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Ice Cream Chronicles (Yr. 4): The Second Time Around


"But you can't keep runnin' away from love
'Cause the first one let you down, no, no, no
And though others try to satisfy you, baby
With me true love can still be found
Love can still be found

The second time around
Ooh, the second time is so much better, baby"
"The Second Time Around" - Shalamar

An underrated factor in trending food lies in its visual appeal, especially in a world where Instagram continues to entice the eyes of millions of users. One of these foods that has washed ashore in the United States relatively recently is "pan-fried" ice cream, more commonly referred to here as Thai Rolled. Popular in many Asian countries, the basic frozen creation is created when a milk base is poured onto a very cold metal plate. Once solid enough, the ice cream is scraped off the surface into figurative rolls. Enhancements and mix-ins can be added in at various parts of the process.

As one might gather from the lyrics, there is a hint of redemption in this particular Ice Cream Chronicles post, and it comes with a relatively new arrival in Columbus' Simply Rolled.

The first time around was somewhat disappointing
I first got to try Simply Rolled when they were a pop-up operation at various festivals and brick-and-mortar restaurants around the area. I don't know if it was an off day or not, but the photo above kind of tells the whole story of disappointment. Sampled at the first annual 4th & Main BBQ event in Downtown Columbus last year, I noticed that while the taste was decent (the base flavors are vanilla and matcha), the distinctive roll structure was barely noticeable and the amount of ice cream received for my $6 was pretty paltry. 

However, I did come to realize that the weather (which was quite summer toasty) probably didn't do the process any favors, and then heard that Simply Rolled had been bought out by Short North newcomer Oats & Barley Market to give it a permanent home.  With the warmer months coming up, I figured it was time to give it a second chance.


As I found out, the general concept had changed little from its pop-up version in terms of preset and create-your-own options. The changes that I did notice were positive ones: an enhancement in the number of mix-ins (well over twenty now) as well as an increase in capacity (up to three cold metal plates can produce this unique treat.)

Not unlike Cleveland's Piccadilly Creamery, which uses liquid nitrogen to produce its ice cream (as detailed in this 2016 blog post), part of the money you spend on Simply Rolled's sweet treats gets you a show. When all three stations are going at the same time, you can get a rather rhythmic cacophony of both sound and motion.



The finished product was most definitively a much more satisfying affair. The ice cream rolls produced had that Instagram-appeal quality, the volume of ice cream was much more in line with the price (it took a bit of adjusting for my server to get the signature five rolls into the cup) and the setup and indoor setting ensured that your creation won't melt away earlier than desired (there's not much in the way of seating here, but they don't seem to mind you standing indoors while enjoying your cup like I did.) The only negative I can see is that even with three stations, the meticulous process involved means you're going to wait a bit for your order when compared to your average scoop shop.


Moreover, this seems to be a great way to get more traffic into the Oats & Barley Market itself. While I'm not a resident of the Short North, my impression was that it's a perfect place for the neighborhood resident to pick up a few things (many of the products are of the organic variety, with quite a few locally produced goods) or adult beverages (a fairly nice selection of wines and local craft beers were available) without having to travel longer distances up High Street toward the Clintonville supermarkets or Downtown to the Hills Market.

Simply Rolled Ice Cream
(South entrance of the Oats & Barley Market)
970 N. High Street (Short North - Google Maps)
Columbus, OH 43201
(614) 914-8624

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