Forward to late last year. While driving on the very northern reaches of Columbus proper on Smoky Row Road, I spotted in passing a somewhat colorful sign off in the distance in an otherwise unremarkable small strip mall along Hard Road. When I saw "Mardi Gras" on the sign, I figured it might be some party supply store or something similar.
I didn't think too much about it again until I happened to drive through that area a few days later and spotted it from afar. Curiosity got the best of me this time and I decided to look it up on the Internet.
Okay, ice cream...with VERY interesting Indian flavors? I tell my spouse and she agrees - we'll need to make a visit to check it out. Sounds good - mark it down for future reference...
Fast forward to a few weeks back, after a hot and sweaty bike ride with my spouse in the Westerville area. My spouse makes a suggestion that just reinforces the numerous reasons why I traveled all this way from the West Coast to marry her - "Hey, why don't we go try Mardi Gras since we'll be near there?"
After samplers of the Fire and Ice (no kidding - this one has some serious burn) and the Anjeer (fig), my spouse stuck with one adult-sized scoop ($2.99) of the latter. As it turned out, the Anjeer was perhaps too subtle as a whole; little of the fig flavor infused into the ice cream base in comparison with the actual chunks of the fig fruit scattered within.
As for me, I sampled the papaya (probably one my choices for a return visit) and custard apple, then just decided to dive in with the International Trio Sampler ($8; three kid-sized scoops of any of Mardi Gras' international flavors.)
One definite for me was the mango, which was the lone flavor that I could give a one-on-one comparison with my childhood favorite Mitchell's version. I went blind and threw in the Chickoo (made of Sapodilla fruit native to the tropical regions in North and South America and brought over to Asia during the Spanish colonization) and Kesar Pista (pistachio, almond with saffron spice with just a hint of cardamom) just out of sheer intrigue.
All typical ice cream accoutrements (sundaes, sprinkles, cones, etc.) are available as well as some interesting looking cakes with and without ice cream. Pints, quarts and gallons of their ice cream are also available for purchase, with occasional buy one or buy three/get one free notifications posted on their Facebook page.
When considering the whole experience, some may balk at the Jeni's-esque pricing here for the ice cream scoops ($2.99 for the first adult-sized scoop, $2.75 for each additional scoop; kid-sized scoops follow a similar pricing structure at $2.65 first/$2.25 additional.) But based on our first tasting experience, it's easy to tell that the owners here put as much love and care into their unique flavors as Ms. Bauer does with hers. And the numerous pictures of happy customers on the wall here say that not a lot of other people seem to mind the pricing either.
Mardi Gras Homemade Ice Cream
1947 Hard Road (Summerwood/Northwest Columbus)
Columbus, OH 43235