Frozen Custard on the Outer Banks 

Uncle Eddy’s Frozen Custard and Mini-golf isn’t glamorous. In fact, from the outside, you could reasonably presume it’s a small-town mini-golf place, perhaps with some cheap chain’s ice cream on offer for after your game. 

But in reality, this place is an absolute must stop in Buxton, NC. You’ll find six flavors of tasty hard frozen custard (next to some flavors they don’t make themselves) with memorable names like Elvis and Spongebob. You’ll also find two delicious flavors of fruity sorbet. But the reason that Uncle Eddy’s is a must for anyone visiting the Outer Banks is their soft serve custard in chocolate, vanilla and twist. 

I’ve had excellent soft serve, but it’s kind of an ephemeral thing. Most places serving soft serve in NH, where I am from, are more focused on it being healthy or low/no fat than it tasting delightfully indulgent. Custard is delightfully rich and creamy, and this stuff is the real deal. I know I should broaden my custard horizons, but to date, this stuff stands as the best I’ve had.

If you’re a Dairy Queen fan, you probably love a Blizzard. I used to as well, but they’re really overpriced and the ice cream isn’t exciting. For a nearly comparable price, have a “Hurricane Eddy” with the outrageously smooth and creamy custard you’ll find here. You can get chocolate, vanilla or a twist (my favorite) with two mix-ins. I have enjoyed chocolate syrup and banana, strawberries and chocolate syrup, peppermint patties and chocolate syrup and my absolute favorite, peppermint patties and hot fudge – not a normal option but they offered when they ran out of syrup! This stuff sells for $5.99/16 ounces which is a huge portion. For another buck you can get 20 ounces. 

I will review for you some of their hard flavors as well. But remember, while their hard custard is one of the best such options on the Outer Banks (next to Scoops in Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills), it’s not necessarily going to excite a city slicker ice cream connoisseur. So have some soft custard. Today, preferably. But if you can make a few visits, here’s your hard custard guide. 

Hard Custard Flavors:

Black Sand – tasty chocolate base with butterfinger. Yum! Almost a German chocolate base. 

English Toffee – The toffee addition really makes this one special. 

Raspberry Margarita – This combines their raspberry and lemon sorbets with vanilla custard and margarita mix. It’s fun and fruity, and like an adult beverage. Kind of sweet and odd, but it’s fun and better and richer than I imagined.  

Golden Toffee – This one combines vanilla, caramel and Heath bar. It’s seriously excellent and was the best ice cream I had had in a while. The flavors meld perfectly. 

Lemon Raspberry Cream – This light and refreshing one combines vanilla, lemon and raspberry. 

Yellow Brick Road – This is a fabulous combination of vanilla, cashews, white chocolate chips and caramel – even if you aren’t fond of cashews! The vanilla is perfect. 

Hatteras Sunrise – This is vanilla with cherry, pineapple and coconut. It’s so fun and fruity, very candy-like but lovely and bright. Coconut makes me think of a snowball…the finely chopped fruit is well mixed so you get some in every bite. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Krisp – This has a chocolate base with peanut butter and rice krispie treats. I’d prefer bigger chunks but it’s fun and tasty. 

Rice Krispie Treat – A nice vanilla base with treats and caramel. 

Elvis – This is a chocolate peanut butter ice cream with banana – it’s fun with tasty if cold banana chunks. 

Golden Toffee – A lovely warm vanilla with delicious chocolate Toffee pieces. Really nice. 

Be sure to check out their fun beach gift shop. And while I haven’t tried it yet, their shades mini-gold course is very pretty and a bargain at $8/as many games as you want. 

Bring cash – there’s an extra $1/order charge if it’s under $10 and you use a card. And this stuff is priced well. I first enjoyed a small, 5 ounce serving for only $3.18, and they’re happy to combine flavors for you. 

If you go, tell them Jamie from Camp Hatteras sent you! They’re wonderful people and I hope they stick around for a long time. Thanks for reading and happy eating! 

Scoops of Delicious on the Outer Banks

Being from New Hampshire, where homemade ice cream can be found almost everywhere, I have fairly high expectations for local ice cream. I’m not content with whatever the local, cheap premium offerings are. I like to taste the local flavor, you know? In touristy, vacation areas, ice cream places are everywhere, and that can make digging for the good stuff a real challenge. That’s especially true here in the Outer Banks, where most places don’t have a website and at best have an active Facebook page. But we’ve done the hard work of sorting out the local offerings for you, so you can focus on enjoying your ice cream, and here is one of our favorites.

Scoops could easily get lost in the shuffle of touristy shops in Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills. But it shouldn’t – this place is special. Their Nags Head location is in a small, two-story shopping plaza that includes Kitty Hawk Kites, a fun boutique, a fudgery and more. 

Their Kill Devil Hills location is a few miles north of that, on the opposite side of the street. They’re close enough to each other that we recommend visiting whichever one is on the more convenient side of the street. 

When we first visited Scoops, it was after trying out two other local, homemade ice cream offerings in the area. We hadn’t been super-impressed and weren’t expecting to be here. But lucky for us, Scoops is really worth a visit. Ignore the few non-homemade offerings in the case (it will be obvious) and stick with Scoops for some creamy ice cream in original flavors that are perfect for summer. They’re also excellent at recreating the flavor of particularly non-ice cream foods.

Here are some of the diverse offerings we’ve tried, with our thoughts:

Mandarin Chocolate Chip – A summer fun orange flavor with less sweet chocolate chips. A much more upscale sherbet/chocolate jimmies/sprinkles combination!

Beach Cooler – This is like a pina colada, but with banana instead of pineapple. I loved the first bite, although I was less enthralled after that. The fluffy texture is great. It reminds you of a delicious coconut beverage, and the texture is so fun that it kind of re-sold me as I ate more of it!

Cantaloupe – The real fruit is subtle, and this is too! Not very sweet and tastes just like the real thing. It’s awesome, a perfect summer flavor. 

Chocolate – Expect a lighter chocolate flavor, super creamy and melt in your mouth delicious. 

Butterfinger – So fun! It tastes just like the candy. 

Salted Caramel – This is pleasant, but not striking. The consistency is similar to a cheap coffee ice cream. It reminded me of a cheap caramel candy. 

Cotton Candy – This one is highly recommended! It honestly tastes just like the real thing. If you like cotton candy, you need to experience this for yourself! 

Mint Chocolate Chip – Charming, with good chocolate chips, but not revelatory. 

Strawberry Cheesecake – This has an excellent fruity base with a real creaminess to it, with excellent chunks of cheesecake. 

Heavenly Hash – Uses their already great chocolate base, so it’s delicious. 

Chocolate Brownie – Ross’ review is that this is the “same chocolate we know and love with chunks of moist, delicious brownie”.

Butter Pecan – A light, sweet ice cream with a wonderful buttery aftertaste.

Amaretto – Very good and tastes authentic. 

Scoops is one of two great options for ice cream on the Outer Banks. They’re reliably tasty, but they’re also extraordinarily friendly. They’re one of the few places that encourage you to try whatever flavors you’d like, and they will combine flavors into a scoop too. And it’s very affordable!

Both locations have pleasant places to sit – Nags Head outside in the shade or in view of the ocean, and Kill Devil Hills inside like a traditional ice cream parlor. We’ve also sampled a tasty burger in Nags Head, so this is a great option for a fairly quick, cheap meal. (Think under $3 for a burger.) 

Their ice cream melts in your mouth and is never icy, and they make gorgeous ice cream cakes if you should need one. We recommend a side of hot fudge to put on top! 

They also carry some delightful candy, including locally made bacon truffles. You’ll want to try one – trust us on that. And we hear the Nags Head location has some fun live music during the summer. 


One thing to note? Everyone around here has flexible hours, depending on traffic and maybe their whim. So call ahead and be willing to go to the other location if one is closed. Less of an issue in the heart of the summer, but the sign says to be aware of this. 

We love Scoops and if we are in the area, we always try to stop in for a scoop or two. We’re very thankful for this local homemade ice cream option on the Outer Banks!

Ample Hills Creamery – Disney World

Although people make assumptions about food at Disney – that it’s “theme park food” so it won’t be great, that it’s very overpriced, that it’s bland – some of my favorite ice cream can be found at Walt Disney World. In particular, that would be the mint chip (more of a delicate flake) and the chocolate ice creams from L’Artisan Des Glaces in France at Epcot. 

But if you’re craving ice cream outside of the parks, Disney has a few other options worth considering. One of them, Ample Hills Creamery, is a relatively new addition. You actually may have seen it on a visit to Brooklyn, New York, where they’re based.  But if you’re like me and missed checking them out on your NYC trip, be sure to visit The Boardwalk at Disney World for shopping, entertainment and some ice cream.

Getting ice cream in Epcot can seem like a deal compared to regular Disney prices. From my visit, I can’t say the same for Ample Hills necessarily. Even outside of the park, your visit isn’t going to be cheap. But the service is fabulous – try whatever you want! Really! – and there’s not only a wide variety of flavors; there are tons of options, including alcoholic ice cream drinks and a sampler for the undecided like me! 

My husband, Ross, couldn’t resist the pull of one of their fancy drinks. I couldn’t resist an opportunity to try out many flavors in a sampler. We spent about $20 total – not bad considering Disney alcoholic mixed drinks will usually run you about $10 plus tax. Our thoughts are below. Hard Cherry Cider Float – Ross ordered his with dark chocolate ice cream. An excellent flavor combination. This was sweet but not too sweet, and we both loved it! Seriously consider coming here for a drink, either on an Epcot park day or otherwise. (Ross and I have Weekday Select passes, so visiting here on a day when our passes aren’t valid is a great way to get our Disney fix.)Sea Sells Sea Shells – This flavor is exclusive to Disney World. It’s an orange marshmallow base with chocolate seashells. It’s like a sherbet base, with excellent chocolate pieces. If you’re into those things you’ll love it!

Lime and Ginger Sorbet – This combo is an excellent summer flavor. Not only is it a great vegan option, but it’s alcoholic, which is kind of awesome! It reminds me of lemonade. Very refreshing. 

Cotton Candy – This is nice. It reminds me of an almond-flavored birthday cake. Surprisingly, it’s not that sweet and kind of simple. It’s not a bad take, but different from what I was expecting. The more I ate it, the more I wished it was sweeter. I think I’m a bit biased as I LOVE cotton candy and recently discovered a place on the Outer Banks (Scoops) that perfectly recreates the flavor. 

Vanilla – This is a very nice vanilla; hardier and more complex than I usually see. It’s almost buttery!

Peppermint Patty – They use their own homemade patties in this. Wow. The candies are epic. Although this flavor isn’t as refreshing as what you’ll find in Epcot, it perfectly recreates a good mint candy, which is pretty amazing. It’s very tasty and I enjoyed it more the more I ate it. 

Dark Chocolate – This is excellent. Not too sweet, perfectly smooth and rich. 

Strawberries and Cream – Classic strawberry flavor, but it wasn’t as sweet as I expected. It is very good and pairs well with chocolate. It may surprise you if you’re used to the standard strawberry ice creams out there. 

Overall, ice cream here is an excellent consistency. Sometimes I prefer a bit more sweetness, but it’s much easier to taste the flavors without the added sugar, so it’s a balancing act. 

Ross votes to combine strawberry and chocolate at his next visit. The chocolate was my favorite by far, but the sorbet is fantastic too, and the mint chocolate is very good. Although strawberry isn’t usually something I seek out, both it and the vanilla are tasty. I would personally skip the cotton candy. 

In conclusion, Disney World had another excellent ice cream option worth a trip. If you have a favorite place for ice cream in the World, let me know! 

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Tastings in Tucson 

My husband and I were lucky enough to spend a few weeks in Tucson, Arizona this past winter (mid-December to early January), so I made a point of seeking out homemade ice cream options in the area.
Tucson has many ice cream places to choose from, and we really loved their downtown, so it was a no-brainer to get a dish or two. 

Our first planned stop was Isabella’s. Next to a fun used bookstore, Isabella’s was having their electricity redone the day we visited, so much of their ice cream wasn’t in great shape. While we can’t be sure the ice cream was their best effort, we enjoyed their service and the cute, very small ice cream parlor on our visit. 

Here are the flavors we sampled:

Honey – Although it wasn’t my favorite honey of all time, this is a lovely showcase, creamy and a delicious flavor. 

Salted Caramel Pecan – A nice, milky flavor, with a tanginess like buttermilk – but the flavor lacked something and took a while to hit. Pretty average. 

Candy Cane – Everything you want in candy cane ice cream – except I’d have liked more pieces mixed in. Pretty great. 

Lavender Vanilla – Not as strong as Jordan’s but I’m a sucker for lavender and definitely found this flavor delightful. 

Full disclosure: we paid $3.25 plus tax on two 4 ounce portions thanks to a coupon from the bookstore next door, The Bookstop! 

Overall thoughts: The mouthfeel on these was a bit hard, almost icy, despite the creaminess overall. The flavors were generally great though. It felt average overall, not living up to its goals, but we owe them another try on a day without a power loss! 

I considered visiting the Hub, which looked great and very hipster. But time was of the essence and I chose the Screamery as my other option.

The Screamery made my list not only due to good reviews, but because they carried vegan ice cream flavors. (Thankfully those were coconut-milk based, so I could have them without cheating on elimination diet with more dairy.)

The atmosphere at the Screamery was very family-friendly and the employee who assisted us was very friendly and laid back as he told us about the grass-fed cream, pasteurized on site, used in their ice cream. 

What we thought: 

Coconut Fudge – Ross found this one very good. It’s a nice, very dark chocolate ice cream with a good mouth feel. It isn’t the creamiest, BUT it’s a coconut milk base and gluten-free, so it’s a great option that’s quite tasty. (Pumphouse Creamery in Minneapolis is still the winner, heads and tails over others, on coconut ice cream.) 

Bourbon Brittle – This was a bit smoother and creamier than the coconut milk base; its traditional dairy ice cream. There was a bit of iciness on top. $9.73 for the two of us for their middle size – plenty but somewhat over-prices compared to what we’ve seen in other places. This flavor is very rich and sweet, starting like sugar on snow but with a darker, richer aftertaste from the bourbon. Unfortunately the brittle seemed cheap – reminiscent of baking chocolate, it was kind of chalky. 

Overall: More average than we expected given the price and fancy grass-fed dairy. I was disappointed to see ice and cheap brittle used. Like Isabella’s, it strove for a lot but didn’t quite hit the mark. Some day we want to try the ice cream nachos, which look plentiful and fun. 

I am wondering if Tucson will have an ice cream renaissance in a year or two.  Clearly there are tons of successful businesses so there’s a real passion for local ice cream. Perhaps with a bit more time the quality will improve as they figure things out. They’re all pushing natural, local, etc, but now the taste needs to get on par with cities with better ice cream scenes. As Ross said, “It seems like the tag line was more important than the ice cream.” 

Have you gotten any ice cream in Tucson? I’d love to hear about your favorite place! 

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Dewey’s

Some quick research online told me Dewey’s, in Center Harbor, carried homemade ice cream. So my husband and I added it into our schedule. It wasn’t until we were in line that we realized they actually carry Richardson’s ice cream. And no, not the lesser-known Richardson’s in NH, but the Richardson’s in MA that you’ve probably enjoyed before.

I’d love to return here for coffee or a meal, but in the meantime, here is my review of the ice cream. It’s in an adorable location in a beautiful town, so it’s worth a visit to walk by the water and have an ice cream. And if you know of any homemade ice cream in that area that deserves a visit, please let me know!

Cake Batter – It’s a cake batter base, with cake pieces. The base almost reminds me of frosting! It’s a very bright flavor, very childlike. I enjoyed it. Doesn’t top Blake’s but it’s very good. (Blake’s throws some chocolate frosting in there that really makes it!)

Strawberry Cheesecake – It uses real strawberries, but the strawberry syrup isn’t great and tastes fake. That being said, the cheesecake is creamy and rich and awesome!

Phantom Berry – Oh my goodness. This is black raspberry ice cream with chocolate cookies. The cookies are clearly not Oreos, they are MUCH better, with a killer crunch, and brownie pieces are also included. It’s like a sundae in itself! Super sweet and so tasty. It was so good that Ross wanted to go back for another scoop! The cookies aren’t too sweet either which really helps keep all of this in proportion and not get old. They have a bit of saltiness too.

Death By Chocolate – The base isn’t too dark or too light, just classic chocolate, with great brownie pieces and a fudgy cold chocolate syrup. There is some bitterness to the base and it isn’t too sweet. It would be a fun base for chilies! The base works well so the mix-ins aren’t overkill = you can really taste all of the flavors.

Dewey’s has a great vibe and awesome seating. It would be a great place to hang out. Generally speaking Richardson’s is excellent in terms of consistency, and Phantom Berry gets one of our highest recommendations. Portions are very large, and prices are reasonable at $3.45, $4.35 and $5.25 with tax included. We spent $8.50 for the two of us. Another plus? They offered to do two different flavors in a kiddie! Super nice.

So while I wouldn’t make Dewey’s a destination because you can get Richardson’s in many places, if you’re in the area I really recommend a visit. And if you try their lunch or coffee, let me know how it is!

Thanks for reading, and have a great day.

p.s. Thanks for doing your usual Amazon shopping using my affiliate link!

 

The Best Restaurant in Derry, NH

I don’t usually write about non-dessert items, but of course there’s always an exception to the rule. Early this summer, my husband and I were in the vicinity of Derry, NH and needed a meal.

When we’re in Derry, there isn’t really a discussion about where to go to eat. It’s not exactly a food mecca, but there are a few decent restaurants. And then there is Amphora.

Amphora was the first restaurant where we felt like family the first time we visited. I scheduled a large group gathering the night of the NH Theatre Awards a few years back, and although Amphora doesn’t normally take reservations, they allowed us to arrange for reservations for this event. I’d never been there, so I wasn’t sure what to expect except Greek food. I was delighted then and they continue to impress.

Everything is delicious and much of it is local, but they are also just ridiculously accommodating. Of people, of allergies, you name it. That first day they expressed interest in hosting a VIP night after our production of Weird Romance at the Derry Opera House. They’ve since let us host cabarets and one-woman shows there, some of them in conjunction with a fancy menu designed just for the purpose. They’re sweet, amazing people who really know how to cook.

You can’t go wrong there. Seriously, it’s all that good. And since this blog is about sweets, I especially recommend our two favorites – the baklava cheesecake (so indulgent) and the ouzo cake, with a warm licorice-flavored liquor dripped over the top.

It’s the place I will most miss when I leave New Hampshire. Don’t miss it yourself!

 

An Odd, but Delicious, Paradise Found

Sandwich Creamery is odd, for a few reasons. For one, it’s in the middle of nowhere, in a small town, down a long dirt road.

For another, it is self-serve. Yes, it’s a self-serve ice cream stand. You bring the cash and help yourself to local products and ice cream in a few sizes.

Oh, and this part isn’t odd – it’s amazing.

The prices are great – $3 small, $4 medium, $6 large. The medium is a pint. I went with two half pints, for research purposes of course. A large is a quart. I had plenty but this stuff is so good, I could have kept eating for a while.

Here’s what I chose – Ross wasn’t really hungry yet.

Muddy Mint – A chocolate mint base with pistachio and chocolate chunks. This is just outstanding. Outstanding. It has fabulous flavor, super smooth base and not too thick, just the perfect consistency. This is the perfect combo of chocolate and mint, and the mixins were diced small which was perfect.

Mexican jumping bean – A cinnamon chocolate base with chocolate covered coffee beans. Where do I begin? This is insanely delicious. You’ll feel the cinnamon in your nose – to Ross, it reminded him of a Yankee candle, but in a good way. It’s basically perfect. The chocolate was super tasty, the beans crunch and chocolatey and delicious.

In short, we are crazy about Sandwich Creamery. They have really long hours since it is self-serve. Make it a destination, bring a cooler and enjoy one of my contenders for best ice cream in New Hampshire.

p.s. Thanks for doing your usual Amazon shopping using my affiliate link!
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