A new ice cream place in Dallas promises to bring us the frozen treat executed with unparalleled exactitude. Called Roomie's Ice Cream, it will debut at the Dallas Farmers Market shed on July 9, where it will be set up thereafter on Thursday nights and all day on Fridays.
Owner Mark Wang comes with a resume tailor-made to create the perfect ice cream. His father and uncle are both chefs and his family has owned restaurants, so he has a heightened awareness of food. But his profession as an engineer — he works for Bell Helicopter — means that he takes the science of ice cream very seriously.
It was a trip to some of San Francisco's legendary ice cream shops that inspired him to do something on his own.
"I went to Bi-Rite Creamery and Humphry Slocombe, where the ice cream is amazing," he says. "I came back to Dallas and saw that there was nothing like that here. I also wanted to do different flavors and different tastes. That's how it all started."
Some of the flavors he's developed incorporate herbs such as basil, lemongrass, thyme and rosemary. He's done a tres leches ice cream studded with cake bits, and a browned-butter ice cream with butter waffles. Even his "regular" flavors like chocolate get a culinary upgrade via gourmet ingredients such as Callebaut and Tcho chocolate.
At the market, he'll serve six flavors at a time, with three standards and three flavors that he'll rotate.
"You have to have vanilla, chocolate and strawberry," he says. "My version is a honey vanilla, a double dark chocolate with Callebaut, and balsamic strawberry. My other three flavors are peanut butter with blueberry syrup, ginger, and Earl Grey tea."
To get a glimpse of how he works: For that peanut butter, he makes his own peanut butter and blueberry syrup. His ginger ice cream is made with chunks of real ginger, and it comes striated with a grapefruit syrup he also makes himself. The Earl Grey tea he makes by steeping tea first. He makes his own waffle cones, too.
"The most important thing with ice cream is texture," he says. "It has to be creamy. A lot of ice creams are icy. Or they leave a filmy taste in your mouth. You've got to get the texture right. From there, you need to get the flavor right."
Refreshingly, he won't be gouging on price. A waffle cone is $1 and the ice cream is $2 a scoop. The stand at the market, which will be open Thursdays from 4-9 pm and Fridays from 8 am-5 pm, is somewhat of an interim deal. "I like mom-and-pop shops, and I hope that eventually I can have my own ice ceram shop," he says. "For now, I am just trying to make a great ice cream."