You don’t realize how many towns there are in Massachusetts until you start to think about something like going to an ice cream shoppe in every town in the state. I’m sure there are some places that have nothing anyway, but when I look at the map of where we’ve been aerially I see the gaping holes of neighborhoods unserviced by great ice cream. For a curveball, I had a Coffee Frozen Custard cone.
Nestled just off a corner in downtown Arlington, the Chilly Cow is a suburban downtown fantasia. The blue and white checkerboard pattern on the walls and floors mirrors the awning and brick on the front of the store. There are tables strewn about that floor, shoved together in spots to keep families together. The biggest negative is a symptom of Arlington more than anything else as it’s tough to find parking nearby even on a Sunday.
The Chilly Cow is a family-owned business that is the only place I’ve found inside Route 128 that offers frozen custard. Frozen custard is a dessert that you can find all over the Midwest. If you haven’t been to Ted Drewes, you haven’t been to St Louis. In New England it is almost non-existent. They can have it here since their ice cream actually comes from Shain’s of Maine up in Sanford.
What’s the difference with frozen custard? Primarily eggs. That’s what makes most French vanilla scoops custard technically. It’s also made at a colder temperature and with less air whipped into it. The results are a smooth confection that is a favorite frozen soft treat.
This coffee is strong. It’s so potent that is seems like some grounds are spilled into the mix as well. The treat is rich and wonderful and there is a mix of custard and coffee that enriches both flavors to a delectable degree. This is a very different sort of flavor if you aren’t accustomed to it, but the denseness is only really in the richness of the eggs. If you want to open a whole new door of possibilities, this is an easy entry.
Arlington is a weird place. The city government has kept out most of the national chains, but they’ve remained insular rather than promoting the things that they have. Since the T ends before it gets this far west, Arlington is a place that has to be a predetermined destination rather than some place you just stumble upon. The parking is a cluttered mess and keeps people away rather than inviting them to join in as well. This spot is worth being a destination (and an ideal dessert after visiting Blue Ribbon Barbeque just up the street).
Cone – kiddie $2.35 small $3.50 medium $4 large $4.50
Sundae – small $4.50 medium $5.25 large $6
Frappe $5 malted $5.50
The Chilly Cow
Open year round
Sunday-Thursday noon-10p Friday & Saturday noon-11p