The lastest in Portland's fast-expanding ice cream market comes with a new nerd-tastic aspect. As captured below, (from what I deemed a safe distance) the Portland newcomers over at What's The Scoop? on N Williams are freezing their ice cream with liquid nitrogen, a method that they claim creates a creamier, smoother texture because it freezes the base quicker, creating smaller ice crystals in the finished product. The nitrogen evaporates completely during the mixing process, filling the shop with a dramatic billow of smoke every time a new batch is born.
While this feature is certainly novel, the finished product is of more interest to me than the process of production. While some flavors have distractingly prominent add-ins (I could hardly taste the whiskey in their Bourbon Toffee for chewing the pound and a half of candy in my scoop) I think their stand-alone flavors shine. My favorite was the Cortadito, a cuban coffee flavor with a hint of caramel that boasts a bitter/sweet balance I can't resist. A superior texture and strong flavors without excess flair will insure that this shop competes with the already all-star roster of Portland scoop shops. Extras like fortune cookie cones and toasted marshmallow topping (torched to order) won't hurt their chances either. With Pix shuttering down the street, What's The Scoop? is pretty much the only sweet option for blocks—which is nothing to complain about. These ice cream geeks have set out to satisfy all ages in their new neighborhood, and I'm confident that they will not fail to do so.
Give it a try, and let me know what you think!