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

Dari-Land – Riverhead NY

5 06 2010

It was a quiet day at the track for the Belmont Stakes, and due to the fact you can’t make an exacta pick for the horses that come in second and third, I didn’t win once on the day. I was most lucky to find Dari-Land lit and a Cherry Vanilla cone waiting for me on  my ride back to the North Fork.

Here since 1953, this store really marks the start of the North Fork, at this point you are east of Riverhead’s core and all that’s ahead are vineyards and strawberry farms. Located near where Rt. 25 merges with Main Street, the glowing sign promises frozen treats, though the implication is that their focus is on soft ice cream and Italian ices rather than hard-pack ice cream.

Inside the store there is no seating, only the benches in front of the shop and the parking lot moat to wade in while eating a cone. There are two coolers with ice cream inside, the first is stocked with the Hershey flavors that dominate the North Fork, and the second has a few batches that are made here.

From that selection I chose a very pink cherry vanilla. The ice cream seemed almost a wine color in the case , though the photo below is blown out by the florescent lights and seems much whiter than the reality. While cherries seemed to supply ample color for the ice cream, the flavor was didn’t present a bold vanilla anywhere in the mix and it seemed like a tinted sweet cream with great chunks of fresh cherries carried along with it. It actually was what I hoped for from the color of the ice cream, I just think this should be dubbed Cherry or Cherry Jubilee or something and take the vanilla wholly out of the equation.

Since I walked in late, the fun flavor machine had already been cleaned, so had I wanted a soft ice cream I would have been stuck with a simple vanilla chocolate swirl. Reports from my uncle are that this place does soft right, and judging by the queue of teenagers waiting for Italian ice, that’s not bad either.

I didn’t drive past a Friendly’s on my way in to the Stakes, so I missed out on the free cones there. After the races I stopped at Eddie’s in New Hyde Park for the second best pizza in the world (it’s my mom’s favorite and it was her birthday so even though she was in Massachusetts I indulged for her).

Cone – small $3 large $4.25 (soft $2.60/$3.25)

Sundae – kids $4 regular $5 jumbo $5.75

Milkshake – small $4 large $4.75 jumbo $6

Dari-Land Ice Cream

51 Main St, Riverhead, NY 11901

631 727-0220

Open year round

Sun-Thurs 11:30a-10p, Fri & Sat 11:30a-10:30p

Dari-Land on Facebook

Sandpiper – Greenport NY

5 06 2009

Of the times that I’ve walked into a ice cream parlor, this was one of the oddest. While all of the other stores around Greenport were closed due to the rain, this place was more eerie in that it seemed as though no other patrons had been here yet. I got the first Black Raspberry cone of the season here.

sandpiper ice cream greenport ny

Sandpiper has been around since 1979, and while other ice cream shoppes have come and gone from this seaside hamlet, this place has endured. Located on the last bloc of Main Street before the harbor, this is very much a tourist destination.

However, it’s also the furthest east of any homemade ice cream place on Long Island’s North Fork. While Hershey’s ice cream is prevalent out on this stretch, the exceptions are pretty notable. Sandpiper is laid out like an old Carvel with freezer cases full of novelties (but no Fudgie the Whale or Flying Saucers). There’s not really any seating inside, though there is a bar and mirror along one wall and a metal bench out front. It’s not such a detriment when there is waterfront in such close range.

So what was it that made this experience so “eerie”? The thing of it was when I peered into the ice cream case, all of the vats of ice cream had a virginal unscooped top. It seemed as though no one had been here yet.

A quick sample confirmed that black raspberry was the way to go with my flavor choice. The scoops had both a very rich creaminess and a tangy fruity feel. It’s a balance that can be tough to achieve and each bite seemed to present things differently, but that all served to make this a more interesting cone.

black raspberry sandpiper ice cream greenport ny tubs

As you can tell, this is not a picture of the cone I ate. It is a picture of the tubs of ice cream a few days after my first visit. My camera decided to reject the data card that I had taken a days worth of pictures on and when the information was irretrievable, I hit reset and had to backtrack. No one else was getting a cone for me to fake it, though I directed a few girls here when they were loudly wandering and hunting for ice cream.

Cone – regular $3.75 medium $4.50 large $4.75

Sundae $4.95 banana split $5.95

Malt Shake $5.50

Sandpiper Ice Cream

142 Main Street, Greenport, NY 11944

631 477-1154

Open Memorial Day-Columbus Day

Hours 11a-11p

Sandpiper online

Magic Fountain – Mattituck NY

26 08 2008

I set my alarm this morning for a little bit before 6 am, getting up to watch the sunrise. I figured as the right way to start my own birthday, standing on the beach was the right thing to do. By noon, I was jonesing for some ice cream and came here for a Honey Cinnamon cone, and my brother Tim had a Black Raspberry.

Any time you have a regular vacation destination, there are certain landmarks that persist. My gramps lived here when I was born, so I’ve been visiting the North Fork since before I can even remember. While I’m more intimately acquainted with the beach and the park than any stores, the ice cream here persists.

Most of the places have changed names, the grocery store used to be an A&P and is now a Waldbaums. The deli I would go to with my gramps to get the newspaper burned down a few years back and was replaced by a new one that lacks character. Even the Beer & Soda shop finally closed this past winter after the owner died. Magic Fountain has always been here, when I was little and saw it I knew we were here, as it is at the intersection where we had to turn.

My brothers and I drove here together. We bought a bag full of bagels to make lunch with the leftover duck I picked up the day before at the Modern Snack Bar. While Pete has been stranded in Chicago without any pizza he likes, that was what he craved so he went to the pizza shop, Tim and I walked a few hundred feet for cones instead. I looked at the flavors, had a sample of the honey cinnamon, and then decided to get a whole cone full of it.

As seasonal flavors go, this was exquisite, though I’m not sure what makes this season the right time for this. Maybe it’s the pervasiveness of flowers that in turn help bees make honey that make this a summer flavor. The cone was nicely creamy, with a light cinnamon flavor and the honey carrying the sweetness throughout. I was forewarned that the ice cream was a bit soft, but balked at a cup and had no problem making it through a small cone before I got any drips on my hands.

With a few dips in the ocean during the morning, a great cone, and sandwich, it makes for a great birthday as I prepare to venture back to Boston in time for my radio show this evening. A hop on the ferry gets me to Connecticut and then it’s a short hop up 95. Hopefully I’ll find a few more cones along the way.

Cone – dixi $2.25 small $3.35 large $4.50

Sundae – 2scoop $3.95 3scoop $4.95

Magic Ice Cream Shakes – small $4.50 large $5.50

Magic Fountain Ice Cream

Main Rd, Mattituck NY 11952

631 298-4908

Open year round

Daily 10a-midnight

Scoops – Cutchogue NY

24 08 2008

It seems as though every town with a stretch of shoreline has a place like this. An ice cream cone perched above the door and benches out on the street. Locals lamenting the fact that these darn tourists haven’t left yet for the season. Kids running around with sticky hands and messy faces. I’d been here before, and I’d even had their Rocky Road before.

Located in the middle of Long Island’s North Fork, Scoops has been around for more than a decade now, and it’s the centerpiece of the downtown for this seaside hamlet. The post office is across the street and most of the other neighboring businesses have shuffled their signs but maintained the attitude for this place. On a Sunday afternoon, the pace is nonexistent.

The North Fork is a weird universe that runs quite opposite of the Hamptons culture that dominates the South Fork. It used to be farming communities, fishermen, and retirees. The farming and fishing have been replaced by wineries, but it seems as though there is no one who lives here between the age of 17 and 40. As a result places like this get by catering to the kids and the old folks. The fact that half of this store is an open seating area that can be, and often is, rented out for parties, makes total sense.

Scoops does not make their own ice cream. Their supply comes from Hershey, and they make no efforts to conceal that fact. At least one member of the couple that owns this place seems to be here at all times, even when other employees are around as well, and they are quick to offer samples and direct you toward other points of interest/happenings going on around here.

The rocky road that Hershey makes may be the darkest shade of chocolate that you’ll stumble upon that isn’t actually dark chocolate. It’s a dense and rich chocolate packs a serious punch while maintaining a milk chocolate flavor that never leans toward the bitter wonder of the dark. It’s also packed with pecans and marshmallows and really sets the bar for what a rocky road cone can be. This path is muddy and challenging, and as a result wholly rewarding.

With wicker benches in the front window, Scoops is one of the few spots on the North Fork that operates year round. While other nearby windows don’t offer up much in the way of window shopping as you browse and eat, there’s some nice planters across the way that are full of seemingly always flowering flora. While I was there with my camera, I even got some good shots of an orange wasp making his way through the blossoms.

Cone – small $3.10 medium $4.10 large $4.75

Sundae – small $3.75 medium $4.75 large $5.50

Milkshake Frappe – small $4.25 large $4.75

Scoops Ice Cream Shoppe

28080 Main Rd, Cutchogue, NY 11935

631 734-6331

Open year round

Hours ? not posted

Scoops online

Lick-Itty Splitz – Mattituck NY

23 08 2008


Some ice cream is more about what you remember than what it actually is. My grandfather used to go to this location and come back with those giant ice cream sandwiches for everyone to have after a day on the beach. Today, I woke up and headed straight to that same beach. At the end of the day, my brother and I headed out for ice cream, and I landed a Road Runner Raspberry cone.

Different shoppes serve certain types of ice cream. Usually those that try to diversify contract out to other places for variants of frozen treats. This place tries to cater to everyone. They have soft-serve, gelato, sorbet, frozen yogurt, homemade ice cream, and even mini-melts (those frozen dots of ice cream).

This store has passed through a few different sets of hands since its origins as a Carvel back in the 1970s. They’ve been named the best ice cream place on Long Island’s North Fork for the past couple years, and have finally grown into their location. I remember times when I would walk in and they’d have not much beyond some generic flying saucers in a freezer case.

Now it seems as though Lick-Itty Splitz has got a handle on what they are doing. They claim to do “Cold Stone Mixing” of their ice cream on the premises. We found this to be true when my brother order a Puddin’ cone. They told us couldn’t put that flavor in a cone yet as they had just made it less than an hour ago. Instead they emerged from the back room with an icy tumbler of very soft ice cream that they put in a dish for him.

The road runner raspberry wasn’t much harder than the puddin’ was – it looked like a new batch as well. The ice cream was a white chocolate base which proved a better start than putting this into vanilla. There’s a thick swirl of raspberry syrup and a bunch of raspberry-filled chocolate candies that makes this ice cream live up to its name. While it’s nice to have these add ins to make the ice cream rich, the treat itself isn’t that creamy at its core. It’s a nice cone, but a bit tough to judge because of the softness of the ice cream.

The diversification here is nice if you’re heading out with a large family; there’s no way not to find something that each person will like. However, I think stretching out so far as to offer even those mini melts makes Lick-Itty Splitz not focus on any one aspect of the frozen treat business, and so while they are generally good, they never quite make it to specifically great. They do a great job with kids though and even have a table at child height with chairs, and a player piano that doesn’t seem to actually play on it’s own, but every kid is attracted to enough to mash keys so it might as well.

Cone – 1scoop $3 2scoop $3.75 3scoop $4.50

Sundae – small $3.50 medium $4.25 large $5

Shake – regular $4.50 large $5.50 (add $.25 for malt)

Lick-Ittty Splitz Ice Cream Store & More

12130 Main Road, Mattituck, NY 11952

631 298-0416

Open year round / seasonally

Sunday-Thursday noon-10p, Friday & Saturday noon-11p (or “when it gets slow”)