At first glance, this seems like an annex for Lambert’s next door. I mean it is a grocery store that’s already got a tent on the front that’s filled with outdoor Halloween decorations, but the array of picnic tables in the front of this shoppe are a good sign that there is something more going on here. After scanning through the flavor list, I had a Mudslide cone and my brother Tim went with a bowl of Green Tea.
Steve Cirame is more well known as the founder of Christina’s in Inman Square, but he gave up that throne a long while ago. Boston Ice Cream Factory is where he holds down the fort and provides the ice cream base for many of your favorite scoops in Cambridge. With the metal hut roof on this location, it’s completely unassuming, but one look at the menu board makes even the most casual ice cream eater quickly realize that something is afoot.
The shoppe is crammed with old freezers. Some of them are plugged in and facing the patrons and have samples of ice cream cakes. Some of them are unplugged and look like they might not get cold when they next are plugged in without first making an extended trip to the repair shop. It’s really a confusing layout, with only a few tables running parallel to the front windows and the rest of the area filled with miscellaneous stuff that looks as though this shoppe has swallowed the leftovers from every ice cream spot in the city that has gone out of business in the last two decades.
While the ice cream menu here offers up green tea and Marble Crunch along with a full complement of regular options, it’s the specialty flavors that are all infused with alcohol that are most notable (even if they do cost an extra quarter per scoop). Where else can you find Sex on the Beach at an ice cream shoppe? Bananas Foster? Barbados Breeze? The only thing that might have been better is if they actually had all of the flavors listed as I didn’t get to try the Guiness Stout.
My first sample was of the Durian. Apparently it’s an Asian fruit whose stench is so bad that it is banned from mass transit in Singapore. It’s described as a custardy fruit with hints of almond, papaya, and onion. The description was apt and it required a taste, but I can’t imagine it working as a whole cone. While I was navigating to figure out what options were in stock, Tim got green tea and my spoonful was nice with the subtle hints of the tea making a clean ice cream. I tried the Rum Raisin, but the rum flavor seemed to be in the fruit and not the ice cream, so I decided on the Mudslide. The combination of Bailey’s, Kahlua, and vodka made this a potent frozable, though the texture was remarkably soft. This was the sort of ice cream that bars ought to keep in stock… I was fantasizing about having this scoop as the topper of a beer float.
We meandered North along the coast since there wasn’t anything else to do until Mad Men, so Tim and I wound up wandering around Castle Island. Like most places in Boston the name is vestigial from a time before landfill gave the city the mass it now has. Watching planes fly into the fog and disappear above us was fun, but we didn’t try to circle all of Pleasure Bay since neither of us were sure whether we could actually take the path all of the way around.
Cone – small $2.75 medium $3.80 large $4.75
Sundae – small $4.95 large $5.95
Frappe $4.75 xtra thick $5.95
Boston Ice Cream Factory
Open year round
Daily noon-9p, til 7p October-March