As my visits to Tasti D-Lite became increasingly frequent, I realized what kept me coming back was the excitement and intrigue that comes with the flavors of the day. Why every flavor looks like chocolate or vanilla is as much a mystery to me as it is to you, but this blog aims to serve as a repository for reviews on and pictures of each Tasti flavor--enjoy!

Have pictures, reviews, or news? E-mail!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Essay: "Tiramisu Frozen Dessert"

It's been ten days since the only Tasti D-Lite in Connecticut "closed for the season," so posting will continue to be light here at Tasti D-Lited for a bit.

Today, I share with you a piece I wrote about about Tasti D-Lite for an English class last spring. It takes a more negative view of Tasti D than I personally hold, but I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

Tiramisu Frozen Dessert
by Sam

One thing is for certain: I love Tasti D-Lite’s tiramisu “frozen dessert.

Nothing beats the feeling you get when you walk into a “Tasti D,” impulsively looking to the back to discover the two flavors of the day, and one of them just perfectly fits your mood. Every day, Tasti D offers four frozen dessert flavors. There is always Dutch Chocolate and French Vanilla, either of which is suitable as a last resort. The real points, however, are won by the other two flavors, which are chosen each day from a list of over 100 innovative flavors plastered on the wall. This lottery feature makes eating frozen dessert not only delicious, but surprising and nerve-racking!

Tasti D frozen dessert is essentially frozen yogurt, but, for legal reasons presumably, cannot be referred to as such. The special formula reduces the caloric and fat content of the frozen dessert to a fraction of your everyday frozen yogurt, making eating at Tasti D not only delicious, surprising, and nerve-racking, but also healthy! And best of all, as its website proudly proclaims, it’s kosher, as well!

Tasti D was started in New York about a decade ago and received instant notoriety (it’s “New York’s favorite dessert!”), and some of the original, more popular stores publish the all-important flavor schedule on a website. To me, though, that’s akin to telling sending a five year old an e-mail on Christmas Eve listing the presents he’s going to receive the next morning. I like to imagine that until the moment I step into the store, the flavors of the day have yet to be decided, and as I push the door open, the frozen dessert gods scan my soul and offer flavors as some sort of karmic redemption. And, today, when I stepped into the only Tasti-D in Connecticut and saw tiramisu in bold letters next to the Dutch Chocolate, I knew I had done something right.

Tiramisu is my (although, I now know, not New York’s) favorite dessert. Nothing matches the unique combination of flavors and textures that a good tiramisu offers. When I visited Rome this summer, I tried 15 different tiramisus and kept a journal, determined to find the best authentic incarnation. I walked up to the counter and happily ordered a large cup of tiramisu ‘dessert’ from the cashier, who looked like a perfect cross of my grandfather and Sanjaya, the androgynous Indian from American Idol. I paid and left a dollar in the tip jar as an offering to the kind frozen dessert gods. You can’t help it—Tasti D makes you religious.

I was nervous as I took the first precious bite of my dessert and slowly realized it was the most perfect ice cream-ish substance I had ever eaten—it beautifully captured the delicate balance of flavors, while offering a new cold and frozen interpretation. A wave of euphoria overcame me as I dug back in. On the second nibble, I noticed a hint of cinnamon and an undertone of egg. I was careful to savor every precious molecule of frozen dessert and let no extraneous thoughts distract me from this little piece of heaven embodied in a tasty treat.

Each successive bite provided new insight into what made the dessert so powerful. In a trance, I impulsively moved the spoon from the bowl, to my mouth, and back to the bowl. I felt like Moses at the top of the mountain, except I was in the promised land. Somehow I felt sure that when Moses ate his manna, he imagined it tasted like artificial tiramisu frozen dessert. Suffice it to say, I, like Moses, was on top of the world.

Inevitably, however, I felt the heaven in my hand become lighter and lighter as I found myself down to my last few bites. I judiciously selected a portion to cherish, letting it melt in my mouth, the flavor soaking into my taste buds. I closed my eyes and reveled in the high. However, all good things must come to an end, and soon it was unavoidable—I was down to my final bite, and a wave of panic overcame me.

This may be the last bite I will ever have of the best frozen dessert flavor in the world, I realized. After all, assuming an unbiased rotation, I would have to happen upon Tasti D on the lucky one of 50 days to have my tiramisu again. I had three options, I quickly realized

    1) continuously buy Tiramisu frozen dessert until, Matilda-style, I will never want it again (suddenly, Tasti D’s business model emerges)

    2) check the New York menus every day and take the two-hour train ride the next time they carry my precious tiramisu

    3) return to Tasti D every day until they happen to have it again.

As I pondered my three desperate options, I stared at the dollar I put in the tip car and considered reaching in to take it back. What did I do to deserve this? Desperate, nothing seemed out of the realm of possibility—I could steal the tiramisu recipe from behind the counter (where it must be kept), so I could make the concoction every day in my bathtub. Better yet, I could move and live near the Tasti D production plant, forming a relationship with the security guard who would provide me with my daily tiramisu fix. I could start a blog and letter writing campaign to replace chocolate with tiramisu as a standard flavor, creating corny catchphrases about how much I “misu” the flavor every day.

Looking at my bowl, I did the only thing in my power and took that last bite. I felt like Jesus at the Last Supper. And “ice cream” that makes you feel like Jesus at the Last Supper is hardly what I paid for. Tasti D may be delicious, surprising, nerve-racking, healthy, kosher, and religious, but, more than anything, it is heart-breaking, and for that I unequivocally hate Tasti D.

More specifically, I hate Tasti D-Lite’s tiramisu frozen dessert.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Closed for the Season

Yesterday, I experienced one of the most horrible occurrences of my life. It had been four days since my last Tasti fix, and I had the feeling that the flavors of the day were going to be goodies. I thought of all the times this week I was going to go to Tasti, making the most of the time before it got really cold. As I walked down High St., through some sort of Pavlovian conditioning, my mouth began to water, and I got excited. Until I was confronted with one of the greatest shocks of my life.

My local Tasti D. The only Tasti D in the entire state of Connecticut. Covered up. Closed. For the Season. This is a hardship I certainly would wish upon no one. What does "the season" entail? Is it not going to open until March!? Why would they do this? How much could it cost to operate one Tasti location through the long, hard winter? We all need all the happiness we can get come wintertime. And with no warning! Just sprung upon me--as if the teacher didn't announce a pop quiz at the beginning of class, but a pop exam.

So. Alas. I clearly I have no choice in the matter, so there will be little-to-no Tasti the rest of this "season." As for Tasti D-Lited, it will obviously slow down as well. I should be in New York several times this season and will certainly make several Tasti excursions. (Send in reviews of your own, if you're in Tasti range!) I will continue reporting on Tasti news and Pinkberry/rivals news, but that certainly only comes in spurts.

In any case, this is a sad day for all. Let us mourn.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Columbia Pinkberry Report

Our New York correspondent NYC TB sends us a report on a trip to the new Columbia Pinkberry. Note to all: avoid the "shaved ice."
The shaved ice was basically the kitchen sink. And it cost $8. And it was ridiculous. And I think Lili is the only person who has ever ordered it. It was ridonkulous. Pinkberry is always crowded but I think it's just the novelty. It's SO EXPENSIVE too. And I tried getting the medium with three toppings for lunch and I was hungry by 4 and I had lunch at 1. It's good, but not extraordinary in anyway, and definitely doesn't have whatever it is that is so amazing about jamba that is so consistently godly. Maybe the fact that jamba doesn't have this weird mystique and is always fun and happy and would you like a free boost? Pinkberry is good occasionally, but I definitely can't afford to go there every day. I've been getting original with bananas, strawberries, and kiwi, which is a good mixture of different textures as well as mild and strong, sweet and sour tastes. Original is REALLY GOOD with bananas. I'm thinking of getting the medium sometime and just asking for three servings of bananas because they're awesome!
Still too early to tell what effect this Pinkberry will have on the popular Columbia Tasti D in what is the first real Tasti-Berry showdown.