Saturday, August 14, 2010

Professional Foray #8, Mia Dona gelato cart, East Midtown, NY

After reading about the cart a few weeks ago on Daily Candy, I've been looking for an afternoon window in which to go check out Mia Dona's ice cream cart.  According to this posting on the Midtown Lunch blog, Dona is serving "the best takeaway dessert in the area."  And Serious Eats NY's Kathy Chan liked it well enough.

Credit: Kathy Chan
Kathy wrote that, seeing her torn between the two flavors, honey-ricotta and pistachio, the obliging man working the cart was kind enough to offer her two flavors in her brioche.  This is the least he could do, seeing as each sandwich is $6.  When my friend Maisie and I sidled up to the shop, at quarter of 7 p.m., the cart was already parked in the back of the restaurant by the toilets, and we had to order from the manager.  He wasn't familiar with the two-scoop, bulging brioche policy, and gave us each a stale, toasted brioche schmeared with a thin layer of our respective choices.  I've eaten bagels buttered more generously than this brioche.

When I cut each one in half so Maisie and I could try each others', it barely squished out of the sides.  This was a far cry from the oozing, bulging, lick-it-before-it-drips-down-your-hand glory of La Sorbetteria in Bologna (more to come on that soon), where Maisie and I first bonded as juniors studying abroad.  Not a promising start.

The gelato, as you may be able to tell from the picture, is rather icy.  The flavors are decent, sweet and clear (as you may know from reading this blog, I'm not entirely averse to iciness in an ice cream or gelato, but in this case it felt stingy and compromising), but nothing special.  The honey drizzled on top of the ricotta was a nice touch, but the brioche was well past its prime, and didn't soak up the ice cream in the way that makes a brioche ice cream sandwich such a win-win proposition.

When the manager came out and saw eight shards of half-eaten brioche on our plates, he solicited our opinions.  We shrugged and politely mumbled some sentence fragments.  "A little icy."  "Brioche kind of stale."  "Usually there's more."  He very kindly offered them on the house, acknowledging that we hadn't truly enjoyed them, and therefore shouldn't have to pay for them.  He also predicted that Friday, yesterday, would be the cart's final day, so let this post serve as a eulogy. $6, Mia Dona, 206 East 58th St, 212-750-8170, www.miadona.com

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