The Brownie Connection vs. Udder Delights
There are hundreds of places to eat ice cream in the Phoenix area, but this week's foodie smackdown is centered on the East Valley. We visit two cutesy spots in Gilbert that are just two miles apart from each other and compare the way they serve sundaes.
In One Corner: The Brownie Connection
397 S. Gilbert Road, Suite 100, Gilbert
Walking into The Brownie Connection, you feel like you've traveled back to the 1950s. The shop is housed in a white, country-style cottage filled wall-to-wall with knick-knacks that would be right at home at Grandma's house - scented candles, cookie jars and sequined purses made out of denim. As if to drive home the point, a woman who goes by the name of "Granny" is on hand to serve samples and chat while you wait for your order.
"There's no lack of sentimentality here," our friend said.
The Brownie Connection makes specialty brownies in more than a dozen different flavors. We came for the brownie sundae and chose the "butterscotch addiction," a brownie which is a dark chocolate and butterscotch combination. The sundae comes with vanilla ice cream from Shamrock Farms, warm chocolate syrup, whipped cream and a maraschino cherry.
The brownie was hot and chewy, a nice contrast with the cold ice cream. The first few bites were delicious but after a minute or two, the sweetness caught up with us and our taste buds were crying uncle. Also, we noticed an unusual texture to the brownie, as though it contained coconut. It was unexpected and unpleasant.
"It's okay," our friend said. "But it's a little too sugary."
While we were eating, Granny came around to gossip. She began by telling us about the store's shoplifting problem and her efforts to keep teenagers from loitering and filching. That led directly into to a mini-lecture about the glories of corporal punishment and how life was better back in the 1950s and '60s, when she raised her own children. Her stories slid from one into another and pretty soon, our sundae was long gone and the hard part was graciously extracting ourselves.
"I felt accosted by hospitality," our friend said in the car, as we drove off.In the other corner: Udder Delights
1385 E. Warner Road, Gilbert
Ice cream, not brownies, is the focus at Udder Delights. They offer an abundance of homemade flavors, from nutella to strawberry to potato chip.
It's a bright store, decorated in whites and pastels with colorful dots on the walls. On each table, tiny blue cow erasers are whimsically strewn about. They were the kind of cheap erasers you might have collected and traded back in grade school.
Udder Delights sells more than just ice cream. A small refrigerator boasts locally made butters and cheese. They also sell hand cut vanilla marshmallows, cocoa meringues and ice cream cupcakes. But back to the ice cream. We ordered the nutella sundae, topped with hot fudge, whipped cream and a cherry.
"Oh my," our friend moaned, taking his first bite. "It's very creamy."
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The ice cream was flavorful and creamy, at once smooth as well as dense; like some of the best home-made ice creams we remember tasting as a kid. In contrast, the hot fudge seemed a little thin. With ice cream that good, you don't need a topping. Our friend, however, didn't let anything stop him from enjoying the dish.
"I'm not giving you this back," he said, as he Bogarted the sundae.
The Verdict: Udder Delights
Ice cream sundaes are subjective. At both stores, it's possible we could have asked for a better flavor and topping combination that would have offered us a more perfect experience. That said, given our selections, Udder Delights came out ahead.