Continued from Eating Las Vegas
“No one has ever gotten all 16 flavors right. Very few have guessed even half correctly.”
A tip — or maybe a dare — from our server at Rick Moonen’s RM Seafood, as he placed our dessert on the table.
The dessert: Rick’s Tasting Game. It’s a platter of 16 ice creams and sorbets that are served blind, with the diners attempting to correctly identify each flavor.
Surely our server didn’t know who he was talking to. We may have looked like amateurs but we were seasoned eaters, ready to test our taste buds. Certainly among my sister, her four friends, my husband and me, we’d be able to identify a good portion of the flavors.
Out of the 16 scoops we were given one freebie: we were told #8 was vanilla bean. We tasted that one first, as a way to prepare our palates. We then systematically tasted each scoop, coming up with our own guess before sharing it with the group. Once we were satisfied with our answers our server gave us the sheet with the actual flavors.
Here’s how we fared:
Initial Tasting: Right away we all noticed there was a coffee flavor, with some creaminess as well. We didn’t think it would be plain coffee, so we went for the more interesting guess of cappuccino.
Our Guess: Cappuccino
Actual Flavor: Irish Coffee Ice Cream
Final Thoughts: Not bad for our first guess! Even though we couldn’t pick out the alcohol during the blind taste, we considered it a half victory.
Initial Tasting: Our reactions were similar and instantaneous after taking a taste of this ice cream, with several people saying “yuck!” The consensus was unanimous on this one.
Our Guess: Garlic
Actual Flavor: Garlic Ice Cream
Final Thoughts: Nailed it! And we didn’t have to fight over the remaining ice cream.
Initial Tasting: We all thought there were berry flavors in this, specifically dark berries like boysenberry, blackberry, redcurrant or blackcurrant, though we couldn’t decide on just one.
Our Guess: some sort of dark red berry
Actual Flavor: Berry-Crème de Cassis Sorbet
Final Thoughts: We came pretty close to getting this one — cassis is another name for blackcurrant, after all. I’d call it another partial victory.
Initial Tasting: We all tasted chocolate in this ice cream, though it had a spicy kick. It reminded me of Mexican hot chocolate, which has cinnamon in it.
Our Guess: Frozen Mexican Hot Chocolate
Actual Flavor: Aztec Chocolate Ice Cream
Final Thoughts: We were pretty close, I’d call it a win.
Initial Tasting: This was the flavor we discussed for the longest time. It was sweet but not really, with too mild a flavor to really guide us. Most of our group were not fans of this flavor, which sparked a lively debate about what it was. I got some sweetness in it, similar to some sort of tropical fruit. It wasn’t quite as sweet as a lychee though it had a similar taste, so I guessed that it was longan. Noting my sister’s dislike of this ice cream, one of her friends guessed it was cheese — apparently my sister had a similar reaction a while back to some dish that had cheese in it. Knowing we would certainly get the flavor wrong, we combined the two guesses into one nasty sounding flavor that provided endless entertainment for the rest of the trip.
Our Guess: Longan Cheese
Actual Flavor: Rhubarb Ice Cream
Final Thoughts: This one definitely stumped us, though we couldn’t recall a time when we had tasted rhubarb on its own.
Initial Tasting: We all picked up a banana flavor right away, though it wasn’t only bananas. Banana walnut? Banana muffin? We went for the muffin until we got to flavor #15. Since we were pretty sure that ice cream was banana bread we decided to change our answer for #6. My sister insisted there was some sort of alcohol flavor in it, though the rest of us couldn’t quite pick it out.
Our Guess: Bananas Flambé
Actual Flavor: Bananas Foster Ice Cream
Final Thoughts: This was all my sister. Good job Lauren!
Initial Tasting: We all thought there was strawberry in this ice cream, though there was a creamy flavor too.
Our Guess: Strawberry Daiquiri
Actual Flavor: Strawberry Sour Cream Ice Cream
Final Thoughts: Another flavor we were pretty close to getting.
Revealed as Vanilla Bean before we started the tasting game.
Initial Tasting: We all identified this flavor pretty quickly, without much discussion.
Our Guess: Pistachio
Actual Flavor: Pistachio Ice Cream
Initial Tasting: This ice cream was a bit tricky for us because it didn’t really taste like anything. No fruit, no spice, no anything; we were thrown for a loop. I thought it could be something like buttercream, while my sister’s friends wanted to go with the mouthwatering flavors of “nothing” and “default.”
Our Guess: Something between nothing and buttercream
Actual Flavor: Milk Ice Cream
Final Thoughts: We were pretty close. Milk is one of the main ingredients in ice cream, so that sort of counts as default.
Initial Tasting: I think we all liked this flavor. It was definitely something we all recognized, though were initially thrown off because we had never had it in this form.
Our Guess: Olive Oil
Actual Flavor: Olive Oil Ice Cream
Final Thoughts: I cook with olive oil all the time because I love its flavor so I enjoyed tasting this ice cream.
Initial Tasting: This was another flavor that we just couldn’t agree on. It was sort of minty, but then had some herbaceous notes as well. Some of the flavors we tossed around were spearmint, strong peppermint like the kind used to flavor toothpaste, menthol and licorice. We all did agree that we weren’t crazy about this flavor.
Our Guess: Some kind of minty licorice
Actual Flavor: Chartreuse Ice Cream
Final Thoughts: It all made sense when the actual flavor was revealed, as Chartreuse is a distilled spirit made from a mix of more than 100 herbs, plants and flowers. I had actually tasted Chartreuse for the first time in February, at the 2010 South Beach Wine & Food Festival, but never thought it could be an ice cream flavor.
Initial Tasting: We got a creamy caramel taste in this ice cream so we immediately thought of sweet and creamy desserts like custards.
Our Guess: Crème Brûlée
Actual Flavor: Strawberry Swirl Ice Cream
Final Thoughts: We were totally surprised with this one, because we did not pick out any strawberry. Perhaps our scoop had more swirl and less strawberry.
Initial Tasting: This sorbet was light and refreshing. We right away thought it was in the melon family.
Our Guess: Honeydew
Actual Flavor: Honeydew Sorbet
Initial Tasting: Right away we tasted banana and found chunks of bread in the ice cream, causing us to reconsider our guess for #6.
Our Guess: Banana Bread
Actual Flavor: Banana Bread Ice Cream
Final Thoughts: Besides the Aztec Chocolate ice cream, this was my favorite of the 16 flavors.
Initial Tasting: Another sorbet, this was great for cleansing the palate at the end of the tasting challenge. It was a nice way to end because we were pretty confident we nailed this melon flavor.
Our Guess: Cantaloupe
Actual Flavor: Cantaloupe Sorbet
Overall we did pretty well, correctly (or pretty close to correctly) identifying 12 out of the 15 mystery flavors. As is typical in Las Vegas we had a lot of fun, but the House still won.
Earlier: Eating Las Vegas, a culinary trip through Huber Keller’s Fleur de Lys and Burger Bar and Rick Moonen’s RM Seafood.