Kickin’ Back at Pop’s Sugar Shack

IMG_6746Pop’s Sugar Shack is in Conklin, NY, which is basically Binghamton, according to several websites in a quick google search. My husband had suggested we spend the night in Binghamton as we were passing through – perfect choice, by the way – and after visiting an amazing comics & games shop, we found a delightful spot for some homemade ice cream.

IMG_6747This is a family-owned shop with both homemade gelato and homemade ice cream, and it’s adorably pink and out of the 50s or 60s. We loved the huge portions and the great prices here. A medium gives you three large scoops and was only $4.05 with tax. We tried so many flavors! Here’s our report.

Chocolate: This is a creamier version than the classic. Less chocolate flavor than usual..which makes it perfect to go with hot fudge on it.

IMG_6750Mint Chocolate Chip: This had real, full-size chocolate chips! It wasn’t too sweet, and the chips weren’t either. I might have enjoyed a slightly higher chip to ice cream ratio though.

Strawberry Cheesecake: No crust, so it’s good for the gluten-free among us! It’s a creamy cheesecake base, on the lighter side, with a prominent strawberry swirl. Delicious! This is a lighter take than many strawberry cheesecakes (no chunks etc.) but it’s one of my favorite versions. So creamy and cheesy!

IMG_6748Fireball: Yes, like the candy or the alcohol! It’s alternates between creamy and just like a fireball candy, with chunks of candy pieces. Original and very fun!

Chocolate Marshmallow: This wasn’t too sweet. The marshmallow is a delightful swirl, like fluff. The chocolate is about a medium in terms of darkness…and this is especially creamy!

Overall we loved how fluffy and creamy and delicious these ice creams were. They go down so smoothly! It’s awesome. And we did try some gelato – the pricing is very different from the ice cream (no mixing and matching between the two types) but we liked what we sampled.

Thank you for staying open into the fall, despite the cold! This was a wonderful visit. Go check out Pop’s Sugar Shack for yourselves!

p.s. Thanks for supporting the blog by doing your usual online shopping via my Amazon affiliate link!

Ice Cream From Royalty in Milton, DE

Okay, royalty-based ice cream is a little silly. But this is from the same person who lived in a townhouse sandwiched between Dairy Queen and Burger King, leading for us to refer to it as the Royalty House.

But ice cream isn’t silly. It’s delicious! King’s Homemade Ice Cream Shop in Milton, Delaware is on a cute street in a cute town.

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The reason we made the visit was to visit Dogfish Head Brewery (well worth the visit, even if you don’t drink beer!) but this ice cream shop, with “homemade” in its sign, caught my eye. It turned out to be the shop I’d seen reference to in a couple of articles under a slightly different name, so I’d never been able to locate it!

My husband, Ross, indulged me and said yes, go ahead and get some ice cream. So I did!

They were happy to let me combine multiple flavors in a small cup. Their portions were ample, and they had fantastic service, letting us try as many flavors as we wanted. They also offer some really fun-sounding yogurts.

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It’s an adorable ice cream parlor – but there is no bathroom, so be prepared! They sell exclusively ice cream – no soda or coffee – and it’s a really nice place if you’re looking for an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. Here’s what i settled on.

Butter Brickle: This has a delicious butterscotch flavor. It might be a little cheap-tasting? But I really enjoyed it.

Scoops of ice cream in a paper cupMocha: This is a strong and distinct coffee flavor, with chocolate covered expresso beans. Yum!

Dutch chocolate: This is a very pleasant, rich medium chocolate flavor. It has a light and smooth texture, and it’s soft.

Overall, all of the ice cream was great, though not life-changing. The ice cream was soft so it will melt quickly if you take it outside in the heat.

After visiting another less stellar Delaware ice cream parlor, I was delighted to stumble on King’s Homemade Ice Cream. Thanks for the treat!Two 50s style tables and Norman Rockwell paintings near an ice crema bar

p.s. Thanks for supporting the blog by doing your usual online shopping via my Amazon affiliate link!

The Cutest Place For a Mediocre Sundae

The Plaza Ice Cream Parlor in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World is adorable. It fits into Main Street perfectly, reminiscent of an old-fashioned ice cream parlor from the early 20th Century.

But this adorable ice cream parlor doesn’t make ice cream – instead, they serve Edy’s. So I have never worried about covering it for this blog.

But this past Thanksgiving, my husband and I visited the Magic Kingdom. That’s right – I had my turkey dinner (an oversized turkey leg) with homemade, gluten-free stuffing and cranberry sauce. For dessert, I wasn’t thrilled with any of the options (Dole Whip is good, but I wasn’t in a pineapple mood) so I decided I’d try a special sundae at the Plaza.

There are fairly limited options at the Plaza, overall. Limited flavors, and limited toppings, as well as limited sundae types. They don’t even carry sprinkles (perhaps to avoid the mess?) but they were willing to give out extra cherries to customers who thought to ask. Prices here are on the high side compared to a typical ice cream place, but of course that’s to be expected at Disney World.

I settled on the All-American sundae. It had vanilla and chocolate ice creams, hot fudge, whipped cream, a cherry and what’s referred to as “peanut butter drizzle”. It’s a beautiful-looking sundae. People were stopping me in the parlor to ask what it was. Unfortunately, it’s really not designed well. It was a great portion for a sundae too.

Alarm bells began when I realized they pre-scoop the ice cream cups. That’s not necessarily a problem…but why do it? They had too many employees working behind the counter (most were standing around), so couldn’t one or two of them have scooped ice cream? But honestly, it’s a theme park. If that was my only issue, I wouldn’t bother writing this review.

The reason I noticed the pre-made cup (chocolate scoop on top of vanilla scoop) was because the server was bored, flipping it over and over again while he waited for the whipped cream machine to be free. And no, I’m not kidding. I’m sure I made quite a face without intending to. Does Disney hire high school kids?

Next issue – these are peanut butter chips. Fine. Tasty even. But that’s not a drizzle. I was picturing some warm peanut butter mixed in with the hot fudge. Different story altogether – still tasty, but it was false advertising.

Next realization? The hot fudge is never going to reach this ice cream! Basically, each layer is solid, and the shape of the container makes it really difficult to get from one to another. So I ate about 3 inches of whipped cream (I almost felt like I’d be sick by the end) plus a few chips and then moved on to fudge and chocolate, trying desperately to leave a bit of fudge to go with the vanilla. I don’t know for sure the source, but this is very standard whipped cream, like what you’d get out of a can. Nothing like homemade.

A great sundae should have multiple layers of hot fudge. That way you’ve got some all the way down to the bottom. This is the complete opposite of that – the dish shape means the fudge and whipped cream are almost too distinct and impossible to enjoy with anything but the adjoining layers.

Getting two flavors in one bite is really tough here. When you manage it, it’s nice. Chocolate and peanut butter are a classic and an excellent pairing, and when I can get the fudge and chocolate ice cream together, that’s delicious too. Edy’s chocolate ice cream is really pleasant, I enjoyed it.

Ross described my efforts to pair flavors and eat this as a “geological survey in ice cream form”. Unfortunately there’s not much of anything else left by the time I get to the vanilla, despite my best efforts. And wow. This vanilla is…not that great. Ross wonders if I was overstimulated by the fudge and stuff, and that is always a possibility. But it tasted absurdly sweet to me, and without any real vanilla taste to it. It was like someone was given a description of what vanilla was supposed to taste like and they went with that. Also? It was icy. Charming.

If nothing else, this reminded me why I never order a sundae with Edy’s at a restaurant. I’ve never liked their vanilla base. It was so odd to order a sundae based on how awesome the flavors will go together and then to have to eat them almost entirely separately!

So, my recommendation? Skip the Plaza. If you need to visit that much, skip the All-American. If I had to eat here, the chocolate is a great choice, with fudge, and maybe I’d try mint chocolate chip or a caramel topping. But skip the vanilla and the sundaes.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season if you’re celebrating. Happy Eating!

p.s. Thanks for supporting the blog by doing your usual online shopping via my Amazon affiliate link!

Gelato Fiasco in Brunswick

My brother Robbie has recently moved to Brunswick, Maine, and my husband Ross and I were excited to spend a couple of days with him and his girlfriend, Ria. I have some challenging dietary restrictions, but Robbie and Ria insisted on cooking a delicious meal for us before following it up with some delicious dessert at Gelato Fiasco. He clearly knows the way to my heart!

Gelato Fiasco seemed reasonably priced for a city, and perhaps most importantly, they encouraged us to try as many flavors as we wanted – and we could combine as many flavors as we wanted in a cup! I think Ross and I got mediums (and a Robbie and Ria got smalls). Since there were four of us on hand, we were able to sample a lot of selections. Here’s what we thought!

Sweet Resurgam: This flavor includes sweet almond, burnt sugar, chocolate and caramel. It reminded me strongly of a Ferraro Rocher candy, which I loved. Extremely creamy. Absolutely outstanding. Ross found it peanut buttery. The chocolate is perfect and the flavors melt and blend in the mouth perfectly.

Cardamom: This is subtle, with a nice spice throughout. It’s a perfectly fall flavor. Not nearly as creamy as the sweet resurgam – much more typical of gelato, which doesn’t have a very high fat content.

Dark Chocolate Sea Salt: A darker chocolate base with the perfect amount of salt. It’s excellent. It’s almost as if hot fudge were gelato, although not as sweet. Deliciously creamy.

Caramel and Cider Donuts: Robbie thought there might be too much donut here! Each part was delicious, but he felt the ratio was off. Ross didn’t get many chunks in his, and he felt the gelato had no distinct flavor. Cinnamon, caramel or something would have been nice. Tastes perhaps like a generic vanilla.

Netflix and Chill: This flavor has peanut butter cups, brownies, chocolate chips and a caramel base. Ross really liked the overload of sweet treats here.

Fall in Bourbon County: This tastes like pumpkin and isn’t too sweet. They add bourbon and it had a little caramel to it. Ross said the pecans elevate it – the clusters are caramelized or glazed. Robbie added that this one doesn’t taste like every other fall thing. Ria enjoyed the bit of warmth and punch from the alcohol.

Ross sampled all of my flavors as well as his own, and he felt that the dark chocolate sea salt and sweet resurgam were much creamier than the other flavors we had. Perhaps their fall flavors are less polished and they’re still balancing? Or maybe I just lucked out.

Gelato Fiasco was founded in Brunswick, but they also have a Portland location. Their website is pretty fantastic, and I enjoyed reading about their Red Spoon Society.

It’s an adorable place that also carries coffee and gets very busy in the evenings. Stop by and report back on how you liked it!

p.s. Thanks for supporting the blog by doing your usual online shopping via my Amazon affiliate link!

Affordable Ice Cream in Gainesville

On a quick trip through what seems to be the awesome university town of Gainesville, FL, I was delighted to find Sweet Dreams in a small strip mall. It’s an unpretentious location focused on cozy seats to enjoy some cheap homemade ice cream.

This isn’t gourmet, and it’s not going to be your best ice cream ever (unless all you know is Edy’s and Baskin Robbins), but it’s a great place for a treat.

The flavors I tried:

Tamarind – Wow. This had a delightful tartness.

Chocolate Ginger – Unfortunately this wasn’t memorable – definitely nothing exceptional here.

House Chocolate – This is a dark chocolate with fruity undertones. It wasn’t my favorite, but I give them credit for uniqueness!

Chocolate Jack, Jimmy, Johnny – This has a wonderful chocolate flavor, boozy and with dried fruits and nuts. It’s actually a flaky texture, and it’s really tasty. I’ve never seen anything like it, minus the one time I made ice cream by throwing all sorts of chocolate together.

Mint Chip – Tastes like Christmas! This is light and delightful.

The brown sugar toffee also looks worth a try!

With tax, a double dipper was only $3.67, making this a very affordable indulgence. They will also let you mix flavors if you order a pint!

Do be aware there aren’t a lot of “normal” flavors like chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. This place is best for adventurers. I also missed the case with fun sorbets and dog treats on my first visit.

Have you tried Sweet Dreams? What did you think?

The Worst Ice Cream in North Carolina? 

I try not to be a negative Nellie on this blog. I love ice cream and I appreciate how relatively easy it is to come by, even homemade, in most places, and I don’t want to dissuade those who make it or sell it with negative reviews. 

That being said, ice cream isn’t always good. Sometimes, it’s awful. And I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t report it to you. 

After visiting two delightful ice cream locations on the Outer Banks named Scoops this summer, I was hoping Mocksville, NC, which proved to have a cute little downtown, would also hold a delicious ice cream option with the name Scoops

They carry Mooresville premium ice cream, according to the signage, which was labeled as either “Deluxe” or “Front Porch” depending on the flavor. Even though they don’t make the ice cream in house, I was happy to review a North Carolina-made ice cream. 

The signs didn’t bode well for this place. They had some signage that I found offensive, and they didn’t have a list of flavors anywhere – you had to walk the gigantic counter the length of the long store to see all of the offerings. That meant walking within a few feet of each table, where I felt people staring us down as I tried to make my decision. 

The prices are really cheap. Crazily so. I paid $3 with tax for one scoop, which would have easily been two anywhere else. 

They didn’t offer any samples, although I didn’t ask, so I settled on Peppermint Moose Tracks, which sounded like the perfect “me” flavor. Peppermint ice cream with white chocolate chunks and that amazing fudge swirl you find in moose tracks. 

I wish I’d tried other flavors so I would know if they all tasted like this one. I’m sorry for that. And if it turns out Mooresville is usually really good, let me know and I will try it again somewhere else! 

Unfortunately, this was disgusting. It has a weird base note that reminds me of sour milk. The chalk was very chalky. And the peppermint just doesn’t work here – it was barely recognizable as peppermint. It wasn’t well-blended in the base. I couldn’t eat more than 5 or 6 bites, and left to myself, I would have thrown the rest away. It was that awful. I’ve only done that once in my life, I believe. (Coldstone mint chocolate chip. Still not my favorite, but the first batch I ever had was just disgusting.)

Ross, my husband, said this wasn’t very good. It was like ice cream that had sat open in a freezer for a year and then was put in the counter for forty five minutes before serving. He did like the white chocolate chunks though, for texture. He called this the flat soda of peppermint ice cream. 

Despite how gross it was, Ross was happy to finish eating it. I, on the other hand, visited the closest gas station for Breyer’s vanilla, which I topped with chocolate chips. Anything to wash the weird taste and disappointment out of my mouth. 

Don’t ever go to Scoops in Mocksville. It was wrong on so many levels. But if you’ve had Mooresville ice cream, did you like it? Did we just get last year’s batch or something? The flavor isn’t even on their website. 

Thanks for reading, and I hope you find something delicious today!