Snowflake – Riverhead NY

26 07 2010

My nephew Tommy and I had made plans to eat ice cream and go visit the Big Duck, but with only one car for everyone, our options were limited. Cutting my toe in the ocean meant having to go to the clinic to get a tetanus shot, and gave us a perfect chance. He had a chocolate cone, I went with the Peconic Swamp Thing.

snow flake snowflake home made homemade ice cream riverhead ny

It’s strange for me to realize that this ice cream stand has been here since 1953, seeing as I can never remember noticing it once in my childhood and knowing I must have driven past here hundreds of times. In 1988, the Kunitz family sold Snowflake to reformed stockbrokers the Feldschuh’s who have kept the recipes and much of the decor the same as it has always been.

Anyone slipping out the south exit of the Tanger Outlet Mall and heading east will struggle to miss this place, and once you see it, know that it is worth stopping beneath the gaudy green and blue awning. What’s great about this locale is that in addition to the pink benches that mark the perimeter of the building, there is also a gazebo tucked behind that helps shade your cone and keep it from melting away before you have a chance to eat it all.

Picking flavors here wasn’t too much of a challenge, as I’d been here before but neglected to write it up. As we walked in the door, I pointed to where it read Pistachio Cherry on the board (I had this before and it’s as good as it sounds) and motioned to my dad who ordered that before I spoke words. Tommy’s got a good thing going with just eating chocolate cones (see the Illinois reviews), and my mom went with Dutch Chocolate. When an ice cream joint uses regional nomenclature, I’m a sucker for trying those specialties, so Peconic Swamp Thing it was.

My cone was fantastically overloaded with flavor. The base seemed closer to the Dutch rather than the regular chocolate. It was then stuffed with fresh brownie pieces that had that great chewy consistency while meeting the ice cream in a rich fudgy swirl. Somewhere in this mix is a bold raspberry flavor (it’s tough to tell whether they are on their own or part of the brownies) that takes the whole thing over the top and makes this an exceptional ice cream cone.

After finishing our cones in shade of the gazebo, we drove off toward the Big Duck. There aren’t many landmarks in the East that are anything like this, so if you’ve made it this far out on Long Island, it’s worth driving a few more miles into Flanders to see this cement artifact (even if the inside is now just a gift shop, not a place to get eggs).

Cone – small $2.99 large $4.14

Sundae $5.98

Shake – thick $4.60 monster $6.21

Snowflake Ice Cream Shoppe

1148 West Main Street, Riverhead, NY 11901

631 727-4394

Open year round

Sunday-Thursday 10a-9p, Friday-Saturday 10a-10p


Captain Dusty’s – Manchester-By-The-Sea, MA

18 07 2010

With it being National Ice Cream Day, and way too hot to just hang around my apartment, I finally hit the road when the sun started shining in the windows. A hop on 128 led me up to Manchester-by-the-sea, where I hit the beach and then met up with my old high school pal Pete for a Holy Roller cone (he opted for a frappe).

Captain Dusty’s may have one of the best locations of any ice cream parlor around. Folks from Boston who take the train up to go to Singing Beach have to walk right past this building to get to the beach. Which also means you need to walk past it on your way back. Unless you’ve got resident parking, there is no escaping Captain Dusty’s.

The shack had been converted to an ice cream stand back in 1995 and was purchased by the current owners, John & Lisa Bartlett, back in 1996. Since then, they’ve expanded to shops in Beverly Farms and Salem, and started making their own ice cream instead of relying on local distributors. Now they produce about 27,000 gallons annually.

The front of the shop is packed with groups of families waiting for orders to be filled and it’s such a zoo inside that your first impulse after paying is to head to the park across the street. The benches, monument, baseball field, and gazebo there provide ample shade and an ideal place for eating a cone, which is good since there’s no place inside Dusty’s to sit.

Even with cool flavors like White Russian Chip on the regular menu, the first look here is to their “Flavors of the Moment,” and the Holy Roller, which is described as Chocolate Oreo with Mini Oreos seems too decadent to pass up. A creamy bold chocolate base provides the perfect setting for an overload of Oreo goodness. If the balance of this were skewed any more to the cookies, there might not me any ice cream at all, but as it is, it’s a great wallop of flavor.

Pete’s frappe was based on Mint Chocolate Chip, and led us to a discussion of shakes with stuff in them. By the time he was done there was a cluster of chocolate at the bottom of the cup. While sometimes there is nothing better than that treat at the end of a frappe, lately I’ve been leaning toward simple flavors rather than having a clump of nut and cookie fragments to deal with after sucking on a straw.

Cone – kiddie $2.45 small $3.25 medium $3.65 large $4.25

Sundae – small $4.55 large $5.55

Frappe $4.50 extra thick $4.95

Captain Dusty’s

60 Beach Street, Manchester, MA

978 526-1663‎

Open April-October

Daily noon-9p

Obama Follows Us!

17 07 2010

After hitting the new Mt. Desert Island shop in Portland earlier this month, the Obamas found the original location while they vacationed in Bar Harbor. We think they’ve been watching this blog for tips.

President Barack wavered from his usual Butter Pecan and instead had a Coconut cone here.

Addendum: Now it seems he has even stirred controversy here… if you notice the sign behind him, some conservative pundits have taken that fist holding the spoon to be a black power symbol, but I don’t think that Tommie Smith is the one mixing these flavors… story here

Mt. Desert Island – Portland ME

5 07 2010

The problem with holiday weekends is that everyone goes out of town. After recovering from a softball-induced near-heat stroke on Saturday, I couldn’t find anything going on for the 4th. With everyone gone, I hopped in the car and headed to Maine when alerted of a party. The next day I found new ice cream downtown and got a cone with Girls Scouts Gone Wild and The Dude.

Mt. Desert Island is the island that Bar Harbor is on. It’s where this ice cream is made, as there are two different stores that have been there for a few years. With storefronts in Portland in regular flux, it seems as though there was an opening for another “gourmet small batch ice cream shop.”

This spot opened in June and has quickly made an impression on anyone who has stepped inside. While the clean lines and bright colors are inviting, the only thing missing is chairs. Exhange St.’s brick lined sidewalks are a little too warm in July to take an already soft cone to the streets.

The first thing that you notice here are the flavor options. Exotic and gourmet flavors are abound. Hot Chili Chocolate? Candy Shoppe? Jack Daniels? Yes, yes, yes. I tasted them all. The Hot was good (though I prefer cayenne to give that hotness rather than chili or jalapeno). When it came to decide though, I was swayed by Girl Scouts Gone Wild and The Dude so I had both.

The Dude is a white Russian ice cream (see ‘The Big Lebowski’ if you don’t get it), and GSGW is a chocolate ice cream with nearly an entire sleeve of thin mints poured into it as well. The hot temperatures meant soft ice cream, but the texture was different than most (reminiscent of Boston Ice Cream Factory) and the flavors were astounding. Rich and strong and just fantastic stuff.

This wasn’t actually the first destination that we’d pointed to, but the other new ice cream joint in Portland wasn’t open on this date. For those looking for ice cream on the Munjoy Hill side of town, there’s also a new site called Harbor Scoops that offers up Smiling Hill Farm ice cream.

Cone – single $3.75 double $4.25 triple $4.75 quad $5.25

Sundae $5.25

Milkshake $4.75 extra-thick $5.25

Mt. Desert Island

51 Exchange St, Portland, ME 04101

207 210 3432

Open year round / seasonally

Hours #a-#p