There's a notable vacancy in Chophouse Row as of last week, but the sad and unexpected departure of Ericka Burke's Chop Shop shouldn't stop you from going next door to try a strange new ice cream flavor at Kurt Farm Shop: Sichuan peppercorn.
First question: why? When it comes to lazy strolls through Capitol Hill while brandishing a scoop-adorned waffle cone like a summertime trophy, one does not generally dream of peppercorn.
According to Kurt Timmermeister, the idea was born from a book he pitched three years ago about growing Chinese food on his Vashon Island farm. While the proposal went nowhere, his new Sichuan peppercorn trees flourished and this year bore their red, spicy berries.
The ice cream tastes intensely of its source, sweeter and more acidic than black peppercorn—a surprising flavor that is somehow both refreshing and astringent. It also tingles like Pop Rocks and makes your mouth numb.
Don't feel like a square if this doesn't exactly sound like an indulgent afternoon treat. I couldn't get through a single scoop of the stuff before the flavor became overpowering. Instead I ate the waffle cone imbued with peppercornyness. But I could absolutely picture a quenelle of Timmermeister's unusual new creation garnishing a fancy dessert or even a summer vegetable. It might be weird, but it's a must-try.