Back when my hometown pharmacy had a soda fountain, my favorite thing to order was the vanilla ice cream soda: fizzy soda water straight from the fountain, vanilla syrup, a splash of milk, and a couple generous scoops of ice cream. Luckily with very little effort you can make an awesome ice cream soda in your own kitchen.
'vanilla beans' on Serious Eats
This recipe comes straight from one of my favorite places to eat in Chicago, Birrieria Zaragoza. All they serve is birria, a Mexican goat stew served with fresh thick tortillas, and it's impeccable, moan-worthy. But on my last pilgrimage, chef Jonathan Zaragoza offered me this dessert, the best panna cotta I've ever eaten.
I have long resented the use of the word "vanilla" to mean bland, blah, and boring. Real vanilla is deep and complex. Anyone who thinks vanilla is boring hasn't tasted this ice cream.
This is very lightly adapted from pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini's Scharffen Berger recipe. This cake turns out deliciously chocolatey and moist, with the beets imparting a subtle, earthy undertone. As Iuzzini put it, "It doesn't taste like beets; but if...