Return Engagement: JP Licks – Jamaica Plain MA

24 10 2008

I probably should have just got a frappe.

Instead, I was late to hear the band I was in the neighborhood to see because something on the menu had stirred me. I ordered a sundae for the first time in the history of this blog.

jp licks october specials

The first thing that caught my attention was the Carrot Cake, but my little taste was laden with raisins. I had thought this would make a nice cone, but the taste was too subtle and the chew overwhelming. When I commented on that to my scooper, she smiled and agreed. In my haste to pick something else I was intrigued by Black Lager, and asked for a sundae with caramel.

Then I found out that the simple sundae also gets three toppings. I didn’t want to overwhelm it, but the array of shattered candy and nuts is tough to navigate. I opted for Blackberries, Blueberries, and SnoCaps. What I didn’t notice is that there were both white and rainbow SnoCaps. The result looks more like an eight year old girl’s sundae.

black lager ice cream caramel sundae jp licks j.p. mass

While it may look silly, it tasted pretty great. The black lager was more subtle than I was anticipating, which made it even better to mix and match with all of the other elements. Both berries were whole fruit and not merely a bunch of fragments, and the each tasted right. And yes, the rainbow does taste the same as the white.

The only thing I was disappointed by was the plastic bowl and spoon that I ate from while sitting inside, it’s just such a different aesthetic from a ceramic bowl and metal spoon. I think my next great plan might be to redesign plasticware made expressly for ice cream, that will display a sundae well, and make it easy and fun to eat. And yes, wholly recyclable.

Original review:

Chandler’s – Maynard MA

23 10 2008

It’s always interesting when you’re looking for something and you find something else. I had driven through Maynard a few months ago and spied an ice cream shoppe called Big Scoops, but they advertised on the window that they featured Richardson’s Ice Cream, and I’d just had their ice cream. When I went back, they were gone and in its place was this. I went in and had a Black Cherry cone.

Chandler’s has been in Maynard for a month and a half. September seems like an odd time to try to start a new ice cream enterprise in Massachusetts, but in many ways this is fortuitous. Firstly, the plan is to keep this place open all year round and they began right about the same time that Erikson’s closed for the season. For locals looking to fill a frozen treat fix, this place has made the transition seamless.

Secondly, this is far from a new venture. Chandler’s headquarters are in Peabody, and they have been making ice cream, cakes, pastries, and chocolates since 1934. That store reopened back in June after their new owner took control. The Maynard store is the second shoppe that they have revitalized, with only the freezer cases remaining from Big Scoops’ failed venture. The ice cream for both shoppes is made at the Peabody store.

Based solely on the logo from the outside, I had presumed that chocolates were going to be the focus here, but ice cream superseded both it and all of the baked goods. The pastries in the case all looked delectable, but the closest I got to trying any of them was a taste of their Tiramisu ice cream. It was a series of subtle taste sensations, but not quite what I was in the mood for today.

Instead, I opted for the black cherry. Instead of being a cherry vanilla, this was a robust pink ice cream with pieces of cherry scattered throughout. The cherry flavor was more reserved than I was anticipating, with the sweet cream flavor of the ice cream really dominating. There wasn’t any vanilla apparent either so the taste of the cream and the cherries carried the cone which had the consistency of ice cream that I usually only associate with Cambridge (it was similar to both Christina’s and Toscanini’s).

According to the guy that scooped my cone, this Maynard store is only the beginning. Chandler’s is planning to do a large restaurant/bar/coffee shop on Revere Beach which he explained would be “something like a Cheesecake Factory for ice cream.” The only detraction from my cone experience was the cone itself which was brittle in the chilly autumn air and disintegrated as soon as I got below the level of the ice cream.

Cone – small $3.50 large $4.25

Sundae $4.75 banana split $7.50

Frappe $4.50

Chandler’s Homemade Ice Cream

47 Main St, Maynard, MA 01754

978 548-6012

Open year round

Sunday -Thursday 11a-9p (Tuesday close at 8:30p), Friday & Saturday 11a-10p

Vote ‘Yes’ on Ice Cream!

21 10 2008

Election Day is just two weeks away. While here in Massachusetts neither the Presidential nor Senatorial elections are much in question, making it out to vote is always an important thing to do. We were trying to find a way to compel you to vote, but with limited resources, we’re just going to key you in to other ice cream related voting incentives.

If you vote, and there is a Ben & Jerry’s scoop shop near you, we recommend taking them up on this landmark for democracy. “November 4th from 5-8pm, show us you voted and you’ll get a free scoop of ice cream. Show us your ‘I Voted’ sticker, a photo of you in front of your polling station, do the ‘I Voted dance’ or just tell us you voted.”

Of course not everyone thinks that this is a wise, or even legal, idea. Loyola Law School Professor Rick Hasen runs a blog where he recently questioned the legality of this offer. Apparently Hasen was too hasty in reading his source material, because B&J’s standard of proof is pretty low. Some people make politics into such a serious business, but it should never be more important than ice cream.

Ben & Jerry’s had limited local issues of both Baracky Road and McCaindy Cane, but neither got out of central Vermont. It seemed all summer long that the campaign busses were stopping at ice cream stands across the nation, that seems like reason enough to try my hand at political journalism. The only other politico/ice cream idea I’ve got so far is this logo I found at Scoopalicious:

Trombetta’s Farm – Marlboro MA

15 10 2008

The last time I came to this place was the day I finished classes in high school. My best friend Terry and I took our last test and then had a free period when everyone else was taking the final final. We drove to Marlboro and ate lunch at Bertucci’s and then came here and played mini golf while Sgt Peppers. was played in its entirety on the radio. This time I had an Apple Crisp cone.

Trombetta’s is a family owned farm that has been around since 1974. Their interests are widely diversified within their buildings as there are greenhouses, the aforementioned mini golf course, a wooden toy shop, and the ice cream stand itself. They make their own ice cream and have some carts that they take out to special events as well. During the winter, it’s only open on the weekends.

This place can be summed up best by its logo. Their primary interests are all represented with the flower replacing the o, the golf ball and ice cream cone serving as both apostrophe and exclamation point. This is the only place that I know with an indoor mini golf area. While the course isn’t full of crazy moving obstacles, you’re never going to get rained on.

With pumpkins ringing the ice cream stand, it almost seemed imperative that I went for a seasonal flavor. They have a full complement of frozen treats with sherbet, soft-serve, slush, frozen yogurt, and sugar free ice cream.  With the trees turning color and orange all around, Pumpkin was way too obvious. I almost abandoned the thought at all when I had a taste of the Cinnamon, but when I found out that that ice cream was the base for the apple crisp, I was swayed.

The apple crisp cone was amazing… instead of tossing the same ingredients as an apple crisp into the ice cream, someone here has actually made a real apple crisp with a decadent, buttery crust and mixed it into the cinnamon ice cream. I was taken aback by just how good this was, most flavors that try to be another dessert don’t make a major impact, this seems to exceed the original.

With fields all around, and the Marlboro Airport right next door, there are plenty of places to go to enjoy your cone. However, if you do a little looking, you’ll find one of the best assets of Trombetta’s. Behind the parking lot, there is a raised grassy area that has four wooden porch swings set up for your enjoyment.

Cone – small $2.95 medium $3.50 large $3.95

Sundae – small $4.25 medium $5 large $5.75

Frappe $4.25 malted $4.95

Trombetta’s Farm

655 Farm Rd Marlborough, MA 01752

508 485-6429

Open year round, weekends & inside counter only November-April

Daily 10a-8pm (Fall Hours)

Bolton Orchards – Bolton MA

7 10 2008

When you ride across the autumnal landscapes of New England, sometimes it’s difficult to find ice cream among the turning leaves. Signs that tell me to come back next April break my heart. One thing that I have noticed more of though are banners that tell me ice cream is now available at places where it hadn’t been before. When I walked back here, I opted for the Pomegranate Chip.

If you dip back far enough in history, you’ll find out that Bolton Orchards is directly related to Davis Farm over in Sterling (best known now for their mega maze). In 1954, this roadside farmstand was built at the intersection of 117 and 110. Growing up, the best part of this place was a tap in the wall where you could get cups of their amazing cider for a nickel. That tap is still there and the price has not increased.

They’ve added some simple grocery and even a deli, but sometime in the past couple years they annexed a small space in the back of the store for ice cream.The window opens to an outdoor area full of bulk apples and pumpkins and gourds and mums and whatever else is most in season. When the autumn chill comes on and the lines get shorter, scoopers are kept busy making fudge or other such things.

With so much of the orchard’s resources devoted to apples and other fruit, they don’t make their own ice cream here. Instead they worked things out with Bliss Dairy down in Attleboro to supply them with fresh ice cream. A taste of the Apple Crisp made me realize that the arrangement isn’t reciprocal as the taste had very little real fruit in it.

Instead what got me was the pomegranate chip. Most people are unsure of what to do with a pomegranate. As a fruit, it takes some serious effort to get the rewards, and it makes a serious mess. Lots of juices lately try to blend it with other flavors and most of them wind up dominating the taste. This ice cream actually tastes like a real pomegranate with a real fruitiness and tangy afterbite. With square chocolate chunks distributed evenly throughout and the cream taste taking a backseat to the fruit, this is a really good cone.

With ice cream as a recent afterthought here, there’s not much of any dedicated place to sit and enjoy a cone. However, there’s plenty to wander around and look at as you scope out the rest of your purchases. Or else you can just spend your time chatting and flirting with those scooping your cone like I did (of course it helps that she’s a friend also used to be my bank teller so she knows the limits of my finances among way too many other facts).

Cone – junior $1.95 small $3.25 large $3.80

Sundae – small $3.25 large $3.99

Frappe $3.99 thick $4.25

Bolton Orchards Market and Deli

125 Still River Rd, Bolton, MA 01740

978 779-2733‎

Open year round

Orchard open 8a-6:30p; Ice cream open noon-8p in the backyard

Sign of the Times

7 10 2008

Despite the prolificacy with which we New Englanders consume ice cream, when the fall comes our focus does shift. From the roadside stands to the scoopshop diner. From the bubbling water fountain to the mulled cider. From the ice cream cone to the back of the freezer.

We All Scream For Ice Cream is out to explore the possibilities of frozen treats and plans to spend the winter checking out the things that you find in your freezer aisle. There are plans to go to some local ice cream meccas and hopefully some interviews and in depth features. We’re looking to create a comprehensive ice cream and frozen treat glossary so that you can discern a custard from a gelato, an ice water from a sorbet. We’re also looking at creating some sort of awards to bestow upon our favorites and yours, so we’re working to set up a voting interface where you can declare your favorite ice cream.

All that as well as reviewing the ice cream shoppes that persist throughout the year. (I’ve even got a few in the queue that got stuck as a result of a computer glitch and subsequent procrastination). But don’t worry, just because our favorite places are closed, it’s just for the season, and we’re with you eating ice cream all the way.