In Praise of a Store Brand

Just a quick note, today. I love finding homemade ice cream in my travels. Going out for ice cream is literally one of my favorite things. But my budget and my waistline don’t allow me to go out every day. And much as I may try to convince myself to make other choices, I just love having ice cream every night, so I usually do.

I have a lot of favorite ice cream brands, including Tillamook, Gifford’s and Breyer’s. But I’ve really been enjoying trying store brands! It’s an easy way to save money, and often it’s really good too!

At Walmart, of all places, we discovered the tastiness of the cheekily named Hashtag Chocolate. And at King Soopers/Kroger’s, we’ve found that while their peppermint and mint ice creams aren’t worth the time of day, their chocolate-based ice creams, of all sorts, have really knocked it out of the park. Be sure to try French Silk – it’s outrageously indulgent. On the East Coast, we’ve always enjoyed Hannaford ice cream and frozen yogurt.

I’d love some insight into which companies make store brands for the respective stores. I’m quite curious, and I wonder if it varies by flavor.

Also, pro tip: if you’re prone to eating too much ice cream, get some adorable tiny ice cream bowls. That way you can stuff them to the brim and feel indulgent.

Do you ever get store brand ice cream? And do you have any favorites to share?

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!

Walrus Ice Cream in Fort Collins

My latest ice cream adventure was in Fort Collins, and it’s an adorable location worth visiting. Not only is there a local ice cream options in Fort Collins, but there is gelato and frozen custard as well, and with Boulder and Denver nearby, I have lots of local ice cream options to try within an hour or two of here. I’m glad I’ve got all summer to check it all out.
Outside View of Walrus Ice Cream, Fort Collins, CO | In Search of a Scoop

Outside View of Walrus Ice Cream. Love the bright colors and the Gluten-Free sign!

Walrus Ice Cream proudly offers a gluten-free menu and has options for vegans too. I love seeing all of that. Ice cream for everyone, I say! On my recent visit, there was a long line to order, but it moved very, very quickly, and our server was both extremely efficient and also extremely attentive. He let me try whatever I wanted too.
Menu at Walrus Ice Cream, Fort Collins, CO | In Search of a Scoop

Menu at Walrus Ice Cream

The sizing at Walrus is the first of its kind I have seen. Although you order a single, double or pint, that seems like a guideline rather than a hard size. For instance, I ordered two flavors, and they were willing to combine them into a single dish if I wanted. The trickiest part, for the purchaser, is that you ultimately pay by the ounce, so the price of your ice cream will vary not only by the size you order, but by the number of flavors and how clever/conservative your server is. In any case, the price of the ice cream came to about $12 for the two of us with tax, which felt like a decent price for a single and a double in a bigger city. A little bit pricey, perhaps, but I wasn’t expecting cheap and I wasn’t shocked.
They also offer a few frozen yogurts, which I look forward to trying. Cotton candy yogurt sounds delicious!
Overall, I found the ice cream here to be consistent and pleasant, a touch harder than my preference, but it was reasonably creamy and not too icy. Here’s the breakdown of what I found by flavor.
Two scoops from Walrus Ice Cream, Fort Collins, Co | In Search of a Scoop

Ross enjoyed a scoop of Jack Chip and a scoop of Caramel Sea Salt.

Walrus Ice Cream, Fort Collins, CO | In Search of a Scoop

Jamie went with Swiss Dark Chocolate and Sweet Cream Butterfinger.

Swiss Dark Chocolate – Swiss dark chocolate is an interesting description. It’s not all that dark, in the scheme of things, but it’s really pleasant and does have a darker profile than milk chocolate. I found it to be almost like chocolate milk. I got a scoop of this.
Chocolate Mint – This has more chocolate at the front end, more mint at the back end. It’s a great combo and they’re both pretty prominent. This flavor was slightly creamier than the others I tried.
Caramel Sea Salt – This is a fairly subtle flavor. It is pleasant. Ross got this one (without trying it first), and it’s a bit creamier than most of their flavors that we tried. This is one of their top two flavors.
Sweet Cream Butterfinger – I found the “sweet cream” base to be pretty vague. Again, it’s pleasant…I just could have used more flavor here. But you can’t go wrong with butterfinger, so the butterifnger made this. I got a scoop of this one too.
Jack Chip – This is fun, but it’s a lot more subtle than I expected. The chocolate is very nice (it’s the Swiss Dark Chocolate), and then they add chocolate chips and Jack Daniels to that base. This is one of their top two flavors. Ross got a scoop of this one.
Overall, I found the ice cream pleasant but not exciting. With the possible exception of Chocolate Mint, I wanted more flavor in all of the bases. Everything was pretty nice, but just more bland than I prefer. I don’t need my ice cream to be sweet, but it needs to have a strong presence, and I just wasn’t feeling that here.
From my research, Walrus seems to be the only homemade ice cream place in Fort Collins. There is also homemade gelato, which I will review soon i am sure. Because this is the only ice cream made here, I will definitely return at least once in hopes of finding some other flavors to get excited about.
Have you tried Walrus Ice Cream? What’s your favorite order?
p.s. Thanks for supporting my blog by doing your usual online shopping via my Amazon affiliate link!

Ice Cream & Music at Emack & Bolio’s

Ross Malcolm Boyd onstage at Emack & Bolio's, Albany, NY | In Search of a Scoop

Ross Malcolm Boyd onstage at Emack & Bolio’s, Albany, NY

Last September, on our way through upstate New York, my husband Ross was eager to play an open mic. He found one in Albany, and though it took some doing to find a safe and free place to leave the RV for a while, we did just that before heading into the city to perform.

Well, as it turns out, Ross had chosen an open mic at an ice cream place. And it wasn’t just any ice cream place – it was one I’d read about before!

Emack & Bolio’s is full of personality, with super-premium

Books and gifts at Emack & Bolio's, Albany, New York | In Search of a Scoop

Books and gifts at Emack & Bolio’s, Albany, New York

ice cream at locations in five states and in many Asian countries too! It has an artsy, indie vibe, at least in Albany, New York, and they also sell coffee and pastries there. This location hosts live music every week, including an open mic, and they also have a fireplace, a garden patio and a neat selection of books and gifts.

I was so excited that after we played our three songs (and were asked to be the featured artists whenever we return to the area!) we got to get ice cream.

Extra ice cream at Emack & Bolio's, Albany, NY | In Search of a Scoop

Extra ice cream at Emack & Bolio’s, Albany, NY

Plus, when they misunderstood my initial order, I ended up with some extra ice cream…so yes, I had two bowls of ice cream here! The flavor report:

Pumpkin – It’s delicious, smooth and tastes like real pumpkin, as it should. You’ll need to love pumpkin to enjoy this. It’s subtle and lovely.

Chocolate Moose – This is a smooth chocolate – they have a few different chocolate flavors. It’s an outstanding, rich flavor! Maybe top 3 or 4 chocolates I’ve had so far?

Vanilla Bean Speck – This is a very “real” tasting vanilla. I love when you can study the vanilla bean. Yum.

Bananas Foster – This is cinnamon, with chunks of roasted banana. Really delicious!

I found the texture to be fabulous, with high marks across the board here. It absolutely lived up to the hype. There’s tons of indoor seating as well as a great outdoor stage with tables, and the live music is definitely a draw.

Pricing was on the higher side, but appropriate for a city like Albany and the clearly higher-quality ingredients they’re using. This is a must-stop if you’re in the area!

p.s. Thanks for supporting my 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!

How Much Ice Cream Can You Fit Into a Week?

Do you ever ask yourself this question? Do you struggle with the desire to stay healthy while eating lots of ice cream? I certainly do. 

This past week I flew back to New Hampshire. The combined stress of travel, mild family drama and life combined with my ice cream-craving brain in a major way. Suffice to say that I ate too much dairy, sugar and fat. And when I thought about how to write about it, I realized just how intense it was. It’s like I scheduled it out with a desire to eat as much as possible. 

So be shocked, or use this as a guide for yourself on how to eat too much ice cream and sweet treats. 

Wednesday – A small hazelnut soft serve frozen yogurt with raspberries at Pinkberry at the Baltimore airport. A kiddie size Wild NH Black Bear – vanilla with red raspberry swirl and chocolate raspberry truffles – from Lang’s, who serve Blake’s ice cream. 

Thursday – A large with cotton candy, coconut cream and Wild Maine Black Bear, a red raspberry ice cream with dark chocolate truffles, for lunch at Jordan’s Creamery. 

Friday – A dish of Coconut Bliss‘ Cherry Amaretto (coconut-based, dairy-free) with fun toppings at a pre-wedding dinner. 

Saturday – A dish of Round Top’s Salted Caramel ice cream with hot fudge at a wedding dinner.  

Sunday – A small Wild NH Black Bear with hot fudge at Lang’s after dinner. 

Monday – A scoop of ice cream with two flavors, Moose Tracks (vanilla, amazing fudge ripple, peanut butter truffles) and Peppermint Stick, at Merrivale Ice Cream next to The Pizza Man

Tuesday – A small dish of Milk ( low-fat frozen yogurt) at Pinkberry with lunch. A small hot fudge shake at Sonic with dinner. 

Have you ever eaten this much sweetness in a week? What does your dream ice cream week look like? Tell me about it!

Odd Fellows in N.Y.C.

This summer’s quick jaunt to New York City was fabulous. We fit in two shows and three ice cream places! (If you missed it, I reviewed Morgenstern’s last week.) The second stop of our trip was Oddfellows, nestled near Playwrights Horizons and other off and off-off-Broadway theatres. 

We knew from the moment we saw Odd Fellows that they were unique. They’re famous for their ice cream sandwiches, but we were already pretty full from our first ice cream stop! So we settled on sticking to ice cream. 

Lime Tarragon – It’s a sorbet! Ross thought it tasted like Pickety Place, known for using their own herbs in their lunches (and also where we got married, incidentally). I loved this, it’s unreal! The tarragon wakes you up and takes this to the next level. It isn’t watery at all…much more than I expected from sorbet. Almost creamy. 

Green Matcha – Ross tried this but passed. He said it just wasn’t the flavor he expected. 

Olive Oil Strawberry – The strawberry is very real, almost more sorbet-like, and it’s woven with olive oil ice cream which is really complex and has a real aftertaste of olive oil. It wasn’t my favorite but it’s super interesting, rich and creamy. Ross described it as everything he is looking for in an ice cream!

Our single scoops came to $4 each with tax, which seemed reasonable for New York City. They rotate flavors and keep eight in stock.  We were delighted to see ice cream and frozen yogurt trucks throughout our travels. If you have a favorite, let me know! And finally, it’s not ice cream-related, but we saw the amazing show Shuffle Along while we were in town. Phenomenal cast and production team, and an incredible story that brought back memories from my independent study in high school, where I wrote about the depiction of African-Americans in American musical theater. A few photos are below! 


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