Tag: destination

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!

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?

Hopkins Farm Creamery in Delaware

On a recent trip through Delaware, I wanted to experience what the local dairies had to offer for ice cream. Hopkins Farm Creamery has won local awards and offered a gluten-free menu, so they seemed like a great place to visit. 

Their ice cream stand placement and design is interesting – you begin by ordering from one section, and then you’re assigned a letter where your number will be called in another section. I’m sure it’s designed to streamline crowds, but it felt a little bit impersonal. We were also surprised to see how close the dairy cows were kept to each other. But we came for ice cream, and I was thrilled with the long list of flavors, including some with local fruit (reminding me of Cows Creamery). 

Visitor’s should note that they only allow one flavor per scoop. Keep that in mind as you make your decisions. 

Here’s what we decided on!

Chocolate – This is super smooth, almost a fudge-like Dutch chocolate. Yum. 

Cow Pie – Same chocolate base as above, with peanut butter cups and a peanut butter swirl. Very tasty. I wouldn’t have minded more peanut butter though. And having homemade peanut butter cups (or at least higher quality ones) would have enhanced this further. 

Cappuccino Delight – It’s like coffee ice cream, but stronger, and with heath bars. Excellent – strong and smooth with great chips. This cappuccino delight is delightful!

The portions here are pricy for what you get, unfortunately, so be prepared. The evening we were there, the crowds seemed to have an attitude, and so did all of the employees but one, who did seem happy as she took our money. 

Be prepared for a strong manure smell. It’s pretty overpowering, worse than any dairy I have been to. 

Their seasonal flavor looked delicious – Delaware Fruit has local peaches and blueberries in it. 

Hopkins Farm Creamery has very tasty ice cream. The overall experience wasn’t our favorite, but we will be happy to give it another try when we are in town. It’s very good!

Jeni’s

I have always heard amazing things about Jeni’s ice cream, including that they use a unique process to make their delicious ice cream (they describe it as having a buttercream body). I had never had the opportunity to try it for myself. Until Charleston. 

My husband and I stopped our RV in Charleston for a few hours to explore, and in my wanderings, I stumbled upon some ice cream. The reviews said it was overpriced, but a quick google search told me there were other ice cream shops nearby too – including Jeni’s! My decision made, I headed to Jeni’s. Although the line layout wasn’t super-clear, the service was excellent. I noted that the prices were on the higher side, but they were typical for a city like Charleston…and of course you pay more for quality.The scoops were small but satisfying. If you’re hungry, I’d suggest getting the trio for $6. The ice cream is delicious and clearly uses very high-quality ingredients. 

Milky chocolate: A rather simple but delicious flavor. 

Salty caramel: Prominent salt, with cream and caramel…a very fun flavor

Darkest chocolate: She told me this is 99% cacao butter! It’s amazing, like an intense dark brownie batter but with plenty of sweet too. This is the perfect balance for chocolate connoisseurs. In the running for the best I’ve had, for sure! 

Two small scoops ran me $6 total. They throw a waffle crisp thing on top which was outrageously full of flavor. 

I highly recommend Jeni’s, particularly their Charleston location. They also ship nationwide! 

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!

Frozen Custard on the Outer Banks 

Uncle Eddy’s Frozen Custard and Mini-golf isn’t glamorous. In fact, from the outside, you could reasonably presume it’s a small-town mini-golf place, perhaps with some cheap chain’s ice cream on offer for after your game. 

But in reality, this place is an absolute must stop in Buxton, NC. You’ll find six flavors of tasty hard frozen custard (next to some flavors they don’t make themselves) with memorable names like Elvis and Spongebob. You’ll also find two delicious flavors of fruity sorbet. But the reason that Uncle Eddy’s is a must for anyone visiting the Outer Banks is their soft serve custard in chocolate, vanilla and twist. 

I’ve had excellent soft serve, but it’s kind of an ephemeral thing. Most places serving soft serve in NH, where I am from, are more focused on it being healthy or low/no fat than it tasting delightfully indulgent. Custard is delightfully rich and creamy, and this stuff is the real deal. I know I should broaden my custard horizons, but to date, this stuff stands as the best I’ve had.

If you’re a Dairy Queen fan, you probably love a Blizzard. I used to as well, but they’re really overpriced and the ice cream isn’t exciting. For a nearly comparable price, have a “Hurricane Eddy” with the outrageously smooth and creamy custard you’ll find here. You can get chocolate, vanilla or a twist (my favorite) with two mix-ins. I have enjoyed chocolate syrup and banana, strawberries and chocolate syrup, peppermint patties and chocolate syrup and my absolute favorite, peppermint patties and hot fudge – not a normal option but they offered when they ran out of syrup! This stuff sells for $5.99/16 ounces which is a huge portion. For another buck you can get 20 ounces. 

I will review for you some of their hard flavors as well. But remember, while their hard custard is one of the best such options on the Outer Banks (next to Scoops in Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills), it’s not necessarily going to excite a city slicker ice cream connoisseur. So have some soft custard. Today, preferably. But if you can make a few visits, here’s your hard custard guide. 

Hard Custard Flavors:

Black Sand – tasty chocolate base with butterfinger. Yum! Almost a German chocolate base. 

English Toffee – The toffee addition really makes this one special. 

Raspberry Margarita – This combines their raspberry and lemon sorbets with vanilla custard and margarita mix. It’s fun and fruity, and like an adult beverage. Kind of sweet and odd, but it’s fun and better and richer than I imagined.  

Golden Toffee – This one combines vanilla, caramel and Heath bar. It’s seriously excellent and was the best ice cream I had had in a while. The flavors meld perfectly. 

Lemon Raspberry Cream – This light and refreshing one combines vanilla, lemon and raspberry. 

Yellow Brick Road – This is a fabulous combination of vanilla, cashews, white chocolate chips and caramel – even if you aren’t fond of cashews! The vanilla is perfect. 

Hatteras Sunrise – This is vanilla with cherry, pineapple and coconut. It’s so fun and fruity, very candy-like but lovely and bright. Coconut makes me think of a snowball…the finely chopped fruit is well mixed so you get some in every bite. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Krisp – This has a chocolate base with peanut butter and rice krispie treats. I’d prefer bigger chunks but it’s fun and tasty. 

Rice Krispie Treat – A nice vanilla base with treats and caramel. 

Elvis – This is a chocolate peanut butter ice cream with banana – it’s fun with tasty if cold banana chunks. 

Golden Toffee – A lovely warm vanilla with delicious chocolate Toffee pieces. Really nice. 

Be sure to check out their fun beach gift shop. And while I haven’t tried it yet, their shades mini-gold course is very pretty and a bargain at $8/as many games as you want. 

Bring cash – there’s an extra $1/order charge if it’s under $10 and you use a card. And this stuff is priced well. I first enjoyed a small, 5 ounce serving for only $3.18, and they’re happy to combine flavors for you. 

If you go, tell them Jamie from Camp Hatteras sent you! They’re wonderful people and I hope they stick around for a long time. Thanks for reading and happy eating!