Isn’t it funny that there was a mid-century moment when American ice cream parlors were called “malt shops”? That means that powdered, germinated, dried barley was the verbal umbrella under which ice cream was sold. It sounds so strange, now that ice cream shops have marginalized this once popular, nutritious flavoring. Today, malt feels like an antique footnote to parti-colored candy/ice cream mash ups.
Malt lends its unique, nutty flavor to Whoppers, Scotch whiskey, beer, and malt vinegar. It’s made with an ancient process of soaking cereal, primarily barley, in water and then waiting until the grains germinate. When barely sprouted, the cereal is dried in a moderately-heated kiln, which halts the barley’s growth and fixes the end product. The malting process changes barley’s molecular structure, turning its cereal starches into something closer to sugar.
All of which is neither here nor there for Eater—we just crave malt’s unique flavor. And now that ice cream season is upon us, it’s the perfect time to get our fill. Here are our three tops:
• Cupcake Kitchen (100 Main St, Irvington 914-231-6261) sells Jane’s Ice Cream, which is made in small batches with local ingredients in the Catskill Mountains. It’s the perfect, old-fashioned base for shakes made with a healthy spoonful of malt.
• Walter’s Hot Dogs sells some kick-butt ice cream whippies, which is always such a shocker, given the excellence of its hot dogs and fries. If we have a craving for an America we actually only witnessed on Happy Days re-runs, this is our favorite stop.
• The Blue Pig (121 Maple St, Croton-on-Hudson, 914-271-3850) makes malted vanilla ice cream—which kinda takes out the middleman of adding milk and whizzing it in a blender. Look for rich, super-fatted ice cream with a direct malt punch.
Belgian Beer & Tapas Dinner at España Wine & Tapas Barâ€¨ (Wednesday June 23, 7:30 pm) â€¨This long menu includes a wide sampling of dining-friendly Belgian beers, all carefully paired with Mario Aznar’s Iberian tapas. $49.95 per person, plus tax and gratuity
Family Barbecue at Peter Pratt’s (Wednesdays, June 23-September 1, â€¨5:30 pm, rain or shine) From the site: “Eclectic outdoor buffet including salads, grilled vegetables and pastas and plenty of grilled meats and fish. Price includes all you can eat from the buffet and grill, but does not include beverages or dessert. Reservations required. Call 914.962.4090 $28 adults, $15 children”
Party in the Parking Lot at Plates (Thursday, July 1, 6 pm- “’til someone calls the cops”) From the site: “Kick off the 4th of July Weekend! Come party with PLATES on the outdoor dining patio for a 4th of July BBQ. Outdoor bar, live music and the BBQ tent. The BBQ smoker and Caja de China roasting box will be fired up with $10 pulled pork sandwiches, ribs, brisket and bratwurst dinner plates, and of course the home-made ice cream. This party in the parking lot features Dr. D and the Jammers playing blues and rock with a side of harmonica. And, in an encore, Chef Karp on his Fender.” That is, ‘til someone calls the cops.
Okay, you pretty much had us at “leche de tigre,” a citrusy blend of lime and fiery Peruvian rocoto chili, but this happy jumble of marinated shellfish just whispers beach in every juicy bite. Its snappy tail-on shrimp are joined by clams, mild tilapia chunks, and pearly rings of tender squid, while its seafaring bounty is joined by terrestrial choclo (fat-kernelled Peruvian corn), creamy, sauce-sopping potatoes, and crisp red onions. I don’t know about you folks, but this is our idea of Land Meets Sea.
According to an invitation sent by the Livanos family, the long-awaited opening of Moderne Barn is set for Tuesday, June 22. Though the new website’s not launched at the time of writing, some of Moderne Barn’s details are available here on Open Table. Also, check out this sweet Sifton piece in the New York Times’ Diner’s Journal, which ventures the adjective “Armonkian” in the Paper of Record (albeit in a quote).