Sunday, June 29, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Shop Name: Freeze & Frizz
Location: New Holland Pike
Boo's Rating: 2 1/2 Screams
I think the Freeze & Frizz is better for BBQ or burgers than it is for ice cream. They have a handful of softserve flavors, and some shakes and malts, but that pretty much covers it. They do have one thing going for them- the dip. I sampled the chocolate soft serve in a cake cone with chocolate dip. It brought me back to my childhood. Also, it's always impressive when they dip the cone perfectly. When I was in high school, I had a job serving ice cream and the dip was the hardest thing to master. Especially the strawberry dip. Anyway, their ice cream was okay- nothing too spectacular. The dip was exciting in theory, but not that delicious in practice. I'd probably rather have chocolate sprinkles. Just in case you're interested, the Freeze & Frizz also has the pretzel cone. It appeared to be the same manufacturer as the pretzel cone at the Willow Street House of Pizza, so I didn't feel the need to try it again. Although, maybe I'll go back sometime and have them dip the pretzel cone! That sounds delicious!
In the end, the F&F gets 2 1/2 Screams, but I'll definitely go back sometime to try their BBQ.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Shop Name: Gigi's Grill
Location: 896 Near the little "Sight & Sound"
Boo's Rating: 1 Scream
All I have to say is don't bother. I can list the flavor options for you: Chocolate, Vanilla and Twist and also Sugar free Vanilla, Sugar Free Raspberry. Yes, you can clearly see from the picture of crazy Mindy that they have plain cones and chocolate sprinkles. Too bad my cone was so stale it even had a weird taste. They get ONE scream for not ruining the ice cream and the chocolate sprinkles. HOWEVER, if you want a decent burger & fries, they've got a great menu of diner-style food. Just get one of their pies for dessert instead of ice cream.
In other news, next month is National Ice Cream Month, so please feel free to comment with your favorite ice cream in the Lancaster area because next month I'll be hitting it hard. I'd especially like to hear about unusual flavors, or something that makes YOUR favorite ice cream shop special.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Location: Willow Street (duh!)
Boo's Rating: 3 1/2 Screams
I know you think I'm crazy, but this place was recommended to me by a local. She read my Bruster's blog and said that the H.O.P. will be my "answer to a raspberry ice cream cone." Who am I to turn down an ice cream recommendation from a local? I googled directions to the place and Monday afternoon I set out to sample. Too bad the Willow Street House of Pizza is closed on Mondays! DENIED! It's a good thing I'm persistent and not easily deterred. Tuesday afternoon, I drove back out there. It was right around lunch time and there were a few people dining on some delicious looking pizzas and subs. I might have to visit again for lunch sometime. Around the corner from the pizza counter is the ice cream counter. The raspberry flavor is actually a soft serve, which I haven't reviewed yet in the Lanc area. I sampled just a small taste of it and it was so creamy and delicious that I made it my choice of the day. The H.O.P. has chocolate, vanilla and raspberry soft serve as well as a half dozen or so hand-dipped ("hard serve") flavors.
However, the most exciting thing about the H.O.P. is their menu of cone choices. Yes, they have "cake" cones and of course sugar cones, but they have something else I've never seen in all my 29 years. They call it a "pretzel cone." Ok, take a minute and recover from your excitement- I know I needed to when I saw it one the menu. The lady behind the counter had no information regarding the pretzel cone, so I really had no choice but to try it. You know, for research! Don't you agree that it's a completely BRILLIANT idea? Because of their saltiness, pretzels are the perfect food to pair with sweets! Here is some evidence:
Take 5 candy bars
Chubby Hubby ice cream
Chocolate covered pretzels
Need I say more? Well, even if I don't need to, I will. I can't believe I had never encountered a pretzel cone before! It really seems like pure genius to me and after tasting it, I think it's got real potential. I ordered the raspberry soft serve in a pretzel cone and the combination started out AMAZING. The salt on the outside of the cone was perfect with the ice cream- every lick was absolutely delicious- the perfect combination of salty and sweet. I was disappointed when I bit into the cone, though. The texture was really hard, but not in the crisp pretzel-like way I had anticipated. It was very difficult to bite into the cone and the flavor of the cone was nothing like a pretzel. I think that if someone really set their mind on making the perfect pretzel cone, they could possibly move on from there to world domination. I'd like to suggest chocolate dipped pretzel cones as an option as well for anyone who pursues this amazing invention. This area has cornered the market on perfect pretzels, so I'm sure there's someone around here who can make it happen. If you know anyone in the pretzel business, please have them contact me. This could be the next great development of our time.
OK, enough about the pretzel cone. All in all, the H.O.P gets 3 1/2 screams because their flavor choice was limited, and while the raspberry was rich and creamy, it didn't blow my mind. If they had a better pretzel cone and more flavor choices, they'd really up their rating in my book.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Location: Main Street, Strasburg
Boo's Rating: 3 1/2 Screams
I found a coupon in my "Hospitality Days" Coupon Book for the Strasburg Country Store & Creamery. Too bad when I got there, I forgot to use it. Oh well. I guess that means I'll have to go back sometime soon! And I probably will. I googled the SCS&C and found out it's a bit of a tourist attraction. It's a cute little country store filled with your typical Amish-town souveniers, books about the Amish, quilted pot-holders, bonnets, etc. There is also a rather large selection of candy- everything from full-size bars to bulk candy, formerly known as "penny candy." The ice cream parlor has a selection of a little over a dozen ice cream flavors, with the option of adding "mix-ins" on their frozen stone. Trendy, right? You'd think so, but the shop itself is SO cute and homey! I totally fell in love the minute I walked in. It feels like you're stepping back in time with the iron tables & chairs, the bucket full of ice & bottles of sasparilla, the chalk board menu, and all sorts of chotchkes and decorations that take you back to another era. Even the staff behind the counter are wearing black and white striped oxford cloth shirts with white collars, black "Colonel Sanders" ties and black newsboy hats. I am not lying when I said I fell in love. I don't even care that it's all meant to manipulate the tourists into spending more money!
On to the ice cream. SCS&C also has the "cake" cone! I asked the girl behind the counter if it's a regional thing to call it a "cake" cone. She said she'd never heard that term before working at the SCS&C. I'll keep investigating that term. Maybe someday I'll get to the bottom of it. I sampled a flavor called "E.T. Special" on a cake cone (duh). It's vanilla ice scream with lots and lots of Reeses Pieces mixed in. I asked why it's called "E.T. Special." Once again, the salesperson was not much help, but then I seemed to recall something in the movie "E.T." and how E.T. loved Reeses Pieces candy. It all makes sense, right? Maybe the girl behind the counter is too young to remember that small detail from the movie. (SCS&C you just lost points for making me feel old.) The ice cream was rich and creamy and CHOCK FULL of peanut butter pieces. YUM! The overall experience earned the SCS&C a total of 3 1/2 screams. I'll definitely be back later in the summer, even if I don't have a coupon.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Location: Lincoln Highway
Boo's Rating: 3 1/2 Screams
Who hasn't been to a Friendly's? Who's never experienced a "Happy Ending Sundae" or a "Jim Dandy?" This post is very straight-forward because I think you've all "been there, done that" where Friendly's is concerned.
Ice Cream Selection: Good
Ice Cream Quality: Good
Topping Selection: Good
Let's be honest. Friendly's is pretty darn good. I'm not saying I'm shouting from the rooftops that it's the best thing to ever happen to ice cream, but it's not too shabby, right? Decent flavor selection, good quality ice-cream, lots of sundae options. And who doesn't love the way they make the smiley face on the ice cream with the cone on top so it looks kinda like a clown? No happier ending than that, my friends. But what's the best thing about Friendly's? When you order a Fribble, you get the glass full of milk-shake goodness with a side of- that's right- milk shake goodness! It's like you get two Fribbles when they bring over the glass filled with Fribble alongside the metal Fribble mixer cup with the "left-overs." You know how sad you feel when you're done eating something delicious? Well, with the Fribble, you get to delay that sadness by one entire glass-full of milk shake. And you're so full of sugary, ice-creamy milk-shake when it's over that you're really not that sad. You're satisfied.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Boo's Rating: 3 Screams
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Location: Park City
Boo's Rating: 2 1/2 Screams
Cold Stone is the franchise that brought the "frozen stone" concept to the masses. If you like your ice cream busy, this is definitely a place to try. I personally feel that Cold Stone is highly over-rated. People RAVE about this place, but I have to admit, I just don't get why. First of all, the mix-in concept is hardly new. DQ's been serving the Blizzard for years, am I right? Just because it's mixed on a stone and not in a cup, people think, "OMG! This is amazing!" But let's break it down, ok? In order to have a good cup of busy ice cream, one must first start with high quality ice cream. Just because you're adding a bunch of stuff to it doesn't mean it can be crap. Cold Stone's ice cream is run-of-the-mill at best. The flavor is average, the texture nothing special and the mix-ins can all be found at your local grocery store. In other words, "I'm over it."
NOTE 6/16/08: It has come to my attention that ALL Cold Stone Creameries in Lancaster, PA have been closed. No word yet as to whether or not they will open anytime soon. No big loss, if you ask me.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Location: Lincoln Highway
Boo's Rating: 3 Screams
I gave Rita's a decent rating because the "water ice" is flavorful and the frozen custard is creamy and delicious. But let's be clear, kids- it ain't no ice cream stand. I asked some locals where they go for good ice cream and they sent me to Rita's, so I tried it. Imagine my surprise to find NO ICE CREAM on the menu. Frozen custard is pretty good, though. I'd never had it before moving to PA, and for those of you who've never experienced it, it's like an extra-thick, really creamy soft serve. Yum. I sampled a "gelati" with vanilla custard and raspberry ice..... more on that later.
Rita's "Italian Ice" is often referred to around here as "water ice." That seems strange to me. Isn't that kind of redundant? Anyway, the ice at Rita's has more of a slush consistency. I'm used to Italian ice that's a little more solid, and much smaller ice crystals. You know the kind- it comes in a little paper cup and you scrape the ice with a little wooden spoon! To each his own- I'm not here to critique ice. Also, Rita's always has a sugar-free ice flavor so yay for that.
What bothers me about Rita's is their "gelati." I hate to break it to you, but pouring slush over frozen custard in NO WAY resembles gelato, and changing the last letter of that word doesn't fool anyone. Let me sum it up: Slush by itself, tasty. Frozen custard by itself, also tasty. The two together: Not so tasty and also not gelato. I was surprised that they don't even mix the two. I think if they did, it might give it a consistency more in line with gelato. Instead, they just pour one on top of the other! Weird, right? I guess some people like it, or it wouldn't be on their menu.
So, in the end I gave Rita's 3 screams. They lost points for not actually serving ice cream, but flavor and consistency of their products (when served separately) is pretty good. I'm not taking points away for the whole gelati argument since it's really up to the patron to decide whether or not they want to combine ice and custard. Also, even though I'm not a fan, obviously some people are and my beef with Rita's is more the misleading naming of the treat.
Monday, June 9, 2008
Location: Old Philadelphia Pike, Lancaster
Boo's rating: 2 SCREAMS
Coleman's Ice Cream was the first stop in my quest for the perfect ice cream cone in Lancaster, PA. First, some background history: I'm a transplant to the Lancaster area and it's been a rocky transition for several reasons, but that's a subject for another blog. In an attempt to feel more connected to the area, I hopped on the interwebs in search of information about some local spots. What I found was pretty disappointing. Lancaster claims to be a tourist destination, and the locals are pretty fiercely loyal to the town, so I figured there would be all sorts of informative websites. How wrong I was. While I may not be up to the task of creating such a website, I am fully capable of finding Lancaster's best ice cream and documenting it for anyone else who might be interested.
I mentioned I'm a transplant to Lanc and that's relevant for several reasons. I can be totally unbiased in my opinion of these ice cream establishments because they are all new to me. Also, I'm originally from New Hampshire. This may not seem relevant, but trust me- it is. We Granite-Staters are nuts for ice cream. Actually, that's not fair- it's really a New England thing, not just New Hampshire. From the trendy coast of Cape Cod to the backwoods of Maine and everywhere in between you can find some serious ice cream stands. Ben & Jerry's hails from Burlington, Vermont and Blake's Old Fashioned Ice Cream has been a NH staple since early 1900. The bottom line: New Englanders know our ice cream.
Now on to Coleman's. This ice cream stand was the first one recommended to me. I asked a room full of Lancaster locals, "Where can I get a great ice cream cone around here?" Two people answered that Coleman's was the place to go. So I went.
It was a very hot Thursday afternoon last week. I was on my way to work and decided to stop and grab a cone. Upon entering the store, I saw the flavor selection left a little to be desired. The most exciting flavor on hand was a cappuccino based ice cream with cinnamon & toffee mixed in. Total, there were less than a dozen flavor options. I decided on a plain cone with a scoop of chocolate and a scoop of coffee. Busy ice cream is great- who doesn't love a pint of Moose Tracks or Phish Food? But in testing ice cream flavor, plain is best. Both were disappointing at Coleman's. Both flavors were very sweet, but the chocolate flavor was barely noticeable. Also, in the case of both flavors, the creaminess was constantly interrupted by rather large ice crystals in nearly every lick. Not cool. A good scoop of ice cream should be creamy and thick with absolutely NO ice crystals.
The one plus with Coleman's is the fact that they offer plain cones, which are by far the best vehicle for ice cream. Sugar cones are tasty and the crunch is nice, but they ALWAYS leak. Same goes for Waffle cones. I hate having to wrap the bottom of my cone with napkins in order to avoid dripping. Plain cones have no leakage problems- whether flat bottom or traditional cone-shape. Flat bottom plain cones are my fave because of how the ice cream melts into the cone grid at the bottom of the cone. While you eat the ice cream on top, the ice cream inside softens the inside of the cone just enough to make it chewy, while the outside remains perfectly crispy. YUM!!!
In conclusion, Coleman's seems like a nice place to bring the family on a hot summer night. With picnic tables outside and very affordable prices, it's a good choice for a treat with the kids after dinner. Is it the best cone in Lancaster? With nothing else to compare it to, I'm still confident in saying, "No, it's not." I give it 2 out of 5 "screams."