The Tip of the Iceberg

Like those who attended the first Sex Pistols concert, I too like to take credit for discovering

something revolutionary: the iceberg.

In 1996, I attended Grade 9 at the now-defunct Christ the King Junior Secondary on Nisutlin Drive in Riverdale. As the days of spring took hold, it was not uncommon for me to walk downtown after school with my friends Chris Fozard and Adam Scheck (codiscoverers). Our route took us right by Riverside Grocery, which sold both slurpees and chocolate malts. But, in a moment of divine inspiration, someone at that iconic establishment decided to offer a third option by combining slurpee and malt into one: the iceberg.

On one such sunny sojourn, I ordered an iceberg with cola-fl avoured slurpee and never looked back.

The construction of an iceberg is similar to that of an archaeological dig; it’s built in layers, and through the clear plastic cups in which they are served, you can see exactly where one layer ends and another begins.

The bottom layer is composed of chocolate malt, the middle is all slurpee, and the top is chocolate, again. You can replace the malt sections with vanilla ice cream, but I consider this an amateur move.

When you start your iceberg adventure, you have to choose which layer to draw from by setting the depth of your straw. Each layer is delicious in its own right, so it’s a choice with no wrong answer. However, during this initial stage, the owner of the iceberg can’t help but feel the anticipation building. That’s because, unlike an archeological dig in which the layers maintain a fi rm integrity, the levels of an iceberg begin to melt into each other. And that’s when the magic happens.

When just the right amount of malt melts into just the right amount of slurpee, and your straw happens upon this sweet-spot, the harmony your taste-buds experience is almost transcendent; it’s like having Simon and Garfunkel in your mouth at the same time. Turn your dirty minds off. And so, ever since that fateful day in the spring of 1996, I have been a devotee of the iceberg. But there’s a caveat.

I’ve tried different varieties of slurpee in my iceberg and they are all good, but only colafl avour takes me to the top of the mountain. So it was horribly disappointing when Riverside Grocery stopped serving my preferred slurpee choice. I still ordered icebergs from time-to-time and I made-do with root beer instead of cola, but as I consumed my drink I waited for the quasi-religious experience I used to expect, but it never came.

More often then not I just ordered the chocolate malt by itself. But then, about a month ago, I went back into Riverside Grocery and discovered that colaflavoured slurpee was back on the menu.

My soul quivered, and I ordered a medium iceberg. It was every bit as good as my teenage self remembers it being. Since then I’ve made a few more detours past Riverside Grocery, and I intend to make a few more.

Bring on the summer; it’s iceberg season.

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