Over the years, Salt & Straw has been getting some big attention, in some ways peaking in 2019 when the legendary Jeff Goldblum profiled the Portland-based company for his The World According to Jeff Goldblum.
Now Eugeneans won’t have to drive all the way to Portland to grab some ice cream from Salt & Straw to have the experience Goldblum had. On Oct. 13 the company announced that in 2022 it will be opening a location in the Oakway Center (downtown still needs an ice cream joint, by the way). And to celebrate the news, Salt & Straw sent Eugene Weekly five pints of its ice cream, ranging from non-dairy to wild recipes.
In the press release, the company’s CEO and co-founder Kim Malek said, “It’s always been a dream to open a shop in Eugene and we’re so excited to see this location come to fruition.”
She added that they’ve been collaborating with the University of Oregon and Eugene spice businesses, such as Red Ape Cinnamon and Singing Dog Vanilla. The company also announced it’s opening a store in Beaverton.
Since it’ll be months until the Oakway Center store opens, EW hopped on the chance to taste some of the Salt & Straw menu — a small sample of the company’s large array of offerings. And if you’re unsure about waiting in line all the time for Salt & Straw, the company has its Pints Club, so the ice cream can be mailed to you (as well as some cool dry ice).
EW staff started with Salted, Malted, Cookie Dough. As the name suggests, this is filled with cookie dough bites. With all of the ingredients combined, one taster says it gave her flashbacks to chomping on Whoppers at the movie theater.
Next was the Double Fold Vanilla. Some may think vanilla is a boring old flavor, but Salt & Straw’s isn’t bland — though it doesn’t venture out into the wild vanilla world. The ice cream is simple and one staffer says it’s a good accompaniment for something like pie or cake.
When EW’s faithful dessert server (aka this reporter) opened the lid for the Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons, he was amazed by the pool of caramel on top — and almost dropped some on his shoes. The caramel is definitely center stage of the recipe, and when brought together with the sea salt ice cream base, it’s a fun salty/sweet combination. One taster says the caramel reminds her of a Werther’s Original — or as she says, “grandpa candy.”
After all that dairy, EW went the non-dairy route with the Freckled Mint Tcho-colate Ice Cream. Since the base of the ice cream is coconut cream, it right away may divide some eaters, as it did with one at EW who holds fast and true to the traditional dairy mint chocolate chip. But for others, the ice cream is reminiscent of Springfield-based So Delicious.
EW wrapped up with the main event fit for those who love chocolate: Chocolate Gooey Brownie. This ice cream is a chocolate base and filled with large chunks of brownie. Sure, it’s rich. But for the most part, the pint equally distributes the chocolate brownie, so there’s a little bit in every bite.
So what were EW’s favorites? A few were too quiet while eating the Chocolate Gooey Brownie, marking it their favorite, but there were also votes for the non-dairy and the Salted, Malted, Cookie Dough. Either way, EW felt as overwhelmed with sweetness as Goldblum was when he tasted Salt & Straw for his TV show.