The last time I had Jell-O pudding, I think I was probably nine and toting a neon-colored lunchbox. This week was an entirely different story, as I was partially drunk enjoying Pinot Noir Jell-O pudding at clandestine cocktail bar JIMMY at The James Hotel. My nine-year-old self would be proud. Despite the boozy haze glossing over my eyes and my decisions, I can say with confidence that adult Jell-O pudding is miles ahead of my childhood Jell-O pudding, and it makes a surprisingly sublime pairing with JIMMY's potent roster of tipples.
Pudding is one of my favorite foods. Period. Jell-O pudding, however, is a different animal. As I grew older, I became tired of the jiggly, mildly sweet nothingness. It barely feels like I am consuming anything, and I'm pretty sure plain oxygen is more delicious than most Jell-O. So it was with trepidation and curiosity that I approached the "Jell-O" pudding at JIMMY, the sole dessert on the concise food menu. It arrives in a parfait glass looking like a pretty traditional Jell-O pudding dessert, what with the dome of whipped cream concealing all the complex goodness within. It starts with a base of rich chocolate pudding, which is divine in and of itself. Add in some devil's food cake to amplify the chocolatey Nirvana and adorn it all with Pinot Noir Jell-O in all its jiggly, intoxicating glory. The wine brings a robust dark fruit flavor to the pudding, imbuing the Jell-O with more flavor than the stuff has probably ever seen. Fill a wine glass with this Jell-O and you'd have yourself a whimsical, delicious take on vino. Fluffy whipped cream, fresh raspberries, and chocolate shavings round out the dessert, effectively stomping out my childhood memories and reviving my faith in gelatin.
(Jell-O pudding at JIMMY... and one of several cocktails I drank that night)