Monday, July 14, 2008
I Concur, Well Sorta Kinda
While catching up on my Serious Eats reading, I stumbled upon the ultimate New England ice cream guide. It was a collaboration with Roadfooddigest.com, a website I hadn't ever checked out before. I was fairly impressed with the guide and definitely agreed with Sundae School sitting on the top of the list. A long, long, long time ago, when I was still in college, I spent a summer working in Orleans. The summer there was a food extravaganza for me! Besides the amazing and abundant seafood, there were other delights that were specific to Orleans. On rare days off we'd get tender, flaky (almost biscuit like) homemade scones from Fancy Farms and in the evenings hit Sundae School.
The Sundae School was always swamped with a line of customers that seemed to stretch out forever. People tended to be fairly anxious about getting their chance of some great ice cream but were never terribly chatting in line. I remember waiting in line, in anguish sometimes, because the wooded area by Sundae School was a home for gi-normous mosquitoes. But what's a couple 100 itchy bites on my legs when there is rich, creamy homemade ice cream to enjoy. I remember the sundaes (with real whipped cream) being fantastic (of course). But my favorite had to be the peach ice cream. Some nights it wasn't there and I'd pick something else. Honestly all the ice cream flavors were really great. But the peach ice cream was something different all together. Chunks of fresh peach with a ice cream that was peach scented...so deeply peach scented that sometimes it always seemed floral to me rather that fruity. It wasn't like eating a fresh frozen peach, it was 1000 times better because there was ice cream involved too.
Lucky for me I had two jobs that summer so I burned off most of what I ate. Even back then I was a total workaholic and foodie!
Anyway, the Sundae School definitely would top my list too. But the one rating I can't really get behind is Emack and Bolio. In Orleans, it tended to be our second tier ice cream place. If the Sundae School line got to us or if the mosquitoes were especially bad, we'd hit up E&B. It was okay, not great, but okay. Since moving to Boston, I've tried two other Emack and Bolios and both of them were pretty awful. I got a very grainy chocolate ice cream at the Newbury street location and an ice filled vanilla bean at the new one at Trilogy. Not cool, so not cool at all! So I can't really see how JP licks fell one star behind E&B. I have to say I'm a fan of JP Licks...okay, it ain't no Sundae School but their mint chip is decent and their waffle cones also come dipped in dark chocolate. Mmmm...
The only other comment I would make is that there might have also been a category for cost. Ice cream in Boston has become ridiculously expensive. Yet, when I get out to the 'burbs with a friend with a car and get ice cream, it's insane to me how cheap it seems. Are suburban cows just cheaper? Or is it that keeping a cow in the city is a bit too costly and expensive? Who knows but this is part of the appeal of certain places (i.e. Christina's) and part of the turn off (Toscanini's) for others. I'm just sayin'.
Maybe one day I can talk a friend with a car into driving me back to Orleans for a day....that's a thought.