Monday, May 5, 2008

It's an It's-It!

Have you ever heard a new word only to hear it time and time again within the next few days? Unless it was gibberish or your attempt at creating a word, most likely it’s not that the word came into being the moment you heard it. More so the word, or even thing, was suddenly added to your brain bank and therefore is more likely to be acknowledgedwhen it catches one of your senses.

I can’t remember when I first heard it, but at some point within the past month I heard the word “It’s-It” but had no idea what it was. I didn’t really think much of it, but the word was strange enough for me to remember. A day later, I was poking around on Yumsugar and saw it referenced during a photo tour of the food facilities at Google. I now knew it was an ice cream sandwich. Then a few days later on Chow, people were buzzing over it being spotted in Los Angeles grocery stores. I think fate was telling me I needed to posses it, and it was about time I went to the website and did a little reading.

The “It’s-It” is an ice cream sandwich created in 1928 by entrepreneur George Whitney, a San Franciscan native, who one day decided to take two oatmeal cookies, slap some vanilla ice cream in the middle, and drop his Frankendessert in dark chocolate. For more than four decades the “It’s-It” picked up it’s local cult following until finally being sold to the Shamieh brother in 1974 who took the product to wider pastures, adding flavors like mint, chocolate, and cappuccino. It’s thanks to them you can now find the “It’s-It” in 15 other states, and why I was able to find one in my local Von’s thanks to tips on Chow.

Spotting it in my grocer’s freezer I already loved it. The packaging looks vintage like something illustrated by Disney animator Mary Blaire. Inside you’ll find three individually wrapped sandwiches, most likely in vanilla since that’s the flavor you’ll find most often away from the Bay area. I tentatively pulled one out, unwrapped it, and took a bite.

The cookies are soft with a pleasant oatmeal spice. The vanilla ice cream is not gourmet or completely all natural, but it certainly tastes of vanilla and not nearly artificial. As for the chocolate I often find that the word “dark” is thrown around very loosely in the mass production world, and almost always lacks bitterness, this is no exception. Here I have a hard time telling it from milk chocolate, especially when the product contains milk and cream for the vanilla ice cream. But the layer is thin and not meant to be a standout, so I’m fine with its ordinary chocolate flavor. My favorite part of the whole experience is when I hit a harder chocolate chunk. I really like eating food with a nice crunch.

I’m not about to compare these taste-wise to the freshly baked and scooped ice cream creations at Diddy Riese in Westwood. What sort of case could you make against a place that bakes various cookie options, offers you choices of Dreyer’s ice cream, all for the low-low cost of $1.50 a sandwich? But I’ll give the “It’s-It” one thing. I liked how the bite was clean through from cookie to cookie. At Diddy Riese it’s a bit messier, falling apart and crumbling through as you eat your way through. I think ice cream sandwiches work best when matched with soft baked cookies.

The “It’s-It” does not pretend to be something better then what you could make from scratch with an oven and an ice cream maker. What it does is provide you a better than average option for when you’re on the go and don’t have time to act like Martha Stewart. I can understand why people went zany when spotting these away from the Golden Gate Bridge. They’re better then good and did wonders with satisfying my lazy sweet tooth. Right now I’m really jonesing for one in mint. Maybe a vacation to San Fran is in order.
Southern California
Various Albertson's and Von's
Call Ahead


Erinn said...

I totally know what you mean about a certain thing/word coming into your consciousness for the first time and then hearing/seeing it everywhere! I love how you described that. Is an It's-It like a Kool-a-Koo? 'Cause I love those!

Anonymous said...

I love It's-Its so much! I used to ear them growing up in the Bay Area. Awesome.

Mike said...

@ errin: Hehe, thanks for the kudos.

@anonymous: Glad you enjoyed 'em!

Anonymous said...

The little ice cream cart guy by my work has these but they're called UFO's (unidentified FROZEN object). Evil deliciousness