sundae might just be the best: It's made with chocolate ice cream with bergamot olive oil, maldon sea salt and whipped cream (I understand that olive oil in a sundae might sound dangerously close to bacon; I promise it's not). Bi-Rite's Sundae Party Kit comes with a choice of ice cream, sauces, toppings, sprinkles, whipped cream and eco-friendly cups and spoons. That's enough sundae for at least 18 people (or less, if I'm there) and costs $95. San Francisco is lucky: They're soon getting a second Bi-Rite in the NoPa neighborhood.
Sundae for a Crowd: Cabot's Ice Cream, Newtonville, MA. This 40-plus-year-old ice cream parlor has a sundae that makes Bi-Rite's party package look like a Weight Watchers Special. The Great Pyramid is served in a bowl that's almost two feet in diameter. It's packed with 60 pints of ice cream (flavors range from seasonal peach to coffee Kahlúa brownie), 12 quarts of toppings (including five varieties with the word "fudge" in it), whipped cream, marshmallow, nuts and cherries. It serves 175 of your friends.
Sundae for Your Dog: Bruster's Real Ice Cream, Arlington, TX. This nationwide chain has 140 different ice cream flavors in their rotation but offers only 24 flavors at any given time: Your choices could include Grape, Eggnog, Peanut Butter and Jelly and something called Chocolate Lover's Trash (chocolate ice cream with chocolate chunks, chocolate-covered peanuts, chocolate butter toffee and chocolate Krispies). Here's why the Arlington Buster's location stands out. They serve one-ounce vanilla ice cream sundaes to your dog. For free! The sundaes are very small and nonchocolate (chocolate being not good for canines). Still, if you still don't want your pet to have any dairy, just give him/her the sundae's dog bone garnish.
Sundae for an Adult: Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, Miami. As I was saying, I don't necessarily need a lot of bells and whistles with my sundae. Unless pastry chef star Hedy Goldsmith is involved. In which case, all bets are off. Her boozy Macallan Brownie Sundae layers Junk in Da Trunk Brownies (real name) with smoked vanilla ice cream, The Macallan 12 Years Old Toffee Sauce, spiced candied pecans, chocolate marshmallow and chocolate sauce. Hedy, just please, please, please don't add bacon.
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Photo by Flickr user: Laura Padgett