Alcoholic Delights in Austin

What’s a group of adults craving a night out to do when their sweet tooth is calling? The average ice cream place, even if it’s an upscale parlor, caters to children and families, so even after 10 pm, it may not be a relaxing setting for your girls’ night or after-hours get together.Well, if you happen to be in Austin, you’ve got plenty of options. And one of them is Prohibition Creamery.Although Austin has many delicious ice cream places to choose from, we visited there in an RV, so getting around was a challenge. Lucky for us, we walked right by Prohibition Creamery after a long day of walking. There was no resisting their unique bar/homemade ice cream combination! 

I went with two flavors. They don’t carry a wide variety, but it’s a nice mixture of alcoholic and non-alcoholic ice cream. (And we saw a family drop in during the afternoon, so apparently that’s cool too, at least during the day.) Our thoughts are below. 

Dark Chocolate – This is actually a vegan sorbet. It was a little grainy, but honestly it was quite smooth for a sorbet, almost creamy. Ross said it began with a note of dark chocolate, then a bitterness, and finally a fruitiness. Unfortunately there was a bit of ice burn in one side of my scoop. The other side was just about perfect!

Mezcal Vanilla – This is one of their boozy flavors. It’s fun! The alcohol is subtle and very complimentary. 

Triple Bourbon Milkshake – This was Ross’ selection. It includes bourbon, bourbon ice cream and bourbon whipped cream! He loved it and now has really high expectations for when we go back someday. 

Alcohol in ice cream is often subtle and perhaps much worse, just not done well. Alcohol messes with the chemistry of the ice cream, making it harder to execute well. Here overall it’s prominent and done well since it’s basically what they do! 

This place isn’t cheap. You’ll spend much more here then you’d expect in your average ice cream parlor. And of course alcohol always will increase your costs. But we highly recommend giving them a shot. As Ross said, “If we lived here, this could be where we had all our business meetings.” I love that there’s a place to accommodate my crazy sweet tooth and Ross’ desire for a drink. 

Have you been to Austin? Where do you recommend for an ice cream treat? 

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An Odd, but Delicious, Paradise Found

Sandwich Creamery is odd, for a few reasons. For one, it’s in the middle of nowhere, in a small town, down a long dirt road.

For another, it is self-serve. Yes, it’s a self-serve ice cream stand. You bring the cash and help yourself to local products and ice cream in a few sizes.

Oh, and this part isn’t odd – it’s amazing.

The prices are great – $3 small, $4 medium, $6 large. The medium is a pint. I went with two half pints, for research purposes of course. A large is a quart. I had plenty but this stuff is so good, I could have kept eating for a while.

Here’s what I chose – Ross wasn’t really hungry yet.

Muddy Mint – A chocolate mint base with pistachio and chocolate chunks. This is just outstanding. Outstanding. It has fabulous flavor, super smooth base and not too thick, just the perfect consistency. This is the perfect combo of chocolate and mint, and the mixins were diced small which was perfect.

Mexican jumping bean – A cinnamon chocolate base with chocolate covered coffee beans. Where do I begin? This is insanely delicious. You’ll feel the cinnamon in your nose – to Ross, it reminded him of a Yankee candle, but in a good way. It’s basically perfect. The chocolate was super tasty, the beans crunch and chocolatey and delicious.

In short, we are crazy about Sandwich Creamery. They have really long hours since it is self-serve. Make it a destination, bring a cooler and enjoy one of my contenders for best ice cream in New Hampshire.

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Seafood, Soft Serve and Slick’s

Meadow Ice Cream Restaurant in Littleton, NH doesn’t make their own ice cream, but I’ve always had great experiences there, so I had to share a quick post.

Sometimes, you’re in the mood for ice cream, and you go to an ice cream place. And in Littleton, Bishop’s is a solid option. Other times, you’re specifically in the mood for Slick’s ice cream, of Woodsville. But if you’re in Littleton and you don’t have the time to drive to Woodsville and back, you’ve got another option. Likewise, if you’re craving some fried seafood or a burger…and that would be Meadow Ice Cream.

This restaurant is rather unobtrusive. When I first moved to the North Country, they weren’t open, so I didn’t know what the scoop was. Turns out they are seasonal, open April-ish to October I believe. When I finally got around to trying their food, I was impressed.

I’ve gotten fried seafood here – clams are always a favorite of mine – and it’s been delicious. But I confess that what really drew me in was the sign, which often says “maple soft serve”. Yup. I had my first maple soft serve here, and it’s really fantastic. Full of flavor and creamy and perfect.

Since then, I found out about their hard ice cream, which is Slick’s. They’ve got indoor and outdoor seating too, which is definitely a step up from a food stand.

My husband and have been a few times, but we went this summer so that I could review it for you. We stuck to Slick’s ice cream this time around. It’s very affordable at $3.50 each for a medium with tax. Here’s what we got.

Strawberry Cheesecake – This is so good! Glorious crust chunks, etc. Read my full review on Slick’s here. I think this might be the best cheesecake ice cream in New Hampshire!

Cookies and Cream – Unfortunately, this one isn’t my favorite. The base is just really bland – it isn’t a distinct vanilla or anything. Personally, I want my cookies and cream base to taste like the cream in Oreos or maybe be a nice vanilla. Unfortunately while the cookies were great, the base just didn’t do it for me.

White Mountain Raspberry – This is vanilla with raspberry swirl and white chocolate chips. It’s nice, although the raspberry isn’t the best I’ve had.

Coconut Raspberry Swirl – The coconut is really fun in this!

So if you’re craving Slick’s or Seafood or maple soft serve, consider stopping by! I’ve found they always close earlier than I expect so you might want to call ahead.

Thanks for reading!

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A Throwback To An Earlier Era

Unless you’re new to this blog, you know that I really prefer homemade ice cream, frozen yogurt and the like over store bought or chain options. It’s fresher, it’s tastier, and I know I’m supporting a business that is as local as it gets.

But winters are pretty quiet on the ice cream front in New Hampshire. And since, in an unusual turn of events, I have been to Friendly’s TWICE this year, I feel compelled to write about it, even if I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I went there.

For those who aren’t local/aren’t old enough to remember Friendly’s, here are some highlights about what makes Friendly’s unique.

  1. Tons of kids. Tons of kids! This is basically kid-central. They offer special deals on certain days for families, plus they have an awesome kid menu that includes lots of kids-only sundae options that are way cuter than the adult options. This is not the place to come for a quiet, or a fancy, dinner, but it’s a great choice for a group of kids or teenagers that needs their non-alcoholic food and ice cream fix. It was a very popular stop when my family wanted to go out to dinner growing up. Inexpensive & something for everyone, as long as everyone is happy with old-fashioned American food. Like chicken fingers and ice cream.
  2. The decor…in the past, it felt pretty dated. Red and white, the colors of the logo, are a part of the theming, and it kind of felt like a glorified cafeteria, or maybe a super-kid-friendly diner. Usually it had an ice cream counter as well as tables and booths. The decor (and how easy it was to clean it all) made it feel a little too kid-friendly to me in years past…you always felt a little dirty and silly, like going to IHOP. But, I’m happy to report that the Friendly’s locations of today (at least the two I’ve been to in Concord) are embracing their history. The walls are lined with black and white photos and articles emphasizing that Friendly’s has been a part of the New England dining landscape, for meals and ice cream, since the early twentieth century – 1935 in Springfield, MA to be exact. As a result, it seems to be more of a fun retro vibe rather than feeling like a fancy fast food place. I really like it!
  3. Did I mention it’s inexpensive? Their website describes the feel as “informal” and I think that’s apt. This is the place for a burger, a “Supermelt” and a sundae.
  4. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’ve always wished you could get breakfast all day (you definitely cannot) but there’s lots to choose from here. And they are currently running a “half off breakfast” deal Monday – Friday, which is pretty awesome!
  5. The ice cream, of course! Now, they sell it in grocery stores, at least in New England, and as a general rule, Friendly’s ice cream isn’t super exciting. But they have some very tasty frozen yogurt – Vienna Mocha Swirl is one of my absolute favorites currently unless I’m springing for Gifford’s – and most importantly if you’re dining at Friendly’s, they have super fun shakes and sundaes. The one thing I cannot recommend, unfortunately, is a Friend-Z. It’s like a blizzard (DQ) or a flurry (McDonald’s). But in my experience growing up, they are NEVER well-mixed. Ever. It’s about 20% toppings, and then 80% vanilla for the rest of it. A definite skip. Just go find a Dairy Queen.

So, I’m sure you’re anxiously awaiting the results of my trip(s) to Friendly’s. I went with my family in January and I got a tasty fried chicken salad – you know the kind, with honey mustard dressing? Not very healthy but delightful. And I got their medium size sundae, should have gone smaller, but it’s hard to mess up Oreo ice cream, hot fudge, whipped cream and a cherry. My dining companions were happy too.

When Ross and I went two weekends back – I sent him a list of six cheap places, and Friendly’s was the one calling his name – we had a similarly pleasant experience. I had a tuna roll, mostly because it came with fries – the tuna was a little too dry (and there was way too much!) but the roll was tasty, and Ross had a very nice honey BBQ chicken salad which was of course not the healthiest choice but very fun.

I had a coIMG_1004upon due to St. Patrick’s Day week, and there were a few desserts I could save half price on. Since the Monster O’Mash sundae had a face – and since it’s a kid sundae, but the waitress told me I could order it anyway – that was the obvious choice for me. They also have Pop Tart ice cream sundaes – really! – so Ross ordered one of those. (It turned out the coupon wasn’t good yet, but they made an exception for me, which was very nice! Fill out those surveys and help those nice people out.) IMG_1009 (1)

My sundae was mint Oreo ice cream, with Reese’s ears, m & m eyes, a cherry nose and hot fudge hair. Since I don’t normally eat candy it was kind of overwhelming and fun. The mint always hits the spot. It was very small – which was a good call because Ross’ super-cheap ($1.99 normally/) ice cream sandwich was huge – it is actually 2 Pop Tarts, not one. He went with the chocolate frosted pop tart, which comes with chocolate ice cream. I’m not a huge Pop Tart fan. It was a great vehicle for holding ice cream and since it wasn’t overly sweet, it was kind of a nice compliment, but not my favorite thing. Hard to mess up chocolate ice cream though! Ross was really enjoying the flashback to his childhood.IMG_5754

Our Friendly’s dining experience was as nice as we could have asked for. I definitely recommend an ice cream stop in a pinch, and the food is always satisfactory enough if it isn’t something I’d crave. I don’t think I’ll be returning for dinner any time soon. Maybe in another five or ten years. But hey, you never know. Sometimes, especially when you’re on the highway driving, you just want a taste of your childhood…

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Second Time’s the…

I was so excited for this blog entry to be the victorious redemption for Granite State Candy Shoppe. Ross, my husband, and I were heading into Concord to grab a cheap dinner, and we settled on Mexican (well, something like it – Dos Amigos) and ice cream from Granite State Candy Shoppe. As it was after 5 p.m., I knew we had to get there fast (it was Saturday), but we had enough time to park (not easy in Concord on a Saturday night) and head to ice cream. We figured the dinner could come afterwards. Ice cream before dinner is never a problem in our house.

When we walked in, I looked toward the ice cream case and saw it covered in decorations. The wall still had all their ice cream prices, but there was no flavor list….I had a bad feeling about this. I saw that there was a freezer full of ice cream pints behind me.

“Do you only have pints available for sale right now?” I asked, calmly. “Yes,” someone cheerfully responded, “Unfortunately we don’t sell enough to scoop ice cream during the winter. Sometime after Easter we’ll start scooping again.”

Ugh. Ross would have settled for splitting a pint, but they were expensive. If I pay $6 or the like for a pint, I want to make sure I like the flavor and the experience, and they didn’t even have chairs that we could sit in…and frankly, the last time I had Granite State Candy Shoppe’s ice cream, it wasn’t my favorite, so I wasn’t taking any chances today.

So we left, empty-handed. We ended up having some phenomenal Mexican food at Hermanos Cocina Mexicana instead – and then we picked up some frozen yogurt at Market Basket for the road, which thankfully ended up being quite good (it was Kemp’s).

So unfortunately, I haven’t had some phenomenal frozen yogurt or ice cream in recent memory, but the abnormally warm weather we’ve had recently tells me that soon enough the ice cream stands will be opening and I can enjoy one of my favorite summer traditions…and spring…and fall…you get the idea.

Have you had some amazing ice cream recently? Where is first on your list to tell you it’s spring, or summer? Lots of people have been sharing some “best ice cream” lists and I’m getting really excited to try them all in my travels!

Thanks so much for stopping by. Happy eating!

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