TMA'ed while jamming to Nervous Mark McCabe Remix by Gavin James
Temi: Last week or so we had the pleasure to join Nutty Squirrel at the one year anniversary celebration of their Phinneywood location.
Mari: Mind you, this isn't our first rodeo at Nutty Squirrel. We've visited the Capitol Hill location before and their Ferrero Roche gelato is to die for. The gelato popsicles, which look drool-worthy on their Instagram, were more incentive to make the trek to Phinneywood location.
Temi: When we arrived, the party was already in full swing. They had a video game truck outside for kids, a mini lemonade stand and of course they were serving their gelato inside. We had the opportunity to meet the owners Alev and Tolga. They were kind enough to give us the inside scoop ( ha get it?!) on their process.
Mari: While Tolga repeatedly said making gelato is easier than it sounds, I beg to differ. They make fresh batches, in their Maple Valley kitchen, of each flavor the night before and depending on the flavor it takes 6-12 hours. The recipe curating is what takes him the longest and then they get into a rhythm where making the flavors is more like meditating. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that they have over 200 flavors! Ranging from seasonal to special occasion to nutty to regular, their flavors rotate in their three stores throughout the year.
Temi: We mentioned in an earlier post that they were a finalist in the world best gelato competition and from speaking with Tolga you could tell why. Their gelato is made with love. From their Dark Chocolate gelato made with cocoa specially brought from Italy to their Pistachio which is whipped into a butter like consistency during the gelato making process, all their flavors speak for themselves. I actually considered getting the pistachio, and for someone who hates all nuts and nut flavored things, that was shocking.
Mari: I basically tried all the flavors, but the Rice Pudding, Lemon Grisbi, Dark Chocolate, Pineapple Sorbet and Pistachio stood out the most. I didn't know it was possible to eat something that tasted exactly like rice pudding without the chunks of rice. The Lemon Grisbi is based on cookies from Italy and reminded me of the lemon cookies I ate during my childhood. I'm not really a sorbet fan because I like the creaminess of dairy, but this didn't even taste like it was non-dairy. I ended up making the tough decision of only getting three flavors and got the Rice Pudding, Dark Chocolate and Pistachio. I have zero regrets.
Temi: After some consideration, I ended up getting their lava cake with a scoop of Sea Salt Caramel and Stracciatella. You might consider those flavors to be basic, but their Stracciatella isn't even vanilla. It's pretty much their milk base with a few additional flavors and fine bits of chocolate. Yet, it tasted so rich!
Mari: After our full meal of gelato, we had Turkish Coffee gelato for dessert courtesy of Alev. While Tolga is the mastermind behind the gelato flavors, Alev is the brains behind the architecture and design of the store. The openness of the space and the tree on the wall gives it an inviting feel for all the families that live in the neighborhood. We left when the rush of families started to dwindle, but if the crowds are any indication, Nutty squirrel popularity is on the rise. Yes that means you should keep an eye out for another location soon.
It was wonderful meeting Alev and Tolga and seeing the connection they’ve made with folks in their community and learning about their gelato process. The gelato was creamy goodness and we've only had 5 - 6 flavors out of 200 so far. There is no doubt we will be back again, especially since we have yet to try those popsicles. We are also excited to see how far Tolga goes in next year's World Gelato Competition, all the way to the top, fingers crossed.
Wait time: None
Would we go back? Definitely
Halal Friendly? Yes
Mari devouring her 3 scoops.