Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tre-MOO-ndous Milwaukee!

I just returned from a somewhat stressful visit to the Milwaukee area. The purpose of the trip was nerve-wracking in and of itself; I spent a few hundred dollars to fly to WI to interview for a job I probably won't get. Add to that the constant rain, unseasonably cold temperatures, lack of transportation, canceled flight, getting locked out of my hotel room (twice), and being pulled over by a cop on the way back from LaGuardia airport, and, well, you're left with an unhappy traveler who can only seek solace in consuming copious amount of sweets. In this regard, I was in luck.

While mindlessly flipping through channels on my hotel room's TV, I came across and was immediately mesmerized by a commercial for Dairy Queen--or "DQ," as it's often fondly referred to. Though I normally try to avoid chain stores and restaurants (especially when traveling, as I like to experience all the unique "local flavor" I can), I make an exception for businesses that create crazy-awesome desserts like those found at DQ. It's important to note that there are no DQs (to my knowledge) in the NYC area, so I've been in some serious Blizzard withdrawal for over six years.

Speaking of Blizzards...well, my being in Milwaukee in April must have been fate, seeing as that the Blizzard of the Month is the phenomenally fantastic Midnight Truffle Treat! You know how much I love truffles! I savored every single bite of that small-size, 12 ounce (and 765 calorie!) cup. Every single spoonful was chock-full of "rich truffle pieces blended with dark, decadent cocoa fudge and creamy vanilla soft serve." There were at least three sizeable and remarkably soft semi-sweet truffle chunks in every mouthful, in fact. The cocoa fudge (which appeared to be in powder form) wasn't thoroughly blended into the ice cream, yet the virtually untouched granular, gritty quality of the powder served as a dusting of sorts for the truffles. It also created a more interesting texture and greater variety in every bite. Verdict: best Blizzard ever. You might even say that's royally mind-blowing!

I chose Alterra as my go-to anti-chain while in Milwaukee. In addition to making a solid cup of java, they make some excellent baked goods. I chose the ambiguously named "Bountiful Garden" muffin, assuming that it would be similar to the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink Morning Glory Muffin. I was, for the most part, right--though a couple of the key BG ingredients differ. Based soley on my taste buds (which can be frustratingly poor at identifying flavors), I discerned that the muffin was comprised of: shredded carrots and apples, dates, and a walnut topping. There also seemed to be somewhat of a pumpkin essence and a few small bits of a green vegetable or fruit. Any ideas? I don't believe they were crunchy enough to be pistachios. Not surprisingly, I thoroughly enjoyed this hefty muffin. It was moist and dense--(though on the verge of being just a little too oily). I want the recipe!

Finally: The Original Mini Cow Pie!, a tasty little treat produced by the Baraboo Candy Company in Baraboo, WI that is deserving of its exclamation point. The flavor of crunchy pecans is strong and robust and quickly followed by the super-sweet stickiness of buttery caramel.

I think saying that they're "drenched" in milk chocolate is a bit of an overstatement, though. The chocolate is definitely smooth, creamy, and quite soft--but it's also a relatively thin layer. (But perhaps this is only true with the Mini version.) Overall, a yummy snack-size bite!

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