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!

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

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!

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

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!

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!