A Boulder Brief

Well, it’s been a very, very busy week for ice cream here in Colorado. To celebrate our wedding anniversary, my husband and I spent a night in Boulder. Being our silly selves, I did some research and found three homemade ice cream places worth a scoop, so in about twenty seven hours, we managed to visit three parlors – plus a bakery for a gluten-free cupcake!

I will have my full report on each place in the coming weeks. Suffice to say that I’m full and Boulder is a great place for ice cream!

Ice cream in Boulder, CO | Ross and Jamie AdventureIce cream in Boulder, CO | Ross and Jamie AdventureIce cream in Boulder, CO | Ross and Jamie AdventureIce cream in Boulder, CO | Ross and Jamie AdventureIce cream in Boulder, CO | Ross and Jamie Adventure

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An Unexpected Fort Collins Ice Cream Option

Today I visited Emporium Kitchen and Marketplace at the Elizabeth Motel in Fort Collins. It’s a beautiful space, with popup shops for coffee and ice cream as well as a restaurant area to sit down for a meal or drinks. I’m told they also offer live music sometimes.

I’ve already covered Walrus Ice Cream, the local spot for homemade ice cream, as well as the delicious location for gelato, Amore. If you’re downtown, you’ve also got a Ben and Jerry’s as well as other chains nearby.

But my visit brought me to Emporium, and I’m glad it did. Though it’s on the pricier side, it’s a lovely environment for a treat. Thanks for the suggestion and the company, Megan!

What I tried:

Double Chocolate – It surprised me to realize it wasn’t super creamy. It was more milky, like gelato. But it was nice. It wouldn’t be my top pick.

Mint Chocolate Chip: This was great! It’s creamy and smooth, with nice chunks of chocolate and a good mint flavor.

I’d definitely order the latter again, and I’d like to try some of their other flavors, including Mocha Almond Fudge and Peanut Butter and Jelly. They had a nice looking coconut-based vegan flavor too.

The ice cream is made by Longview Creamery. They’re based in Colorado. I will definitely try them again when I see them.

I’m planning some fun projects for In Search of a Scoop in the upcoming year. If you’ve got ideas for blog posts or other suggestions, please let me know. And thanks for reading!

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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

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Victory at Vicki’s in Silver City, NM

Silver City, New Mexico is an incredible town, and like every good town or city, it has delicious homemade ice cream. Be sure to stop at Vicki’s Eatery for lunch or ice cream (or ideally, both) while you’re in the area.Vicki’s Eatery, Silver City, New Mexico | In Search of a Scoop

Silver City only has about ten thousand residents, so when I stayed there, I wasn’t expecting to find homemade ice cream. But in addition to a downtown ice cream and antiques store (currently selling Dreyer’s, but planning to do homemade soon), I discovered Vicki’s Eatery.

Vicki’s is an artsy, historic part of Silver City, and they offer a nice lunch menu as well as dinner a couple of nights a week and breakfast on the weekends.

The only way to get their ice cream is to order a scoop for $3.99. It’s presented beautifully, with a touch of whipped cream. You can also try a to-go order, but there’s an automatic 20% gratuity.

Point being, this ice cream is pricey. Extraordinarily so compared to the average. But it was great, and since it’s a small town, I was delighted to pay $3.99 for each of my two scoops. (My husband went with a sandwich instead…which he loved.) Here’s what I thought of it:

Coffee ice cream, Vicki’s Eatery, Silver City, New Mexico | In Search of a ScoopCoffee – This is a beautiful coffee flavor, and it was even richer than I expected. It might be the best coffee flavor I’ve ever had! It’s really awesome. The texture is very nice although not quite a melt in your mouth situation…there’s a touch of graininess. This is the exact, ideal coffee flavor I search for after growing up with Brigham’s ice cream…it’s just a higher intensity. This is a must try if you enjoy coffee.

New Mexico Chocolate ice cream, Vicki’s Eatery, Silver City, New Mexico | In Search of a ScoopNew Mexico Chocolate – This was much more complex than I anticipated. It has tons of fun spices! It’s actually much better, in my opinion, than Arnie’s in Concord, NH, where I first had a Mexican chocolate ice cream. (And I loved that one before going gluten-free.) This is really delicious…it doesn’t have heat so much as spice. Like the coffee, it has a bit of graininess…these spices remind me of an old antique shop. Homemade and rustic.

The portions were satisfying to end a meal. At $7.98 my two scoops with whipped cream were pricey, but I will never complain. Vicky’s makes everything from scratch and it really shows.Vicki’s Eatery, Silver City, New Mexico | In Search of a ScoopThanks for a delicious visit, Vicki! We are eager to return this winter.

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

Finding Gelato and More in Fort Collins

When you pass an adorable gelato place, you should stop in. Especially if reviewers say it’s a homemade gelato place. And when you’ve recently had a less than stellar homemade ice cream experience, and you’re in a new city for a while, it’s probably time to cleanse your palate of that underwhelming taste in your mouth with some delightful, homemade gelato.Gelato & aMore, Fort Collins, CO | In Search of a Scoop

We are currently within walking distance of Gelato & aMore, a fabulous Italian restaurant with homemade gelato and desserts plus a variety of pastas, sandwiches and pizza. (They also offer spaghetti squash as a pasta option!)

Ross did try a slice of pizza and enjoyed it, but we focused our visit on all of the gelato. All of it.

Gelato choices at Gelato & aMore, Fort Collins, CO | In Search of a ScoopThe staff was very patient with us, letting us try whatever we wanted and having a great conversation too. Here’s what we sampled:

Pistachio – This is very good, creamy and a forward flavor. Very tasty.

Amarena Cherry – I haven’t had these cherries before! It’s a very distinct, darker cherry that pairs well with the super creamy base. I enjoyed pairing it with chocolate and butter pecanTwo scoops, Gelato & aMore, Fort Collins, CO | In Search of a Scoop

Passion Fruit – So delicious! It’s vegan, though I confess I’m not sure if it was. sorbet or made with a vegan milk option. In any case, the tart and creamy combo is delicious, a definite winner, and the passion fruit sauce on top is fabulous.

Butter Pecan – Wow! This is the brightest butter pecan we’ve had. It’s so strong and fun…and the pecans are toasty and delicious!

Three scoops, Gelato & aMore, Fort Collins, CO | In Search of a ScoopChocolate – This is so rich and creamy. I think it’s the best chocolate gelato I’ve had. It reminded me of the inside of a Lindt chocolate truffle, although the texture is a bit different of course. (Not that fudgy.)

The prices were very reasonable. We got a two scoop and a three scoop for less than ten dollars with tax.

There’s only one table inside, but that was enough for us. 🙂

Other tips: If you can handle gluten, there are some very creative ice cream sandwich type options, perhaps to share with a friend. (Churro gelato? Spumoni ice cream sandwich? Yes, please.) Also, pistachio and chocolate pair extremely well together.Three scoops, Gelato & aMore, Fort Collins, CO | In Search of a Scoop

This stuff is great. It’s super creamy, which is rare for gelato.

It’s all great. Highly recommend. We will be back for more Italian goodness…soon!

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

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!