The best place to catch carnies (that’s a slang term for carnival workers) is probably at a carnival, but NH isn’t known for its winter carnivals. So instead, I headed to Arnie’s Place.
Actually, I didn’t really need a carnie, although it would have made for a good story. I just wanted a clever rhyme in my title today. But I DID visit Arnie’s Place in Concord, NH for their opening weekend, and I am happy to report that it was as awesome as I remembered.
I have to confess that for someone who grew up in NH, I am very late to the Arnie’s bandwagon. I had heard good things about them previously, but last season was my first time visiting. It’s a place that lives up to the local hype. Delicious homemade ice cream, including hard ice cream, frozen yogurt and soft serve in chocolate, vanilla and maple. And that doesn’t even get into their BBQ and other real food, which I have enjoyed although I am definitely not an expert on their other foods. I visited twice last year, enjoying their delicious maple soft serve (probably in the same ballpark as the creemee I enjoyed last week) as well as some hard ice cream and yogurt.
When I heard that Arnie’s was opening for the season (in February, no less!) I knew I should visit and contribute a few dollars toward the homemade ice cream in February cause. So Ross, my husband, and I stopped by on Sunday.
Ross reminded me that the worst thing about Arnie’s is definitely the location. It’s on Loudon Rd. a busy commercial street that isn’t particularly clean or welcoming. But its adorable exterior would be perfectly suited to a small town location or a beach setting. So when I visit, I like to imagine it’s in a nicer spot. Mind over matter, I guess? At least the parking is plentiful!
Arnie’s has both indoor and outdoor ordering and seating, at least in season, and they keep a fridge stocked with ice cream cakes and treats in a corner. I will of course focus my attention on their ice cream-related products since that’s what this blog is about.
Their menu is extensive, and in addition to a regular list of flavors, sundaes and other treats (including an extensive list of shakes), they have a flurry of the week. Their flurry this week sounded fantastic to me- but I am really not a fan of nuts in ice cream, so I decided to skip the awesomeness: maple soft serve with pecans, shortbread cookies and a chocolate dip!
Thanks to a recent blog by my friend Theresa, I was reminded that chocolate chili chunk is one of their signature flavors…and since I had never had that flavor, that seemed like an obvious choice. Ross got a kiddie – one good size scoop. I was afraid that the chili kick might get too intense over time, so I used it as an excuse to get two flavors – I settled on peppermint stick after trying the white chocolate, which was a little too subtle for my taste and purpose.
Ross and I were really impressed with the chocolate chili chunk. The chocolate base is super smooth and a classic chocolate flavor, with good size bites of chocolate chunks. But after you get the rich creamy chocolate flavor, the aftertaste is a large dose of chili. It’s awesome! Sweet and smooth followed by the chili kick. It’s amazing to me that it happens with every bite too. The chocolate base clears the chili, and then the chili is back with a vengeance. So good.
And if you aren’t convinced, I can confirm that peppermint stick is a PERFECT compliment to the chocolate chili chunk. This is an excellent peppermint base – it’s the most real peppermint flavor I have ever tasted! Minty coolness alternating with the chili is awesome, and we all know that chocolate and peppermint is a good combo. One of the best choices I made this month. 🙂
So, even if you won’t find any carnies at Arnie’s, I highly recommend a visit, whether you’re in the mood for maple soft serve, hard ice cream, a flurry or something else entirely. If you’re local, it’s probably worth buying a t-shirt too – you get 1/2 off a cone or dish whenever you wear it there, and with the way I eat ice cream, that would pay for itself easily in a summer! Support this delicious homemade ice cream place and the fact that they open so early in the season.
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