Interview: Lake Effect Ice Cream

For those who haven’t experienced the delicious-ness of Lake Effect Ice Cream, you really are missing out.  Since 2008, Erik and Jason (pictured above, left to right) have been making some unique flavors of ice cream in our own back yard.  Flavors like: Chocolate Chicken Wing, Crystal Beach Loganberry and Frozen Hot Chocolate have been sold in pints in several stores across Western New York.  They’ve even started to collaborate with other local food vendors; they currently are releasing “Chocolate Therapy” which is made with DiCamillo’s Chocolate Biscotti di Prato!  This week they announced another collaboration with Broadway Market’s own Chrusciki Bakery for a “Cinnamon Toast” flavor that will incorporate pieces of their famous Angel Wings.

What started as a hobby for two high school teachers has turned into a full fledged business, just last month they moved into a new kitchen and are planning to have a shop open for the summer time.  Even though I’ve only tried one flavor, the Crystal Beach Loganberry, I can verify they are doing some amazing things and encourage everyone to buy a pint and try it for themselves.  You can find a list of stores/ice cream shops that are currently serving up some Lake Effect goodness on their website.

I got a hold of Jason and Erik via email and asked them some questions about their favorite places to eat, drink and hang out in Western New York.  Here’s what they had to say…..

Where are some of your favorite places to eat in Buffalo?

Jason: My wife and I like to deviate from the standard menu. We have had a great time at Sample on Allen (because you can taste everything on the menu and the honey lavender martinis are amazing) and had a great lunch recently at Betty’s (unbelievably fresh and creative offerings).

Erik: On our first date after having our second child, my wife and I used Urbanspoon to randomly find Wine on Third in Niagara Falls.  The creative and diverse small plates, as well as the atmosphere, made for an awesome night out.

Where do you like to grab a drink or relax on the weekends?

Jason: We live in Lockport, and if we are looking for a great local meal we often head out to Zambistro in Medina (a hidden gem) or to DeFlippo’s in Lockport for excellent homestyle Italian. If we head out of Lockport we often seem to end up at Shango. Great beer selection, very relaxed and an amazing take on a creole style ahi tuna.

Erik: Recently, we’ve gravitated towards Sea Bar if we’re in that area (recommend trying the whole menu-even Bourdain’s Last Meal).  However, we noticed we’re having a hard time keeping enough red wine in the house-if you know what I mean…

If you had a friend visiting from out of town, Where would you take them for a good “Buffalo time?

Jason: Friday night Jazz and wings at the Anchor Bar is Buffalo at its best! Or a night out to see the Queen City Roller Girls at the Rainbow Rink in NT is always a riot!  If we head deeper into the city, a Mason Winfield ghost tour to take in some Buffalo history, followed by dinner at Tempo, is a great choice.

Erik: In addition to hitting all the ‘must tastes’ (Mighty Taco, Reids in Lockport, Anderson’s for roast beef…) Brew Pub and Pearl Street have great selections of beers, and also the walk-ability of downtown and North Buffalo make it possible for quick stops in and out to show them around.

What are some food memories you have from your childhood?

Jason: This is big for me. My Italian grandmother, Rosie from Cheektowaga, embodied all that cooking is to me. The amount of fresh veggies that she pulled out of her backyard garden could feed her family and more, much more! If she couldn’t grow it, then it was off to the Broadway Market. Everything was fresh. I think she is the reason why eating local is so important to me. Her soup and Italian cookies were favorites and I often make her stuffed artichokes for my family.

Erik: An opportunity to grab a sandwich at the Aud Club during a Sabres game was a really cool night out as a kid.  Years later we’d go to the Poor Man’s Aud Club on the first level.

Is there any food/cuisine you wish Western New York had more of?

Jason: I love Thai and Japanese food. Living in Lockport , we have no nearby places serving either. I would love a simple, high quality sushi bar nearer to home. Also, if Spot Coffee feels like opening a small place in Lockport, I would be eternally grateful.

Erik: A true New York deli in every neighborhood, complete with the smells, the accents, the attitudes, and the 10 lb sopressata hanging in the window.  Oh, and maybe a coal oven pizzeria, but that’s probably illegal…

Bonus Question: Are there any ice cream places you went to as a kid that have influenced/inspired your Lake Effect creations?

Jason: I think the biggest inspiration to me is the lack of creativity in ice cream. Most ice cream parlors serve the same thing, place after place. We are making it our mission to change that.

Erik: In high school, I worked at a couple scoop shops in Lockport.  On slow days, I always found myself experimenting with different flavors and toppings.  Also, a cool place in Boston’s Faneuil Hall called Steve’s Ice Cream.  Too bad I didn’t take any notes!

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We’d like to thank Jason and Erik for taking time out of their busy schedules of making delicious ice cream to answer our questions.  Make sure the next time you are shopping at Tops or Premiere Gourmet you keep an eye out for one of their pints.  You can also follow them on facebook (they’ve already surpassed 2,500 fans!) or you can follow them on twitter.

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