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Best Ice Cream Shops in the US?

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Not gelato. Not frozen custard. Not in your grocer's freezer. And not in a fancy restaurant.

My question is, where do they make the best ice cream, with interesting flavors, made in small batches from fresh ingredients, that are just totally delicious?

The place that comes to mind for me is Toscanini's in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I still dream of their caramel ice cream. It's almost bitter with that burnt sugar edge. They do well with all the warm spices--cinnamon, clove, cardamom--and I seem to remember some good chocolate variations too.

Educate me! Where else is this happening?

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  1. I grew up on Polly Ann's ice cream on Noriega Street in San Francisco. My best friend and I would get the bubble gum flavor as little girls. It was pink ice cream with gum balls in it. Polly Ann's always had traditional flavors and flavors like durion (sp? that spikey fruit that smells and tastes like blue cheese) Their retail shop is closed but they still do wholesale in the city.

    3 Replies
    1. re: MIss G

      A 2nd to Polly Ann's. I believe they re-opened again after a remodeling this past year w/ the son taking over...or did they close again?

      There's and Mitchell's in the S.F., many tropical flavors and unique flavors made on the premises.

      1. re: ML8000

        Agree about Mitchell's (688 San Jose Ave., at 29th, (415) 648-2300). Absolutely superb.

        1. re: David Kahn

          Count me in on the Mitchell's bandwagon. I finally started to appreciate ube, much to my family's surprise!

          I also miss Polly Ann's time to see if it's still near grandma's.

    2. A Danish ice cream shop in Duxbury Mass called Far Fars, it is so good it should be illegal

      1. Herrell's, in Northampton and Cambridge, MA. Richardson's Dairy, near Andover, MA.

        7 Replies
        1. re: CynD

          Absolutely Herrell's, no question.

          1. re: Das Ubergeek

            Another vote for both Herrell's (malted vanilla!) and for Richardson's. Crescent Ridge Dairy in Sharon is excellent, too.

          2. re: CynD

            How does it compare with Bart's?

            1. re: PseudoNerd

              I'm not familiar with Bart's, so I can't say. Anyone?

              1. re: CynD

                Bart's French Toast was one of my favorite memories from college. Herrell's chocolate pudding is better but I have to give a thumbs up to IceJack in Norwood center for their Peanut Butter Oreo and the creamiest Strawberry Cheesecake (with whole berries!) ever. Plus you can't beat the price for homemade ice cream.

                www.icejackinc.com

            2. re: CynD

              I lived blocks from the Herrell's in Allston in the 80s and lived on that Chocolate Pudding flavor. Glad the old innovator is still going strong.

              1. re: CynD

                Another vote for Herrell's, as my runner-up. I used to go to the one in Allston. This time of year they start making their wonderful pumpkin ice cream. Great hot fudge too. But I have to agree with heidipie about Toscanini's - it's the greatest. I liked similar flavors as well - the cinnamon the chocolate white chocolate chip.

                And while I'm in a Boston/Cambridge frame of mind, let me say a word about the long departed, much missed Bailey's. Gourmet flavors are cool, but there's nothing better than old-fashioned ice cream parlor ice cream.

              2. Snoqualmie Gourmet in Maltby, WA. From Honey Lavendar to Jack Daniels rounded off with Mukilteo Mudd. mmm-mmm goodness. I'm so lucky to be close to a store that sells pints of the stuff.

                www.snoqicecream.com

                1. hello, since you expressed interest in coffee ice cream on your Icis post, if you should be travelling on 101 betw. S.L.O. and Santa Barbara, try Doc Burnstein's Ice Cream Laboratory in Arroyo Grande. In the super-premium (>14% butterfat) niche, their version is one of the few I've tried that captures the intense bitter-sweet note of fresh roasted/brewed strong black kopi. Also in the realm of super premium, if you like tropical fruit flavors or macadamia/chocolate/coconut combos, Lafferts in Maui is hard to beat. enjoy

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: moto

                    Ooh, Lappert's. Yum. I think there's a branch in Monterey, CA, and one in Manhattan Beach as well.

                    1. re: CynD

                      thanks for correcting the name,and the info on the shops in CA. at least my description successfully evoked what I referred to. salud

                      1. re: moto

                        i love Lappert's too, the Kona coffee and Green Tea.

                        1. re: rumgum

                          I have to add three more votes for Lappert's, especially the Kona Coffee. The other two votes are from my daughters, who talked me into a late night run to the parlor in Koloa on our last night on the beautiful island of Kauai. I've never tasted coffee ice cream with that much coffee flavor. So rich and creamy...yum!

                  2. Mitchell's in Mission, SF. The late Pure T on Polk St, also SF.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: limster

                      Mitchell's is pretty standard commercial product except for their special flavors imported from the Philippines.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        Yep, those are the interesting flavours that are hard to find, even though I wouldn't call the rest of their stuff "standard commercial". According to their website, they import the SE Asian fruits, not the ice cream.

                        1. re: limster

                          By standard commercial I mean that outside of the unusual flavors, the ice cream is like any average shop. It has a sort of greasy/waxy finish I find unpleasant--though I'll put up with it on occasion for the buko.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            Yep, agree with your definition of standard commercial, disagree with the impression of the quality of ice cream.

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              I also don't feel that Mitchell's is the ultimate ice cream that a lot of people feel it is. Many of their flavors just taste like butter or cream and almost nothing of the particular flavoring.

                              My first job was scooping ice cream at Swensen's in Del Mar, CA. Swensen's had my favorite sundaes ever. I have yet to make it to the Swensen's in SF.

                      2. Margies Candies at 1960 N. Western may make the best ice cream in Chicago--their candies are great, too. It has kept the decor and feel of the 30's. And they have opened a new branch at 1813 W. Montrose. I haven't been to it yet, but by all accounts it's a good as the the one on Western.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: lina14

                          Next time I'm visiting my cousins in Rogers Park I'll drag them there kicking and screaming!

                          1. re: heidipie

                            Margie's is truly amazing. The booths are straight out of decades past and you should not go without sampling the hot fudge. To die for.

                          2. re: lina14

                            Yep! I love Margie's. They don't do exotic flavors, but it's great ice cream and the place has a ton of character! And it's been open forever.

                          3. FOSSELMAN'S in Alhambra, CA. The family owned business has been making its own ice cream from scratch for years. Unique and seasonal to the more traditional flavors include vanilla bean, dark chocolate, pumpkin, and taro. They also offer candy and other sweets to buy and top your ice cream with, which is especially appealing if you decide to take home a gallon (or two).

                            They will also ship orders: http://www.fosselmans.com/

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: chica

                              Definitely Fosselmann's. It's the best ice cream I've ever eaten.

                            2. Graeter's in Cincinnati is wonderful. Their Black Raspberry chocolate chip can't be beat. Creamy raspberry ice cream with huge chunks of rich chocolate. I live in New York and have six pints in my fridge right now.

                              www.graeters.com

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: David B

                                A person after my own heart! I too am in love with black raspberry chocolate chunk! But, I tried the Bourbon Ball at Derby in Louisville in May and it was amazing. Graeter's really knows ice cream! Wish we could get it in Texas.

                                1. re: jlfischer

                                  Just got back from Dayton which now has a Graeters outlet. I am happy to report it is still the best ice cream around....and they ship....

                                2. re: David B

                                  I grew up in Lexington, where Graeter's has some stores. I loved their ice cream, but the last time I was home, I noticed a change in the texture. I asked and they said they'd switched from hand paddling to a machine they had custome made in Italy. Now, maybe the paddler's are grateful not to have such a tough job, but I missed their handiwork! It really took the ice cream up a whole other notch, from great to fabulous. I'll still always love the black raspberry chip, but I wish they'd go back to hand paddling...

                                  1. re: David B

                                    I lived in Cinci for a while. Wasn't too crazy about the town (no offense, Cincinnatians) but I loved Graeters ice cream. My favorite was their cinnamon! Yum! I always think of them when i think of the best ice cream ever. I haven't tasted anything as good since...

                                  2. Real Ice Cream on El Camino in Santa Clara, CA. It's actually an Indian chaat shop in a strip mall somewhere near Bowers. They make their own ice cream. Many of the flavors are not traditional American, things like honey date, fig, mango, but they usually have an assortment of mainstream flavors like butter pecan, chocolate chip, vanilla. It's not long on atmosphere, but the ice cream is fabulous.

                                    1. Saveur magazine's 2005 Saveur 100 issue recongized The Grand Ole Creamery in St. Paul MN. They are pretty tasty, but the Twin Cities is no stranger to premium ice cream shops. We have Izzy's in St. Paul and Crema Cafe and Sebastian Joe's in Minneapolis. In the past year, many independently owned places have opened up as well, making for lots of delicious outings to taste the goodies.

                                      We are a dairy state....we should have outstanding ice cream!

                                      1. My two favorites are the Dairy run by Penn State and Jaxson's in Ft. Lauderdale. I feel fortunate indeed when I am near either one.

                                        1. Haven't eaten in all 50 states, but the best contenders from
                                          Connecticut are:
                                          Sweet Claude's, Cheshire, CT
                                          Big Dipper, Prospect, CT
                                          Wentworth Homemade Ice Cream, Hamden, CT.

                                          An out of state runner up is
                                          Austin's Old Fashioned Ice Cream, Tucson, AZ.
                                          I would have added Mitchell's Candies and Ice Cream, Homewood IL, if only for their dreamy hot fudge sundaes, but lately
                                          it seems they are concentrating more on candy than ice cream.
                                          Too bad.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: DonShirer

                                            How about Dr. Mike's in Bethel CT. The Chocolate Lace and Cream is to die for!!

                                          2. SCOOPS in Los Angeles.

                                            1. Not really an ice cream place but Lee's Sandwiches has some pretty darn good ice cream in some not so common flavors....avacado, lychee, taro, green tea, jackfruit, plus all the usual ones. Seems they probably have about 16 flavors at any given time.

                                              1. Ice cream! My favorite subject. And I have to agree that Toscanini's is great. My other favorite in the Boston area is JP Licks; I was seriously addicted to their coffee oreo ice cream when I was in law school. I also really liked the mocha chocolate lace ice cream at Lizzy's in Waltham, MA and, as much mentioned above, the chocolate pudding ice cream at Herrell's. I live in the SF Bay Area now, and around here Rick's in Palo Alto is pretty good.

                                                1. applegate farm. various locations in northern new jersey. absolutely yummy toasted almond, black raspberry, coffee chip and maple walnut.

                                                  http://www.applegatefarm.com

                                                  1. All over Minneapolis/St. Paul. We've got it great here when it comes to ice cream.

                                                    Izzy's in St. Paul, MN is at the top. Pumphouse Creamery, Crema Cafe, and Sebastian Joe's (all in Minneapolis) all have merit in nationwide discussions.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: MSPD

                                                      I second that emotion for Sebastian Joe's. The standby flavors are consistent, often inventive, and you get discounts on your purchases during the winter when it's so freaking cold out! Try the raspberry chocolate chip and pavarotti (caramel, banana, chocolate goodness).

                                                    2. Mashti Malone's: http://www.mashti.com/ .

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: David Kahn

                                                        ...but only in Hollywood. They transport the ice cream to Glendale, and it melts and is re-frozen.

                                                        1. re: David Kahn

                                                          I agree! Mashti Malone's. I've only ever gone to the Hollywood location. Love the saffron/rose. They also make the best black cherry I've ever eaten.

                                                        2. Kimball Farms in the suburbs (and further out) of Boston. We frequent the stand in Carlisle. They have the best Peppermint Stick in the world (better than Brigham's, I think, which is tantamount to heresy in my family). It has both red and green candy, and it's to die for with hot fudge.

                                                          Also in Boston is Christina's and Rancatore's. I'm not crazy about either one, but others seem to love Christina's.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: pamalamb

                                                            I'm not an ice cream connoisseur but my husband who has eaten his way through more ice cream than he wants to remember swears Kimballs mocha chip is good enough to bring anyone back from the brink of death.

                                                            1. re: cheryl_h

                                                              I too have sampled ice cream from around the country and Kimballs has by far the smoothest, creamiest I've found. My favorite is Almond Joy but butter pecan is right up there. It's right off of 495 in Westford and is worth the trip. Try to get some on a Friday night in August.....plan on waiting in line, but again, still worth it.

                                                            2. re: pamalamb

                                                              I love Kimball Farms. I just wish the lines weren't so long during the summer!

                                                            3. if you're ever in hawaii, try bubbies. awesome mochi ice cream and cakes and pies.

                                                              1. Another San Francisco place is Joe's on Geary at 18th Ave. Some think it's better then Mitchell's. Made on the premise, some unique flavors, old school (clean but hasn't changed since the 60s) and literally a Mom and Pop operation. Don't eat much IC any more but if I'm around I'll stop and get a soda or sandwich because if you don't support these kinds of places, they go under.

                                                                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...
                                                                http://www.jatbar.com/detail.asp?num=312

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: ML8000

                                                                  I love this place! It encapsulates all that's good about San Francisco, that they have old-fashioned flavors like butter brickle and new flavors like adzuki bean. Thanks for reminding me.

                                                                  1. re: ML8000

                                                                    I thought Joe's in SF went out of business but turns out it's still there. I agree that Mitchell's is a little too fatty. It sort of masks the flavor of the ice cream and even has a 'chewy' texture which some like or don't like.

                                                                    But has anyone done a comparison of Polly Ann's vs. Marianne's ice cream? Mitchell's green tea is okay but there's a hole-in-the-wall restaurant in South San Francisco called Yoko's that serves awesome green tea ice cream. I asked where it was from and he either said Marianne's or Polly Ann's. I think both of them do wholesale and I hear Mollie Stone's carries Marianne's ice cream.

                                                                  2. Gerenser’s Exotic Ice Cream
                                                                    New Hope PA
                                                                    a landmark ice cream parlor
                                                                    handpacked, overflowing portions
                                                                    skip dinner :)

                                                                    1. The best ice cream in America is in Cincinnati, but it isn't Graeter's, it's Aglamesis Brothers . . . http://www.aglamesis.com/

                                                                      And the 2nd best is in New York City at Ronnybrook Farms in the Chelsea Market, 75 9th Avenue (between 15th and 16th Street.)
                                                                      http://www.ronnybrook.com/site_new/st...

                                                                      1. Murray's in Westport, in Kansas City. But she closes in the winter to go on vacation. All winter.

                                                                        1. BROOKLYN ICE CREAM FACTORY on the waterfront in DUMBO has wonderful home made ice cream. Classic flavors only, no artificial anything.

                                                                          1. Downtown Bakery & Creamery in Healdsburg, CA totally obliterates Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory and Ronnybrook Farms.

                                                                            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                                                                            http://static.flickr.com/48/168080143...

                                                                            1. Because of the way it's made, it really isn't possible to make better ice cream than Graeter's. You can do as well, if you use the same process, but anything containing less air would be . . . what? Sweetened frozen butter? Butterfat content is not the only measure of fine ice cream.

                                                                              The natural flavors and the unique chocolate "chips" (more like slabs) are just icing on the cake. Aglamesis is great, they even do the chips right, but their ice cream contains slightly more air due to their machinery. They make 10 gallons at a time, Graeters two. Both are great, but Graeters gets the nod.

                                                                              1. Jeni's, in Columbus, OH.

                                                                                http://www.jenisicecreams.com/index_e...

                                                                                I tried the Salty Caramel, Chocolate Zin, Thai Chili, and the dark cocoa gelato.

                                                                                I attempted to make salty caramel myself the other day, and ended up with a burnt sugar flavor, just past caramel. I really liked it, but my darling husband convinced me to add a shot of whiskey instead of the salt, so it ended up tasting like frozen Bailey's Irish Cream.

                                                                                I used the caramel ice cream recipe from the blog posted by someone on Home Cooking:
                                                                                http://haverchuk.blogspot.com/2005/10...
                                                                                I stopped the caramelization at a nice brown, but I was already past the caramel stage. I plan to try it again soon.

                                                                                1. Remember When Ice Cream in Pittsburgh has the best ice cream I have ever tasted. They sell Pittsburgh's largest cone. It is so big they have to raise the window and tilt the cone to get it to the customer. Simply a wonderful place to eat ice cream and bring the family

                                                                                  1. I can't BELIEVE no one's mentioned Cones in the West Village (NYC) on Bleecker and Morton. I could stay there all day with the free tastings. (I guess that's why they charged $1 a taste for the millenium Dom Perignon sherbet.)

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: Covert Ops

                                                                                      Is Mother Buckas still in business in the Village?

                                                                                    2. Mine would be a toss up between Young's dairy farm near Dayton Ohio,Graeter's, and Hartzlers organic dairy in Wooster.

                                                                                      http://www.hartzlerfamilydairy.com/

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: Kelli2006

                                                                                        I'll second the vote for Young's...their cinnamon ice cream is out of this world!

                                                                                      2. I'll nominate Sundae School on Cape Cod, Mass. in particular in Dennis.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                                          YES! For the atmostphere as well as the ice cream. Indian Pudding Ice Cream--I don't know how well it translates outside of New England, buy it is my own personal nirvana!

                                                                                        2. Shout out for Ashley's in Connecticut--New Haven, Hamden, and Guilford. They started closing branches a few years ago, and then revived one on York St. in New Haven. I love the sweet cream and grapenut flavors, though coffee oreo is probably the crowd favorite. Helped me survive law school :)

                                                                                          1. Chinatown Icecream Factory on Bayard Street, Manhattan.
                                                                                            They make a lychee ice cream and a lychee sorbet with lots of pulverized real fruit. Small batches and unique flavors. Their classic flavors like chocolate and strawberry have a rich dense texture, with no adverse gummy qualities. Their other exotics like ginger or green tea, however, are not as exciting.

                                                                                            1. Oh, I do miss Gifford's in Bailey's Crossroads, Virginia! I've never had a better sundae.

                                                                                              1. Two that are off the beaten path...

                                                                                                Homeland Creamery in Julian NC. It's a dairy that bottles their own milk, churns butter, and makes great ice cream. For those in the mood for a road trip in NC, it's in the southeast corner of Guilford County, off Hwy. 62. I strongly recommend their butter pecan, and I believe the pecans are from the Bowman's farm as well (talk about a locally produced product!)

                                                                                                The second is the University of Nebraska Dairy Store in Lincoln, NE. You haven't been to Nebraska unless you've done two things...catch a Husker football game, and eat Dairy Store Bavarian Mint ice cream.

                                                                                                1. Jeni's in Columbus, without a doubt. Do a web search and you'll find that I'm not the only one who think so. The Food Network's been there a few times, and she's been written up in major magazines and newspapers from coast to coast.

                                                                                                  Jeni's a true artist, a fine chef, and a great supporter of locally grown, locally produced foods. Absolutely worth the cost, even if you include shipping.

                                                                                                  I grew up, by the way, eating Graeter's. It's not even in the same category as Jeni's. Really.

                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: johnmccollum

                                                                                                    Yes yes YES on Jeni's. I plan my travels between Chicago and the east coast over holidays to hit Columbus so I can fill a cooler with her confections and dry ice.

                                                                                                    Also on a recent trip to Anchorage, I found the following spot while driving through Girdwood:

                                                                                                    http://www.theicecreamshop.com/

                                                                                                    They had four or five gourmet flavors along with their regular selection, and all were excellent.

                                                                                                    1. re: spyturtle008

                                                                                                      I also love Jeni's. I grab a scoop every time I go to North Market. Over the Summer they had Basil pine nut and honey ice cream. It was wonderful. I actually served it at a party this year. I also love the Thai Peanut.

                                                                                                      1. re: Wintergoblin

                                                                                                        Jeni's is the best in Columbus, and in my top three in Ohio.

                                                                                                    2. re: johnmccollum

                                                                                                      Ohio has so much incredible Ice Cream. And Jeni's is indeed pretty awesome, but not even the best in Ohio. That award, my friends, goes to Handel's, based in Youngstown.

                                                                                                    3. Nothing, and I mean nothing beats Babcock hall ice cream in Madison Wisconsin. You must go to the stock pavillion (where the cows are next door). Having it at the student union and around campus severly degrades the ice cream as it is not nearly as fresh.

                                                                                                      1. I've eaten some excellent ice cream all over the country but my local favorite, hands down, is Murray's Ice Cream & Cookies in the Westport district of Kansas City, Missouri.

                                                                                                        While I'm personally partial to their lemon sorbet (they call me on the days they make it!), I've never had an ice cream there that I didn't like. Of particular note are the Fudge Raspberry Rhapsody, Cinnameg, One Drunk Monk (bits of chocolate and hazelnuts in Frangelico ice cream), Chocolate Flake Fromage (chocolate flake in cream cheese ice cream -- Fats Goldberg's personal favorite!), Orange Chocolate Fudge, and more.

                                                                                                        On any given day, 16 flavors are available but they draw upon more than 200 recipes to cycle through. A few, like Chocolate Flake Fromage, are signature items and always available (unless they've sold out for that particular day!).

                                                                                                        Murray's closes around mid-December and reopens for the season sometime in March.

                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: KCJ

                                                                                                          I've only been to Murray's a few times as they're not convenient for me, but the ice cream is good. I don't get why they are so obsessive about portion control, though? I mean, if you scoop ice cream often, you should be able to judge weight fairly easily. So, why do they use a scale? It's sort of out of kilter with the whole indulgence aspect of eating ice cream, IMO.

                                                                                                          I also like Sylas and Maddy's, but wouldn't say it's one of the best in the country. It's good ice cream from mix, not overly rich. My fave flavors appear in late summer usually--black walnut and blackberry come to mind.

                                                                                                          1. re: amyzan

                                                                                                            Murray's weighing the filled cone or cup never bothered me at all. I'd heard at one time that it was to assure that the customer got enough. I've seen them add a bit of ice cream to the serving after weighing but I've never seen them remove ice cream if it weighed a bit too heavy.

                                                                                                            I suspect there's a misunderstanding about the whole weighing game there.

                                                                                                            Not to say that Murray doesn't want to assure quantity control of some sort.

                                                                                                            1. re: KCJ

                                                                                                              It just seems controlling of your employees, not to trust them to get a feel for their job, which is primarily scooping ice cream. To me, the practice doesn't jibe well with the atmosphere of an ice cream shop. But, it's a personal issue I have with management, and has nothing to do with the product itself. I just find it off putting, having worked service and managed service people.

                                                                                                              1. re: amyzan

                                                                                                                +1 on your comments concerning "weighing ice cream." WTF? From my perspective, I'd feel like my date was splitting the check using a calculator.

                                                                                                        2. In the suburbs of Chicago, I like Oberweiss, great ice cream, and they sell milk in glass bottles..

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: swsidejim

                                                                                                            Good, yes, but aka Overprice

                                                                                                          2. Mitchells in SF NO DOUBT!!

                                                                                                            Peppermint stick....queso y maize (candy corn!)

                                                                                                            many many others....mmmmm

                                                                                                            1. Mark my word.

                                                                                                              ZOZO's in the Lower East Side.


                                                                                                              Zozo's Juice & Grille

                                                                                                              www.zozosnyc.com
                                                                                                              172 Orchard St
                                                                                                              New York, NY 10002
                                                                                                              (212) 228-0009

                                                                                                              http://nycpocket.com

                                                                                                              1. The Northport Sweetshop on Main Street in Northport, Long Island, makes the best, creamiest, French style ice cream I've ever had. Their coconut, black raspberry, and cookies and cream are to die for.

                                                                                                                1. my absolute favorite ice cream is from Four Seas ice cream in Centerville, Ma - just outside of Hyannis on the Cape. I lived there for a summer and I still dream about the coconut ice cream with hot fudge sauce!

                                                                                                                  http://www.fourseasicecream.com/

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: alexia

                                                                                                                    I agree! Four Seas is the best ice-cream!

                                                                                                                  2. PALATERIA FERNANDEZ in Port Chester, NY (in Westchester County near the CT border). It's a Mexican ice cream place specializing in paletas (ice cream pops). They have scoopable too just not in as many flavors. The ice cream is all home made, incredibly fresh and very milkey-creamy with flavors like Dulce de Leche, Rice Pudding and even Avocado (I've never wanted that one). My daughter almost always gets Oreo which is the most oreo-tasting ice cream one can imagine but my favorites are the Chongo which is a cinnamon milk flavor that contains bits of curdled milk (it doesn't taste sour, it is like little bits of cheesecake almost) and the rum raisin. The pistachio is also to die for and there are too many flavors to mention here. If you're anywhere in the area, just go. You'll see.

                                                                                                                    1. Meyer Dairy in State College, PA will make you forget the PSU Creamery - which is good, but over-rated.

                                                                                                                      For me, the second best ice cream is at a place called Premise Made in Breinigsville, which is between Allentown and Reading PA.

                                                                                                                      http://www.premisemaid.com/cgi-bin/Sh...

                                                                                                                      1. Barts is good but Seduttos rocks

                                                                                                                        1. In Atlanta don't miss Jake's Ice Cream.

                                                                                                                          Chocolate Slap Yo Momma
                                                                                                                          Brown Suga Vanilla

                                                                                                                          1. Handel's (the original) in Youngstown, Ohio. They have other locations now, too, but I haven't been to any of them except the one on 224 Boardman-Canfield Rd. (which is also good and always crowded!)

                                                                                                                            Handel's also ships ($$$$) and has shipping info on their website. http://www.handelsicecream.com

                                                                                                                            If you ever get the opportunity to drive just a little out of your way & pick up a Handel's Homemade Ice Cream cone, you won't regret it!

                                                                                                                            1. Mariposa Ice Cream in San Diego. They are family owned and make all of their material in site. They offer dollar cones to kids after school. San Diego magazine rated them the best ice cream in the region.

                                                                                                                              Mariposa Homemade Ice cream
                                                                                                                              3450 Adams Avenue
                                                                                                                              San Diego, CA 92116

                                                                                                                              Phone (619) 284-5197
                                                                                                                              Fax (619) 284-5198

                                                                                                                              info@mariposaicecream.com

                                                                                                                              1. I'll have to say Coldstone, but I have never tried Mariposa's. I will go to Mariposa's this week.

                                                                                                                                Does anyone from San Diego on this thread remember Leatherby's?

                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                  I would hesitate to call Coldstone ice cream.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: cooknKate

                                                                                                                                    Coldstone? Seriously?

                                                                                                                                2. Franklin Fountain in Philadelphia. They have some unique flavors (green tea, teaberry gum or something like that...) but so far I've only stuck with their basic flavors. Their vanilla bean ice cream is some of the most delicious ice cream I've EVER tasted - and I'm talking all flavors here (not just the best vanilla I've ever had). And they make a fresh hot waffle ice cream sammich that is to die for. My b/f and I LOVE the place, and were totally heartbroken to discover that it has closed for the season and won't reopen until the first week of March...but believe you me, when that day comes, we will be there. :-D

                                                                                                                                  1. I just love Marianne's Ice Cream in Santa Cruz,Ca. A small shop in a strip mall on Ocean Ave. with so many choices it is hard to have a favorite. Delicious fruit flavors! A perfect scoop of ice cream just makes the day brighter.

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: foodseek

                                                                                                                                      Ah.......such fond memories of Marianne's. Excellent selection.

                                                                                                                                    2. maple view farm

                                                                                                                                      http://www.mapleviewfarm.com/

                                                                                                                                      1. Herrell's, Toscanini's, JP Licks in the Boston area; the Dairy at University of Maryland, College Park. I'll always love Carvel!

                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: mallomarmom

                                                                                                                                          I'll second Herrell's and Toscanini's and add in Emack & Bolio's to the mix.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: bachslunch

                                                                                                                                            Absolutely Emack's! I love their Cake batter and Cosmic Crunch. PLUS they're mostly all natural and socially conscious. There are shops in many cities, actually.

                                                                                                                                        2. Superior Creamery, in Hanford California. Not only is the ice cream great on those blazing summer days in the San Joaquin Valley, but it has the classic old ice cream shop decor - little stools at the counter, marble-topped tables - that makes it even more fun.

                                                                                                                                          1. Purity Ice cream, Ithaca NY. All homemade, huge portions, local ingredients (when they can). I try ice cream everywhere, but this is still my all time favorite. I think I have tried every flavor (and there are probably at least 30). AND, I live about 90 minutes away (I have to travel through there for visiting a family member, and occasionally work). The bittersweet chocolate is my favorite. They have started carrying it in some local groceries, TG.

                                                                                                                                            Close second is Mackinac Island Creamery ice cream. A small production, high-quality ice cream that is sold in mostly the Michigan UP area, we have a spot close by that sells it at their stand. It's like a meal.

                                                                                                                                            1. In Asheville North Carolina "ultimate ice cream". Small, independent, made on premise. Great flavors. Also have sorbet, gelato, and rice cream. Yummmm.

                                                                                                                                              1. Ray's on Coolidge in Royal Oak, MI

                                                                                                                                                1. I haven't been in so many years but growing up my favorite place to get ice cream was at the Tillamook Cheese Factory after doing the tour and munching on some cheese curds. The ice cream was always so yummy and fresh as can be, perfect end to a fun day.

                                                                                                                                                  1. Ben and Bill's Chocolate Emporium in Bar Harbor, Maine!! Homemade Ice Cream the real deal!!

                                                                                                                                                    1. I can't believe no one mentioned Dave and Andys (pittsburgh).
                                                                                                                                                      Birthday Cake ice cream...cookie dough...It's so good.

                                                                                                                                                      I used to live in Amherst, MA...Barts was OK, Herrells was OK (a little soupy for my liking), and I did love toscanini's in Boston. It was very good.

                                                                                                                                                      Hands down, Dave and Andys.
                                                                                                                                                      Try it!

                                                                                                                                                      1. "Ye Olde Fashioned Ice Cream", also for sandwiches (12 strips of bacon on a BLT). Unfortunately, you have to be in South Carolina to experience them.

                                                                                                                                                        1. Flamingo Crossing in Key West has great flavors including my favorite one scoop of Cuban Coffee and one scoop of Chocolate Amaretto. They make all their batches in their little shop and have great tropical flavors as well. Perfectly creamy.

                                                                                                                                                          1. The Creamery at Penn State University...hands down

                                                                                                                                                            1. Bassetts Ice Cream. It was always the highlight of going with my mom when she ordered her meat at the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia when we were kids.

                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chocolate

                                                                                                                                                                This thread is a gem

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: wew

                                                                                                                                                                  HALO PUB in Princeton, New Jersey (NJ). Had dozens of crazy flavors like chocolate peanut butter cookie dough and maple fudge macademia. their 'creme de menthe' chocolate chip was the best "mint-chocolate chip" i've had in my life.

                                                                                                                                                              2. In the northwest suburbs of Chicago, you have to try Capannaris in Mt Prospect. It's made on location in four gallon batches and has won numerous awards. My parents live within walking distance, and every summer visit includes an after dinner walk for Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch.

                                                                                                                                                                http://www.capannaris.com/home.html

                                                                                                                                                                1. There's a place in Charlottesville, VA called Chap's Ice Cream. Small shop that makes their own ice creams in about 25 flavors or so. Every fall they make Pumpkin Ice Cream which is sensational. Other than that one (which you have to plot to make sure you get some of) I love their Black Cherry.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. Kline's Dairy Bar in Harrisonburg, VA. Oh, how I wish I could have some right now!!! They do have some interesting flavors but what I remember the most is their chocolate oreo shake. Soooo delicious. http://www.klinesdairybar.com/

                                                                                                                                                                    I also second (or third or fourth!) the vote for Fosselman's!! They have Peppermint Stick ice cream year-round which makes me very happy.

                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sarahvagaca

                                                                                                                                                                      Thank you! My wife, after I mentioned Chap's, was trying to remember the name of the "amazing ice cream shop in Harrisonburg." She reports that Kline's is amazing.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                                                                                        You're welcome! Glad I could share the memory. I wish I'd known about Chap's when I was still in the area...or maybe it's good that I didn't!

                                                                                                                                                                    2. Hands down, the best comes from Babcock Hall on the University of Wisconsin campus.
                                                                                                                                                                      This is ce cream thats not driven by the bottom line but by the desire to show students how to make the best possible product. They serve scoops as bid as your head and don't charge a lot for it. They use state-of-the-art equipment and the best ingredients available. Babcock Hall Ice cream is the best thing you will ever put in your mouth.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. Fairfax Scoop in Fairfax, CA is incredible! There is actually a line down the street to get in. If you go in the evening, be prepared to wait at least a half hour (it is well worth it though). They have over 100 flavors that change daily. All of the ice cream is organic and made with the freshest ingredients available. My favorites are cardamom, mud pie (coffee and cinnamon ice cream with fudge and graham crackers), and grasshopper (mint ice cream, newman cookies, and spirulina (for coloring - can't taste it though).

                                                                                                                                                                        Another great place is Bi-Rite Creamery in San Francisco. They are also organic with some really unique flavors like: mint honey lavender, ginger, balsalmic strawberry, and roasted banana.

                                                                                                                                                                        Both places have very light and fluffy ice cream. I guess this is due to the fresh, organic ingredients. I've never had the equivalent.

                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: blintz69

                                                                                                                                                                          Seconding Bi-Rite Creamery. What an amazing place. The salted caramel flavor is incredible! They also recently added a soft serve machine.

                                                                                                                                                                          http://operagirlcooks.com

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: blintz69

                                                                                                                                                                            Bi-Rite Creamery for me as well. Amazing place.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. Definitely Penn State Creamery. Unique flavors and names i.e. WPSU Coffee Break (or something like that), Peachy paterno.. Love Love LOVE!

                                                                                                                                                                            http://www.creamery.psu.edu/

                                                                                                                                                                            1. On California's central coast, it's Doc Bernstein's Lab in downtown Arroyo Grande, just 1 block east of 101 at the Grand Ave exit. E-Z off, E-Z on!

                                                                                                                                                                              They make super-premium ice creams, sherbert, and even have a weekly Wednesday create-your-own ice cream program for kids.

                                                                                                                                                                              The Doc's Java has set the mark for coffee ice cream. Other greats are Mexican Chocolate, Pumpkin Cheesecake, Eggnog, Apple Caramel Swirl.

                                                                                                                                                                              http://www.docburnsteins.com/main/loc...

                                                                                                                                                                              1. Jeni's in Columbus OH. Salty carmel, Black coffee, Sweet Corn and Blackberry......and those are some of the more normal flavours.

                                                                                                                                                                                Unique, natural, and simply stunning.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. BEST. ICE CREAM EVER.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Bellvale Creamery in Warwick NY. It's a bit out of the way. It sits on top of Mt. Peter with a view of the entire valley. Follow the road to the bottom of the mountain is the dairy farm that produces the milk that the ice cream is made from.

                                                                                                                                                                                  It's the most delicious, natural tasting, and freshest ice cream you ever tasted. Flavors range from white cholate with dark chocolate chuks and raspberry swirl to fresh peach to pistachio. Their homemade waffle cones are to die for (they smell so good it's hard to resist getting one).

                                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.bellvalefarms.com/creamery...

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Rory's Gourmet Ice Cream on Fillmore Street in San Francisco RULES! The best flavors and all are made on site .... cinnamon, coconut, honey-poppy seed and green tea are current favorites !!!

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                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jett1001

                                                                                                                                                                                      Sorry, this business has been closed for years. When were you last there?

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. My vote is for Lagomarcino's in Moline, IL and Davenport, IA. Family-owned for generations. Their black raspberry ice cream is a wonder, other flavors and hot fudge are great too. They make excellent chocolates as well (sponge toffee in dark chocolate a particular favorite). It's the first stop in and the last stop out when visiting family in Iowa.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I live in Boston and agree with all the Boston/Cambridge love, but the best ice cream I've ever had was outside of the U.S., in Montreal at Havre aux Glaces.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Delicieuse in Redondo Beach, CA for straight-up artisan ice cream. No 90 variations on chocolate, nuts and candy here. They take serious pride in their craft.

                                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.icedreamonline.com/

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. The ice cream parlor at the Blue Bell Ice Cream plant in Brenham, Texas. Fresh Blue Bell, about as good as it gets.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. kind of late here, but i have to mention max and mina's in nyc!

                                                                                                                                                                                              with some interesting flavors like lox, herring, grass, and of course things like beer and cream cheese, it's always interesting:

                                                                                                                                                                                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_and_...

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Creole Creamery, Magazine St., New Orleans, would be a contender.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Leos' in Carlisle, PA.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Best I've ever had. Flavors change though. Also sold by the pint.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  They have the normal: chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, choc. chip, black raspberry, butter pecan, mint chocolate chip and well as the more exotic: chocolate chili pepper, jalapeno cornbread, honey sunflower vanilla, cake batter and brownie, cinnamon oreo, almond joy, chocolate malt ball, grapenut (local favorite), teaberry, and the list goes on.