The idea was simple in theory. A relaxing post-dinner trip over to the local market’s ice cream window to grab dessert. The important part here is in theory. Reality intervened in the form of Alexei, Svetlana and Katarina.
No, we have not acquired Russian immigrants during our travels. These individuals were the crack team assigned to work the ice cream hut during the evening rush.
The basic set-up is simple – you go up to Window #1, give Svetlana your order and pay. You then take one sidestep to your right to pick up your order from Alexei or Katarina. Think Soup Nazi from Seinfeld, but with ice cream.
Our orders were simple enough. Vanilla cone, vanilla hot fudge sundae, 2 rocky road cones, 2 vanilla mocha almond dishes, 2 birthday cake cones. (Yes, I got the birthday cake cone. Yes, I know I have the palate of a 10-year old. My favorite cereal remains Marshmallow Blast Froot Loops – in college, I could study for a good 20 hours at a clip on a box of that stuff. Along with Salsa and Sour Cream Doritos Thins, it’s the discontinued food item that I mourn the most.)
Perhaps we should have started to worry when Alexei (helpful subtitle of The Russian Boy on his nametag) announced “cookie cream!” as he hurled a dish of ice cream out of Window #2. Husband picked it up, as cookies and cream looks pretty similar to vanilla mocha almond. Nope, cookies and cream all the way.
Window #2 opened again. “Cookie cream cone!”
“Um, sir? We ordered vanilla mocha almond in a cup and a cone. Not cookies and cream.” Husband gallantly took the communication reins as he handed his dish back through the window. Alexei looked at Husband, then down at the ice cream now coming back into the booth. He turned to Svetlana and a heated Russian exchange occurred.
As I took a year of Russian in high school, I tried to follow along. However, the only words I really remember are “brown” and “I love you.” I can report that neither of these words were used by Alexei or Svetlana.
At this point, Katarina intervened and took over our order. Vanilla mocha almond confusion remedied. Birthday cake cones, no problem. Rocky road, check! Vanilla cone, da! We are on a Russian roll! Vanilla hot fudge sundae…..ohhhhh boy.
Generally, if an item is presented on a food vendor’s menu, I don’t think I’m completely out of line by assuming that I can purchase said item. Sure, items may run out, but if it’s on your menu board, you shouldn’t be completely confused on how to make a given dish.
The hot fudge sundae brought the inner workings of the ice cream shop to a complete standstill. First a dish of plain vanilla ice cream came out. “Sundae!”
(waving at window to get a comrade’s attention)
“Um, hi. We ordered a hot fudge sundae, not just plain vanilla ice cream.”
Dead shark eyes. Furrowed brow.
We tried again.
“Sundae? So we need some whipped cream and hot fudge on this ice cream.”
No response. Hand thrust through window – we give back the dish.
More Russian sparring.
Take 2. “Sundae!”
Deep breath. OK, we’re getting there. Now there is whipped cream on top of the ice cream.
(another friendly wave, now certain that we are in the process of restarting the Cold War)
“Hi, us again. Um…LOVE the whipped cream, so thank you for that, but we still need hot fudge on the sundae.”
Dead shark eyes. ANGRY furrowed brow.
“Yeah….um….so if you’d just put some hot fudge on top here, we’ll be good to go. Or, if you have hot fudge back there, we can even put it on, no big deal.”
Hand thrust through window. Sundae returned.
This time, the sundae is not alone when it’s plopped onto the window ledge. There’s also one of those squeeze tubes that they use at Starbucks for the caramel. This one is filled with a dark brown substance that we can only assume is (please for the love of all that’s good in the world let it be) fudge sauce.
“Oh, um, so you really took that whole ‘I’ll do it myself’ thing seriously, then. OK.”
Sundae experiment in cooperation complete, the window slams shut.
Poor guy behind us didn’t stand a chance. He ordered a banana split.