Tag Archives: bent spoon ice cream

From Dishwasher to Exec Chef; Upcoming Events: 1 on Nature & Creativity & the other, Halloween Fun; News re Brick Farm Tavern & First Field Ketchup

3 Princeton Area Chefs Tell Their Stories of Working Their Way from the Bottom Rung to the Top of the Restaurant Kitchen Ladder


For the 2016 Harvest Dining issue of US 1, I approached executive chefs at 3 of the Princeton area’s most popular and revered food establishments for the stories of how they navigated their way from the lowest to the top position. That all 3 are Hispanic immigrants with no English at the start speaks volumes. (Donald T***p please take note.) Read about the journeys of Juan Mercado of One53, Jose Lopez of Nassau Street Seafood, and Edgar Urias of Blue Point Grill here.


Nature-as-Muse Workshops at Princeton’s Mountain Lakes Preserve Feature Successful Perfumer, Food Artisan, Graphic Designer, and Poet


Gab Carbone of the Bent Spoon, Courtesy Princeton Echo

The bad news is that this series of October workshops mounted by Friends of Princeton Open Space is sold out. The good news is there probably will be more to come. So if you’re interested in upping your creativity quotient, check out this unique series of open-air walks and a related workshop. Each is led by a different successful professional on four consecutive Sundays: a perfumer from Firmenich (scent), an independent graphic designer (color), a poet (words), and the inimitable Gab Carbone of the Bent Spoon ice cream shop (flavor).

I share all the fascinating details here, in the October issue of the Princeton Echo. Bonus: Get to know Princeton mover-and-shaker Fran McManus, the genius behind the workshops.

Halloween Fun for Grown-ups and New Milestones for Brick Farm Tavern and First Field (the NJ Ketchup Folks)

Food for Thought logoCheck out my “Food for Thought” column in October’s Princeton Echo for details on:

  • Tre Piani & Planet Apothecary teaming up for their Witches & Warlocks Ball
  •  Menu details for the upcoming (and already sold out) dinner at the Beard House by Brick Farm Tavern Chef Greg Vassos on October 22
  • The newest product from the First Field Jersey Ketchup folks which surprised even owners Theresa Viggiano & Patrick Leger in its popularity. (Hint: it’s not ketchup)

Gab Carbone: Mad Genius of Ice Cream

Just when I think Gab Carbone of The Bent Spoon in Princeton absolutely cannot invent another flavor combo that will blow my mind, she does. In spades.

Twice within the last two weeks in fact. First, she developed a custom flavor for my friends George and Helen of Lawrenceville. They were the recipients of an auction item – 1o pints of your own custom flavor! – which Gab and partner Matt Errico offer regularly to worthy nonprofits, such as McCarter Theatre, Housing Initiatives of Princeton, and Slow Food USA. (Two years ago, Carbone tells me, a bidding war erupted at the Stonybrook-Millstone Watershed auction that resulted in a winning bid of more than $1000! For ice cream!)

I was lucky enough to share in George & Helen’s bounty. Their custom flavor of choice? Herb honey (Airborne brand, from New Zealand), candied pistachios, and fresh ricotta.  Unbelievably good. I would have been happy for months going on the just the taste memory of that, but then last week I got to try another crazy-scientist-slash-culinary-artist concoction.

Actually, several of them. Gab was responsible for dessert at the eight-course “Collaborative Feast: Princeton Chefs Give Back” dinner at elements restaurant. A portion of the proceeds from the dinner benefited the Princeton Community Foundation. Each course preceding dessert was rich and memorable, so when it came time for dessert my tablemates and I began mumbling about perhaps not having room for it.

Then the first wave of a three-part ice cream dessert fantasy arrived. To say we approached our Pretzels & Mustard Hot Fudge Sundae with trepidation would be an understatement. But hesitation gave way to ecstasy with first spoonful. The mustard wasn’t shy, and yet it was perfect. The pretzels, well yes, salt and crunch are always welcome. But mustard? With chocolate sauce? I’m telling you, it works. In short order, we were also the beneficiaries of three mini-floats, in flavors that were nominally
“root beer” and “cassis” and “chocolate,” but made with exotic ingredients like a clear liquor infused with rare cacao nibs. Then came mini sugar cones filled with butter and Scotch ice cream. Not butterscotch as we know it, but butter and a smoky, peaty 15-year-old Scotch. (I think Gab said Laphroaig, but I could be mistaken.)

Flickr photo by a fan in Tokyo

In truth, the flavors available on any given day at the Bent Spoon shop on Palmer Square  are just as interesting (and often just as counter-intuitive). They change daily – sometimes several times within a day – and here are just three November choices:

Wild Turkey Bourbon with Sea Salt Caramel

Olive & Mustard Oil

Cranberry Mostarda

For the less adventurous, there are more conventional but just as tasty ice cream and sorbet flavors, including cookies & cream, chocolate cinnamon, mocha chunk, mascarpone, and Sicilian blood orange.  The Bent Spoon team has created more than 500 flavors to date, all told.

Here’s my first holiday shopping tip of the season: Gift certificates to the Bent Spoon! If you happen to have someone who doesn’t like ice cream on your list, cans of their ridiculously rich European-style hot chocolate mix can’t miss. And my daughters regularly give their friends super-cool Bent Spoon T-shirts, which feature a tiny map of NJ, reflecting  Carbone & Errico’s dedication to using local ingredients.

Check out this charming YouTube video of Gab and Matt at work.