Tag: destination

The Chocolate Lady – A Short Story

You’re wandering the streets of Old Mesilla in New Mexico. You come seeking an authentic connection to history, but it’s hard to discern what was from the crowds of tourists, slightly bored and seeking something they can’t quite put their finger on. The Chocolate Lady, Old Mesilla, NM | In Search of a Scoop

I’ve seen this before, you think to yourself. The old quirky bookstore with charm but no room to move, the town square. It’s old west meets ski town meets too many visitors, and after a few obligatory photos, it’s probably time to leave.

And then you see it. Next to another store selling Blue Bell ice cream and other too common sights, there’s a sign: homemade ice cream. The Chocolate Lady, Old Mesilla, NM | In Search of a Scoop

Really? Could it be? In a candy store where four people feel like they’ve crashed the party, there’s homemade ice cream? How? Why?

But it calls you. You open the door and walk the aisles. Nice-looking homemade chocolates. A few trinkets. You find the ice cream sign, and are disappointed to see it only comes in one size. Huh. But you made it this far.

When they say no samples are allowed, you almost run. But you can afford this. Even if it’s garbage. And again, if it pays off…

So you go for it…and when they bring it out, it’s clear it’s pre-packed. That’s why it’s one size only. You haven’t seen pre-packed since Sandwich Creamery in New Hampshire…but that was outstanding. The Chocolate Lady, Old Mesilla, NM | In Search of a Scoop

So you take your ice cream and your spoon, step outside, find a bench and prepare for…

Wow. You couldn’t have prepared for this. It’s…it’s unlike any ice cream you’ve had. The base is cream, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla, and this has chocolate chips throughout. The Chocolate Lady, Old Mesilla, NM | In Search of a Scoop

It’s very rich, a medium chocolate. The texture is on the hard side initially, but it melts and flakes easily in your mouth.

This is definitely homemade, and quite enjoyable. And at $3.50, it’s cheap. A decent size. A slow-eating ice cream. It reminds you of Carvel ice cream cake with its texture. You finish your cup, satisfied. Welcome to Old Mesilla.

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Spill The Beans

This is a gargantuan coffee shop. There’s so much seating! But beyond the extensive coffee menu is an ice cream menu, and I was told by my cousin that it was a must-see.

Spill The Beans, Greenville, SC | In Search of a ScoopSpill The Beans, Greenville, SC | In Search of a Scoop

Mostly coffee but amazing ice cream here!

So on my day to visit Greenville, South Carolina, I made sure to stop by. This isn’t my usual ice cream review. They make vanilla and chocolate soft serve and yogurt and then carry an incredible variety of mix-ins. Similar to a Blizzard at Dairy Queen, you choose your base and your mixins.

I had fun watching the soft serve machine. And at $.50/topping, the price was reasonable for a downtown location. I went with a kiddie, which was $4.05 before tax and tip.Spill The Beans, Greenville, SC | In Search of a Scoop

To be honest, I didn’t have high hopes when I walked in and realized how it worked. I expected mediocre ice cream with decent mixins.

I was so wrong! Here’s what I got:

Spill The Beans, Greenville, SC | In Search of a Scoop

Yes. It was as good as it looks.

Chocolate ice cream base with Nutella and marshmallow – Wow. The base was ridiculously smooth. The chocolate definitely didn’t taste healthy – which is a good thing! It’s not watery, as soft serve can be, but it also isn’t heavy, so it doesn’t hide your mix-ins.

They threw in giant chunks of hazelnut/Nutella style chocolate, absolutely outrageously good. The marshmallow was super finely chopped and well blended.

This was so delicious! I highly recommend a visit here.

I have also heard wonderful things about the gelato place in town, so I will be back for sure!

If you enjoyed this, you might also enjoy reading about the amazing frozen custard I found on the Outer Banks!

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Supporting My Blog

I am truly grateful for your support of my blog! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Become a patron of my work!
  • Make purchases via my Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using my affiliate links. Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support me, and I also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money. This link will take you to my other travel page with my husband – we’ll have one here soon!
  • Listen to, subscribe and review my theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to this as well as my other travel blog, RossAndJamieAdventure, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from me and my husband, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com.

Two Roosters In Raleigh

I recently visited Two Roosters in Raleigh. Located in a strip mall, they’ve got a cute location and a fondness for quirky flavors.

Two Roosters, Raleigh, NC | In Search of a ScoopAt $5 for a single, I was pleasantly surprised by my two, large scoops, so expect ample portions here, even if it’s on the pricier side.

This is a small and cute location, and they patiently let us try tons of flavors. Their simple and charming menu offers a mix of regular flavors and “guests” that rotate out.

Here’s what we sampled:

Two Roosters, Raleigh, NC | In Search of a ScoopChristmas Tree – This is pine flavor ice cream with pine nuts. Wow wow wow!!!! It’s such a fun flavor, goes down easy and it’s pretty creamy. I love it!!! Even if the consistency isn’t in my top five, the flavor makes this one of the best I’ve had!

Classic Chocolate – This is super smooth, a bit more fudge than creamy, definitely classic chocolate verging on the lighter side. It’s very good, approaching excellent. Especially good if you enjoy a fudgier flavor.

Spiked Eggnog – This tastes just like eggnog with whiskey. They couldn’t confirm if it was gluten free, unfortunately, so I didn’t get a scoop. Thankfully the eggnog at Fresh was gluten-free so I got my fix.

Whiskey Gingerbread and Molasses – It’s good. A very gingerbread flavor, with a good texture, according to Ross.

Butterscotch Haystack – This is a sweet cream base with lo mein noodles covered in butterscotch. What a concept! Ross enjoyed it, but he wanted more butterscotch or more haystack.

Roasted Strawberry and Honey – Honestly, this just tasted like strawberry ice cream. Good, if that’s what you’re craving!

Slingshot Coffee Bourbon – Somewhere between a light and creamy Brigham’s style and a darker coffee is where this lives…almost like a coffee latte. It’s very, very good and might make top five. We didn’t get the bourbon flavor at all though, so don’t go in just for that!

Two Roosters is a really fun place, with unique flavors for the adventurous foodie. If you missed it, I also visited Fresh and Treat in Raleigh. And if you enjoyed this, you might also like A Sweet Treat at Sweet Cow.

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

Two Roosters, Raleigh, NC | In Search of a Scoop

How cute is this ice cream shop?

Cremeland

Cremeland in Manchester, NH is an institution. I visited them recently due to a soft serve craving.

This won’t be a full review, because all I did was order their soft serve. It met the mark for soft serve (I ordered a twist) and at two scoops for $3.80, it was very affordable.

I can’t give them the full review, but it’s worth a stop when you need ice cream in Manchester.

Have you tried Cremeland?

Cremeland, Manchester, NH | Ross and Jamie AdventureCremeland, Manchester, NH | Ross and Jamie AdventureCremeland, Manchester, NH | Ross and Jamie Adventure

Making Memories in Kingston

Memories, Exeter, NH | In Search of a Scoop

I’ve gone to Memories in Exeter, NH several times in my life. In my younger days, they struck me as overpriced, and I recall a very odd scoop system where you could order quarter scoops, half scoops etc. but unless you ordered two gargantuan scoops, you couldn’t get two flavors.

But with age comes wisdom and a ridiculous amount of ice cream eating, so when I missed my favorite place for frozen yogurt closing by mere hours (until next year, Wright Place!), I returned to Memories for a visit and a review.Memories, Exeter, NH | In Search of a Scoop

I was honestly delighted by my visit! To be fair, it was a rainy October afternoon, so there wasn’t a line and I could take my time sampling, but I felt very comfortable trying flavors, was impressed to see a sampler option on the menu and was especially excited that they had an ingredient binder on hand for those of us with food allergies! Their fall menu was really fun, and their farm setting with a big farmer’s porch is picturesque.Memories, Exeter, NH | In Search of a Scoop

Here’s what I thought of Memories:

Sweet Potato – This is a sweet potato base with toffee pieces. If you love sweet potato, this is worth a try! I enjoyed the toffee and there seemed to be some sort of caramel or similar running through it lightly. A fun new fall flavor for me.

Chocolate Marshmallow – This was kind of a medium, Belgian chocolate type base. And you can’t go wrong with marshmallows. I really, really loved this base.

Bananas Foster – Oh my word. If you like bananas, this is sweet and creamy and an absolute 10/10. I could have eaten this one forever. So, so good!!!

Overall, their ice cream is pretty perfect. Creamy and consistent, easy to eat and never icy. They’re not too sweet and you truly taste the flavors. Their chocolate marshmallow should make my top five chocolates (hard to do!) and their bananas foster was truly a thing of beauty.

They may have closed for the season, but you can pre-order some ice cream and pick it up once a month on a chosen day. Follow them on Facebook, because they seem to like to open up and scoop if it’s nice outside.

Thanks for an incredible treat, Memories! And putting my three flavors in a dish was genius. Also, you’re very reasonably priced for high end ice cream. $6 for three large scoops makes sense. And thanks for getting rid of your old, odd scoop scale!

Memories, Exeter, NH | In Search of a Scoop

If you enjoyed this review, you might enjoy reading about God Save The Cream in Denver. Happy ice cream!

An Obsession Hatches At Hatchland

Hatchland Farm in North Haverhill, New Hampshire is wonderful. I knew it to be wonderful, because in the past I’d occasionally had a dish (before the blog) if I was in an area carrying their ice cream, and it always was absolutely delicious. But their ice cream stand/dairy in North Haverhill really isn’t the kind of place you get to by accident.

So when fate brought me to North Haverhill to teach a series of classes recently, I was really excited to see their ice cream was still available for scooping. Particularly because the sign said that they have maple soft serve, and I truly love maple soft serve.

Hatchland Farms, Haverhill, NH | Ross And Jamie Adventure When I got there, I was pretty awed by the place. First off, their prices are reasonable verging on cheap. Second, they offer samplers and tiny portions for those craving as little as a half scoop of hard ice cream. Third, they have some really fun flavors and gluten-free cones! But when I got to the window, I was wowed.

I said that I was having a hard time deciding between soft serve and hard serve maple ice cream. The woman behind the counter cheerfully said “why not have both?” and I said “I can do that?” and she said “Of course!”. Now, I’m all for combining flavors in the name of variety. I will ask if I can get multiple flavors in a scoop. But never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I’d be allowed to combine hard and soft serve ice cream in one dish!

All thoughts of trying multiple flavors went out the window. All thoughts of anything but that combination were gone. “Sounds great!” I said. So I got a scoop of each.

It’s $3 for a scoop of each. This ice cream almost has me speechless, folks. Hatchland Farms, Haverhill, NH | Ross And Jamie Adventure

Maple Soft Serve – So, the soft serve really balances creaminess with a strong maple taste. Definitely the best maple soft serve I’ve had, although others have been in the ballpark. It’s delicious.

Maple Hard Serve – Wow! This is the best maple ice cream I’ve ever had. The hard ice cream has a deeper complexity of flavor than the soft…and yet it’s still quite soft and creamy. Ross said this tastes like maple candy.

I was so in love with this stuff that I got it two days in a row. When they had extended their hours to be open one more day when I was in town, Ross couldn’t resist getting his own. The third time they were out of maple soft serve, but we both savored our hard ice cream.

Go to Hatchland Farm. Or eat their ice cream, if you’re local and they carry it nearby. I can’t speak to anything but their maple with specificity, but I’ve never gone wrong there. And if there’s maple on the menu, you know what to do. Hatchland Farms, Haverhill, NH | Ross And Jamie Adventure

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!

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

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!