Location: Menomonie, Wisconsin
A few years before the start of the 2012 Olympic Games, the organizing committee in London followed the time-honored tradition of introducing curiosity-inducing mascots. In recent olympiads, they’ve often been the source of equal measures of ridicule and amusement, but this time, they took things to whole different stratosphere with straight-up unflinching weirdness. Despite being introduced as "Wenlock" and "Mandeville", no one could determine what they were, who they were, or what they were attempting to communicate—just nothing. They frightened both children and adults in equal measure, but happily for us all, the Games went on as without further disruption.
While I concede that this is primarily a pizza blog, I also see it as a lifestyle blog. Don’t worry: we’ll get back to pizza soon enough, but when my family and our good friends dined at Jeff’s in September 2016, the pizza buffet (always a sketchy way to judge a pizza) became essentially an afterthought. At the core of our dining experience stood an item that was inspired very much in a Wenlock and Mandeville sort of way, a truly puzzling offering in which the dessert world and I were completely unprepared for. I still have no idea what it was, or what message it tried to communicate, but together, we all grew both enraptured and horrified by a post-meal oddity that I can scarcely describe:
Start by filling a small, orange Home Depot bucket with Oreo filling. Tease it by adding one gallon of heavy cream and beat to to an almost liquid state before folding in an equal measure of room-temperature Cool Whip. Garnish with colorful doughnut sprinkles or pureed circus peanuts. After forgetting about it for 30-45 minutes, place it next to the pizza buffet, as close to the heat lamps as possible, before allowing customers to liberally self-serve with an oversized soup ladle. Tentatively sample the fluff using the plastic spork provided before discarding the remaining dessert.
Sadly, Jeff's closed up a few years after our visit, but fortunately, they have another store in Ames, Iowa, so we are not without options, because I really want to try this again. (1 of 10 stars)