Ice Cream in Estes Park – Part 2

Munchin House was my second stop in Estes Park, and it’s a narrow but fun sweet shop whether you’re craving ice cream or other treats. (If you missed it, be sure to read last week’s blog for Part 1 of Estes Park ice cream.)

The narrowness of the store, like some others nearby, makes the forming of a line challenging, but customers were very nice so I wasn’t bothered by it. Munchin House, Estes Park, CO | In Search of a Scoop

Prices were reasonable at $3.89 for a scoop, and the staff was friendly and helpful, agreeing that I could get two flavors in one scoop. They also didn’t rush me as I tried several flavors, despite the long line behind me.

Here’s what I tried:Munchin House, Estes Park, CO | In Search of a Scoop

Slam Dunk – This is a red raspberry base with fudge and chocolate chips. It’s very busy, with fun chocolate chunks, but it felt kind of cheap and wasn’t my fave.

Mint Chocolate Chip – Yum! These were very tasty chips. They’re dark and have a touch of bitter. I enjoyed the pretty classic mint flavor here. It’s very smooth and consistent.

Chocolate – I was surprised that this is a pretty light chocolate flavor . I found it similar to a typical chocolate soft serve in flavor. This was creamy and smooth. It’s not a heavy flavor. It’s almost like a really mild, milky coffee. In terms of texture, this was slightly more of a fudge-like texture than the mint chip, which was a little smoother and creamier.Munchin House, Estes Park, CO | In Search of a Scoop

I definitely enjoyed my ice cream here. Of the flavors I tried, the mint chocolate chip was the most traditional, but I enjoyed the chocolate as well.

I can’t believe all of the great homemade ice cream options available in Estes Park! I look forward to returning and trying more of them in the future. Wherever you go, have a scoop for me!

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Ice Cream in Estes Park – Part 1

I recently visited Estes Park, CO as part of my visit to Rocky Mountain National Park. I presumed I knew what Estes Park would be, and while it is indeed touristy, I really enjoyed it, because it still had a lot of character and reminded me of New England tourist and ski towns.Laura’s Fine Candies, Estes Park, CO | In Search of a Scoop

The biggest surprise? Estes Park is FULL of ice cream shops – and many of them carry homemade ice cream! After a visit to urgent care, I felt I had earned some ice cream, so I got online and started researching. Hayley’s looked great, so off I went. I was surprised to see several other stores with homemade ice cream (according to their signage) on the walk to Hayley’s, but I stuck with the plan.Laura’s Fine Candies, Estes Park, CO | In Search of a Scoop

Hayley’s had really friendly staff. They let me do up to three flavors in one scoop! The store was relatively small, but the street is lined with benches perfect for enjoying a cup or cone.Laura’s Fine Candies, Estes Park, CO | In Search of a Scoop

They had several distinct flavors, and it was those flavors that clued me in, when I visited Laura’s Fine Candies, that it is Laura’s who makes Hayley’s homemade ice cream! Laura’s is a gorgeous candy store, with fantastic popcorn, lots of homemade treats and a beautiful section in back for their forty flavors of homemade ice cream.Laura’s Fine Candies, Estes Park, CO | In Search of a ScoopLaura’s Fine Candies, Estes Park, CO | In Search of a Scoop

I loved the phrase “Spoiling Dinner Since 1970” on their window.

So here’s what I got at Hayley’s, but could have also gotten at Laura’s, which is the more beautiful and impressive store on the opposite side of the street.

Huckleberry – This was super creamy. I think it tastes similar to blueberry, as a fruit. I’ve only had it occasionally. The ice cream has a nice balance, living somewhere between creamy and fruity. It manages to be pretty smooth, taste super creamy, have really great flavor and a nice texture. Honestly, I could eat this every day. It’s probably in my top ten favorite fruit ice creams right now!

Sea Salt Caramel – This was a more subtle flavor. There’s no cheap caramel aftertaste here, and the Black Sea salt crystals are a nice touch. I found a couple of ice crystals, but it was otherwise creamy, so the crystals surprised me and kind of didn’t bother me.

Mexican Chocolate – This is about a medium chocolate base, with cinnamon and some heat that comes after the rest is completely gone. It’s a really surprising kick and I enjoyed it a lot. I got a big ice crystal though.

Overall, Laura’s is a truly solid ice cream company. Even if the ice crystals aren’t their fault (perhaps it was how they were stored), I wouldn’t rate any of these ice creams as a top five selection. But I would enjoy eating Laura’s any day of the week, and I’m especially fond of that Huckleberry. Yum!

I enjoyed a second homemade ice cream in Estes Park as well. Stay tuned for next week’s entry for the full scoop!

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

Finding The Big Dipper

During a recent visit to Cheyenne, Wyoming, I got a craving for ice cream. Although there wasn’t any homemade ice cream there, it told me I could visit Big Dipper Ice Cream in Laramie for my fix. So the next week, I did just that.

Big Dipper is in a college town, and that seemed to show itself in the staff and students. The shop is adorable, with stools by the windows and some comfy seats for lounging, and the staff, while not forthcoming on their own, were friendly when I asked questions.

A sign told me I had to limit myself to trying only three flavors. Though that is always a bummer to see, three is more than two and certainly more than none, which I sometimes see in tourist towns, so I set out to choosing flavors.p.s. Thanks for supporting my blog by doing your usual online shopping via my Amazon affiliate link!

The staff told me I could get two flavors in one scoop, so that helped me with my decision.

Here’s what I went with:

p.s. Thanks for supporting my blog by doing your usual online shopping via my Amazon affiliate link!Chocolate – The chocolate ice cream here is very rich and dark. It’s full of flavor and very satisfying.

Watermelon Sorbet – This was fun, if you like sorbet, but it wasn’t anything special. It has the icier quality typical of sorbets.

Wyoming Black Bear – This is a pretty rich raspberry base with decent chocolate bits, and it’s very satisfying. The chocolate chunks weren’t the best, but they were okay, and Ross enjoyed the base a lot.

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow – This is a simple, refreshing and fairly creamy base, probably vanilla. The chocolate covered marshmallow mix-ins were very fun.

Grapefruit – This was the surprise win of the night! It’s super grapefruit-y, perfect if you love grapefruit like me. It’s so creamy! I interrogated the staff about how it could be so creamy if it’s sorbet, but they said it must be the stirring process. This is wildly awesome and blows the average sorbet out of the water. Smooth and delicious.

Despite the signage for gelato, they didn’t have any gelato in stock while I was there. The ice cream felt a little pricey, but the portions made it fairly reasonable.

I am so glad I got to visit Big Dipper. They have very tasty ice cream, even if it didn’t stop me in my tracks, and I love their downtown location. Plus, the grapefruit sorbet may be the best sorbet I have ever had!

Thanks, Big Dipper. If you’d like to read about my adventures getting ice cream in nearby Fort Collins, I wrote about gelato here and ice cream from Walrus and Emporium.

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

Big Dipper, Laramie, WY | In Search of a Scoop

A Cafe Treat from Noosa

Noosa may be known for their delicious (and sweet!) yogurt, but when I learned their plant was near Fort Collins, CO, I made visiting their local cafe, on site at their plant, a priority.

Howling Cow Cafe, Bellevue, CO | In Search of a Scoop

The cafe specializes in coffee and tea drinks and offers a lot of options to customize a sandwich or bagel, plus they offer a few other specials. They carry some fun non-dairy milks, including oat milk. You can also purchase their own yogurt, milk (including root beer milk), eggs and a few other items that seem chosen for their own staff. They also offer several sweet options and carry gluten-free goodies too.

Howling Cow Cafe, Bellevue, CO | In Search of a Scoop

On a quiet day, I headed to the cafe to try their own soft-serve ice cream, at the recommendation of a friend.

I was surprised to see that they don’t list the prices for sandwiches, bagels and most baked goods. I’m sure I could have asked, but I always prefer to be able to find that information for myself.

They offer soft serve chocolate, vanilla and a twist option. Watch carefully for your order because they may not announce when it’s ready.

I thought the prices were kind of cheap! I went with a twist. They charge $2 for a cone or $2.50-$3.50 for a cup.

Howling Cow Cafe, Bellevue, CO | In Search of a ScoopThe ice cream was very smooth. It tastes very fresh, and I imagine it doesn’t use a lot of preservatives. It wasn’t super rich, but it’s very pleasant. If you love soft serve, I’d rate it an 8/10. However, they also make shakes (which are also cheap), so those are probably worth a try too.

I do recommend eating inside (there is no outdoor seating) to avoid the smell of cow dung.

Howling Cow Cafe, Bellevue, CO | In Search of a Scoop

This cafe is out of the way, and you may lose cell service entirely, but if you are looking for a fun escape for a treat near Fort Collins, definitely visit Howling Cow Cafe!

For another cafe at a dairy, you can read about Hopkins Farm Creamery in Delaware. Thanks for reading, and have a scoop this week!

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

Getting Ice Cream at Glacier

I recently spent some time visiting Boulder, Colorado, and Glacier Homemade Ice Cream and Gelato was one of the absolute highlights. In the next few weeks, I will profile your homemade ice cream options in Boulder. Here are my thoughts on Glacier.

First off, it’s very reasonably priced, with fairly large portions and an offer to combine flavors in a dish. (Gelato is a bit more expensive, which makes sense to me.) There was ample indoor and outdoor seating, and the staff was friendly and attentive, even as we tried tons of flavors. Here’s what we thought about it all!

Glacier Ice Cream and Gelato, Boulder, CO | In Search of a Scoop

Pralines and Cream: Each element is right on. It’s got the sweetness and the right texture for each component. Delicious.

Cappuccino Chocolate Chip: This was so good! The base is so strong and fabulous. Just like a cappuccino…really like the best Frappuccino out there, to be specific. The high quality miniature chocolate chips are perfect. This is definitely in our top ten, and maybe close to our top five, for this type of flavor.

Double Chocolate: Wow. This is so smooth. It’s dark and almost smoky, like a dark brownie batter. Almost a whiskey finish Ross said…There was a tiny bit of bristle, but mostly it’s super smooth, like the other bases here. This ranks in the top ten.

Vermont Maple Honey: This has a pretty strong maple flavor. It could use a touch more, but the brightness due to the honey is awesome. Plus, it’s smooth and creamy!

Raspberry Chocolate Melt: This is a very awesome combo…the chocolate reminded me of Oreo in its texture.

Chocolate Hazelnut: This one is outrageously creamy! Delicious. Like an expresso.

Glacier Ice Cream and Gelato, Boulder, CO | In Search of a ScoopOverall, we found the flavors here extremely smooth, more like a gelato than an ice cream, but with the creaminess you’d hope for in an ice cream. Next time I will have to try their gelato.

Odd fact – there’s a newer Glacier, same name, in Denver, apparently of no relation. Bizarre, right? Anyone know that story?

I joined their birthday club and will be back next week I hope. Thank you, Glacier!

Stay tuned for my thoughts on other ice cream places in Boulder, Colorado. And if you need a refresher, here’s how I felt about Walrus and Gelato & aMore in Fort Collins.

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!

Affordable Ice Cream in Gainesville

On a quick trip through what seems to be the awesome university town of Gainesville, FL, I was delighted to find Sweet Dreams in a small strip mall. It’s an unpretentious location focused on cozy seats to enjoy some cheap homemade ice cream.

This isn’t gourmet, and it’s not going to be your best ice cream ever (unless all you know is Edy’s and Baskin Robbins), but it’s a great place for a treat.

The flavors I tried:

Tamarind – Wow. This had a delightful tartness.

Chocolate Ginger – Unfortunately this wasn’t memorable – definitely nothing exceptional here.

House Chocolate – This is a dark chocolate with fruity undertones. It wasn’t my favorite, but I give them credit for uniqueness!

Chocolate Jack, Jimmy, Johnny – This has a wonderful chocolate flavor, boozy and with dried fruits and nuts. It’s actually a flaky texture, and it’s really tasty. I’ve never seen anything like it, minus the one time I made ice cream by throwing all sorts of chocolate together.

Mint Chip – Tastes like Christmas! This is light and delightful.

The brown sugar toffee also looks worth a try!

With tax, a double dipper was only $3.67, making this a very affordable indulgence. They will also let you mix flavors if you order a pint!

Do be aware there aren’t a lot of “normal” flavors like chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. This place is best for adventurers. I also missed the case with fun sorbets and dog treats on my first visit.

Have you tried Sweet Dreams? What did you think?