So, Boston supposedly has the highest per capita consumption of ice cream in the country.
Where do we get it?
Where shouldn't we get it? My personal rule: if it's not better than Ben & Jerry's, why bother.
What's your favorite flavor?
What unusual flavors are worth trying/best avoided?
(this is an attempt to bring to light some of the discussion in the Someday Cafe thread which I hijacked)
As I mentioned on said Someday post, I tried Chilly Cow last night and was blown away. Ice cream is my favorite "food"...really. I had their Chilly Trax (like Moose Tracks or Cow Tracks-- vanilla ice cream with peanut butter cup and fudge) It was divine. There were pieces that were half a Reese cup! And the ice cream was rich and good. My friend had something called the Tornato, with Oreo cookie, Tollhouse cookie, M&M and Heath bar. Too many things for my taste, but she said it was fabulous. Prior to this fabulous experience, Christina's is my favorite. Don't care for Toscis (compared to others...they do serve ice cream so it has to been good). I love coffee oreo. Mmmm....
Obviously I don't live in the area but travel a lot so I may show up to try some, I am curious, can any of these ice creams stand alone without mix-ins and be truly delicious au naturel? What is the quality of the pure ice cream? I know Cold Stone is popular but it is the mix-ins that make the product. Alone on it's own the ice cream is dreadful.
I have to say I was disappointed in Chilly Cow the first couple of visits (not rich or flavorful enough, I thought), but will try again based on your review, maybe I was too harsh?... I live equidistant between Davis Sq & Arlington Center, so have been going to JP Licks instead of the new guys.
And while I'm here, I'll weigh in on the others -- I do love the flavor choices at Christina's -- a scoop each of ginger and mexican chocolate, mmmmm. And Kimball's & Bedford Farms for the pigging-out factor. I'm just sad they think ice cream is a seasonal thing!
Why, thank you for asking :-).
The canonical, and well deserved, answer for Cambridge/Somerville is Christina's and Toscanini's, both of which are marvelous. Christina's does particularly well with fruit flavors and has a more summery feel while Toscanini's is very good for chocolaty and coffeey things and, if it's possible for an ice cream place, has a more fall kind of feeling.
On the other hand, JP Licks in Davis square is always mobbed and the ice cream is mediocre. Definitely better off with B&J's from Store 24.
Christina's I feel is at least on par with other local faves - what sets it apart for me is the intense variety of flavors - such as:
Rose (which I have to admit tasted a little too much like my grandmother's soap!...mellowed by the end of the scoop)
Fresh mint (no green food coloring!)
Champagne sorbet (I could almost taste the bubbles).
And it's fairly reasonably priced. On the other hand, I have made a solemn vow NEVER to eat a J.P. Licks over-priced scoop again.
Okay, this is not going to make me popular:
Although I LOVE their spice shop, I've been disappointed with Christina's ice cream. My complaint is simple—I find that it has too much air in it. For my taste, it is not dense enough. There, I said it.
Also, having eating in all the popular-to-mention Boston/Cambridge/Somerville ice cream places (and loving many of them), I have to say that I had ice cream surpassing them all on a recent visit to Amy's in Austin, TX. I've heard, though, that Amy's and Toscanini's share recipes.
Agree re:Christina's -- great flavours, but usually the texture is not sufficiently rich. But there is some batch to batch variation, and once in a while I get something that's nice and sticky.
BTW, Boston Beanstalk Co. on Salem Street in the North End sells Richardson's Ice Cream. One can find Annabelle's ice cream (from NH) at Cafe Vanille on Charles street, but the quality there is not always great -- the ice cream doesn't seem to be stored properly.
For Store bought stuff, the goat's milk ice creams from Laloo are expensive ($7 a pint at Whole Foods) but worth a try. Once upon a time Formaggio Kitchen used to stock Out of a Flower, too bad they don't anymore -- it's one of the most refined ice creams I've tried.
I've also decided that Christina's isn't rich enough. And I wish they had more flavors with chips or nuts inside. I do like Richardson's and need to make a trip to the original shop again. For those of you in E. Somerville, Louie's is open again.
I'm curious about all the JP Licks haters. What is it that is supposedly so bad about their ice cream?
Christina's is my favorite. Summer flavor that excel are the rose and mint. If they bring back the lemon basil or lemon thyme, those are also worthshile. Other flavors that I love there are the burnt sugar, mexican chocolate (the two combined are awesome), khulfi, orange chocolate, sweet cream and pistachio. Their hot fudge is also very good.
Tosca's - I love the burnt caramel with hot fudge and whipped cream.
I also really like Rancatores in Belmont. They have a dark chocolate flavor that is very good. Of course, with a little hot fudge and whipped cream.
I was not impressed with Chilly Cow in Arlington. I've tried the custard as well as the ice cream. The flavors get a little too busy and dense and the custard was practically soup when I had it.