Erin McKenna’s Bakery, Orlando

This week, I’m mostly straying from the pattern by covering Erin McKenna’s Bakery in Orlando, Florida! This is absolutely the place to go for people with food allergies and sensitivities and if Mark Bittman says they have the best donuts in the world, who am I to argue?

Erin McKenna’s can also be found in N.Y.C. and L.A., and it prides itself on being gluten-free, nut-free (besides coconut), dairy-free, soy-free and egg-free. It’s all vegan and it’s all delicious!

Eliza’s Bakery, Orlando, FL | In Search of a Scoop

Honestly, the soft serve is my least favorite of their offerings. When I bought this, it cost $7 for a large, though it did come with toppings – I got caramel and brownie. The toppings make it really fun, but as someone who can tolerate dairy, coconut milk soft serve just tastes like a decent soft serve yogurt.

Eliza’s Bakery, Orlando, FL | In Search of a ScoopEliza’s Bakery, Orlando, FL | In Search of a Scoop

The bakery, which is located at Disney Springs, the shopping destination at Disney World, is tiny, with only two small tables outside and none inside. But there’s beautiful outdoor seating on the water just a few feet away, and trust me – it’s all about the food here.

Be warned that these doughnuts don’t keep well; your best bet is to eat them quickly or refrigerate them.

They also offer cookies, cupcakes and cupcake tops, teabreads and much more.

Eliza’s Bakery, Orlando, FL | In Search of a Scoop

Oh. And they also have bagels! My only wish is that they’d carry smoked salmon or smoked salmon cream cheese. The bagels and the fake cream cheese are delightful!

So if I didn’t make it clear, the next time you’re at Disney World, you should visit Eliza’s. And if you have food allergies, this is your new favorite place. You’re welcome!

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

An Unexpected Fort Collins Ice Cream Option

Today I visited Emporium Kitchen and Marketplace at the Elizabeth Motel in Fort Collins. It’s a beautiful space, with popup shops for coffee and ice cream as well as a restaurant area to sit down for a meal or drinks. I’m told they also offer live music sometimes.

I’ve already covered Walrus Ice Cream, the local spot for homemade ice cream, as well as the delicious location for gelato, Amore. If you’re downtown, you’ve also got a Ben and Jerry’s as well as other chains nearby.

But my visit brought me to Emporium, and I’m glad it did. Though it’s on the pricier side, it’s a lovely environment for a treat. Thanks for the suggestion and the company, Megan!

What I tried:

Double Chocolate – It surprised me to realize it wasn’t super creamy. It was more milky, like gelato. But it was nice. It wouldn’t be my top pick.

Mint Chocolate Chip: This was great! It’s creamy and smooth, with nice chunks of chocolate and a good mint flavor.

I’d definitely order the latter again, and I’d like to try some of their other flavors, including Mocha Almond Fudge and Peanut Butter and Jelly. They had a nice looking coconut-based vegan flavor too.

The ice cream is made by Longview Creamery. They’re based in Colorado. I will definitely try them again when I see them.

I’m planning some fun projects for In Search of a Scoop in the upcoming year. If you’ve got ideas for blog posts or other suggestions, please let me know. And thanks for reading!

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

Ice Cream Roundup

I periodically have ice cream (or other treats) at places that don’t meet my typical requirements for a full review. I’ve decided to point out some recent highlights and thoughts from some less conventional ice cream destinations. Here’s an ice cream roundup from the past year or so.

Patron’s Hall, Alamogordo, NM

Patrons Hall, Alamogordo, NM | In Search Of A Scoop

This is an absolutely adorable cafe that seems to have been thoughtfully built when they renovated the downtown theater space. They host open mics and performances and we will most definitely return to play and grab a drink.

In the ice cream department, I was underwhelmed. They carry Shamrock Farms, which I hadn’t had before. Overall the flavors I tried were creamy but weak, including Peppermint Stick, Black Cherry Chunk, Mint Chocolate Chip (both pleasant) and Coffee, which I could barely taste a flavor of at all.

This past weekend I tried their vanilla and chocolate and found them both to be quite high-quality when compared to a Hershey’s or similar cheap, “premium” ice cream. Since Patron’s Hall offers fun powers for shakes and frappes and a variety of other drinks, there are plenty of reasons to return…and the ice cream was also dirt cheap, so it’s a low risk if you’re curious. Free samples too, of course.

Caliche’s Frozen Custard, Alamogordo and Las Cruces

Caliche’s, NM | In Search Of A ScoopCaliche’s, Las Cruces, NM | In Search Of A ScoopCaliche’s, Las Cruces, NM | In Search Of A Scoop

We’ve visited Caliche’s in both Las Cruces and Alamogordo, and though I didn’t grow up eating custard, I feel confident in saying that their custard is delicious. I have not tried the chocolate yet, but the vanilla is fabulous. I had a “caliche” which is custard with mixins – I went for raspberries and key lime sauce. On my second visit, I went for a sundae with hot fudge and strawberries. If you’re going frozen fruit, I prefer a caliche – so the fruit isn’t so frosty – but this stuff is delicious however you slice it. They also have a drive through and offer dog cones (at least in Las Cruces). Their “real” food was tasty if typical fast food quality. Future must-do is a green chile sundae. We will return, Caliche’s!

Le Macaron French Pastries, Winter Park, FL

Le Macaron, Winter Park, FL | In Search Of A ScoopLe Macaron, Winter Park, FL | In Search Of A ScoopMacarons are generally gluten-free, as they are here, and sometimes you’ll even get lucky and see a macaron ice cream (or gelato) sandwich!

We were told the gelato company featured here is French. The macaron ice cream sandwich with violet was delicious, with a nice chewy and crunchy outside layer. The vanilla gelato was quite creamy for gelato, with a nice vanilla bean presence and almost a tiny bit of a bite to it. The violet gelato reminded me of raspberry, with a really nice bitterness. It’s very subtle. Ross felt it was almost like “What’s the point?”, but I disagree. It’s just understated. It paired with vanilla nicely, but it will be easily lost next to other flavors. Worth a visit for macarons or gelato if you’re in the area…unfortunately there is no homemade ice cream or gelato in downtown Winter Park. (For the homemade stuff, head to Kelly’s.)

Sanaa, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, FL

Sanaa, Disney World, FL | In Search Of A ScoopSanaa, Disney World, FL | In Search Of A ScoopMeals here are amazing (and the setting, with wild animals, is spectacular) but there often isn’t much in the way of gluten-free desserts. But we lucked out at Christmas this past year. They were serving a homemade cherry ice cream in a chocolate-covered cherry entremet.

It wasn’t a perfect or particularly creamy ice cream, but it had beautiful rich chocolates covering the cool ice cream with great flavor and a perfect crumble and mousse. The milky ice cream complemented the bitterness of the chocolate well. And that cherry Kurt was tart and amazing.

The portion was also huge – easy to share. And those who had their macarons described them as a “cloud with frosting in the middle”. So if you can get dessert at Sanaa, go for it…especially the special!

San Angel Inn, Mexico, Epcot, FL

San Angel Inn, Disney World, FL | In Search Of A ScoopThis restaurant was also a fantastic experience. It’s gorgeous, perpetual twilight, inside the Mexico pavilion. I had lots of delicious gluten-free options, and I decided to try ice cream for dessert.

This style of ice cream seems airy compared to what I’m used to…less creamy and almost icy when you swallow it. It had caramel on it, and I could detect cinnamon and nutmeg. It almost tastes like a different product entirely…maybe it’s a condensed milk base? It’s almost rustic. And somehow, though it wasn’t housemade, it didn’t taste like there were preservatives. Very tasty, thanks Disney!

That’s it for today’s roundup. Have you gone out for ice cream lately?

Some past blogs for inspiration:

Jordan’s Creamery, Belmont, NH

Eddy’s Frozen Custard, Buxton, NC

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

Victory at Vicki’s in Silver City, NM

Silver City, New Mexico is an incredible town, and like every good town or city, it has delicious homemade ice cream. Be sure to stop at Vicki’s Eatery for lunch or ice cream (or ideally, both) while you’re in the area.Vicki’s Eatery, Silver City, New Mexico | In Search of a Scoop

Silver City only has about ten thousand residents, so when I stayed there, I wasn’t expecting to find homemade ice cream. But in addition to a downtown ice cream and antiques store (currently selling Dreyer’s, but planning to do homemade soon), I discovered Vicki’s Eatery.

Vicki’s is an artsy, historic part of Silver City, and they offer a nice lunch menu as well as dinner a couple of nights a week and breakfast on the weekends.

The only way to get their ice cream is to order a scoop for $3.99. It’s presented beautifully, with a touch of whipped cream. You can also try a to-go order, but there’s an automatic 20% gratuity.

Point being, this ice cream is pricey. Extraordinarily so compared to the average. But it was great, and since it’s a small town, I was delighted to pay $3.99 for each of my two scoops. (My husband went with a sandwich instead…which he loved.) Here’s what I thought of it:

Coffee ice cream, Vicki’s Eatery, Silver City, New Mexico | In Search of a ScoopCoffee – This is a beautiful coffee flavor, and it was even richer than I expected. It might be the best coffee flavor I’ve ever had! It’s really awesome. The texture is very nice although not quite a melt in your mouth situation…there’s a touch of graininess. This is the exact, ideal coffee flavor I search for after growing up with Brigham’s ice cream…it’s just a higher intensity. This is a must try if you enjoy coffee.

New Mexico Chocolate ice cream, Vicki’s Eatery, Silver City, New Mexico | In Search of a ScoopNew Mexico Chocolate – This was much more complex than I anticipated. It has tons of fun spices! It’s actually much better, in my opinion, than Arnie’s in Concord, NH, where I first had a Mexican chocolate ice cream. (And I loved that one before going gluten-free.) This is really delicious…it doesn’t have heat so much as spice. Like the coffee, it has a bit of graininess…these spices remind me of an old antique shop. Homemade and rustic.

The portions were satisfying to end a meal. At $7.98 my two scoops with whipped cream were pricey, but I will never complain. Vicky’s makes everything from scratch and it really shows.Vicki’s Eatery, Silver City, New Mexico | In Search of a ScoopThanks for a delicious visit, Vicki! We are eager to return this winter.

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