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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Erin McKenna’s Bakery, Orlando

This week, I’m mostly straying from the pattern by covering Erin McKenna’s Bakery in Orlando, Florida! This is absolutely the place to go for people with food allergies and sensitivities and if Mark Bittman says they have the best donuts in the world, who am I to argue?

Erin McKenna’s can also be found in N.Y.C. and L.A., and it prides itself on being gluten-free, nut-free (besides coconut), dairy-free, soy-free and egg-free. It’s all vegan and it’s all delicious!

Eliza’s Bakery, Orlando, FL | In Search of a Scoop

Honestly, the soft serve is my least favorite of their offerings. When I bought this, it cost $7 for a large, though it did come with toppings – I got caramel and brownie. The toppings make it really fun, but as someone who can tolerate dairy, coconut milk soft serve just tastes like a decent soft serve yogurt.

Eliza’s Bakery, Orlando, FL | In Search of a ScoopEliza’s Bakery, Orlando, FL | In Search of a Scoop

The bakery, which is located at Disney Springs, the shopping destination at Disney World, is tiny, with only two small tables outside and none inside. But there’s beautiful outdoor seating on the water just a few feet away, and trust me – it’s all about the food here.

Be warned that these doughnuts don’t keep well; your best bet is to eat them quickly or refrigerate them.

They also offer cookies, cupcakes and cupcake tops, teabreads and much more.

Eliza’s Bakery, Orlando, FL | In Search of a Scoop

Oh. And they also have bagels! My only wish is that they’d carry smoked salmon or smoked salmon cream cheese. The bagels and the fake cream cheese are delightful!

So if I didn’t make it clear, the next time you’re at Disney World, you should visit Eliza’s. And if you have food allergies, this is your new favorite place. You’re welcome!

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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!

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The Cutest Place For a Mediocre Sundae

The Plaza Ice Cream Parlor in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World is adorable. It fits into Main Street perfectly, reminiscent of an old-fashioned ice cream parlor from the early 20th Century.

But this adorable ice cream parlor doesn’t make ice cream – instead, they serve Edy’s. So I have never worried about covering it for this blog.

But this past Thanksgiving, my husband and I visited the Magic Kingdom. That’s right – I had my turkey dinner (an oversized turkey leg) with homemade, gluten-free stuffing and cranberry sauce. For dessert, I wasn’t thrilled with any of the options (Dole Whip is good, but I wasn’t in a pineapple mood) so I decided I’d try a special sundae at the Plaza.

There are fairly limited options at the Plaza, overall. Limited flavors, and limited toppings, as well as limited sundae types. They don’t even carry sprinkles (perhaps to avoid the mess?) but they were willing to give out extra cherries to customers who thought to ask. Prices here are on the high side compared to a typical ice cream place, but of course that’s to be expected at Disney World.

I settled on the All-American sundae. It had vanilla and chocolate ice creams, hot fudge, whipped cream, a cherry and what’s referred to as “peanut butter drizzle”. It’s a beautiful-looking sundae. People were stopping me in the parlor to ask what it was. Unfortunately, it’s really not designed well. It was a great portion for a sundae too.

Alarm bells began when I realized they pre-scoop the ice cream cups. That’s not necessarily a problem…but why do it? They had too many employees working behind the counter (most were standing around), so couldn’t one or two of them have scooped ice cream? But honestly, it’s a theme park. If that was my only issue, I wouldn’t bother writing this review.

The reason I noticed the pre-made cup (chocolate scoop on top of vanilla scoop) was because the server was bored, flipping it over and over again while he waited for the whipped cream machine to be free. And no, I’m not kidding. I’m sure I made quite a face without intending to. Does Disney hire high school kids?

Next issue – these are peanut butter chips. Fine. Tasty even. But that’s not a drizzle. I was picturing some warm peanut butter mixed in with the hot fudge. Different story altogether – still tasty, but it was false advertising.

Next realization? The hot fudge is never going to reach this ice cream! Basically, each layer is solid, and the shape of the container makes it really difficult to get from one to another. So I ate about 3 inches of whipped cream (I almost felt like I’d be sick by the end) plus a few chips and then moved on to fudge and chocolate, trying desperately to leave a bit of fudge to go with the vanilla. I don’t know for sure the source, but this is very standard whipped cream, like what you’d get out of a can. Nothing like homemade.

A great sundae should have multiple layers of hot fudge. That way you’ve got some all the way down to the bottom. This is the complete opposite of that – the dish shape means the fudge and whipped cream are almost too distinct and impossible to enjoy with anything but the adjoining layers.

Getting two flavors in one bite is really tough here. When you manage it, it’s nice. Chocolate and peanut butter are a classic and an excellent pairing, and when I can get the fudge and chocolate ice cream together, that’s delicious too. Edy’s chocolate ice cream is really pleasant, I enjoyed it.

Ross described my efforts to pair flavors and eat this as a “geological survey in ice cream form”. Unfortunately there’s not much of anything else left by the time I get to the vanilla, despite my best efforts. And wow. This vanilla is…not that great. Ross wonders if I was overstimulated by the fudge and stuff, and that is always a possibility. But it tasted absurdly sweet to me, and without any real vanilla taste to it. It was like someone was given a description of what vanilla was supposed to taste like and they went with that. Also? It was icy. Charming.

If nothing else, this reminded me why I never order a sundae with Edy’s at a restaurant. I’ve never liked their vanilla base. It was so odd to order a sundae based on how awesome the flavors will go together and then to have to eat them almost entirely separately!

So, my recommendation? Skip the Plaza. If you need to visit that much, skip the All-American. If I had to eat here, the chocolate is a great choice, with fudge, and maybe I’d try mint chocolate chip or a caramel topping. But skip the vanilla and the sundaes.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season if you’re celebrating. Happy Eating!

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