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Chicago Area

Penguin Downhill II


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Restaurants & Bars 3

Penguin Downhill II

Seth Zurer | Aug 22, 2002 10:49 AM

We went to the penguin last night (after a quick trip to great seas to fill the hot and saucy hole in our hearts left over from our late arrival at the summerthon) and had some bad gelato: in particular the white chocolate was old: crystallized and icy instead of buttery and smooth. The tast I had of pineapple was similarly freezerburned. Banana was pretty good, almond cream was merely OK, but chocolate was fabulous. The old guy who makes the pizzas (i think he's the father of the men who own the place) was there, and we had a brief conversation in my broken italian and his spanish peppered italian: He asked how everything was and i let him know that I thought the white chocolate was seriously off (troppo aghiacciato). He nodded vigoruously and trundled off into the kitchen to get me a spoonful of dark chocolate. He said that the dark chocolate gelato had been made that day, but the white chocolate was from sunday or monday. The difference was clear -- the chocolate tasted fresh, the texture was almost buttery and velvety.

He also implied that the white chocolate was worse beause it was white chocolate and not dark chocolat, but that argument doesn't hold gelate for me, since the white chocolate has been fabulous before.

Anyhow, I'm not sure exactly what's happened there -- perhaps they used to make every flavor every time they made a new batch so that the gelato didn't get old. Maybe the new freezers are screwing things up. There also seemed to be a new counterman, so maybe the ice cream is suffering by not being under the watch of the prideful owners all the time. I need to work on my italian so I can ask the old guy what the new flavor schedule is, if indeed there is one. In the meantime, I think I'll just ask which flavors are fresh and hope to get a straight answer. Maybe it's a problem connected with the amounts of gelato needed to meet summer demand, and things will get better when winter returns. I hope something gives though.

On another note, they had switched chocolate chips again: not back to the (superior, i thought) square shaved chocolate but to a smaller version of the baking chip. I'll let you know what I think next time I get some.

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