Sunday, August 31, 2008

Ice Cream Parlors


It all started for the wife and I when we read an article in Mpls St.Paul Magazine, Best of Summer: 12 Yummy Ice Cream Shops. That was like a challenge for us, three months, twelve weekends, it just seemed right. So we set off on our trek for great ice cream and wound up discovering not only good and bad creameries, but new neighborhoods. Overall, it was as fun searching for these places as it was trying the ice cream... well almost! The only problem... summer ran out on us. Hopefully we will continue our search for the best of the best throughout the remaining warm days of the season, but I wanted to get this out to you in case you were so inclined to try a few late-minute culinary delights. Now, I've tried to order my review for you in terms for best to worst. Keep in mind that the worst may still be better than you local Cold Stone Creamery, it just isn't as good as the best. Here we go:
  1. Grand Ole Creamery: This was the best of the best. I have yet to go there when there wasn't a line snaking out the little red door. This has unique, but tasty flavors as well as the old standbys. The ice cream is rich and has the perfect texture. Get the waffle cone which was just recently baked. They have the best of the best.
  2. Crema Cafe: With a Tuscan looking building and (at least when I was there) a very snappy and friendly server, this place comes up as a very close second. In fact, I think the only reason its second is because I have gone to Grand Ole Creamery more often and it has a special place in my... tummy! Anyway try the signature flavor Crema. It is ice cream churned with Arabica coffee beans. Its like eating a creamy espresso! The wife had a pluot sorbet that was one of the most refreshing things I've ever had.
  3. Pumphouse Creamery: Again, we are talking about a few degrees of separation between 1 & 2 here, but try this place out! It is in a little niche of shops off of Chicago Ave in Minneapolis. What I love about this place is they incorporate local ingredients in their ice cream. I had a thin-mint and homemade brownies ice cream, while the wife had a blueberry, buttermilk cone.
  4. Sebastain Joe's Ice Cream Cafe: I've got to be honest, there is little difference between #1 and #4 in this review. The ice cream is delightful and reminds me of the homemade stuff I used to have back on the farm. Parking is a little sketchy around this place, but look for the chocolate dipped waffle cones to put your favorite ice cream in.
  5. Izzy's: You may very well have heard about Izzy's. It has been a twin cities trademark for sometime and gets a GOLD STAR from me for being highly dependent on solar energy. However, I have a gripe here with Mpls St.Paul Magazine. When they reviewed this place they commented on the Cherry Bomb, a delicacy that was featured in Bobby Flay's Throwdown with Izzy's. It was cherries jubilee ice cream inside a chocolate shell... who the hell wouldn't want that! Well I burst in the door and said, "ONE CHERRY BOMB PLEASE!" "Oh, we haven't had that for... what do you say?(turning to a co-worker)...yeah, like two years..." What the *%$&! You have a desert featured on national television and you discontinue it. "Well I'll take a single scoop of Guiness then... what do I want for my Izzy scoop? What's that?" "Oh a little scoop of ice cream on top... cool... I'll have Irish Whiskey please" Anyway, that's where I stand on that shop. Might go back, but I was horribly saddened by no Cherry Bomb.
  6. Edina Creamery: Has recently become a chain (disappointment), but still good ice cream. It has all the benefits of a 50's dinner (or so they claim because I can't judge from first hand experience).
  7. Luxury Sweets: Gelato... typically yum... not so here. This is the worst, and I would probably eat at Cold Stone before here again. Sad to say this about a Gelato place, but this falls far short of the delightful Italian Ice that Gelato should be. Inconsequentially, if you're looking for a really good Gelato, go to Door County Wisconsin. There you'll find Double Delights in Egg Harbor. Wonderful Gelato!!! The wife says its as good as the authentic Italian stuff... if she says so its true!