How To Choose An Ice Cream Stop

You know the saying about giving someone a fish versus teaching them to fish? I’m going to teach you how to choose an awesome ice cream stop, since unfortunately I can’t review every single ice cream place out there. (At least, it won’t be complete for a VERY long time. But I’ll try!)

Here are my top tips for choosing an ice cream stop.

  1. Look For Excuses For Ice Cream

Going on a vacation? Get some ice cream while you’re there! Meeting up with a friend? Go early or stay late and add ice cream into the mix.

Work sending you somewhere? Ice cream takes maybe an extra half hour – add it in!

Basically, every road trip/travel trip is an excuse for ice cream in my book.

2. Identify Potential Locations

Once I know the area I’m heading to, I narrow down the list of towns/cities/neighborhoods I can get ice cream in. If I’m driving, I might be able to stop halfway to my final destination. If I’m taking public transportation or someone else is driving, I may be limited to one city OR I may be limited by where I can walk or get public transportation to take me to.

Narrow down the parameters so you know exactly what you’ve got to work with.

3. Google is your friend!

My favorite way to identify potential homemade ice cream places begins with a Google search. I’ll search for ice cream in each of the towns or cities on my list. Keep in mind that some of your results may be in another town. I’ll look for keywords like “homemade” or “gourmet”, highly-rated places, and names that I don’t recognize (to avoid chains).

Using this method, I’ll identify the top contenders.

4. Cross-check Google

For any spots with their own website, I will visit the website and look for an indication that they’re making their own ice cream. (They will almost ALWAYS tell you if they do.) If I can’t find a website for them, I’ll look them up on Facebook. If they’re making their own ice cream, they will almost definitely have posts talking about the new flavors they’ve created, which is a definite giveaway of house-made deliciousness.

If I can’t find it indicated elsewhere, I will read reviews to see if they mention it being homemade (never 100% reliable, but it can help), and I’ll make sure they get at least reasonably good reviews.

5. Make Your Final Decision And Go

With all this info in hand, I’ll make my final choices, in part informed by proximity, flavors that interest me, reviews, cost, and anything else I’ve gathered.

I hope this helps you plan your next ice cream getaway. Stay safe, take care, and happy eating!

P.S. Do you have your own tips? Please comment and share them below!!!

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Return to Kakawa: Drinking Chocolate in Santa Fe, NM

A couple of years back, I visited Kakawa Chocolate House and was absolutely delighted with my brief visit. They offer everything from drinking chocolate (on the spot or bags to make it at home) to a gorgeous array of truffles to brownies (including a few gluten-free flavors) and homemade ice cream.

Last time, I went with their ice cream, of course, but with it being January and with pandemic life restricting my travel more than in the past, I’ve decided to incorporate some drinking chocolate reviews into this blog. (Let me know what you think in the comments!)

If you haven’t had drinking chocolate before, it’s not entirely dissimilar to hot cocoa, but it’s usually a much richer, thicker experience than the average hot cocoa. It also, in my experience, tends to be made with super high quality ingredients, and it’s a great way of showcasing particular sources of chocolate.

Here’s what I tried:

Kakawa’s American – This is where they start you with. They gave me a sample (I was the only customer at the time) but it felt weird to take off my mask, so this was the only sample I took. Kakawa’s American is an absolutely delicious showcase for their classic chocolate. The ingredients include 70% chocolate, organic almond milk and vanilla. I highly recommend this for anyone!

Chili – This is from their Meso-American menu. Their chili chocolate includes 100% chocolate (cacao), New Mexico chili, and coconut sugar. Wow! This starts with a delightful chocolate flavor, followed by a huge dried chile spice kick behind it. It’s so impressive! And then the chile flavor quickly clears and you’re ready to drink more. A delightful warming experience.

Jeffersonian – This comes from their European and Contemporary menu. In this case, it’s very much an old-fashioned, not very sweet, darker but not grainy, chocolate. This is rich and full, featurig 70% chocolate, organic almond milk, and nutmeg. The nutmeg is what gives it that classic older American chocolate recipe taste. Yum!

I kept going back and forth between which flavor I liked more. I had a small sample of the first and 3 ounce portions of each of the others. (In non-pandemic times, they’ve got a sampler available, but I made do.) I also picked up a couple of truffles (prickly pear and a goat cheese and sage) that I am savoring this week.

Thanks so much to Kakawa Chocolate House for another excellent experience. The customer service is second to none, and you don’t want to miss this chocolate!

P.S. Their drinking chocolate is available by mail for those in the United States. Head here to order!

Supporting This Blog

I am truly grateful for your support of my blog! You can help keep the content coming regularly by doing any or all of the following:

  • Become a patron of my work!
  • Make purchases via my Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using my affiliate links. Signing up with Dosh or Capital One 360 is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support me, and I also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money. This link will take you to my other travel page with my husband – we’ll have one here soon!
  • Listen to, subscribe and review my theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to this as well as my other travel blog, RossAndJamieAdventure, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
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ChocGlitz and Cream, Albuquerque, NM

When I returned to the Albuquerque area, I initially gravitated toward El Cotorro, my favorite taco place that also makes their own Mexico City-style ice cream. But while doing a search for nearby ice cream options, out of habit, I realized I was even closer to another homemade ice cream place.

ChocGlitz and Cream offers a variety of treats, from mini and large candy apples to fair trade chocolate, and from fudge to handmade ice cream. I haven’t tried many of the treats, besides the apple, which was very tasty, but over the past several months I’ve gotten to try a variety of ice cream flavors. While they don’t have a gluten-free menu, the staff is reasonably knowledgeable and and clear about the limits of their knowledge in terms of what does or doesn’t have gluten.

Though on more recent visits they haven’t been able to allow anyone to taste flavors, the prices are fairly reasonable at $4 for a scoop, $6 for 2 scoops or $7 for 3. They usually have about a dozen flavors available, rotating a few staples and lots of seasonal flavors. Here’s what I tried:

Apple Cider Cinnamon – This tastes like fall. It’s so, so good! You get tart plus the cream…just fabulous. It makes me think of apple pie, fall, and fun and was my favorite of a couple of visits.

Licorice – This tastes like cold licorice! So if you love licorice, it’s a must do.

Chocolate – My goodness, it’s like brownie batter! It’s so soft, smooth, and creamy. Amazing. It’s my top one or two of a “brownie batter” style chocolate ice cream, and likely a top ten for chocolate in general. It’s about a medium chocolate. Yum!!! You can’t lose with this.

Sweet Cream – This is a simple and clean flavor, more subtle than most, and really nice. I was actually surprised the texture wasn’t as creamy as the others – perhaps because it was a half-full container and had frozen oddly? It tastes super creamy, but it looks harder visually. It’s almost fluffy!

Pumpkin Pecan Praline – This was like pumpkin pie. Canned pumpkin combines with tasty, not too sweet chunks that crunch. If you love pumpkin, this will be just like cold pumpkin with the seasoning you’d hope for.

Mint Chip – This is a fairly traditional take – a little too “off the shelf” for me. What you might expect.

Peanut Butter – Think peanut butter plus cream cheese in taste, like a cheesecake. It’s smooth and super yummy!

Pistachio – The super creamy pistachio base has a sweet fruitiness, delightful really, with real pistachio chunks. It’s so good! I never get pistachio, but I was happy to today.

Raspberry Lavender – Both flavors are here, first raspberry and then lavender. It’s bright and creamy, a little tart but balanced in strength by the cream. It’s an unexpected and fun combo, honestly really lovely and one of my favorite takes on lavender.

Matcha Green Tea – This is a perfect recreation of the tea flavor in ice cream form. It’s a very forward flavor. Delicious! Ross found it almost nutty, and it paired really well with the sweet cream.

I didn’t try it, but they carry a non-homemade vegan ice cream. The portions are HUGE, so if the prices seem a bit high, it’s actually very reasonable for what you get. I found the flavors extremely consistent across the board. They know how to make ice cream here for sure. And their flavors are in your face, generally exactly what you’d hope for when you hear the flavor.

Their COVID-19 precautions seem really smart, and we’ve always felt comfortable coming here.

Thank you SO MUCH to ChocGlitz and Cream. It’s been a true joy to visit and have traditional American-style ice cream done so well nearby. We hope to be back very soon to try some more flavors and your fudge.

Be well, and happy eating!

Supporting This Blog

I am truly grateful for your support of my blog! You can help keep the content coming regularly by doing any or all of the following:

  • Become a patron of my work!
  • Make purchases via my Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using my affiliate links. Signing up with Dosh or Capital One 360 is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support me, and I also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money. This link will take you to my other travel page with my husband – we’ll have one here soon!
  • Listen to, subscribe and review my theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
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Tontitown Winery, Springdale, AR

First off, a super quick announcement – I’m moving to twice a month ice cream blogs for the foreseeable future. With COVID I’m just not traveling very often, and rather than give you mediocre blogs, I’m cutting the frequency in half to make sure I’m posting quality content. So if you don’t hear from me for a bit, no worries, I’ll be back soon!

This week’s blog is a quick one. In August I visited Tontitown Winery for a night, and in addition to their delightful wine and an epic charcuterie board, my husband noticed they had homemade grape ice cream for sale!

Now, your mileage may vary. The only reason they had it was that they participate in an annual festival, and with the festival canceled due to COVID-19, they had tons of pints of ice cream on hand without an outlet.

So we got one of those pints. For $8.

It was really smooth, ridiculously creamy, and super grape-flavored! It was my first time ever having grape ice cream, honestly. It’s really fun if you like a grape flavor.

I was so impressed that this is the only ice cream they make – they have it down to a perfect science!

So visit Tontitown Winery, and if you’re looking for good ice cream nearby, don’t miss TJ’s Sandwich Shop.

Take care this week, everyone, especially my American friends, and happy eating!

Supporting This Blog

I am truly grateful for your support of my blog! You can help keep the content coming regularly by doing any or all of the following:

  • Become a patron of my work!
  • Make purchases via my Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using my affiliate links. Signing up with Dosh or Capital One 360 is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support me, and I also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money. This link will take you to my other travel page with my husband – we’ll have one here soon!
  • Listen to, subscribe and review my theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
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  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from me and my husband, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com.

Roxy’s Ice Cream Social, Oklahoma City, OK

Back in August, I had the pleasure of visiting Roxy’s with my husband. They clearly advertise their vegan options, but they also have a book to help those with other food restrictions (like me being gluten-free).

They have knowledgeable staff and they’re super nice. Here’s what I tried:

Photo by insearchofascoop.com

Brown Sugar Vanilla – This vegan flavor has a very strong coconut base, which pairs well with the brown sugar and is lovely. It’s great if you love coconut!

Chocolate – This is a light to medium chocolate, kind of like hot cocoa. It melts in your mouth, becoming softer in texture, and it’s very delicious. It’s great paired with the vanilla.

Donatello Sundae – Enjoy pecan ice cream, with almost a cakey texture. The toppings are good, but not gourmet. Next time, my husband would do just the ice cream.

I got a double and thought the portions were great. A single scoop sundae was a satisfying size.

Roxy’s offers excellent ice cream, consistent and with a creamy mouthfeel. Thanks for a great experience, Roxy!

Supporting This Blog

I am truly grateful for your support of my blog! You can help keep the content coming regularly by doing any or all of the following:

  • Become a patron of my work!
  • Make purchases via my Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using my affiliate links. Signing up with Dosh or Capital One 360 is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support me, and I also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money. This link will take you to my other travel page with my husband – we’ll have one here soon!
  • Listen to, subscribe and review my theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to this as well as my other travel blog, RossAndJamieAdventure, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from me and my husband, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com.

Big Spoon Creamery, Birmingham, AL

When I read the reviews for this place, I knew it was worth a little risk and discomfort to visit. They offered curbside delivery for those who called ahead, but with a mask requirement, clear directions on where to go and strict capacity limitations, I felt very comfortable heading inside.

Read more

Ritter’s, Clermont, FL

I haven’t spent much time in Clermont, so while traversing the Orlando area, I was delighted to stumble upon Ritter’s. They make their frozen custard fresh daily, and it’s all super creamy, a soft serve consistency. They have franchise locations across the midwest, with several additional locations in places like Florida.

On a particular day you might find eight or so flavors here. They’re willing to combine two flavors in one scoop, which I always love, and it’s very affordable at less than $8 for two, one scoop dishes.

They also have some hot food here, including Nathan’s hot dogs and the like, so if you need some “real” food before your ice cream, you have options.

Here’s what I tried:

Cinnamon – This tastes like it has red hots in it! It’s got a super creamy base and a nice kick.

Vanilla – This is a pretty mild flavor, nice and creamy, but in my opinion it could be a stronger flavor. Too subtle for my taste.

Chocolate – This is a medium, deep cocoa flavor. It’s super creamy, and really nice.

Butter Pecan – I didn’t think this flavor was strong enough to be worth eating, unfortunately.

Turtle – Okay, the name was actually turtle something or other and I didn’t take good notes on it. This was kind of subtle, with nuts and chocolate chips in the mix.

I enjoyed my visit to Ritter’s I always enjoy frozen custard, and it isn’t easy to come by in Florida. Likewise, just finding great ice cream can be a challenge in much of Florida, so Ritter’s is a good option if you don’t have a local ice cream place you love.

And if you liked reading about Ritter’s, you might want to check out my review of Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream or my Tampa ice cream adventure. (Or just flip back as my most recent blogs have been Florida-based.)

Thanks for reading, and happy eating! (And if you are in the market for some holiday tunes, my husband just dropped a new acoustic ukulele album!)

Supporting This Blog

I am truly grateful for your support of my blog! You can help keep the content coming regularly by doing any or all of the following:

  • Become a patron of my work!
  • Make purchases via my Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using my affiliate links. Signing up with Dosh or Capital One 360 is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support me, and I also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money. This link will take you to my other travel page with my husband – we’ll have one here soon!
  • Listen to, subscribe and review my theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to this as well as my other travel blog, RossAndJamieAdventure, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from me and my husband, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com.