Halo Top ice cream helped keep me sane this year

Ronald D. White, writing for The LA Times, on the rise of Halo Top ice cream:

With a $20 ice cream maker and a hunger for a more healthful indulgence, Los Angeles lawyer Justin Woolverton concocted a dessert that quickly developed a cult-like following. A few years later, his line of light ice cream, called Halo Top, has exploded into surprising market dominance. Halo Top recently bested stalwarts Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen-Dazs for the top sales spot in its niche — grocery store ice cream pints. “I thought, ‘This is really good. I’ll bet others will like it, too,’” Woolverton said, recalling the trial-and-error breakthrough made in his kitchen.

Halo Top’s appeal is simple: a no-shame pint of low-sugar, high-protein ice cream with just 240 to 360 calories for the entire carton. Vanilla, at the low end, compares with 1,000 calories for a Haagen-Dazs or Ben & Jerry’s pint. The gold foil that seals each Halo Top carton instructs “Save the bowl” or “Stop when you hit the bottom” — a nod to the way many fans consume the product.

I started a low-carb diet earlier this year and a consistent source of frustration was finding snacks that satisfied my sweet tooth without totally blowing up my diet. Halo Top fit that bill perfectly.

It’s an awesome, guilt-free treat, (especially if you don’t end up finishing the whole carton!). They deserve all the success they are getting and I hope to see Halo Tops in every grocery store soon.

The best meal I’ve ever had in my entire life

To get to the best restaurant in Washington State, and one of the best restaurants in the country, you first need to drive two hours north of Seattle and take a 10-minute ferry ride to get to Lummi Island (population: about 600). On the far side of the island is Willows Inn, run by Chef Blaine Wetzel. Wetzel is barely 30 years old, but in 2014, the James Beard Foundation named him Rising Star Chef of the Year and in 2015, he was awarded Best Chef Northwest.

The Willows Inn restaurant only operates for 3-4 nights per week. At capacity, the restaurant seats 34 people. There is one seating per night at 6 PM. The meal lasts three hours. Each person’s meal cost $200 with a mandatory gratuity.

Accede to these conditions and you will possibly have the best meal of your entire life. The setting is homey and welcoming. The service is friendly and informative. The food is exquisite and unique. Many of the ingredients are caught from the surrounding water, or harvested from surrounding vegetation and gardens. It feels like you are eating straight from the earth — in a good way.

Several of our fellow diners were here from out of state. They made the pilgrimage and they were well-rewarded. So, my advice: if you’ve never been, add this to the bucket list!

I was able to take some photos of the meal below, using a Fuji X-T2. Here are the dishes that were photographed:

toasted kale leaves
clams and scallops
oysters and wilcress
black cod and currant leaves
dungeness crab soaked in pinenuts
herb tostada
smoked mussels
reefnet caught smoked sockeye
lightly cured rockfish in a broth of grilled bones
steamed bok choy

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