Two years ago, when I wrote a recommendation of “11 Frozen Treats You Should Eat This Summer in Seattle,” I realized there was a rather new place I hadn’t included in my round-up. LICK Pure Cream had just opened, so I wanted to give it some time. Little did I expect that it would take two years and a grand re-opening (just last month, to celebrate a move from Capitol Hill to South Lake Union) for me to get in.
What nudged me was the introduction of a new concoction called the LICKwich. Ice cream sandwiches made with cookies are getting more common around town, but the LICKwich looked quite different.
Michael Darby is the designer of the LICKwich and the man behind all of LICK’s ice creams, or what he calls “creams” for short. You’ll find vanilla and chocolate on the menu, but Darby’s always dreaming about unique flavors you can’t find around town. Darby, an affable guy, doesn’t diss what’s out there (“strawberry balsamic’s great, so I don’t need to do it”), but simply wants to come up with his own creations. He’ll tell you a story about each flavor as you savor a bite and drop your sample spoon into the “already LICKED” bucket.
Flavors are seasonal, with some Southern and Asian influences evident. I especially appreciate savory elements in ice creams like LICK’s pork belly pecan and miso honey, as well as sorbets like chili papaya and basil lime tomato. The flavors tend to be more on the subtle side, in some cases less assertive than I’d personally like, but enjoyable nonetheless.
Darby’s LICKwich is ice cream inside bread that’s fried to order in a panini maker. He describes the dessert as “something like a filled doughnut.” The savory quality of the bread plays well with sweet ice cream, much like the way slightly sweet King’s Hawaiian bread works well as a bun for a burger. But the bread’s butter and sea salt flavors (if you concentrate, you might also detect the earthiness of nutmeg) had me thinking fresh-out-of-the-oven pastry, especially as its warmth cradled the cold ice cream. The sandwich is slightly crackly on the outside (providing interesting texture), and yet soft and yielding on the inside, with enough integrity to hold together pretty well. Maybe it’s what I imagine an ice cream-filled cronut (I’ve yet to try one) to be, albeit more yeasty (melting away a la a Krispy Kreme) and less flaky.
What I do know is that the LICKwich tasted great, especially with the slightly savory “Ladro” coffee ice cream (with nibs) that I selected as filler. It’s a warm creation that adds to the summertime fun of eating ice cream—and might make “creams” even more appealing in the winter.