Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Wheeler's piece in Tasting Table!

This actually came out last week -- sigh -- I am resigning myself to being woefully behind. But can you blame me? It is so gorgeous outside these days -- when given a choice between updating my blog and going for a run along the river at sunset with the dog, it's a fairly easy decision to make.

Anyhow, here's the link to my piece on Wheeler del Torro, who's a bit of a local legend here in Boston.

I first heard about him through my friend Emilie Hardman of the Conscious Kitchen, whose photography accompanies my piece. Back in the day, Wheeler -- who's now a bit of a celeb, with a cookbook and cameo appearances at hipster parties around the country -- just made small batches on the side and delivered them to people he liked. To hear Emilie tell it, it was like meeting with a member of the mafia -- he'd call from a phone booth down the street or something, show up in his van, and make a drop. But instead of unmarked bills or body bags, she'd get delicious vegan ice cream, which she'd then pair with her tasty vegan desserts and serve to her customers.

Finally this guy got a brick and mortar store, and immediately started throwing highly illegal parties in the evenings which eventually got broken up by the police. (The Weekly Dig's Cara Bayles once wrote up a hilarious rundown of one of these busts for the Dig Blog.)

Anyhow, my friend Morgan was reminiscing about these parties (I never attended one, but she said they were great, obvs -- as if something that combines civil disobedience AND vegan ice cream could be anything but) and she inspired me to pitch a piece about Wheeler to TastingTable. Et voila!

Of course, it never would have happened if Wheeler didn't have the ability to sell ice cream nationwide, which is half the story. Turns out he'll ship his vegan ice cream in dry ice to anywhere in the continental U.S. for a price, and even make batches of custom flavors for you if you're willing to buy the whole run (a few pints). Hence, the peanut butter peppermint line in this story.

The crew and I had the privilege of trying his pepper curry and chocolate nut ice creams at the Ice Cream Showdown in Union Square a while back. (This was yet another one of Christine's amazing events, which she put together with the help of Grand, one of our favorite stores in all of Boston.)

Wheeler could not be coaxed to smile for the camera -- it was about a bajillion degrees out, and he had been scooping gloopy ice cream for free for two hours already -- but you have to love that he was rocking a cape: