Ice Cream Across Rhode Island

21 06 2009

As a result of my feeble efforts in finding ice cream in Rhode Island, I must applaud the efforts of Paul Kandarian who uncovered ten different ice cream locations in the Travel section of today’s Boston Globe. I’m figuring not too many of you have a print edition lying around, so this link should help you find some fine Ocean State ice cream.


Of these locations the only one we’ve been to so far is Three Sisters in Providence, so we have our work cut out for us.

Three Sisters – Providence RI

18 04 2009

Rhode Island continues to be an ice cream mystery to me. The more I seek out places the more vacant lots and improperly addressed places I find. Since I was heading to town to play a show at a warehouse space in Olneyville, I made a list of places to seek. It was my fourth attempt that led me to Three Sisters where I had a cone with both Chocolate Trail Mix and Kentucky Cappuccino.

three sisters ice cream providence rhode island
Three sisters is located in the Hope region of Providence, and by the time I found it, I was nearly running out so it was a nice sight to see. This used to be the home of another ice cream joint that went by the name of Maximillian’s, but it seems as though Three Sisters has been in place for a few years in their own right.

At the junction where Hope and Backstone meet, this place seems to be as much about the coffee as it is ice cream. It seems that many ice cream places have been using this tactic to keep in business and to use their space during times when few folks would be looking for a cone. What  happens is that the hours are shifted backwards with early hours and early closes as well. This place opens up before the crew that’s been working outside my house tearing up the pavement even gets here.

With a nice array of tables inside and a few outside beneath an awning, Three Sisters is a pretty laid back place. The awning even has hanging signs that tell passersby the daily special and what the most recent flavor that they have made. The menu is divided into ice creams that are always available,  get ’em while you can, and three flavor-based specials. I noticed the specials last – they have a chocolate, coffee, and sorbet – and when I couldn’t really decide (and I’d already maxed out on my quota of samples), my scooper recommended splitting the cone.

On top was the coffee special – Kentucky cappuccino. While it was supposed to feature cinnamon, chocolate chips, and bourbon, the alchohol taste was pretty non-existant. Had this been billed as a Mexican chocolate, it’d’ve been far more right. Beneath that scoop was the chocolate trail mix which was a chocolate ice cream with chocolate pretzels and dried fruit. The pretzels didn’t hold up well in the ice cream and had become saturated to the point where there was no crunch left and they were almost indistinguishable from the fruit. As far as what fruit it was that’s another question, as I expected mostly raisins, but got some massive chewy chunks that I couldn’t place. It’s nice when an ice cream place is willing to open their flavors to experimentation, and the ice cream itself was good, but these weren’t combinations that wholly worked.

chocolate trail mix kentucky cappucino ice cream cone three sisters providence rhode island

Had this been the afternoon, there’s a great patch of grass across the street for lounging or playing catch, but instead, I was off to play a show so I looped around the city triangulating on my friend’s apartment. Like most things around here, the warehouse that we played in was tough to find, but once we found it, things were good. A lot like this cone.

Cone – kiddie $1.75 small $2.75 large $3.75

Sundae – kiddie $2.75 small $3.75 large $4.75 banana  $4.95

Milkshake – small $3.95 large $4.95

Three Sisters Ice Cream

1074 Hope St, Providence, RI‎

401 273-7230‎

Open year round

Monday-Thursday 6:30a-8p, Friday 6:30a-10p, Saturday 8a-10p, Sunday 8a-8p

McCoy Stadium – Pawtucket RI

31 08 2008

Rhode Island keeps haunting me. Google sent me on a wild goose chase for a place in Pawtucket whose street number was 28. There were doors labeled 26 and 30 that were about eight inches apart. Maybe I’m just in the wrong dimension to ever find ice cream in this tiny state. Thankfully, I was right next to the $2 parking lot for the baseball field where I got a helmet full of Cookies And Cream.

McCoy Scorecard 8/30/08

McCoy Stadium was built in 1942 by Pawtucket mayor Thomas McCoy. While the field was dormant during much of the 1950s and 60s, the Boston Red Sox brought their AAA franchise to this locale. A renovation in 1999 modernized the facilities and there are great sight lines all around the park. There is a lot of great standing room area, especially in left field where there is both a beer garden and a lawn that you can stretch out on. As long as you don’t get stuck in seats behind the press box, you’re bound to have a good time.

This game was pretty inconsequential. With only three games remaining in the season, the Pawtucket Red Sox had already clinched their playoff birth, and on this night the scheduled starter Michael Bowden had been elevated to the majors to make a start for Boston (he was sent back down after his victory, presumably to help the PawSox in their playoff run). The game itself was a lot like an extended batting practice as the teams combined for 38 hits and 21 runs in a 11-10 ten inning victory for the grammatically incorrect Buffalo Bisons.

After being sick for a few days running, I arrived dehydrated and started the evening with a terrible hamburger and a jumbo pink lemonade. With a half-empty stadium, I wandered around a bit and found two vending machines for Powerade, one was sold out, the other only accepted quarters and you needed to have ten of them on hand and the concessionaires were unhelpful. I did locate a water fountain in centerfield. After normalizing myself a bit, I made my way to the ice cream concessions. There were two adjacent stands: one with Dippin’ Dots, and the other with Hershey’s ice cream. I opted for the latter and after discovering that they were out of my first three flavor choices – and that crazy vanilla was merely vanilla with swirls of food coloring – I went with cookies and cream.

For a stadium ice cream that could have been sitting around the park for ages, this was remarkably good. I sat down with my brother and sister-in-law near third base and made my way through the two scoops that filled the miniature baseball helmet. There were no other options for how to eat your ice cream – no cones, no sundaes, no frappes – but the helmet probably would have cost as much with no ice cream in it at the souvenir stand. A simple cream with relatively fresh pieces of Oreo-ish cookie, this was the sort of treat I needed after this lingering ear infection (and subsequent fever) has kept me away from ice cream stands for a few days running.

ice cream helmet pawtucket ri red sox mccoy stadium

As an added treat, leaving the park, Ciao Bella had set up a truck outside of the gates and was giving out free samples of their gelatos and sorbets. While the line seemed too long to stand around to wait in for the tiny cups they were offering, I did procure a coupon for a free pint. Coupled with the coupon for free McDonalds French fries that we were given because the PawSox struck out ten Bisons, and a coupon for a free birthday hamburger at B.Good in Harvard Square, I’ve got a pretty good free meal to pick up.

Oddity for baseballers (and punkers) but not ice creamers: late in the game I realized that at AAA the team managers actually serve as third base coaches. While looking through the coaching roster of the Bisons, I noticed that one of my favorite pitching personalities was now their pitching coach: Scott Radinsky. The irony of this is many-fold, as Radinsky was the first pitcher since Doc Gooden to make the leap directly from A ball to the majors and stick, so he never even played AAA (he also has the most appearances of any Jewish pitcher in major league history). More impressively, he is the only baseball player ever to grace the cover of the punk publication Maximumrocknroll (he sang in the band Scared Straight and Pulley but the cover was dedicated to him alone).

Helmet – 2scoops $4

McCoy Stadium

Ben Mondor Way, Pawtucket, RI 02860

401 724-7300

Open mid-April to September 1 (plus playoffs and special events)

Open an hour before game time

Warwick Ice Cream – Warwick RI

26 08 2008

This didn’t work. Google maps are great for finding ice cream joints. Lots of out of business places do pop up, as my attempts to find Rhode Island ice cream on my way south can attest. This was even more amazing a faux pas.

It’s just a factory. They make ice cream here, but I couldn’t get in (though my efforts were not too diligent after the forewarning on the door). At least the cream here is kept in cool vats that are painted like cows.