Is there a method for precisely determining that point at which you hit ‘Too Much of a Good Thing’? I’m not sure of the conversion rate, but I generally think of it as the One-and-a-Half-Subway-Sandwiches Rule. One half is great, but not quite enough. The whole footlong is enough to fill me up, but also just sufficient to make me think I really should have saved half for dinner. One-and-a-Half can translate to giant New York pizza slices as well; one of my Top 5 in the World pizza places is right near my apartment here, and I’m sometimes tempted to cross the line and get the second slice, but I know there is only regret on the other side. With cookies, I think there is an initial sub-rule of pairs, since I can’t eat just one fresh-out-of-the-oven piece of heaven. Usually, the first two are spectacular, the second two are incredible, the third two are okay-by-association-with-the-first-four, and the fourth two start to directly remove percentage points from my self-esteem. Five is probably ideal. Laffy Taffys have the incredible ability to almost immediately cross the threshold, which unfortunately doesn’t stop me from eating them. Recently, I found a huge tub of them in a church office here, and none of the staff liked Banana flavor, which just happens to be my favorite. Halloween-style-crazy, I stuffed my pockets, and even though the full amount of total potential joy was met and exceeded approximately twenty-five seconds after eating the first one, I still blazed through six or eleven of the deceptive little things.
Don’t judge me; I haven’t had good candy in a while, and I’d forgotten what it was like.This is especially true after being over in Shanghai and Hong Kong for some time, where candy tends to make a whole lot of promises with bright happy wrappers but immediately disappoints you upon putting it in your mouth, where you discover that it’s made out of sesame seeds, or fruit-medicine-leftovers, or some insane variety of red beans.
So, it’s rare to find the good stuff from back home, the nice man-made, synthetic, last-through-a-full-washing-machine-and-dry-cycle goodness. However, even with all that being said, there are few pleasures which exceed eating good candy with chopsticks. They are arguably the world’s greatest utensil ever. I use ‘arguably’ in the same sense I would use it when saying that Raphael was just ‘arguably’ the coolest Ninja Turtle by a mile times the distance between the Earth and the Sun, or when saying that bears of the gummy variety are ‘arguably’ the most delicious and easy-to-mix-with-ice-cream form of bear.
I only bring up this ‘too much of a good thing’ business because I don’t want to ruin what may be perhaps the best food item I’ve ever experienced. In a lot of ways, the Christian life is a walk from glory to glory; I am so very sorry that I’m about to connect these two things, but expressed in a curious microcosm, I find this idea perfectly displayed in my steady march from revelatory dessert to revelatory dessert.
There have been many which have come and gone and left their indelible mark, most notably the Snocones of Allen and then the gelato of Buenos Aires. But this present goodness?
My first encounter with it was by chance on my first visit to Hong Kong. It was found by the one person I’ve ever met who blows my love for ice cream out of the water. It was explosive in my thoughts even back then, before I knew I’d soon be moving here. After arriving, my mind’s eye remained at attention through every meandering day and exploring night, certain that in my wandering I would eventually happen upon that glorious little ice shop. Just over a week here, after dropping an old friend off at his hotel, I walked a new way home, through a neon street. With a start, I was suddenly certain that I was on the same avenue which housed the incredible ice shop. I found it after a brief search and walked inside, taking it all in.
It was surreal, like a silly dream. That first visit led to one of the most intense experiences of my life, in a less hyperbolic sense than I may be implying. I won’t ever forget that first ice, a Strawberry with Kiwi Syrup on a bed of Pineapple and Passion Fruit & Strawberry gushers.
Since then, I’ve returned a handful of times, never without a companion to accompany me on the magical journey. The amount of ice is just right. It’s the perfect equivalent to One-and-a-Half-Subway-Sandwiches, or Five Cookies, or One-Half of a Laffy Taffy. The composition, though I can’t give it a fitting description, is flavored ice, shaved from a circular block and delicately folded into a dramatic little mountain sitting on top of juice gushers and fruit, with a shot of flavored syrup drizzled on top. It’s the perfect balance between creamy and icy, and you can play food-Jenga with the way you carve away at it. For those of you who are visiting soon, prepare. For those of you who are visiting later, be forewarned.
The renown of this little ice shop will spread across the land.