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33 Catt. 2: In re SnoCream Shavery

2014 October 15
by CATTLEYA, J.

Opinion of JUSTICE CATTLEYA, in chambers.

SnoCream Shavery

SnoCream Shavery

Even before I knew that a new kind of frozen dessert was on board, SnoCream Shavery lured me in with its look alone. It was impossible not to notice an old school bus—not a truck, not a cart, but a 30-plus-foot-long bus—parked in a lot near my chambers. Long gone was the jarring school bus yellow color, and in its place was a wintery scene in soothing pastels. Two large creatures were painted on the bus’s side, and they managed to appear playful and welcoming despite the horns on their heads.

I circled around the bus a couple of times to make sure that, yes, customers were supposed to hop on the bus. Inside, only the driver’s seat remained; the passenger seats had been removed. Countertops ran along each side of the bus, just under the windows, for customers to eat on board. At the very back of the bus was the service station: a large machine that looked like a mix between an ice cream maker and a deli meat slicer, a freezer filled with cylinder-shaped blocks of flavored ice, and a toppings bar straight out of a frozen yogurt shop.

SnoCream Shavery

SnoCream Shavery describes its frozen treat as “a hybrid between ice cream and shaved ice.” It is made by shaving long, thin sheets from a flavored, frozen block. When the sheets fall into a cup, they sort of look like raw phyllo dough.

Ordering snocream is a three-step process. The first step is to select a flavor. Among others, choices include green tea, coffee, sweet milk, mango, and strawberry. Second, the customer picks two toppings, such as mochi, chocolate chips, M&M’S, granola, or fresh fruit. The final step is picking a sauce, like condensed milk, caramel, or chocolate, to drizzle over the top. A cup of snocream with two toppings is $5.

If snocream doesn’t entice you, or in case one dessert is not enough, SnoCream Shavery also has macarons on the menu. Flavors include unexpected offerings, such as lychee and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. A macaron is $2.

Street Food

Before I can review SnoCream Shavery’s menu of snocream and macarons, I must address the issue of street food.

It is well-settled that iced desserts are street food, or “the kind[] . . . that can be [prepared] in front of you and [is] meant to be eaten with your hands, without forks, while standing up.” In re Eat Wonky, 2 Catt. 5 (2011); see also In re Captain Cookie & The Milkman at Thomas Foolery, 23 Catt. 2 (2013) (ice cream sandwich is street food); In re Pleasant Pops, 21 Catt. 4 (2013) (popsicle is street food); In re Sinplicity, 9 Catt. 3 (2012) (ice cream is street food.)

On the other hand, baked goods, which are typically made ahead of time at a stationary site and then merely distributed from a mobile vehicle, are not street food. See, e.g., In re Sweetbites, 10 Catt. 1 (2012) (cupcake is not street food); In re That Cheesecake Truck, 10 Catt. 4 (2012) (cheesecake is not street food); Dangerously Delicious Pies, 4 Catt. 4 (2011) (pie is not street food).

The snocream’s street food status and the macaron’s non-street food status are to be considered positively and negatively, respectively, by this reviewing tribunal. See In re Barbecue Cart at Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe, 33 Catt. 1 (2014).

Green Tea SnoCream with Condensed Milk Drizzle

I ordered green tea snocream with mochi, M&M’S, and a drizzle of condensed milk. It took me more than a few minutes to settle on a combination, as my poor decision-making at FroZenYo on multiple occasions has taught me that one’s favorite flavors and toppings do not necessarily make sense together in a single cup. The woman in line with me seemed to have a similar challenge when ordering. After she listed off her chosen snocream flavor, toppings, and sauce, she questioned the staff in an unsure voice, “Does that sound okay?”

The green tea flavor was exactly what I expected and wanted—not too strong, not too sweet. The consistency, however, was disappointing. The description of snocream as a mix between shaved ice and ice cream is accurate, but unfortunately snocream lacks the best qualities of each. My cup of snocream lacked the coarse, crunchy texture of shaved ice and the creaminess of ice cream. The consistency—too little milk and too much water—just wasn’t satisfying. It was like drinking a watered-down cup of mocha on a Sunday morning while dreaming of a perfectly brewed cup.

While snocream itself isn’t a rich indulgence, SnoCream Shavery lets you make it one with toppings and sauces. At least one sinful choice—a candy topping or sweet sauce—goes a long way if your intention is to have a real dessert. Upon seeing how much (or rather, how little) condensed milk ended up on top of my snocream, I was asked by the staff whether I wanted more to be added. In retrospect, I should have taken the hint and said yes.

Green tea snocream with mochi, M&M'S, and condensed milk, plus taro macaron.

Green tea snocream with mochi, M&M’S, and condensed milk, plus taro macaron.

Taro Macaron

As I was handing over my credit card to be swiped, I threw in a taro macaron to my order. The choice was easy to make. As a general rule, anything taro-flavored on the menu has my name on it. I get this from my mother, who always sneaks in the purple ingredient to add a twist to her otherwise traditional Filipino dishes. Like adding taro to the crepe-like wrapper in fresh lumpia (a spring roll). Or mixing taro into her recipe for pandesal (a bread roll). Finding and eating taro-flavored dishes make me feel like I could be sitting at the restaurant my mom once dreamed of opening, one that had a menu starring purple-colored ingredients (not just taro, but purple beans, purple potatoes, and so on).

SnoCream Shavery’s execution of the trendy French confection was excellent. The taro macaron was easily eaten with the eyes first, with its soft lavender color, the sheen of perfectly smooth cookies, and a silky-looking filling. The cookies had a light, almost caramelized outer crust, while the center was soft, moist, and slightly chewy. The cookie-to-filling ratio was balanced—not too much, not too little—so that when I bit into the macaron, the filling didn’t squish out the sides. Each bite was so easy and clean that, while probably best eaten at a café with coffee, I had no problem perching the macaron between my fingers and nibbling away at it as I strolled down the street to the metro. In the end, the only problem that I had with the three bites of my macaron was that it was gone after three bites.

Conclusion

While the snocream from SnoCream Shavery is worth having once just to try something different, the macaron is the treat worth going back for again. Because SnoCream Shavery’s bus is much longer than D.C. regulations allow, you can only find it in Virginia. The bus has been making regular appearances on Thursday evenings at Clarendon’s weekly Food Truck Rally, which runs through the end of October.

AFFIRMED in part and REMANDED in part to SnoCream Shavery for revision. It is so ordered.

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