The Ice Cream Vice, or Vice Is Nice

As you probably know, I focus my blogging on local, homemade ice cream places, but when I was offered the opportunity to sample Vice Ice Cream, I couldn’t resist. Vice Ice Cream markets themselves as “the unapologetically indulgent ice cream brand that has gained a cult-following for its decadent, playful flavors such as Breakfast in BedToffee Wife and Afternoon Delight”.

They reached out to me, offering to send a few pints of ice cream to sample. Who says no to ice cream? Not this kid. Most of their flavors are full of glutenous deliciousness (cookies, brownies and the like are common), but they have two flavors without any added gluten. (If you’re celiac or highly sensitive to cross-contamination, you’ll want to skip them all.) I requested the two flavors I could eat, and I recommended a third flavor for Ross, my husband, to sample.

It turned out that the “few” pints promised were actually six! Two of each of the three flavors. Rather than enjoy all the alcoholic ice cream solo, I decided to have an ice cream tasting with our friends. (This same group had shared a whiskey and a wine tasting with us in the past, so it felt especially appropriate.)

As a result, I have feedback to share from three additional friends – Gypsy, Scott and Beth – as well as Ross and myself. Thank you to Vice for the samples and to my friends for sharing their feedback! (I wasn’t compensated or even asked to blog about these, but the ice cream was provided by them, so buyer beware. These pints can be purchased in your local supermarket if you’re curious.)

L'Orange, Vice Ice Cream | In Search of a Scoop

Orange and chocolate combine in this flavor from Vice Ice Cream.

Flavor #1: L’Orange a Trois: Vanilla ice cream with orange ripple, dark chocolate chunks, white chocolate chunks and milk chocolate chunks.

We liked this one. One person said, “This is what you need to make a creamsicle drink”, and people liked the orange and chocolate pairing. Ross’ father would love this.

I found the chocolate to be pretty high quality. The orange ripple was a pretty fake but fun taste, like you’d get in a chocolate orange. The ice cream was quite creamy, like a Breyers. It’s definitely like a creamsicle. One person said it’s like the consistency of the ice cream in a creamsicle….not super creamy, but it’s very nice and melts in the mouth well.

L’orange was refreshing, like a spring blossom, according to one taster. Beth really doesn’t like orange normally, but it reminded her of chocolate oranges. (It also makes sense that it wasn’t my favorite thing because I’m not a huge chocolate orange person).

Breakfast in Bed from Vice Ice Cream | In Search of a Scoop

Breakfast in Bed from Vice Ice Cream

Flavor #2: Breakfast in Bed: Maple ice cream with chunks of sticky bun dough, pecan praline and a touch of cream cheese.

This is the one that I couldn’t eat, because of the gluten in the sticky bun dough. There isn’t a lot of maple flavor, although you can taste it. The pecans were prevalent, which is great if you like them, and the cinnamon bun is really good, although there isn’t a lot of it. This was also a very smooth ice cream. There’s a buttery hint to it – one person said it was almost like a buttercream chardonnay!

Ross thought it was fun, but wished the flavor was more consistent overall. Perhaps if the cinnamon had been more consistent? Only the maple and nuts were consistent.

Most of us couldn’t taste the cream cheese, but a few people thought they got a subtle hint of it. It’s an ambitious ice cream that didn’t really hit the mark.

Flavor #3: Bourbon Mash: Vanilla ice cream with whisky bourbon-caramel swirl and chocolate chunk mix-ins.

This was the favorite, by far! The bourbon ripple is delicious and the aftertaste is really satisfying. The caramel has a bit of saltiness, which is awesome. We all enjoyed how high the number of mixins was. It’s not overwhelming, though – it’s a perfect balance.

I didn’t think the chocolate was brilliant, but it’s satisfying and doesn’t take away from the bourbon showcase.

Scott described the combo as almost a bit of citrus at the end – it’s actually a bit reminiscent of the first in that way.

Bourbon drizzle sitting on top of the container is so good!

Bourbon Mash ripple, Vice Ice Cream | In Search of a Scoop

The bourbon ripple is delicious!

Bourbon Mash from Vice Ice Cream | In Search of a Scoop

Bourbon Mash from Vice Ice Cream

Bourbon Mash, Vice Ice Cream | In Search of a Scoop

Bourbon Mash is the first one out of the cooler.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks so much to Vice for the chance to try your products. We highly recommend Bourbon Mash and would encourage you to have your own tasting session when you’re in the mood for some crazy, no holds barred ice cream.

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

An Epic Ice Cream Adventure Through Tampa, FL – Part 3

It’s hard to imagine a day better spent than one visiting three different homemade ice cream places, eating booza (an Arabic style of ice cream), Thai-style hand-rolled ice cream and a spicy goat cheese based ice cream in Tampa, amongst many others. Here’s part three, the conclusion, of my thrilling ice cream adventure in the Tampa, Florida area. (Missed part 1 and 2? You can start it here.)

After a large portion of ice cream at Handcraft followed by a smaller portion at Dough, I didn’t have too much of an appetite left. But I knew this would be the last visit of the day – Tampa has lots of traffic, and we still had more than an hour’s drive home ahead of us, so my aspirations of visiting a fourth or fifth place wouldn’t be met today.

My priority for our last stop was a visit to The Revolution. Their flavor combinations are pretty off the wall, with tons of mix-ins, and they reminded me a little bit of Ben & Jerry’s in their style. Being gluten-free, I knew I wouldn’t have a lot of flavor options to choose from, but I thought it would still be worth the effort to see what such a creative place’s ice cream was like.

The Revolution, Tampa, FL | In Search of a Scoop

Inside shot of The Revolution Ice Cream Co. courtesy of In Search of a Scoop

#3 The Revolution Ice Cream Co., Tampa, FL

As soon as we showed up, I had a great feeling about this place. We were pleasantly surprised to find designated parking at this and all of the ice cream places we visited (yay Tampa!) and although it was nighttime, the cuteness was clear. It seemed like a fun college hangout, casual but with great ice cream.

I only had a few flavors to choose from, being gluten-free, so I tried the two I was eyeing and then put in my order. Ross was too full for ice cream, but when he tried mine, he had to grab some too! Here’s what we got – and if you go here, please tell me how Callie’s Hotcakes are. Buttered pancake with maple syrup sounds out of this world!

Two flavors from The Revolution, Tampa, FL | In Search of a ScoopThe Seaward – Salted caramel, coffee, cinnamon and cardamom – This is sweet and almost spicy with its flavor combination. It’s really fun! The bit of spice meant that I didn’t get bored of it – it’s a little bit like chai. I really enjoyed it. I think one scoop was probably plenty for me, but if you enjoy a more subtle and refreshing scoop, get a couple!

The One That Started It All – Goat cheese habanero ice cream with raspberry ribbon – Oh my word. This tastes like cheesecake, and then goat cheese, and then the amazing habanero heat. It’s absolutely an outstanding combination of flavors. It’s not extraordinarily creamy (still plenty good enough though, and not icy at all in its texture) but the flavor is what makes this a total winner. This was the highlight of my night! It’s not for the faint of heart, and you might want some milk or water (or a plainer flavor like The Seaward to alternate with it) for when the heat gets intense. I will be dreaming about this flavor for years. It’s that good. I’d totally drive to Tampa just for this.

Prices are very reasonable here. I went with two scoops for $5, and it was an excellent portion. You can also get one scoop for 3.25 (like my husband did) or a kids scoop for 2.25, and 3 scoops is a great deal for only $6. They’ve also got some crazy sundaes, milkshakes, a sampler and a really intense Anarchy Challenge I wish I could try. (They say you’ve got 30 minutes to eat 6 pounds of awesomeness.)

I highly recommend joining The Revolution.

If you’re looking for other Florida ice cream reviews, you might enjoy my recommendations in GainesvilleAmple Hills at the Boardwalk at Walt Disney World (no park ticket required), Kelly’s in Orlando and a write up of all my Disney ice cream adventures including my favorite place for mint chocolate chip,  L’Artisan des Glaces in Epcot. (Fuller article on the latter to come!)

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

An Epic Ice Cream Adventure Through Tampa, FL – Part 2

It’s hard to imagine a day better spent than one visiting three different homemade ice cream places, eating booza (an Arabic style of ice cream), Thai-style hand-rolled ice cream and a spicy goat cheese based ice cream in Tampa, amongst many others. Here’s part two of my thrilling ice cream adventure in the Tampa, Florida area. (Missed part 1? You can find it here.)

After enjoying booza bakdash and rolled ice cream for the first time, we headed to our next destination.

Inside view of Dough, Tampa, FL | In Search of a Scoop

View of part of the interior of Dough, Tampa, FL

#2 Dough, Tampa, FL

Dough came recommended to us by an acquaintance (a local), and their website definitely had me intrigued. I was a little bit nervous to visit though, because they are mostly a bakery and coffee shop, and as a gluten-sensitive person, I knew it would be sad to skip over all of the pastries.

But the nice part of ice cream touring with my husband, Ross (besides the chauffeur part) is that he can enjoy the things I can’t.

Maple bacon donut, Dough, Tampa, FL | In Search of a Scoop

Maple bacon donut – oh my!

So Ross ordered a coffee and a maple bacon doughnut. I can attest that the maple topping and the bacon are delicious. The bacon is really smoky, and Ross said they’re on a thick, doughy base that is very well made and tasty even at day’s end. It has a filling inside like a Boston cream doughnut!

For ice cream, I tasted a few flavors. They have a fairly small selection, but they make them all in house.

Mint Chip – Surprisingly, this was pretty medicinal to me. It’s not your average mint, and though on first bite, I thought I might like that, the aftertaste made me realize it’s not something I’d gravitate towards. It’s a super smooth texture though.

IMG_0328Galaxy – Galaxy is vanilla with activated charcoal and sprinkles. That makes it a very pretty scoop. However, I know that activated charcoal isn’t just good for turning your mouth black…it’s also good for cleaning your system out, including any medications etc….so I stuck to just one bite, which was quite tasty and very smooth and fun.

Peanut Butter Cup – This one was my choice. It’s super smooth, with a vanilla base that’s pleasant. The peanut butter cup is finely cut and it’s very nice. The ice cream is well whipped, so it’s light and almost fluffy. The peanut butter cup itself was very salty. I ordered a kiddie, which felt like a very good deal at $2.55 plus tax.

This place is a super adorable coffee house. It’s cozy, quirky and feels really upscale as a place for coffee or a treat. I wasn’t wowed by the flavors of ice cream here, but everything they had was well done – and as I mentioned, ice cream really isn’t the focus of what they do here. There is a doughnut cone available which would be fun. The ice cream is lighter and fluffier than my most favorite ice creams, but the smooth and creamy quality is great and the distribution of candy is pretty perfect.

One bummer? The website mentioned that toppings are free – but when I was ordering, they never mentioned that to me, and I forgot about it. So maybe ask about it when you visit. 🙂

If you’re looking for other Florida ice cream reviews, you might enjoy my recommendations in GainesvilleAmple Hills at the Boardwalk at Walt Disney World (no park ticket required), Kelly’s in Orlando and a write up of all my Disney ice cream adventures including my favorite place for mint chocolate chip,  L’Artisan des Glaces in Epcot. (Fuller article on the latter to come!)

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!

 

Homemade Ice Cream in Orlando!

You might have been able to detect a bit of excitement from the title of this blog. If you did, you’re incorrect. There was actually a ton of excitement behind that blog title.

You may be thinking, why is Orlando so special? You’ve had homemade ice cream all over the country!

Well, you’d be forgiven for thinking that. The unfortunate reality is that the Orlando area suffers from a severe lack of homemade ice cream options.

You’ve got your soft-serve yogurt places. You’ve got soft-serve ice cream places. And you’ve occasionally got places that serve the hard stuff too – mostly Baskin Robbins and the like, but occasionally it’s a local shop carrying some ice cream they purchased from a distributor. And if you’re seeking gelato, you’ll find occasional options too, although I’m most excited to hear that Gelato Fiasco is opening an Orlando location soon.

But if you want homemade ice cream, made by the shop you’re purchasing it in, I wish you luck. Seriously. I’ve been in Davenport for more than three and a half months now, and finding anything less than a forty-five minute drive just wasn’t happening.

But yesterday was my day. We were in Orlando playing a concert, so we decided to adventure in the area while we were there. In searching for a botanical garden, I stumbled onto Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream. Ross and I decided we were obligated to stop. And wow – I’m sure glad that we did!

The outside is rather unassuming, with a light pink font amidst a very humble strip mall. But when you enter, you’ll be charmed by its light pink walls and sunny demeanor.

Affordable prices at Kelly'sPrices are extremely reasonable for a city, at $3.50 for a decent-sized small, $4.50 for well-portioned regular and $5.50 for a large. And if you are struggling to decide, you can get a couple of flavors in a regular (as well as a small, I believe) or three flavors in a large…or you can get an ice cream flight!

Ice cream flights are one of my favorite things. You typically pay a little more for the pleasure of a wide selection of flavors. In this case, I actually think it’s a very good deal. For $8.50 (plus tax), you’ll get four mini-waffle bowls, each with a scoop and change of a different flavor. For $10.50, they’ll be sundaes, with a topping and whipped cream and a cherry on each of them. They’ve got shakes and and shaved ice and other awesomeness too, and they have a lot of “signature” flavors, classics plus a rotating selection of seasonal scoops to try.

As usual, we tried lots of flavors, and unsurprisingly, I got an ice cream flight. It seemed like a fair price even without the waffle bowls (which I can’t eat due to gluten) but my husband Ross enjoyed snacking on them, so all wasn’t lost. Ross got a regular with two flavors.

Four cupcake holder filled with ice cream scoopsHere’s our report!

Lavendar Vanilla – This is the strongest lavender I’ve had! It’s really prominent and bright, but you taste the vanilla too; it’s a great complement. It does melt rather quickly, but not horribly. I think this flavor is best in smaller doses because it’s intense, and it almost gains in tensity as you eat more of it! It’s not quite as creamy as I’d prefer, but it’s still got plenty of creaminess.

Valen-thyme Honey – A great seasonal option. First you taste the sweet, natural honey; then you taste the thyme; and the vanilla base is subtle but nice. I love the sweetness with a bit of bite combination. It’s excellent, refreshing flavor with a bit of pop. Like the lavendar vanilla, I could use a touch more creaminess if I had my choice, but it’s still plenty.

Key Lime – Wow. This is creamy and bright and the perfect taste of key lime juice. It’s almost like cheesecake filling, without any crust/graham cracker/mixins. This is probably the creamiest flavor here. I could eat this every day. Refreshing and creamy…this is the best key lime I’ve ever had.

Maple Bourbon Bacon – It’s a maple base, with a hint of bourbon lending it a bit of wood or nuttiness, and the bacon is perfectly crispy. The bacon is also perfectly distributed so that we both found we had a little bit in every bite, although maple is the showcase here. The maple is outstanding, prominent with a deepness to it and that wonderful maple sweetness.

Cake Batter ‘n Sprinkles – Although this isn’t earth-shattering, it’s a really great cake batter base. High quality for sure, can’t really ask for more, and the sprinkles are a fun texture throughout. It’s a creamy base, but it has a firmness to it too, almost like a brownie or something else harder than ice cream…fudgy perhaps. I’m a huge fan of Blake’s cake batter ice cream (it has cake and frosting in it!) but I have to assume that this base would kick that base’s butt. Very well done.

Mexican Chocolate – This is a more subtle heat than I expected. Cinnamon is prominent here. It’s very nice, but definitely not my favorite for this type of thing.

The staff here was friendly and patient and accommodated my request to have a bowl-less ice cream flight very well. Although we preferred the creaminess of the Maple Bourbon Bacon and the Key Lime, all of them were delicious. I’m so glad we found Kelly’s and I look forward to returning whenever we’re in the area. Definitely a gem!

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

Stumbling into Savannah Candy Kitchen

I’ve been to many candy stores or confectionaries that also sell ice cream, but very few of them make their own. So when I saw signs for ice cream and gelato at Savannah Candy Kitchen, I prepped myself for disappointment. Lucky for me, when I asked a nearby employee, I found out they make BOTH their ice cream and their gelato themselves!

Savannah has a really fun, walkable downtown, and it had another great spot for homemade ice cream too, which we’d taken advantage of on our last visit.

img_7742-1But if you’re stopping in for some praline candies and you’re hungry, you won’t want to miss their ice cream or gelato.

Our review:

Praline and Cream Gelato – Wow. This is subtle deliciousness. The base is really subtle, and the chunks of praline candies are amazing. This is their candy specialty so it’s only logical the gelato would be great! I got one giant candy piece when I tried it – it’s so good!

Pumpkin Gelato – I was surprised to see this wasn’t super smooth. It had good flavor though, and there were a few candy corns in mine! It’s not especially sweet, so you can really taste the pumpkin flavor.

img_7743-1Key Lime Gelato – This was brilliant and creamy – but it has graham cracker in it, so stay away if you’re gluten-free like me.

Chocolate Ice Cream – This is smooth and has a lighter, creamy texture, almost like soft serve. It’s not my favorite chocolate, but it was really fun, and the texture was awesome.

img_7744-1The prices are reasonable here, for a downtown location. Normally $3.75 for a single or $4.75 for a double would strike me as a little high, but in a city that is fairly typical (or even pretty good). And it’s nice that you can have gelato, ice cream or both in the same location.

I can happily recommend the homemade gelato and ice creams at Savannah Candy Kitchen. And be sure to pick up some candies pralines for the road!

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

Kickin’ Back at Pop’s Sugar Shack

IMG_6746Pop’s Sugar Shack is in Conklin, NY, which is basically Binghamton, according to several websites in a quick google search. My husband had suggested we spend the night in Binghamton as we were passing through – perfect choice, by the way – and after visiting an amazing comics & games shop, we found a delightful spot for some homemade ice cream.

IMG_6747This is a family-owned shop with both homemade gelato and homemade ice cream, and it’s adorably pink and out of the 50s or 60s. We loved the huge portions and the great prices here. A medium gives you three large scoops and was only $4.05 with tax. We tried so many flavors! Here’s our report.

Chocolate: This is a creamier version than the classic. Less chocolate flavor than usual..which makes it perfect to go with hot fudge on it.

IMG_6750Mint Chocolate Chip: This had real, full-size chocolate chips! It wasn’t too sweet, and the chips weren’t either. I might have enjoyed a slightly higher chip to ice cream ratio though.

Strawberry Cheesecake: No crust, so it’s good for the gluten-free among us! It’s a creamy cheesecake base, on the lighter side, with a prominent strawberry swirl. Delicious! This is a lighter take than many strawberry cheesecakes (no chunks etc.) but it’s one of my favorite versions. So creamy and cheesy!

IMG_6748Fireball: Yes, like the candy or the alcohol! It’s alternates between creamy and just like a fireball candy, with chunks of candy pieces. Original and very fun!

Chocolate Marshmallow: This wasn’t too sweet. The marshmallow is a delightful swirl, like fluff. The chocolate is about a medium in terms of darkness…and this is especially creamy!

Overall we loved how fluffy and creamy and delicious these ice creams were. They go down so smoothly! It’s awesome. And we did try some gelato – the pricing is very different from the ice cream (no mixing and matching between the two types) but we liked what we sampled.

Thank you for staying open into the fall, despite the cold! This was a wonderful visit. Go check out Pop’s Sugar Shack for yourselves!

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