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Ruby Jewel’s Scoops, Portland, OR

Pink and brown menu from Ruby Jewel's Scoops

Delicious Innovation

You can smell the freshly-made waffle cones before you ever see Ruby Jewel’s new storefront ice cream shop in the Mississippi neighborhood in Portland, Oregon. The sweet, cake-like smell draws you into the shop’s cool chocolate brown and bubblegum pink interior.

Ice cream between two cookies from Ruby Jewel's Scoops

Ruby Jewel’s limits their handmade ice cream offerings to 12 flavors like honey lavender and peanut butter dream.

Five years ago, Lisa Herlinger wowed Portlanders with her homemade ice cream sandwiches that she sold at the farmer’s market on the Portland State University Campus. These weren’t just any old ice cream sandwiches. Lisa, ever the creative one, put together surprising and delicious flavors – lemon cookie with honey lavender ice cream; dark chocolate cookie with fresh mint ice cream; cinnamon chocolate cookie with espresso ice cream, and more.

Portlanders flocked to her ice chest to buy. And the Whole Foods grocery chain came calling, wanting to carry Ruby Jewel’s ice cream sandwiches in their stores.

People still weren’t satisfied. Where could they buy fresh, hand-scooped Ruby Jewel ice cream, they demanded? Along came Becky Burnett, Lisa’s sister, and the two of them teamed up to open Ruby Jewel’s Scoops, the first retail operation for the company.

Unlike most ice cream stores, Ruby Jewel’s keeps it simple. They offer only 12 ice cream flavors – vanilla bean; fresh mint flake; espresso; double chocolate; caramel with salted milk chocolate; honey lavender; rocky road; banana cream pie; fresh strawberry; and peanut butter dream.

Sisters and creators of Ruby Jewel's Scoops

The retail ice cream shop is the brainchild of sisters Becky Burnett (left) and Ruby Jewel’s creator, Lisa Herlinger.

They also don’t let you see the ice cream before you buy it. “We rely on our severs to tell you about the ice cream,” says Becky, who will run the retail store. “Of course, you can also sample any of our flavors.”

Ice cream in waffle cone topped with honey and rosemary pecans

You can have your cone, dish, or sundae topped with any of Ruby Jewel’s homemade toppings. Here, honey lavender is topped with rosemary pecans.

The idea of keeping the flavors limited — and out of sight — came from Becky’s experience as a mom. “Kids are often overwhelmed when they come into an ice cream shop,” she says. “It’s easier for parents if the kids can’t see the ice cream.”

We’re not sure it’ll be kids lining up to buy Ruby Jewel’s scoops. With grown up flavors like creamy honey lavender with its floral accent of lavender and notes of honey, adults as well as kids will be scrambling for a cone (freshly-made waffle cones), a dish, a sundae, a hand-packed pint, or a build-your-own ice cream sandwich.

Woman scooping ice cream from dish at Ruby Jewel's Scoops

RFT Editor Bobbie Hasselbring indulges her inner kid with caramel with salted dark chocolate ice cream topped with dulce de leche sauce.

In addition to the ice cream, Ruby Jewel’s offers plenty of sophisticated toppings they make themselves, including homemade marshmallows, candied coconut. peanut brittle, salted nuts, whipped cream, and rosemary pecans (which would make a terrific appetizer all by themselves). Only the Meadows Salt (from a company located next door) and the colorful sprinkles aren’t made by Ruby Jewel’s. They also make a variety of sauces such as dulce de leche, with a sweet caramel-like flavor with ribbon-thin consistency.

RFT editors sampled several flavors, including the honey lavender (wonderful) and, our favorite, the caramel with salted dark chocolate. The caramel ice cream, like most of their flavors, is subtle. It’s topped with a third of an inch of rich, deep chocolate ganache. The caramel ice cream’s soft caramel flavor hits the tongue first, followed by the richness of the chocolatey ganache, and it’s all finished with just a hint of salt.

Freshly baked and hand-formed waffle cone

All the waffle cones at Ruby Jewel’s are freshly-baked and hand-formed.

Ruby Jewel’s moto is “All natural. All good.” That’s because all of Ruby Jewel’s ice cream, toppings, and sauces are made with natural, locally-grown ingredients. For instance, their mint is grown on a nearby farm and their hormone-free milk comes from Lochmead Dairy in Junction City, Oregon.

Real bottom line: If you want an ice cream treat that’s a little different and grownup, Ruby Jewel’s Scoops is a terrific place to indulge your inner kid. —BH & AW

Ruby Jewel’s Scoops
3713 N. Mississippi
Portland, OR
(503) 505-9314
www.rubyjewel.net

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Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor

RFT co-founder Bobbie Hasselbring has been a travel junkie her entire life. An award-winning writer and editor for more than 25 years and author of the regional food-travel bestsellers, The Chocolate Lover’s Guide to the Pacific Northwest and The Chocolate Lover’s Guide Cookbook, Bobbie is editor-in-chief at realfoodtraveler.com.