An Epic Ice Cream Adventure Through Tampa, FL

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. It’s time for a thrilling ice cream adventure in the Tampa, Florida area.

First off, my apologies for not blogging last week. I spent a week back in New Hampshire, and although it was great to be back (and to enjoy some Arnie’s ice cream in Concord), it definitely messed up my blogging game.

On to the epic ice cream recount.

My brother, Robbie, and his girlfriend Ria came up with the perfect Christmas present for me – an ice cream adventure! But when Robbie started researching the best places to get ice cream in Florida, he realized he really had no clue what he was doing. Who, he wondered, would know where to get the best ice cream in Florida?

Let the adventure begin! | Ross and Jamie Adventure

Let the adventure begin!

That’s when he realized it was me. So he just gave me some money and said go have an adventure! With a $45 budget and most of an afternoon and evening to explore, I set my sights on Tampa, Florida, which was a city we hadn’t ventured to yet (although I had a bit as a child) and which seemed to make all of the “best of” lists for ice cream.

With a goal of visiting at least three ice cream places in a day, I knew we’d want to keep the portions small and keep the destinations in relative proximity to one another. When I started researching ice cream in Tampa, I realized I had about a dozen great options to choose from! Hand-rolled ice cream is definitely popular, but you can find traditional American-style ice cream, soft serve yogurt and all sorts of other options in the Tampa area.

#1 Handcraft Ice Cream, Tampa, FL

Handcraft carries two types of ice cream, and since they both interested me and they were offering a buy one, get one half off promotion, I decided Ross (my husband) and I could share both of them. It’s a cute setup, with a little sound system in the corner, almost a retro-style parlor and some fun artwork on the walls.

The store is owned by a Syrian family, from what I’ve read, and I was a little disappointed that there was a language barrier when I put my order in. I would have loved to ask them more questions about the ice cream and their store.

But ice cream is the universal language, right?

IMG_0285.jpgFirst we ordered Booza Bakdash, a style of Middle Eastern ice cream that I hadn’t heard about before. (Handcraft says they’re the only place making it in the U.S.!) It was really fun, light and not super creamy or sweet, and according to Google it’s made with a paddle. The ice cream gets rolled in pistachios and if desired, you can top it with honey, like I did. It’s really great, almost savory. They gave me a generous, satisfying portion of this light, milky food. It would be a nice summer treat, and at $7 it felt like a reasonable price.

Next up was my first time having rolled ice cream. Also known as Thai-style ice cream, it was very fun to watch the ice cream as it was made in front of us. As is common at a lot of these places, you start by choosing your base, and then you can choose mix-ins and/or toppings to go with it.

IMG_0283.jpgI went with coffee ice cream, with banana, chocolate topping and Nutella. The base wasn’t super sweet, and it was a subtle coffee flavor. I found this to be the perfect flavor combination if you like banana. The ice cream itself wasn’t super creamy, but it’s a fun texture. It’s milky, so it’s lighter, and it can be a little bit crumbly – almost flaky. Again, this was an excellent portion.

I think hand-rolled ice cream is a fun experience, especially if you like mixing in toppings or sundaes, but you’re definitely paying for the experience more than for quality ice cream. The ice cream texture itself isn’t something I’d choose over more traditional methods. Here it’s $6 normally, and that felt appropriate for the work involved. (When I was there, they had a coupon online and in the store for buy 1, get 1 half off, so do take advantage if that’s an option.)

My only disappointment with the ice cream was that they were out of chocolate chips and marshmallows…maybe they’re going through growing pains and aren’t keeping as many ingredients in stock right now.

Conclusion: Booza bakdash is delicious and rolled ice cream is fun too! Definitely stop by here if you’re in the area.

Next stop: I try ice cream with charcoal for the first time, and Ross has a maple bacon donut! I’ll chronicle it all here next week.

Can’t wait to read the next part of the epic?

If you’re looking for other Florida ice cream reviews, you might enjoy my recommendations in Gainesville, Ample 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!

Something Sweet in Saratoga Springs

When you’re traveling in an RV, impromptu trips for ice cream can be challenging, to say the least. Finding a parking spot for all 25′ of us isn’t always easy.

Prices listed for the Dairy Haus, Saratoga Springs | In Search of a Scoop

Prices listed for the Dairy Haus, Saratoga Springs

But by arriving right when they opened, we had all the space we could ask for when we pulled into the Dairy Haus parking lot in Saratoga Springs.

Without realizing it, I ordered a kiddie with two flavors – the portion was very generous for a kiddie, at only $2.45! Perfect since it was a little too early for lunch when they opened at 11 a.m.!

Here’s what we thought – we didn’t try too much because we literally watched them open up for the day and felt bad!

Coffee & Sweet Cream ice cream at Dairy Haus, Saratoga Springs | In Search of a Scoop

Coffee & Sweet Cream ice cream at Dairy Haus, Saratoga Springs

Coffee Oreo – According to Ross, this one was excellent, just what you’d like a coffee Oreo to be.

Coffee – The coffee ice cream is classic. My standard for coffee ice cream is always Brigham’s, and this one really didn’t disappoint!

Sweet Cream – This flavor was absolutely delightful!

All of the ice creams here were delicious. They were very smooth, though not winning any records for smoothness. Truly delightful. I also found the location pretty charming, even on a cloudy day!

Charming seating at the Dairy Haus, Saratoga Springs | In Search of a Scoop

Charming seating at the Dairy Haus, Saratoga Springs

Next time you’re passing through Saratoga Springs, be sure to have a scoop or two for me!

p.s. Thanks for supporting my 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!

Ice Cream From Royalty in Milton, DE

Okay, royalty-based ice cream is a little silly. But this is from the same person who lived in a townhouse sandwiched between Dairy Queen and Burger King, leading for us to refer to it as the Royalty House.

But ice cream isn’t silly. It’s delicious! King’s Homemade Ice Cream Shop in Milton, Delaware is on a cute street in a cute town.

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The reason we made the visit was to visit Dogfish Head Brewery (well worth the visit, even if you don’t drink beer!) but this ice cream shop, with “homemade” in its sign, caught my eye. It turned out to be the shop I’d seen reference to in a couple of articles under a slightly different name, so I’d never been able to locate it!

My husband, Ross, indulged me and said yes, go ahead and get some ice cream. So I did!

They were happy to let me combine multiple flavors in a small cup. Their portions were ample, and they had fantastic service, letting us try as many flavors as we wanted. They also offer some really fun-sounding yogurts.

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It’s an adorable ice cream parlor – but there is no bathroom, so be prepared! They sell exclusively ice cream – no soda or coffee – and it’s a really nice place if you’re looking for an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. Here’s what i settled on.

Butter Brickle: This has a delicious butterscotch flavor. It might be a little cheap-tasting? But I really enjoyed it.

Scoops of ice cream in a paper cupMocha: This is a strong and distinct coffee flavor, with chocolate covered expresso beans. Yum!

Dutch chocolate: This is a very pleasant, rich medium chocolate flavor. It has a light and smooth texture, and it’s soft.

Overall, all of the ice cream was great, though not life-changing. The ice cream was soft so it will melt quickly if you take it outside in the heat.

After visiting another less stellar Delaware ice cream parlor, I was delighted to stumble on King’s Homemade Ice Cream. Thanks for the treat!Two 50s style tables and Norman Rockwell paintings near an ice crema bar

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