It's hard not to love Big Gay Ice Cream, the only ice cream business I know of with a unicorn as its mascot and a novelty cone called a Salty Pimp. But their new soft serve from Ronnybrook dairy is a new level of delicious.
'soft-serve' on Serious Eats
Every time I pass through a Chinese grocery I take a glance of longing at the sugar cane leaning against a bin of lychees or dragon fruit. They're so cheap! I tell myself. But what would you really do with them? the more rational me asks in return.
The Mr. Softee truck is how I learned the phrase "bat out of hell." As in, "Max, don't run out there like a bat out of hell. It's just ice cream and I want to see you live to your 11th birthday." Sorry, Dad, but this isn't ice cream. This is Mr. Softee. It's bigger than me—it's bigger than both of us.
I know it's just barely spring, but I'm already thinking about ice cream, gelato, sundaes, and other frozen desserts. Admit it, you've already had your first iced coffee of the season or started daydreaming about your favorite scoop shops to hit this summer. Here are some of my all-time favorite frozen treats from across America, from vanilla soft serve with maple-pecan-bacon streusel in Chicago to sundaes in Ohio. Chime in with any others I missed.
After I watched this video of Yaskawa-kun, a smiling ice cream (er, soft serve, but you know what I mean)-serving robot in Tokyo's Summerland theme park, I thought, "There must be other good videos of cute ice cream-serving robots on YouTube!" ...But no, not really. This appears to be the crème de la crème of cute ice cream robots. It even has its own Twitter page.
Some of the best guilty pleasures can be found at your local county or state fair. In a spectacular show of gustatory bravery, a couple of pals and I tackle the most daunting treats at the Orange County Fair in California. As the chocolate columnist, I stick to chocolate as much as I could—that's just a life choice, really—but these treats span the spectrum of sweet.
It's a question you'll hopefully have to ask yourself many times over the course of the summer. You're at the soft-serverie and someone is ready to pull down on a nozzle, but which? Vanilla can be synonymous with boring, but sometimes it's all you want. Chocolate, on the other hand—a pretty bold move. And then, ah, the swirl. So, what's your pick? Take the poll! »
The big three fast food chains—McDonald's, Wendy's, and Burger King—are all offering some type of blended dessert. At McDonald's, of course it's the McFlurry, a soft-serve ice cream with toppings mixed in. Burger King has introduced the BK Sundae Shake, a choice of shake—chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry—with Oreo topping, whipped cream, and a dash of hot fudge. And not to be outdone, Wendy's is offering a Frosty Redux called the Twisted Frosty—a chocolate or vanilla Frosty base with toppings "twisted" in. Which is the sweetest?
When it comes to fast-food dairy desserts, I'll take a DQ Blizzard over a McDonald's McFlurry or a Wendy's Frosty any day of the week. And, if the Blizzard fan club is any sign of things, I'm not alone. This year the Blizzard celebrates its 25th birthday and as part of Blizzard Customer Appreciation Week (April 19 to 25) participating Dairy Queens are offering a buy one any-size Blizzard and get a second one for a quarter. Are you able to get your Blizzard fix where you live? What's your favorite flavor?
My wife and I visited Milwaukee almost exclusively to eat and we weren't leaving the city until we had a certain Wisconsin specialty: frozen custard, which is thicker and smoother than ice cream due to the higher percentages of eggs and cream. Of the two rivals in town (Kopp's and Leon's) we went with Leon's.
Before Pinkberry and Red Mango appeared on every corner, there was Yumi Yogurt--an adorably dated relic of fro-yo v 1.0 in Redwood City, California. This little yogurt hut has sat beside El Camino Real for the last 25 years, and in those decades, it's earned something of a cult following.