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Sundae Sundays: Ben & Jerry's

Ben & Jerry's has held a special place in my heart ever since I visited its factory and one particularly generous scooper let me have, like, 1,000 free samples. I generally find the flavors pleasing and inventive, with great chunk-to-ice cream ratios (no hunting around for peanut butter cups in those pints).

Last Sunday, because I believe one should not have to privilege baked goods over ice cream, I ordered the "Brownie Special" ($5) from the Ben & Jerry's on Kirby. The description, "fresh brownie with any flavor ice cream, hot fudge and fresh whipped cream," boded well, as it named all the necessary components for a decadent brownie sundae. The choice in ice cream was also a nice touch, even though I knew I would go for plain vanilla, the best complement for fudge.

But, somehow, everything went all wrong. First, I had to ask the scooper for "extra" ice cream. Yes, I can be a bit of a piggy, but for $5 I expected more. Next, I watched as he drizzled some sort of thin cocoa syrup nonsense (the phrase I should be using here is ladled steaming gobs of hot fudge) from a counter-side squeezie bottle onto my sundae. My hopes were fading, so I asked for some M&M's, thinking, perhaps, that some color would liven it up. He dropped about six candies into the rapidly fading whipped cream, handed me the sundae, and charged me $7.

It tasted as bad as I imagined. The ice cream was sub-par compared to what I've had at other B&J parlors and even from the store, lacking any discernible vanilla flavor and strangely un-creamy despite the high milk-fat content. The chocolate topping (no way deserving of the label "hot fudge") was bitter and watery; the brownie, dry as a bone and bland as a communion wafer.

Ben, Jerry (and Unilever): You failed me big time. Perhaps I was foolish to indulge in my brand loyalty, but still I chide you for messing up such a class ice cream concoction.

Readers: Now, I'm determined to find a great brownie sundae in our fair city. (Granted, I could make my own, but that seems far less adventurous). Suggestions for my next "Sundae Sunday" most welcome.

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