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April 25, 2006 11:25 AM   Subscribe

Ben & Jerry's Free Cone Day. It may not be the world's best ice cream (personal favs), it's also not the worst (universally reviled).
posted by ericbop (161 comments total)

 
Yeah, can someone please explain to me how the Cold Stone Creamery gets away with that? It's just awful ice cream.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:30 AM on April 25, 2006


Breyer's is pretty bad, too. It tastes like cardboard & slush.
posted by wfc123 at 11:33 AM on April 25, 2006


I have been working on this problem for a while now I was just going to post this to the projects page but I will link it here as well. The great cape cod ice cream challenge
posted by stilgar at 11:34 AM on April 25, 2006


actually this place serves the best ice cream in the world. B&J's is still pretty damned good. Having a Vermont-raised mom meant I got to have it back before all you outlanders knew about it. haha.
posted by jonmc at 11:34 AM on April 25, 2006


Yeah, can someone please explain to me how the Cold Stone Creamery gets away with that? It's just awful ice cream.

Are the mandatory employee songs at Cold Stone Creamery universal? Even if their ice cream was decent, I'd still avoid the place because I hate seeing the servers lose all of their human dignity as they sing to me about ice cream.
posted by COBRA! at 11:37 AM on April 25, 2006


CSC gets away with it, I thought, because they have a gimmicky mixing performance concept. Though they still do good business in Boston despite competing with the inventor of the "smush-in," Herrell's, who makes some pretty good ice cream.
posted by rxrfrx at 11:37 AM on April 25, 2006


Agreed about the awfulness of CSC, but what makes it so yucky? Is it just too sweet? Is it full of artificial flavors? I won't taste it again to analyze it. The sticky sweet smell that permeates the store is nauseating--I swear working there would turn me anorexic.
posted by tula at 11:41 AM on April 25, 2006


Breyer's is pretty bad, too. It tastes like cardboard & slush.

I must disagree when it comes to their vanilla. The taste of the Breyer's version is subtle, but delicious. It's certainly my favorite vanilla ice cream (most put forward as "quality" are too creamy and too rich for my taste).

Other flavors I leave to the "quality" vendors.
posted by illovich at 11:41 AM on April 25, 2006


It must be said that Cherry Garcia is the world's best ice cream.

However, given ol' Jerry's heart gave out at least in part because of his prodigious cheeseburger-and-milkshake diet, not a little bit morbid.
posted by docgonzo at 11:43 AM on April 25, 2006


Mmmmmm, Graeter's. Whenever my sister comes to visit from Columbus, she brings us 6 pints packed in a styrofoam cooler with dry ice.
posted by amarynth at 11:45 AM on April 25, 2006


A couple of weeks back, I came across Ruggles by Smith's Peanut Butter Iditarod. Didn't actually try the ice cream, but the name was delicious.
posted by mikrophon at 11:46 AM on April 25, 2006


Out in the wasteland of urban sprawl located in eastern Iowa I have the great pleasure of seeing a Maggy Moos and a Cold Stone Creamery within a few blocks of each other. Moos was first, but ColdStone cropped up within three months. They produce truly horrible goods, and I believe their proximity compounds these effects. I don't understand the draw to their methodology... I find it to be unappealing and demeaning to expect my server to grind toppings into ice cream by slapping it around with a trowel on a large stone slab like a caveman. Thankfully we've great local stuff in town, and I don't have to drive out to the middle of nowhere to get it. I still don't think I'll ever forget the first time I had Phish Food though... praise be to the creator.
posted by prostyle at 11:46 AM on April 25, 2006


Digg!
posted by punkfloyd at 11:46 AM on April 25, 2006


Yay Graeter's! Their Raspberry Chocolate Chip is awesome!
posted by OmieWise at 11:47 AM on April 25, 2006


Worth revisiting.
posted by ColdChef at 11:49 AM on April 25, 2006


Good call on adding two Boston places to the best-of list, I am always amazed that people here eat ice cream even in the dead of winter, at least, that is, until I started doing it myself.

You missed Emack & Bolio's of Boston, though. And, in New York, the insanely pretentious but great Labotorio de Gelato and Cones.
posted by blahblahblah at 11:50 AM on April 25, 2006


Oh, and Phish Food is unbeatable. Especially when it's just a little too soft.
posted by ColdChef at 11:52 AM on April 25, 2006


If I'm going to pay five bucks for an ice cream, I'll buy the local farm stuff that tastes like there's a stick of butter in it.
posted by smackfu at 11:52 AM on April 25, 2006


In Chicago, they opened a Dairy Queen last year. It's the only one in the city proper and is about 200 feet from a Cold Stone Creamery; and it seems will likely run that place out of business soon. It's an interesting marketing dynamic. A relatively cheap and ubiquitous place in smaller towns and suburbs across the country is absolutely booming given it's kitsch value and scarcity in the big city.

(Sorry, that's pretty tangential.)
posted by cusack at 11:54 AM on April 25, 2006


Thanks for the warning about Cold Stone, guys. They've been popping up around NYC lately and I was getting curious.
posted by jonmc at 11:56 AM on April 25, 2006


Back on topic... I had some B & J flavor with coffee-flavored ice cream and some other good little things in it... but I can't remember the name. Regardless, I think it is my favorite flavor.
posted by cusack at 11:58 AM on April 25, 2006


On the general ice cream topic, has everyone seen the Defective Yeti's piece about Farrell's? Pretty funny...
posted by mr_roboto at 12:03 PM on April 25, 2006


The CSC out here has people standing in big lines all the time. The wife and I went in there and spat out their debris filled gelatanous vaguely creamish chilled swill. Then the CHUDs attacked us and we both were astonished while our brains were being eaten that anyone would waste money and time in that wretched place. Apparently they have good looking young folks doing cutesey things. Doesn’t compensate for having to force the stuff down though.

/all totally true except for the CHUD thing. Seriously, lines of people.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:04 PM on April 25, 2006


The only ice cream I will eat. Nearly guilt-free, and amazingly tastes better than most mint ice cream. Almost all other lite mint has that foul licorice taste to it, whereas Edy's taste at least good as standard mint. On the flip side, their low-carb mint is wretched, wretched stuff.
posted by Ryvar at 12:04 PM on April 25, 2006


The best ice cream in the world, and the worst candidates for Illinois Governor come from the same place...here.
posted by hwestiii at 12:04 PM on April 25, 2006


Vermonty Python
posted by cusack at 12:04 PM on April 25, 2006


Edy's tastes at least as good as standard mint.
posted by Ryvar at 12:05 PM on April 25, 2006


I had some B & J flavor with coffee-flavored ice cream and some other good little things in it... but I can't remember the name.

"Coffee Coffee, Buzz Buzz Buzz"? Good stuff.
posted by peeedro at 12:05 PM on April 25, 2006


Graeter's is awesome ice cream but I think there might be more fans of Aglamesis Bros' ice cream here in Cincinnati. Both are excellent, though.
posted by srw12 at 12:05 PM on April 25, 2006


When I lived in Texas, this garbage was considered "the best" by locals. No wonder Texas sucks.
posted by 2sheets at 12:06 PM on April 25, 2006


My suspicion on why CSC ice cream is so bad is a high seaweed (carageen?) content. There's just something artificial tasting about it, like there is some sort of thickening agent going on. You can mash whatever you want into it but the ice cream just tastes bad. I feel sorry for the people who bough franchises, as I figure they'll be run out of business the multiplying knockoffs (we have both CSC and Marble Slab in Chicago) and by better local products anywhere except maybe airports or other monopoly situations.
posted by Mid at 12:07 PM on April 25, 2006


Farrell's! Ah, that brings me back to childhood, and the one time that a server asked me "is it your birthday, little girl?" I must have known that kids got a free sundae on their birthday.

and I, startled - said "yes!"

my family was amused by the lie. little kids are so cute when they tell a falsehood to get free ice cream. at least I was.
posted by pinky at 12:10 PM on April 25, 2006


Cow's milk is bad news. In spite of what we've been taught our whole lives, it's not meant for human consumption. Especially now that it's loaded with growth hormone, antibiotics and pus. Sorry to rain on the parade.
posted by wsg at 12:12 PM on April 25, 2006


Drat! My two favorite Ben & Jerry's flavors, Rainforest Crunch and Orange Cream, have both gone to the Flavor Graveyard. I weep.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:14 PM on April 25, 2006


What the fuck? Did Cold Stone Creamery actually fucking trademark the words "Creation" and "Creations"? Bring me the shaved-head, leather jacketing marketing fucktwat that pulled that one out of his deeply-fissured asshole. I wish to repeatedly punch his area with a large brick.

Actually, on second thought: Bring me an aggressive, amoral lawyer in a shark skin suit. I would like to leverage CSC's trademarked market-ese against the Fundamentalist Creationists.
posted by loquacious at 12:17 PM on April 25, 2006


I went to a CSC for the first time this weekend and liked it. Why have my tastebuds led me so far astray???!!!?!?!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 12:18 PM on April 25, 2006


Especially now that it's loaded with growth hormone, antibiotics and pus.

Ever since Unilever bought B&J, it just hasn't had any great new flavors...until now...
posted by briank at 12:18 PM on April 25, 2006


My personal favorite is MooTime Creamery, which I think has had lines around the block at their original store since they opened. Unfortunately, it seems like Cold Stone has driven them out of most of their locations around town, and the drive to Coronado is kind of long just to get an ice cream cone (although I always get one when I'm down there).
posted by sbrollins at 12:20 PM on April 25, 2006


Cow's milk is bad news. In spite of what we've been taught our whole lives, it's not meant for human consumption. Especially now that it's loaded with growth hormone, antibiotics and pus. Sorry to rain on the parade.

What would the Internet be without crazy extremists? That's awesome!

That said, the best ice cream in the world is Brigham's vanilla. It is not overly rich, it is not full of stupid chunks of stuff that isn't ice cream and it tastes strongly of vanilla and cream.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:24 PM on April 25, 2006


Heh. I see hating CSC is the new hating Starbucks. It's good to keep on top of these trends.

That said, I prefer Ben & Jerry's--but am also puzzled that ice cream snobbery does not apply to it as well. Trends puzzle me.
posted by Drastic at 12:25 PM on April 25, 2006


wsg writes "Sorry to rain on the parade."

Um, no you're not. You could have skipped the comment if you didn't want to rain on the parade, and if you did want to rain on it, then you aren't sorry. Sorry.
posted by OmieWise at 12:26 PM on April 25, 2006


Threads about worldly pleasures always attract at least one killjoy. Mainly because misery loves company.
posted by jonmc at 12:27 PM on April 25, 2006


I am sick of those killjoys.
Take your lactose intolerance somewhere else, hater!!!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:29 PM on April 25, 2006


My fave is Edy's Swiss Orange sherbet. It's not really ice cream but it has chocolate in it so it counts.
posted by smackfu at 12:29 PM on April 25, 2006


I don't understand why all you schmucks that feel it's necessary or prudent to bash a particular ice cream without indicating exactly what it is that you don't like. "It tasted yucky, so I spit it out and made a fuss," doesn't count as a legitemate critique.

The most insightful comment mentioned seaweed (you may be on to something; it's used in fast food breads and fries, as well as toothpaste I think), but I haven't noticed that particular flavor. I've never had ice cream that tastes like cardboard. Have you tried cardboard? I think it tastes like seaweed.

By the way, the world's best ice cream can be made in the comfort of any kitchen with a little research, time, and liquid nitrogen. *wink* Seriously, look into it. Good ice cream is not that hard to make, even if you don't have liquid nitrogen.
posted by BlueWolf at 12:30 PM on April 25, 2006


Drastic writes "That said, I prefer Ben & Jerry's--but am also puzzled that ice cream snobbery does not apply to it as well. Trends puzzle me."

Seriously man, it's a real, objective quality issue. CSC makes bad ice cream. My trip to CSC has been the only time I've seen my wife throw out ice cream. And this was long before I realized it was a successful franchise; I thought it was just a local place at the time.

The success has shocked me.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:30 PM on April 25, 2006


Bluewolf: it has a bad mouth-feel--gummy instead of creamy--and it's oversweet. Better?
posted by mr_roboto at 12:31 PM on April 25, 2006


In spite of what we've been taught our whole lives, it's not meant for human consumption. Especially now that it's loaded with growth hormone, antibiotics and pus. Sorry to rain on the parade.

Give it a rest, already.
posted by docpops at 12:34 PM on April 25, 2006


Oh, and that Farrells blog entry was pretty moving. That could be my mall/childhood.
posted by docpops at 12:34 PM on April 25, 2006


I also like CSC quite a bit. Ice cream is like beer or pizza. Although I prefer certain brands of beer and pizza, you're not going to see me turn down any brand of beer or pizza. That's crazy talk.
posted by fusinski at 12:35 PM on April 25, 2006


That said, I prefer Ben & Jerry's--but am also puzzled that ice cream snobbery does not apply to it as well.

It was definitely cool to hate Ben and Jerry's a few years ago.

People are right to hate Cold Stone. They treat their ice ceam like it was spackle. Chain restaurants are a bit depressing anyway because there's usually an at-least comparable local equivalent and it makes your community a little shittier when you encourage it to look like every other neighborhood.

As for the qualiy of the ice cream, we're mostly kidding ourselves. All ice cream of similar fat content tastes pretty much the same. It's all in the presentation.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:37 PM on April 25, 2006


Take your lactose intolerance somewhere else, hater!!!

For what it's worth, I'm lactose intolerant, but that doesn't mean that my taste buds and I can't reminisce about the good old days without getting my intestines involved.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:39 PM on April 25, 2006


As for the qualiy of the ice cream, we're mostly kidding ourselves.

See, now I'm really confused. Before that, I was assured it was a real, objective quality issue.

And Ben & Jerry's used to be hateworthy but now isn't. THIS IS A MINEFIELD!

Wait, it's still proper to go on about how Starbucks is burnt, right? Or is Starbucks now Ben & Jerry's, where it's cool not to hate?

Life is very complicated!
posted by Drastic at 12:43 PM on April 25, 2006


My favorite ice cream isn't ice cream at all, but frozen custard from Hodgman's in New Gloucester, Maine. My mouth waters just thinking about it. I never had anything like it before moving to Maine, as frozen custard usually meant some sort of soft serve product. Unfortunately, they're closed between Veteran's day and Mother's day, so I have to find another way to get my fix. Thankfully, I stumbled onto Häagen-Dazs crème brulée, and I am now complete. al
posted by SteveInMaine at 12:46 PM on April 25, 2006




F.F. Woodycooks made ice cream when he wasn't shaking the crime stick.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:49 PM on April 25, 2006


Ooooh! Frozen custard! Now that's something special. My favorite is Kopp's, in Milwaukee. They ship countrywide, though....


And Drastic: I'm not sure where your attitude is coming from. Some weird obsession with trends and groupthink... It all comes off as very kneejerk and hostile. I'm sorry if I've insulted your favorite ice cream parlor.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:49 PM on April 25, 2006


My attitude comes from genuine amusement.

"X sucks!"
"Yes, it is very bad!"
"It tastes like vomit!"
"Vomit tastes better than X!"
"Look, the important thing is we all agree X is terrible!"

"Hey, this reminds me of the usual tone about Y a few years back. Funny."

"My God, you're hostile!"

In my world, that's really, objectively, funny.
posted by Drastic at 12:53 PM on April 25, 2006


Well, it does suck.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:53 PM on April 25, 2006


I simply must put this one forward: Baskin Robbins. I'm sure many of my fellow Canadians would agree.

Now, if only I didn't have one *directly* below my balcony... It'd certainly make being unemployed this summer a lot less expensive. (Conversely, being jobless has never been tastier...)
posted by Dark Messiah at 12:57 PM on April 25, 2006


I'd also like to note that Nestle makes great ice cream. As far as I know, it is one of the few major brands that can guarantee their products to be peanut free. (I have a lot of friends with a wide array of food allergies.)
posted by Dark Messiah at 1:00 PM on April 25, 2006


Metafilter: loaded with growth hormone, antibiotics and pus.

Seriously, jumping back into the thread after a couple of hours:

-I don't think Emack & Bolio's (or JP Licks, for that matter) rank up there with the other Mass. big boys.
-I second the shout out for Breyer's Vanilla
- rostyle & bluewolf, have you checked out these guys?
posted by ericbop at 1:00 PM on April 25, 2006


I used to live around the corner from the Graeter's in Clifton, good stuff. I've seen those lines at CSC and I just don't get it. These days I make my own and it's pretty much coffee or lemon.
posted by lazymonster at 1:04 PM on April 25, 2006


The one time I braved a Cold Stone I did notice it wasn't worth it. It did taste funny; maybe it is the seaweed, maybe it's some weird flavor (you would think peanut butter would cut that, but no.) But the biggest thing for me is that I just don't deal with 'performance food' well. Singing? Oh, god no. I can barely tolerate fresh-ground-pepper people. I got the hell out of there.

But if we're on the childhood reminiscing portion, the local place near me got *replaced by a Starbucks.* (There was a brief mid-90s purgatory stage when it was a bagel place.)

Then a boulder hit the Starbucks.

This being said, living in ruralish Connecticut means there's lots of local places I'd rather go than chains. And at the Dairy Bar on campus I can speculate what cow my ice cream came from!
posted by cobaltnine at 1:05 PM on April 25, 2006


CSC genuinely tastes disgusting to me. I don't think this has anything to do with its implied evil chaininess (I'm not open to bashing the deliciously fatty salads that can be gotten at the hell (agoraphobevertshy) that is The Cheesecake Factory).

And it has that smell. I'm just going to start calling it the SubCreameryKreme smell. And Target. Target also has the bad smell.
posted by birdie birdington at 1:12 PM on April 25, 2006


Damn you for bringing up Whitey's, prostyle. Now I'm going to have to write home and have my parents ship some out on dry ice.
Perfect night out is ribs from Jim's Rib Haven in Rock Island, topped off with a malt from Whitey's.
As for CSC, I'm also a bit confused by the hate. I don't like their flavored ice-cream much, but it beats the heck out of Dairy Queen if that's the only competition in your town.
posted by Eddie Mars at 1:13 PM on April 25, 2006


The problem with Toscanini's: the Boston hipster-wannabes who work/cry there. They're nothing but Espresso Royale rejects who know how to use a scoop.

I'll take Richardson's any day. Plus I'm biycotting B&J's over the Black & Tan fiasco. So there.

Also, if anyone has any news about Chadwick's Ice Cream Parlour, that would be invigorating.
posted by jsavimbi at 1:16 PM on April 25, 2006


Also of note in the Boston/Cambridge area, Christina's in Inman Square (near the East Coast Grill). The Mexican chocolate is some tasty stuff.
posted by schoolgirl report at 1:16 PM on April 25, 2006


Hogwash to all of you. You haven't had ice cream until you've had it in a shell, while sitting in an odd little booth at Margies.
posted by FlamingBore at 1:20 PM on April 25, 2006


Damn link - Here
posted by FlamingBore at 1:21 PM on April 25, 2006


An ice cream sandwich (Chocolate Decadence ice cream between two chocolate-chip cookies) from Gelati Celesti would hit the spot right about now. None of those chain stores do ice cream as well as Gelati Celesti does.
posted by emelenjr at 1:21 PM on April 25, 2006


Plus I'm biycotting B&J's over the Black & Tan fiasco. So there.

I forgot about Unilever's selfless promotion of righteous Protestant rule! I know which ice cream I'm buying next time.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:22 PM on April 25, 2006


Our local Ben & Jerry's left and we got a delicious new gelato place in its place. Yay.
posted by birdie birdington at 1:23 PM on April 25, 2006


Wow, I thought I was a discriminating ice cream eater. Apparently I have no clue - I thought Cold Stone was pretty good. Maybe I'm being distracted by all the junk I have thrown in.

Anyway, I didn't realize how much I missed cookie-dough blizzards until I moved to NYC. I just can't justify a trip to Jersey for Dairy Queen.
posted by mullacc at 1:24 PM on April 25, 2006


It's good to keep on top of these trends..puzzle me. Yeah like the trend of snarkily accusing other people of being snobs because they dislike a mass produced food product? The nerve of those ice cream elitists! I am outraged.

Drastic, it's about taste buds, not about being trendy. I love ice cream, and CSC is the only time I've ever thrown away a cone before I finished it. It's not hate, I'm just amazed at the long lines.

I don't understand why all you schmucks that feel it's necessary or prudent to bash a particular ice cream without indicating exactly what it is that you don't like. "It tasted yucky, so I spit it out and made a fuss," doesn't count as a legitemate critique.

Schmucks? Really? Were we being too mean to poor wittle CSC? Okay, here's my scientific non-schmucky critique: It was much too sweet, it had some unnatural flavor, and it was sticky and gelatinous. The cream/milk and the flavor (chocolate or whatever it was) weren't highlighted. I only tried it twice, like I said, don't feel like going back for more. Prudent enough? Oy.
posted by tula at 1:25 PM on April 25, 2006


When I was in Austin, I tried their local independent company, Amy's Ice Creams. I found their Double Mexican Vanilla absolutely heavenly.

Now that I'm back in Tucson, I'll take Edy's Girl Scout cookie (Thin Mint or Samoa) or I'll go to Austin's Old Fashioned Ice Cream and get the homemade stuff.
posted by parilous at 1:28 PM on April 25, 2006


Once, a stoner friend of mine showed me that with a little desperation, sugar, and a stick of butter you could make something that approximated cookie dough. The first little bite was surprisingly not terrible, but if I had eaten any more, I'm pretty things would have changed. That's what Cold Stone is like: a stick of butter dipped in sugar. If that's your thing, well, you have a stronger stomach than I.

I'm not that in to ice cream in general, but I hit up this place any time I get a chance. Down here in Texas, they all love the Blue Bell.
posted by mosessmith at 1:29 PM on April 25, 2006


I see hating CSC is the new hating Starbucks.

Amen. I like Cold Stone Creamery. In my capacity as a chocolate ice cream fanatic, I appreciate variety; and while Cold Stone totally misses the boat if I'm looking for rich chocolate, they absolutely nail the lighter, creamy, milk chocolate flavor. It's good stuff.

Lindt has a similarly light milk chocolate bar that's absolutely nothing like the Scharffen Berger that I usually prefer. That doesn't mean Lindt sucks; it means they're aiming for something different. I like both.

And I only had a tiny tasting-spoon worth of Cold Stone's cake batter ice cream — but hey, it tasted like cake batter to me. It reminded me of my high school lounge, which used to serve a Milky Way ice cream that honestly tasted like Milky Way candy bars (without having, like, bits of smushed candy bar mixed into regular ice cream).

Drastic nailed it. You're all just so hip.
posted by cribcage at 1:31 PM on April 25, 2006


Ohh Tosci's how I miss you. Sorry, used to live 3 blocks from the Central Square location and they didn't have no stinkin' Harvard Square location neither.

Of course, I had to remember from my childhood there was a dairy farm that my grandmother (the true ice cream expert in my family) used to take me to whenever I'd fly up to Portland. Couldn't remember the name, but thanks to the internets.. I done found it again. Smiling Hill Farm Dairy. The Apple Pie Ice Cream was my favorite when I was a kid. No clue if it's any good but when I was a kid it was the tops.

Out here in lala.. lots of gummystone (it's definately the seaweed. I've messed with the stuff at home and it turns any ice cream gooey). Probably the most unique place is Mashti's (http://www.mashtimalone.com/)

But I'll thank my grams for getting me onto good ice cream young. Still remember that until the day she died all she wanted was some ice cream and scotch.
posted by drewbage1847 at 1:32 PM on April 25, 2006


Not an expert or an aficianado, but the best ice cream I ever had was peach that someone's mother made.
To me the villainous ingredient in ice cream and many other things is vanillan. It smells.
posted by Cranberry at 1:34 PM on April 25, 2006


I've had hot fudge sundaes at Margies (I live right down Armitage from it) and found it to be profoundly overrated. It's maybe a once-a-year thing for me just for the kitschy kick (also, their hot fudge is tasty). It's good to see, though, that the CSC down North Ave in Wicker Park seems pretty empty every time I pass by - I was similarly unimpressed by their ice cream, and it was wicked expensive.

Ashley's in New Haven (and Hamden) CT is my baseline for awesome ice cream; as a child I remember a huge fondness for Mad Martha's on Martha's Vineyard as well but, not having been there for years, I don't know if it would still hold up (is it even around anymore?).

Has anyone else tried Starbucks' ice cream? The flavor with swirled vanilla and coffee ice creams with a caramel twist in particular... yum.
posted by jtron at 1:34 PM on April 25, 2006


As for the qualiy of the ice cream, we're mostly kidding ourselves. All ice cream of similar fat content tastes pretty much the same. It's all in the presentation.

Hence frozen custard, as mentioned by mr_roboto, which has much less air folded in than ice cream, eggs added, and more butterfat content. Happily I live in the land of much frozen custard (southern WI). I don't HAVE to eat ice cream, though I have good local choices if I'd like to. I'll eat Culver's if I happen to be driving by one, but I reserve my private moments of heaven for Michael's.

I concur about the mouth-feel of CSC. It's like those awful premium hot cocoas you used to be able to buy in the supermarket, where they thickened them with carageenan to make them more creamy-feeling, but they just felt jellified. CSC feels melty, air-filled, and sticky to me--in other words, cheap. In direct contradiction to price you pay. Sad.
posted by gillyflower at 1:36 PM on April 25, 2006


Metafilter: Your ice cream sucks.
posted by ninjew at 1:36 PM on April 25, 2006


I also dig Cold Stone. Yeah, the texture is very unusual, but I think it has to be to contain all the mash-ins. When I've tried it, I've enjoyed the base flavors, but I haven't tried them all.

But my taste buds are probably destroyed when it comes to ice cream, because Tasti D-Lite is the only kind I've been having lately. Weep for me, please.
posted by booksandlibretti at 1:38 PM on April 25, 2006


Hating CSC isn't at all like hating Starbucks. I would defend Starbuck's, and have, but CSC, by any metric, is an embarrasment, from the bastardization of their bland swill with stale bits of sugared crap to the cringeworthy show-tunes bellowed from behind the bar. I tried it once and swore I'd rather sit in a dank bus station and eat a stale hershey bar than return to a CSC.
posted by docpops at 1:41 PM on April 25, 2006


Cold Stone Creamery IS pretty nasty. Ben & Jerry's is not bad, just overpriced. Apart from having some relatively different flavors there's not much that sets it apart from many cheaper brands.
posted by dagnyscott at 1:42 PM on April 25, 2006


drewbage1847 writes "Out here in lala.. lots of gummystone (it's definitely the seaweed. I've messed with the stuff at home and it turns any ice cream gooey). Probably the most unique place is Mashti's "

Have you tried Fosselman's, up in Alhambra? It's a freakin' institution. And I love the way they've adapted to changes in the neighborhood, adding green tea and taro flavors to their standard selection...
posted by mr_roboto at 1:42 PM on April 25, 2006


I liked Ben and Jerry's back when it didn't have carageenan and other assorted crap in it. I still like Breyer's vanilla for its purity: milk, cream, sugar, vanilla. All the body needs.

But the best ice cream in the world comes out of my kitchen. Start with milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla from a bean. Get ice-cream to soft-serve consistency. Then mix in a Dairy Milk bar that's been frozen and busted into teeny pieces. Fuckin-A.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:47 PM on April 25, 2006


I grew up on Haagen-Dazs, and I have fond memories of Frusen Gladje, but ericbop rules for linking Herrell's Ice Cream in Northampton, MA. Steve Herrell, who is said to have invented the smoosh-in/mix-in/moosh-in, founded and sold Steve's Ice Cream before opening Herrell's. It is a wonderful place and I used to go there often. But since graduating from college and moving elsewhere I've found become increasing certain that Ben & Jerry's New York Super Fudge Chunk, one of the small number of Perfect Things which man has created. I also had a truly incredible cone of Mexican Chocolate at Bev's Ice Cream in Great Barrington, MA several years ago. I really ought to stop back there ...
posted by Songdog at 1:47 PM on April 25, 2006


I actually like Coldstone and Maggie Moos, but the best I've ever had was probably gelato in Buenos Aires. Absolutely heavenly.
posted by candyland at 2:04 PM on April 25, 2006


I'm late to the party but if you find yourself in southeastern Mass. get yourself to Peaceful Meadows. Incredible ice cream and the most amazing coffee frappes you'll ever set lips on. (And if you don't know what a frappe is, you're prolly not from New England.)
posted by lazywhinerkid at 2:06 PM on April 25, 2006


I like B&J, but have become really frustrated because all the various flavors I can find have too much extra stuff in them, and one of them is always chocolate. However, the organic strawberry is just divine.

Double Rainbow Lemon Sorbet is also wonderful.

However, the best ice cream I've ever had was at a shop in Buenos Aires. There are many "artesanal" ice cream parlor that make their own ice cream, and this one place had a lemon ice cream that was just unbelievable. I even practiced how to place my order before I went in the shop in hopes that I could make myself understood despite my mediocre command of Spanish.

"Quisiera un cucaruchu de limon con crema chantilly, por favor" (I'd like a lemon ice cream cone with whipped cream, please.)

Except what I actually said to the server was "quisiera una cucaracha de limon con crema chantilly, por favor" which means "I'd like a lemon cockroach with whipped cream, please."
posted by luneray at 2:08 PM on April 25, 2006


Not only making the best cheese in the U.S., Tillamook also makes the best ice cream flavor, Marionberry Pie.
posted by karmaville at 2:10 PM on April 25, 2006


I went to CSC the day after crashing a moped and smashing my face into the side of a building. Two black eyes and a blowout orbital fracture. I figured the ice cream would be good for my broken face. As we were leaving, the guy told me to have a "fantabulous, scandabulous day."

I will never go back ever again.
posted by hypocritical ross at 2:10 PM on April 25, 2006


You were waited on by Ned Flanders?
posted by Mid at 2:15 PM on April 25, 2006


Carl's
Sooo smooooooooth.
posted by mania at 2:20 PM on April 25, 2006


From reading all the Mass-centric discussion, it becomes obvious that Massachusetts is (or maybe was) the US leader in per capita ice cream consumption.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:21 PM on April 25, 2006


Or perhaps a great leader in ice cream creation?
posted by Songdog at 2:30 PM on April 25, 2006


I'm afraid you're ALL wrong. The best ice cream in the world is to be found at Gelateria Di Piazza in San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy run by Sergio Dondoli. Ol' Sergio a's stopped competing in international ice-cream contests because he keeps winning. I tried his saffron concoction 2 summers ago and dream about it everytime I'm forced to stoop to BnJs.
posted by brautigan at 2:34 PM on April 25, 2006


Licks Ice Cream in Denver represent, yo.

Hypocritical ross, I laughed at your story and now feel bad. :|
posted by boo_radley at 2:34 PM on April 25, 2006


Here in Waterbury we have the unparalleled pleasure of getting our free cones right from the source.

Yumm.
posted by deCadmus at 2:35 PM on April 25, 2006


... I had a CSC bowl the other day. Followed it up with a big ol Venti Frap from Starbucks, and then ... ... I bought stuff at Target! Oh, oh, and then I bought a CD, and rented at Blockbuster, and I had chicken fries from Burger King and then I fell asleep in a post-orgy-of-un-trendy-food stupor.
posted by FritoKAL at 2:35 PM on April 25, 2006


From reading all the Mass-centric discussion

Yeah, how does that work? Massachusetts has all these shops people swear by and Texas has fricking Blue Bell. Makes no sense!

I'm glad someone finally spoke up for ice cream outside the states. You all start going on about "best ice cream in the world" and come on. Gelato, people – at the very least you have to admit it presents some serious competition. Chocolate and hazelnut! Chooooocolate and haaazelnut. And I'm sure the Argentine stuff is fantastic.
posted by furiousthought at 2:38 PM on April 25, 2006


From reading all the Mass-centric discussion, it becomes obvious that Massachusetts is (or maybe was) the US leader in per capita ice cream consumption.

It's a little known fact that the Boston Tea Party was actually a protest against Ye Olde Colde Stone Creemerie's planned franchise on Beacon Hill.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 2:39 PM on April 25, 2006


It's a little known fact that the Boston Tea Party was actually a protest against Ye Olde Colde Stone Creemerie's planned franchise on Beacon Hill.

And then 200 years later we ran Harry Hood out of town.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:48 PM on April 25, 2006


From reading all the Mass-centric discussion, it becomes obvious that Massachusetts is (or maybe was) the US leader in per capita ice cream consumption.

It must be, and that also plays out in the darker side of Free Cone Day: it makes people go absolutely goddamn bananas. Walking through Harvard Square today, there was a line out the door at The Garage. And not just out the door, 2-3 thick at any given point, but also around the corner blocking the John Harvard's entrance.

All this for a tiny $2 ice cream cone!! You know, the stuff is available every day, folks. And on most days, you can get it without waiting over an hour in line. In fact, every single day but one.
posted by rkent at 2:48 PM on April 25, 2006


blahblahblah, spot on with Cones. Canteloupe sorbet + dark chocolate gelato = heaven.

Also, Chinatown Ice Cream Factory has amazing lychee nut ice cream.
posted by saladin at 2:51 PM on April 25, 2006


I had no idea that so many ice cream snobs existed. Wow, what an amazing thread.

:P

Thrifty's Drugs used to have the best ice cream. Now Rite-Aid bought them out and only a few locations still have Thrifty's ice cream. It was good, and damn it, it was cheap.
posted by drstein at 2:53 PM on April 25, 2006


All this for a tiny $2 ice cream cone!!

Last summer, a gas station on the North Shore slashed his prices in the vicinity of a dollar a gallon, in order to create traffic (because he was feuding with the town). It worked. Traffic lined and snarled down the street, blocking neighboring businesses and driveways. WBZ sent a camera crew to interview drivers waiting in line for cheap gas. One guy in a pickup truck explained that he had taken the afternoon off from work and driven down from New Hampshire to fill up his tank.

Discounts make people stupid.
posted by cribcage at 2:55 PM on April 25, 2006


Homer's ice cream in Chicago is pretty fantastic, and you can get it at the gelato place on Southport (Anthony's?). I recommend it to all--anyone who walks past Anthony's to CSC or even DQ should move to Schamburg! (Just kidding, but I love to say move to Schamburg.)
posted by Mid at 2:57 PM on April 25, 2006


"I'm thinking of taking the ice cream."

/ Mr Neutron

I have consumed large quantities of ice cream in my lifetime. I think Ben & Jerry's has been the majority, but I'm guessing Whitey's is a close second.

prostyle and Eddie Mars what are the odds that of all places, that would get three mentions?
posted by jaronson at 2:58 PM on April 25, 2006


I remember a Dairy Queen in Chicagoland about ten years ago, somewhere around the Hanover Park area. Seeing the "Texas Stop Sign" nestled in a little strip mall there was the weirdest thing.

Even weirder was the menu. Mostly they concentrated on the Blizzard and sundae type of ice cream things, but there were no Hungr- or Belt-Busters, no DQ Dudes, no Country Baskets, none of the usual DQ food selections. The only hot food items were hot dogs and Polish sausage.

It's probably not there by now. I'd also be surprised if that Arthur Treacher's Fish & Chips in a remote corner of Des Plaines is still there, too.
posted by First Post at 2:59 PM on April 25, 2006


Massachusetts is the best ice cream state, hands down. Western Mass. is the headquarters of Friendly's (pretty good for mass-produced ice cream, but don't eat the menu food). Moving east you have Brigham's, Tosci's, Denise's, and Herrell's.

In the supermarket category, Edy's is great, particularly in the low-heart-attack division. The basic fat-free is yucky but there is a variety of low-fat frozen yogurt with Splenda that is pretty decent for all the artificial crap that goes in there.

Also, Skinny Cow for the ice cream sandwiches (or Flying Saucers, to contribute to the genericide of Carvel's trademark.)
posted by Saucy Intruder at 3:02 PM on April 25, 2006


I'd like to put in a vote for Marianne's in Santa Cruz. Best B&J flavor: Oatmeal Cookie Chunk. Oh dear, I'm drooling.
posted by cacahuete at 3:18 PM on April 25, 2006


Call Hall: home of the best ice cream in the world.
posted by ozomatli at 3:22 PM on April 25, 2006


Um... I like coldstone. Quite a bit. Even though I can't bring myself to order a "gotta have it," it's hard to beat mixing a brownie in with chocolate ice cream. And there's always a line out the door, which clearly means many people like it. Why's it get hated on so much? Who cares about the weird cheeriness?
posted by ORthey at 3:30 PM on April 25, 2006


Luneray: it's not fair that the Spanish words for "ice cream" and "cockroach" are so similar.

I'll be cautious of making that same mistake.
posted by parilous at 3:40 PM on April 25, 2006


OMG, Mayor Curley, Brigham's! Jesus. We used to get sundaes at the one in Coolidge Corner and actually sit at the soda fountain to eat them. This, of course, makes me sound 72 years old, but so be it.
posted by tristeza at 3:56 PM on April 25, 2006


I also had a truly incredible cone of Mexican Chocolate at Bev's Ice Cream in Great Barrington, MA several years ago. I really ought to stop back there ...

Songdog, I'm actually in Great Barrington right now - finishing up my last year at Simon's Rock College - and I can report that while the name of Bev's may have changed (it's now South County Creamery), the ice cream remains the same (delicious).

That being said, Cones in NYC still gets my vote. Their passionfruit sorbet is truly orgasmic.
posted by teferi at 4:05 PM on April 25, 2006


Consumer Reports, those notorious trend-following hipsters, on Cold Stone Creamery (3/05 issue, subscription required):
Four trained tasters compared the unadorned vanilla and chocolate at Cold Stone with those at Häagen-Dazs, Ben & Jerry’s, and Baskin-Robbins. They also sampled some Cold Stone concoctions.

What we found

The sum of a Cold Stone creation was better than its parts. Tasted plain, the chain’s vanilla and chocolate ice creams were definitely not as good as those from Häagen-Dazs or Ben & Jerry’s, and not quite as good as those from Baskin-Robbins. Cold Stone’s ice cream was gummy and fairly mild-flavored. Häagen-Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s ice creams were creamier, with higher-quality flavors. The Quick Ratings, below, gives the details.

With mix-ins, Cold Stone’s taste improved dramatically. Freshly added fruit and nuts masked defects in texture and added complexity.

The bottom line

Skip Cold Stone if you don’t want mix-ins. If you want good-tasting unadorned ice cream, you’ll be better off at Häagen-Dazs or Ben & Jerry’s, as the Quick Ratings show.
And those Quick Ratings (I won't reproduce the table, but the numbers are price and serving size in ounces):
Excellent

Häagen-Dazs
$2.45 3.7
Creamy, smooth, and dense, with big vanilla or chocolate flavor. Vanilla has a slight egginess.

Ben & Jerry’s
2.65 4
Balanced flavors, with a distinct full-fat dairy taste.

Very good

Baskin-Robbins
2.25 4
Slightly gummy vanilla, with generic vanilla flavoring. Chocolate has a big cocoa flavor but is chalky and slightly gummy.

Good

Cold Stone Creamery
3.55 6
Vanilla and chocolate are gummy, with a mild, generic flavor.
posted by staggernation at 4:09 PM on April 25, 2006


I am intrigued by the person who said that Cold Stone's recipe may be gummy because they need a gumminess to make the mix-ins work. How do you figure?
posted by Mid at 4:21 PM on April 25, 2006


This might blow some minds, but . . . Starbucks coffee ice creams are really frickin' good.

And if you think all ice cream tastes the same, and all pizza, and all beer, then you probably should attempt international travel, or stop smoking, or seek medical advice. Possibly all three.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 4:22 PM on April 25, 2006


“Cow's milk is bad news...” (etc)

I’ve recently become lactose intolerant after drinking a Ball jar full of milk every night before bed. I can drive nails in with my fists and my bones break only if I’m dropped from orbit.
If it’s bad for you I should have been dead at 30. I’m taking pills so I can keep drinking it.
That said, the growth hormone stuff does bother me. I’m drinking Oberweis now (and feeling really terrible about it, but what can you do, he doesn’t use the growth hormones and I can’t get a straight answer out of other companies).

“Homer's ice cream in Chicago is pretty fantastic,”
Seconded.

“anyone who walks past Anthony's to CSC or even DQ should move to Schamburg” - posted by Mid

Well, duh. It’s the Pinto of suburbs. It stands in stark contrast to, say, the Weber Grill, which exemplifies all that is right and good about the suburbs.

“And there's always a line out the door, which clearly means many people like it. Why's it get hated on so much? Who cares about the weird cheeriness?” - posted by ORthey

ORthey, there’s a line out the door because dads like to ogle chicks while their kids are distracted and entertained by the goofy show.
The only reason I hate it is taste. I don’t ketchupify my hot dogs. I don’t gummy worm or otherwise debrisify my ice cream (certain exceptions of course, I mean we’re not ascetics here. Brownie good). But the base ice cream itself - the flavors I’ve tasted at least, aren’t so good.

I don’t think anyone is opposing the very core concept of CSC, or if they are, that doesn’t invalidate the fact that many people don’t like the stuff.

/anyone else think “tina, come get some ham” while reading the title of the post?
posted by Smedleyman at 4:22 PM on April 25, 2006


What would the Internet be without crazy extremists?

That's a knee-jerk reaction. Do the reading.
posted by wsg at 4:25 PM on April 25, 2006


“That's a knee-jerk reaction.”

What would the Internet be without knee jerk reactions?

Or derails...
/the defect in that one is pus...Yessss!
posted by Smedleyman at 4:32 PM on April 25, 2006


He can have the knee jerk if I can keep the hostile.

This is my war face: ahhhhh!
posted by Drastic at 5:03 PM on April 25, 2006


Ditto on Kopps frozen custard! I survived here in Tucson on H-D's creme brulee, too, until a custard shop/cafe opened on 6th street. It's good, but it ain't Kopps.
posted by Neologian at 5:08 PM on April 25, 2006


In the early 60's ice cream consumption increased with the arrival of Baskin Robbins, Dary Queen, Carvel, Bresler's and others. They concentrated on low butterfat ice creams and many flavors. Once that interest was piqued a niche for high quality (high butterfat)ice cream was recreated. (i.e. back to the original ice cream formulas of the late 1800's)
In 1961 one of the first to respond was Reuben Mattus, a Bronx manufacturer who had been squeezed out of the supermarket business because of his companies small size. Rather than give up he created one of the richest, heaviest, and most expensive ice creams ever to come out of an ice cream plant. He gave it a European name, Haagen-Dazs and marketed it ...
His success with the superpremium product a new generation of large and small followers. Ben and Jerry, AE Farms, Bruhns, Colombo, Dreyers, Hershey's, and Blue Bell.

The above summarized from here

An expensive book that explains everything about commercial ice cream and has tons of recipes. Butterfat, quality of ingredients, and the actual freezing process is what defines an ice cream.
posted by mss at 5:25 PM on April 25, 2006


I've never entered a CSC. My god, do they really make the staff sing? In that case, cow pus is the least of your worries.

Never, ever eat in a place where the staff have cause for resentment, because it's pretty much guaranteed you're gonna eat some boogers. If you're lucky.
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:26 PM on April 25, 2006


My fave ice cream comes from a small dairy farm near me where you can eat it under the gaze of the cows who provided the source. It's on a back road in the middle of nowhere in a state nobody goes to yet there are still huge lines on hot summer days.
posted by acetonic at 5:31 PM on April 25, 2006


I am intrigued by the person who said that Cold Stone's recipe may be gummy because they need a gumminess to make the mix-ins work. How do you figure?

Mid, that was me. Have you seen the way the Cold Stone staff do the mix-ins right in front of you when you order? Experiment time! Go get a pint of Haagen-Dazs or some other non-sticky ice cream. Put it on your counter and smosh it around with big things the way the poor Cold Stone staff do. I'm pretty sure your non-sticky ice cream will come apart into chunks or globs very fast. Try adding an entire real brownie, or a couple of real Oreos, and the whole thing is going to be in discrete, ugly chunks.

Cold Stone's ice cream has to be sticky enough to stay together in one piece, and to trap all the mix-ins. I can definitely detect the stickiness, but it doesn't bug me -- it's just a difference, not a deficiency, to me.

Just to preempt anything, it's true that ice creams with factory mix-ins aren't so sticky. I think that's because it doesn't matter whether or not that mixture stays in one solid glump -- it's squirted into little tubs, and then frozen. The tubs contain it, so it doesn't have to keep itself together.
posted by booksandlibretti at 5:39 PM on April 25, 2006


brautigan, you are right on the money about the Gelateria Di Piazza. I was about to spend ages Googling to find the name of that place. That is one memorable gelato. I also have to give a shout out to the original Berthillon in Paris.

For American ice cream, my childhood fave is Four Seas on Cape Cod. Their cranberry sherbet is amazing, and their blackberry ice cream is the gold standard.

But I honestly cannot believe how little love Haagen Dazs is getting. Their vanilla? Their coffee? I mean come on. The vanilla only has five ingredients: cream, skim milk, sugar, egg yolks, vanilla. How can a mass marketed product do any better than that?
posted by huzzahhuzzah at 5:43 PM on April 25, 2006


Has another Dairy Queen opened in Chicago besides the underground one? I thought that was the only one.

And, I liked Cold Stone the one and only time I had it, but only because the best kind of ice cream is chunky. I'm easy to please.

For the cow-haters, Temptations cookie dough is the best soy ice cream EVER.
posted by ruby.aftermath at 5:47 PM on April 25, 2006


Oh, and my Cold Stone experience certainly did NOT include singing. I think I would have run out immediately.
posted by ruby.aftermath at 5:48 PM on April 25, 2006


I had something really long typed up about CSC and funky mouthfeel, but I realized it was kinda silly. So all I wanna say right now is LAVENDER SORBET PLUS MEYER LEMON VODKA? CRAZY DELICIOUS!
posted by suckerpunch at 5:55 PM on April 25, 2006


When I was a lad my dad and I made some incredibly rich ice cream with custard bases (like 12 egg yolks per batch), including one pernod-flavored one that was sooooo good.
posted by kenko at 6:06 PM on April 25, 2006


I simply must put this one forward: Baskin Robbins. I'm sure many of my fellow Canadians would agree.

Baskin Robbins is pretty huge here in the new, getting-fat-like-the-Westerners Korea. I didn't know it was a Canadian business.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:10 PM on April 25, 2006


Also, rosehip ice cream = delicious.
posted by kenko at 6:16 PM on April 25, 2006


Thrifty's Drugs used to have the best ice cream. Now Rite-Aid bought them out and only a few locations still have Thrifty's ice cream. It was good, and damn it, it was cheap.
posted by drstein at 2:53 PM PST on April 25 [!]


The Rite-Aid in my hometown still does the Thrifty ice cream, thankfully. The cheesecake and malt chocolate are lovely, and its cheap too.

There was also a cafe on mainsheet in my hometown that served really nice gelato, but it shut down only a few months after it opened. :( But I really like the gelato that Sophie's Crepes in SF's Japantown does. (and their crepes are good too!)

As a kid I was a Baskin Robbins fiend though. I loved how colorful some of the flavors were. I think my all time favorite was the limited flavor that they put out for the fourth of July that had pop rock-type candy mixed in. They also had an ice cream with little strawberry goo-filled white chocolate skulls in it that was great.

I've only had Cold Stone a couple of times, and remember it tasting pretty bland. And they gave me way too much for a single scoop serving. Thankfully there was no singing involved. According to the empty little jar by the counter the servers would sing for tips.

I had a friend who would up working there though--he hated it. He also had to pay for a pair of ugly shoes that they make everyone wear. Which is weird because you can't see the feet of the people working there, so why have them all wear the same kind of shoe?
posted by kosher_jenny at 6:38 PM on April 25, 2006


"...and it's cheap too"
posted by kosher_jenny at 6:39 PM on April 25, 2006


Awesome:
Ben and Jerry's: Pistachio Pistachio!
Haagen-Dazs: Coffee.
Edy's: Mint Chocolate Chip.
Maine local dairies or candy shops: Smurf, Bubble Gum, Root Beer, Teaberry Leaf.
Cones: just being in the West Village. Any flavor.
Dairy Queen: Nerd Blizzard.
Diners/Friendly's: Ice cream soda, either all strawberry or strawberry soda/chocolate ice cream or chocolate soda/strawberry ice cream.
posted by lampoil at 6:53 PM on April 25, 2006


I just want to second whoever before said "frozen custard" (too lazy to actually look back and see who it was). Frozen custard is the shit. If you're in the DC area, go to Nielsen's in Vienna. My girlfriend and I went there recently and it was seriously some of the richest, best frozen dairy-based product ever.

That said, I've always liked CSC (except for the singing). But then again, I've never gotten it without like 5 mix-ins.
posted by malthas at 6:56 PM on April 25, 2006


I am intrigued by the person who said that Cold Stone's recipe may be gummy because they need a gumminess to make the mix-ins work. How do you figure?

For those who mentioned the seaweed-like flavor in CSC, I wouldn't be surprised if they had greater amounts of alginate and other algae derivatives in their ice cream. It's not uncommon in store-bought ice cream and essentially acts as a stabilizer. With CSC ice cream, since it needs to be recombined with mix-ins, the need for such extra amounts of such additives seems apparent. Google search for alginate+ice cream.
posted by junesix at 8:15 PM on April 25, 2006


I'm not sure why the slam against Maggie Moo's or Coldstone. I think Maggie's is better than Coldstone—and I'll admit i prefer either without the garbage mixed in—but either is head and shoulders above anything you can buy at the average grocery store. Even Ben & Jerry's.

That said, the best ice cream I've ever had is no longer available. It was made by a guy in the "historic" West End Market of Greenville, SC by a guy whose name (and store name) I no longer remember. He was a 7th Day Adventist—closed on Saturdays—but everything was wonderful. Best flavor: Hot Chocolate. It was creamy and chocolatey and marshmallowy, and after you swallowed it, there was a distinct (but not overpowering) lingering heat. Habeneros. Mmmm. Loved the pun, loved the flavor more.

As fond as I am of hot/spicy food, this stuff didn't really fall into the category, but the choice of the subtly fruity habenero over the pure pepper of cayenne or the veggie-ish jalepeño: Pure genius.

Dunno what ever happened to that guy, but I hope he's doing well.


posted by phrits at 8:31 PM on April 25, 2006


Now that I'm home and have had more time to think things over, I have to change my vote for best ice cream ever.
My new vote goes for the School of Animal Husbandry creamery on the Michigan State Uni's campus. I don't know what mad experiments they're doing on those cows, but brother, it's worth it. Even if the cows have 2 heads and 11 udders, it's worth it. Go you mad spartan scientists, go!
posted by Eddie Mars at 8:33 PM on April 25, 2006


I'll second the Berthillon vote -- definitely the best chocolate ice cream I've ever had (though I suspect it was more egg yolk than cream, but hey, I'm not complaining).

Christina's in Inman Sq., Cambridge is my local favorite -- always interesting flavors (and they run a great spice shop right next door too). I used to love Denise's in Davis Sq. too, though it's been taken over by JP Licks now.

This isn't an ice cream place, but the best ice cream of any flavor I've had in a long time was the sweet corn ice cream at Oleana in Cambridge.
posted by sriracha at 8:34 PM on April 25, 2006


Your favourite [thing] sucks!!!

Get with the program.

Don't know much about CSC, but we have something called Marble Slab Ice Cream here in Edmonton which sounds very similar (sans show tunes). It isn't great, it's way too expensive for what you get, and it just isn't worth the wait. But I'd consume it if the opportunity presented itself.

That being said: Breyer's All Natural Vanilla is the only ice cream I will purchase in quantities larger than a cone.
posted by C.Batt at 8:44 PM on April 25, 2006


Maggie Moo's is hardly the worst ice cream out there... their Better Batter is extremely good, even better with almonds in it. Or mixed with an equal portion of Udderly Cream.
posted by hjo3 at 8:46 PM on April 25, 2006


Breyers were good once, before they were purchased a few years back by a major food conglomerate, who apparently just wanted the name and the reputation for quality but didn't want to actually protect those things by keeping the quality up. Soon after the acquisition the quality nosedived, it lost its rich creaminess, picked up some polysyllabic ingredients, and frankly I think wfc123's description is precisely accurate. And to the commenter who wondered what cardboard tastes like: all you need to do to find out is lick the carton.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:55 PM on April 25, 2006


when I was a kid, I lived in new york in the winter, and central maine in the summer. In new york, ciao bella! opened downstairs in my building (literally, the retail space next to our lobby) sometime while I was in elementary school, and in maine we had gifford's. I have no idea how good I would think gifford's is now, but as a kid, it was among the best parts of summer, to go get a gifford's special and play mini golf :). ciao bella was a more occasional treat, since we weren't in ny in the summer, but my sister and i used to go in there and take excessive advantage of their "free sample" policy.

I am not in love with ben & jerry's, but my problem is when I try various random brands available, I'm often disappointed (eg, I tried "ronnybrook farm"'s chocolate and it seemed bland & tasteless...) and they're often more expensive... so I revert to what I know, even if it is only an approximation of the ideal.
posted by mdn at 8:55 PM on April 25, 2006


Yeah, what the hell?

I've been to Cold Stone plenty of times and it's just fine. It's not Ciao Bella or anything phenomenal, but they didn't sing. In fact, they looked pretty pissed off to be working on Mill Ave in an ice cream place.

Still, I like their cheesecake ice cream (no chunks of anything, but some raspberry/blackberry add-ins) just fine. It's not like it's "Good Day" private label stuff here. Or Breyers...
posted by disillusioned at 9:21 PM on April 25, 2006


It's a little known fact that the Boston Tea Party was actually a protest against Ye Olde Colde Stone Creemerie's planned franchise on Beacon Hill.

Uh, too late. It's already there, though technically in the West End. The hipster ice cream places in Cambridge seem to like to stay in Cambridge.
posted by enakaja at 10:00 PM on April 25, 2006


I got my free cone at the Ben & Jerry's at Ogilvie Train Station in downtown Chicago. There was not much of a line and it moved very quickly. I was impressed! (I thought the line would be halfway around the concourse! Maybe the cool weather had something to do with the lack of line - although I'd imagine most people getting it there would be taking it right onto the train) I had Chocolate Therapy - yummmm. : )
posted by SisterHavana at 10:21 PM on April 25, 2006


My favorite ice cream by far is a black walnut recipe (homemade) although it takes a while to make and freezes so insanely hard in the freezer that it is really great when it is fresh.

Hiland's vanilla bean is not bad. I like mint chocolate chip as well, although I have had some brands that were nasty.

I LOVE chocolate malts from Dairy Queen. My stomach wishes there was one closer to me but my waist is glad there isn't.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 11:31 PM on April 25, 2006


I'm afraid you're ALL wrong. The best ice cream in the world is to be found at Gelateria Di Piazza in San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy run by Sergio Dondoli.

Seconded! (almost). It really was exceptionally good - shame we only took a half-day trip there last summer, but I think the gelato at Vivoli in Florence was equally good.
posted by bifter at 3:00 AM on April 26, 2006


teferi writes "Songdog, I'm actually in Great Barrington right now - finishing up my last year at Simon's Rock College - and I can report that while the name of Bev's may have changed (it's now South County Creamery), the ice cream remains the same (delicious)."

See, I said I needed to go back there. How did I not notice the name change? I was on Railroad St. eleven days ago! Maybe next time I've got some free time up there I should try and set up a Berkshires meetup!
posted by Songdog at 6:20 AM on April 26, 2006


"Free Cone Day" was part of the best excuse/street person explosion I have ever seen. I did a little story about it on my blog, if you are so inclined...
posted by chinese_fashion at 7:55 AM on April 26, 2006


They have great ice cream in Russia, or did back when I visited (in the '70s).

Berkshires meetup? Could be interesting...
posted by languagehat at 10:09 AM on April 26, 2006


All this for a tiny $2 ice cream cone!! You know, the stuff is available every day, folks. And on most days, you can get it without waiting over an hour in line.

My thoughts exactly. After all the years of reading about Free Cone Day I actually was in a place yesterday (downtown Burlington VT) that had a scoop shop. First I saw the TV truck, then a guy wearing some sort of cow costume, then the long line down the block of (mostly) kids patiently waiting for their cones.

I’m sure if you went up to any of them and said, ”I want to hire you. I need you to stand out here in the cold wind [temperature was low 40°s], for 40 or 50 minutes. And I’ll pay you $2,” they wouldn't jump at the opportunity.

My friend Ron who works at the University Mall in Burlington, near the Scoop Shop there, says they had six scoopers on duty, who churned out some 4,000 cones. (I guess at least the weather was nicer inside the mall.)
posted by LeLiLo at 11:35 AM on April 26, 2006


Unbelievable. Just as I posted that, I heard this great weird noise outside, and a Mr. Ding-A-Ling ice cream truck went by this apartment, mangling the song It's a Small, Small World. (No one in line there, since it was going about 30mph.)

I'm new to this neighborhood, but never heard it go by before. Never heard of Mr. Ding-A-Ling either (unless it's the guy Chuck Berry was singing about).

How does Mr. Ding-A-Ling rate, compared to Cold Stone (which I also never heard of before)?

p.s. Now the truck seems to be stopped up the street. A horrible song, but better than the dumb dog next door hysterically barking as usual.
posted by LeLiLo at 11:44 AM on April 26, 2006


Anyone in ohio who has had Graeter's and has been to Young's Jersey Dairy in Yellow Springs/Springfield Ohio will go "Oh well yeah, Young's does beat Graeter's"

Of course there is only ONE Young's dairy Farm, and many Graeters in Cinci and Columbus.

Young's is special, you can meet the cows you're eating.
posted by Dome-O-Rama at 8:49 PM on April 26, 2006


I've never entered a CSC. My god, do they really make the staff sing?

I've been to the one in Newton (MA) several times, and I've never witnessed the staff do anything that would distinguish Cold Stone Creamery from Brigham's, Friendly's, Haagen-Dazs, McDonald's, or any other low-pay food service job. They didn't sing, and they didn't gag me with pleasantries. They just served me ice cream. I liked it.
posted by cribcage at 4:08 PM on April 28, 2006


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