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Pistachio Ice cream at Rite Aid [moved from Los Angeles]

I may get lynched for this, but I actually think the ice cream at Rite Aid is pretty good. It's sold under the name Thrifty. Their pistachio ice cream is probably one of the best I've ever had. Admittedly, I am not the most strident judge as I've never been a huge fan of pistachio ice cream, but my mom and sister have always loved it, so I end up eating it half-heartedly sometimes. I have to say of all the ones they've sort of forced on me, Rite Aid's has probably been the best--lots of chunky pistachios...At $2.99 a box (and $1.88 on sale) or 99 cents a scoop, you can't lose, unless that particular Rite Aid doesn't have a lot of turnover, then you'd be better buying it by the box than by the scoop out of the case.

I like Mint Chocolate Chip of all the "standard" flavors, and Rite Aid's version, if not mind-blowing, definitely satisfies my cravings

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  1. I like it too. Not only is it a great value but it has major throw-back appeal as well.

    1. I love the pistachio at rite aid. I always get the sugar cone. There is no better ice cream deal than .99 rite aid. When i was a kid 30+ years ago, I wouild go to Thrifty and get spumoni. My friends would get chocolate or vanilla and i was ordering the wondrous and pistachio laden spumoni. I have not seen it recently but maybe they will bring back the spumoni flavor. Imust admit that i hit Rite Aid a couple times a week. One trip to coldstone with the kids is $20 bucks and i always feel fleeced. Go to Rite aid and your out $5 for a family of five.

      1. I had no idea there was any throwback appeal to the ice cream at Rite Aid. I just thought it tasted good... :D ... guess I'm dating myself, too...

        1. I don't think you'd ever get into trouble for professing a liking for Thrifty's ice cream on this board. ^^

          1. I think Rite Aid will always be Thrifty in the minds of those of us who used to frequent their ice cream counters, as well as Sav-on's (now CVS) ice cream counters since childhood (talk about dating myself). They were both competing for the business of both moms and dads via their kids' constant whinings and pleadings for ice cream; thus, a trip to one or the other for medicines, sundries, and of course, ice cream.

            If you really want to know about feeling kind of ancient, I remember when both Thrifty and Sav-on would charge a nickle a scoop, and you could get as as many scoops as one could stack high on a cone. I still recall two teenagers walking away from the Sav-on ice cream counter in Westchester, with cones that were at least five scoops high. Whether they made it all the way to the bottom scoop, I'll never know, but the point was that even a kid could live out his or her fantasies for just s couple of coins.

            I was always partial to Sav-on's Bing Cherry (made by Carnation), and Thrifty's Rocky Road, with its mini marshmallows and nice chunks of almonds, but I know find that their Chocolate Malted Crunch and Apricot-Mango are relatively unique flavors that are hard to pass up when I'm walking by to pick up some cold medicine for the kids.

            It's not the best ice cream when you put it head-to-head with so many of the other ice creams that are available today, but like alot of other simple pleasures in life, sometimes you just want something that calls you back to jumping your schwinn sting-ray off the curb on a warm summer day...

            2 Replies
            1. re: bulavinaka

              Thrifty's rocky road is still the best out there and believe me, I've tried them all. Which is hard to admit.

              1. re: jencounter

                So I got at least something right as a kid... thanks!

            2. Thrifty/Rite-Aid ice cream is great and a memory. Personally, it's mint chocolate chip and cookies and cream flavors that get me to my happy place. The cookies in the C'n'C are real whole oreos, not those useless bitty pieces chalky, mediocre, chocolate wafers w/ vanilla filling... The strawberry ain't bad either. I miss the peppermint flavor, that had little peppermint bits in it; my grandmother used to eat a scoop of that flavor every night. Thrifty ice creamis high in sugar content, not a refined taste per se, but that's A-OK by me.

              As a side note, Ralph's Private Selection (read: generic brand) tastes shockingly like Thrifty's, at least the mint chip and cookies'n'cream that I've had. I actually prefer the PS brand to most other brands.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Emme

                I agree on the Ralphs Private Selection - that's what I buy for home, always Extreme Moose Tracks and Chocolate Chip. I don't like premium ice cream too much or too often, although when I want vanilla I buy Dreyer's Vanilla Bean which is a little closer to premium. But for every night ice cream consumption, I like the less rich stuff, and when I can get two packages of PS for $5 or $6, that's a no brainer.

              2. Hm, this may be the one area where LA actually BEATS NYC <wink> . . . I'm a CVS gal, but am going to check out the Rite Aids here and see if they actually have ice cream. They certainly don't have counters, but now ya'll have my curiosity piqued . . .

                1. Nothing wrong with loving Thrifty's Ice Cream. My favorite there is the Rocky Road. I still remember, fondly, the days when I could get a triple scoop for a mere 30 cents. It was one of those hard decisions -- game of centipede or save the quarter and get some ice cream ...

                  BTW, if you want some really, really good pistachio nut, goto Fosselman's in Alhambra (www.fosselmans.com ).

                  1. Are the scoops at Rite-Aid square, like the ones at Thrifty used to be??

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: mandelabra

                      I wouldn't exactly call it square, but I'd say it's somewhat tubular.

                      1. re: mandelabra

                        Rite-Aid and Thrifty scoops are one and the same -- but they're cylindrical, not square. Speaking of which, has anyone ever seen scoops like that for sale anywhere? (Not the ice cream itself, the utensil.) A few years ago, brother actually paid one of the guys working behind the counter at the store in Beverly Hills to give him their extra scoop. The guy took the bribe and now my brother can scoop cylinders of ice cream at home to his heart's content. But he won't share the scoop with me!

                        And, yes, Thrifty ice cream rocks so hard, it's not even funny. In high school, all you needed was a handful of loose change and you could go crazy at the ice cream counter. Thrifty's chocolate malted crunch, rocky road, mint chip, and rainbow sherbet are unbeatable. Ben & Jerry's and Haagen Dazs can suck it!

                        Then again, Karen Hatfield's ice creams are pretty awesome, too -- even if they're not served in giant cylindrical scoops and eaten with a wooden paddle.


                        1. re: hungrygirl106

                          I agree it's cylindrical now but when I was a youngster it was definitely square.

                          1. re: Debbie W

                            Ahhh. When I was a kid, the scoops were cylindrical, but that was the '80s....

                            1. re: hungrygirl106

                              they were cylyndrical in the 70's as well.

                              1. re: justagthing

                                My scoops were always cylindrical (tubular, round, whatever), but I would always ask the server NOT to rinse the scoop after each serving. That way, when I got a triple, each ice cream scoop would have a nice sheen from the previous flavor ...

                          2. re: mandelabra

                            Still very much tubular/cylindrical. I think the shape was intended to conform with the shape of the regular cones (very much like McD's soft serve cones) which, in fact, are not cone-shaped at all.

                          3. Thrifty ice cream was a daily trip for me after school. I always got a double scoop - cookies n cream and coconut pineapple. I can't believe it's 99 cents per scoop either!

                            1. Mint chip on the bottom, Cherry on the top, all on a sugar cone. Same thing ever since I was a little kid. Although Rite-Aid's staff often seems like they are taking some of the cold medicines hidden behind the counter and the store's diagonal shelving drives me crazy, I always go for one scoop of the best ice cream.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: hartleypool

                                I'm just a straight up mint chip cake cone kinda gal, but boy you sure hit every other nail right on the head! Their staff is, shall we say, lackadaisical, and I was just in Rite Aid today cursing to myself about the diagonal shelving...

                              2. I like the pistachio(and just about every flavor) at Rite-Aid. *sighs* Ahh it brings back memories of when I was a kid, and I'd go to Thrifty with my parents for a nice delicious cone.

                                1. CHOCOLATE MALTED KRUNCH!!

                                  still the same scoop but 99 cents for a single now.

                                  I like Medieval Madness. Hooked on Chocolate was good too (Peanut butter and Chocolate swirl).

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: mlgb

                                    thats my favorite! CHOC MALTED KRUNCH! luv it luv it luv it!

                                  2. Does the Pistacio ice cream have real pistacio nuts in it? I always thought they cheated and used almonds these days.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: mochi mochi

                                      I'm pretty sure it's almonds.

                                      Fosselman's uses real pistachios.

                                      1. re: mochi mochi

                                        they changed this sometime in the 80's... they used to have real pistachios in them - but now it's almonds for sure. so sad. but i think i'm going to go convince co-workers it's time for an ice cream run.

                                      2. Last time i checked, which was about an hour ago, the pistachio has pistachios. I think i know the difference between the two. While standing with scoop of pistachio in hand i saw the featured flavor of cherry clocolate chip. I plunked down another .99 and double fisted the thrifty cones. THumbs up and tongue licking for the featured flavor.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: SeanT

                                          no way! that is excellent news, SeanT! maybe all these years i've been confusing it with baskin robbins (which definitely has almonds in their pistachio nut" - bleck!)

                                          1. re: SeanT

                                            You sure??

                                            Now you've piqued my interest and now I must go and see for myself ... (as if there wasn't reason enough as it was).

                                            1. re: SeanT

                                              I'm fairly certain it is pistachios and not almonds. Like I said, I'm not a pistachio nut ice cream connoisseur, but....hopefully I would've noticed the difference. Surely some chowhound out there in addition to SeanT can confirm??? I'd call my sister, who has a box of it sitting in her icebox, but she's still at work.

                                              1. re: SeanT

                                                I usually get the pistachio, the butter pecan or the cherry. I've never noticed almonds in the pistachio flavor. Next time, I will pay closer attention. :)

                                              2. Rainbow sherbet or Chocolate Malted Crunch, I love those little malt balls. I also remember going there and getting a scoop for 10 cents after my dad would check the bulbs that he pulled out of the back of the tv....ah, those were the days. Life was easier...

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: justagthing

                                                  I think the remote control is easier. :) I musta od'd on rainbow sherbert when I was a kid. Now I always get butter pecan. And today I've become very curious about that pistachio.

                                                  1. re: slacker

                                                    thre with you. used to get rainbow sherbert or cookies and cream all the time growing up. now i get.......crap...the same. lol.

                                                2. two words: marble fudge

                                                  1. Glacier Ice Cream is about to open in Manhattan Beach. If their shoppe in Las Vegas is any indication, the pistachio is for NUT LOVERS ONLY! My scoop had, like , a half pound of pistachios in it! Yum!

                                                    Yes Thrifty DEFINITELY has pistachios, not almonds. But , it seems to me each half gallon has less and less nuts lately, more and more air in those half gallons too. Thrifty Ice Cream just ain't what it used to be, but since the half-gallons have been $1.99 for about 25 years, I guess I can't complain. But if they whip any more air into those half gallons they're gonna be floating outta the store.

                                                    1. BaH, the half gallons were $3.29 today. I just had a single of CHOCOLATE MALTED KRUNCH, sugar cone of course. I think I saw some strawberry cheesecake peeking out of the corner, I wish they would update the flavor boards.

                                                      1. Despite having been to Rite Aid a hundred times or so, I never even thought to try the ice cream. After reading this thread, I went after work and tried the mint chip. What a treat that was! And for a buck... Thanks everyone for the tip. I agree not the greatest ice cream out there, but it's really tasty and does remind me of mint choc chip ice cream I ate growing up. Now if only a Friendly's would open out here... ;-)

                                                        1. Just FYI....I've heard that Thrifty's Ice Cream is made by Ross Swiss Dairy, and the same ice cream is served at "Gill's" Ice cream stand in the fairfax Farmer's Market.
                                                          Down at the other end of the Farmer's Market, next to Bob's Donuts, is Bennett's Homemade Ice Cream.

                                                          1. Yes, I remember stopping on the way home from school and a nickel would get you a single scoop cone..... Ahhhhh I can almost taste it now. The favorites = mint 'n chip, (rocking) rocky road and does anyone else remember the best Jamoca Almond Fudge? Better than Baskin Robbins.

                                                            5 Replies
                                                            1. re: nancyc4fun

                                                              I always preferred Thrifty's to Baskin Robbins. I seem to remember a rather interesting Blueberry Cheesecake flavor, thought Rocky Road was always my favorite. All this Thrifty's talk is going to make me seek out a Rite Aid...

                                                              1. re: Zach Georgopoulos

                                                                Just be aware the Rite Aid on 24th street in Noe Valley is closing....The closest one to me is the corner of VanNess and Market...and ofcourse downtown Market near 3rd...but on the North side of Market St.

                                                                1. re: ChowFun_derek

                                                                  Thanks for the info Derek. Do the Van Ness and downtown locations both have the Thrifty's ice cream?

                                                                  1. re: Zach Georgopoulos

                                                                    Both on Market do...Bush and Larkin and West Portal do...so they say...

                                                                    1. re: ChowFun_derek

                                                                      Excellent! One is close to my office, the other to my home...

                                                            2. Ditto on the pistachio, and ditto on the memories, THANKS!

                                                              1. I have never ever seen a Rite Aid that sells ice cream. Or any drugstore for that matter. Is this a west coast thing, like wine at the grocery store?

                                                                10 Replies
                                                                1. re: oolah

                                                                  guess it must be so. but as for the wine in the grocery store, that is according to state laws and such. Your next trip out here, you will have to drop into one and have a cylindrical scoop.

                                                                  1. re: oolah

                                                                    I think this is a phenomenon that probably originated from the days when soda fountains were found in local drug stores/pharmacies. As a kid, I do vaguely remember seeing a few around, but I assume that most couldn't compete with the growing influence of chains like Rexall, Sav-On (now CVS) and Thrifty (now Rite-Aid). So the first things to go were the soda fountains because of the enormous amount of floor space and overhead. I know that both Sav-On and Thrifty had been selling ice cream since at least the 60s, but Sav-on quit selling ice cream back in the 90s when Osco bought them out...

                                                                    1. re: oolah

                                                                      Historically, most drugstores/pharmacies had soda fountains, but that store format went the way of the dodo bird in most places. The ice cream at Rite Aid is one of the holdovers of that bygone era, and if you know the history of Rite Aid in the West Coast (it took over Thrifty Drugstore in Cali which happened to sell ice cream, too), you'll understand why only the ones in the West Coast seem to have ice cream.

                                                                      Here's a link to what Wikipedia states about soda fountains and drugstores:


                                                                      I'm sure there are others out there, but personally, I only know of one pharmacy that still has a full-blown soda fountain and that's Buffalo Pharmacy in Houston, TX. They have a lunch counter, too.

                                                                      1. re: hch_nguyen

                                                                        There was one in Japantown in San Jose until a few years ago. It was much mourned when it finally closed. A lot of business owners in Japantown are quite elderly and their children aren't inclined to keep the businesses running. It became an indifferent Mexican retaurant. But isn't there one on College Avenue in Berkeley?

                                                                        1. re: hch_nguyen

                                                                          fair oaks pharmacy in south pasadena

                                                                          1. re: jcwla

                                                                            That's where I'll be going for my shake tomorrow!

                                                                            (I failed to get a pb-coffee milkshake last night at Mashti Malone's, so...)

                                                                          2. re: hch_nguyen

                                                                            I'm pretty sure that only the California locations sell this ice cream. And, I'll go on record with chocolate malted crunch as my favorite flavor since I was a wee one.

                                                                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                                              The Rite Aid I wandered into a couple of months ago when taking a wrong turn in Las Vegas (on Flamingo Boulevard) has the ice cream, so it's not limited strictly to California, although the distribution area is probably limited. That was definitely the best wrong turn of the roadtrip for me (when I was growing up, Thrifty ice cream was a treat for vacations when visiting my Grandma in Arizona.)

                                                                          3. re: oolah

                                                                            You must be awfully young, like under 50, never to have heard of ice cream in drugstores! We had two drugstores in my home town and they both had soda fountains. Kiefer's was the most elaborate, with tables and those chairs with the looped wire backs, but then it was sold to the Blankenship's chain and the soda fountain etc. ripped out. That caused a lot of shocked commentary: a drugstore without a soda fountain? Whatever was the world coming to?

                                                                            But the last time I was back there, the other one still had its fountain, still staffed mostly with high school girls.

                                                                            And YES, I love the Thrifty ice cream cones at Rite-Aid, though I hate going there for them - the stores tend to be dismal and understaffed these days, and if as usual there's nobody behind the ice-cream counter you can spend fifteen minutes trying to get someone's attention.

                                                                            1. re: oolah

                                                                              Rite Aid bought out Thrifty in about 1999.

                                                                            2. Add my name to the list of people who love Rite Aid ice cream. I happen to not be a fan of heavy butter fat upscale ice cream. It's just too dense for me. I eat ice cream only occasionally, and I'm really boring about it. I almost always choose cherry (because there's no cherry vanilla on the west coast). Their cherry is fine. And every now and again in season they have apricot or peach and they're both great.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: Judith

                                                                                I remember watching the original The Blob, and eating cherry vanilla ice cream. I never ate Cherry Vanilla again after that. Thus I never looked for it, but did not know that it's become extinct in my part of the country.

                                                                              2. I love the scoops of Rite Aid ice cream and take advantage each chance I get to walk out with a cone. Yet, for some reason, when I purchase the Thrifty's boxed ice cream to bring home it doesn't taste the same. Has anyone else found a difference between the in-store scoops and the packaged ice cream? Thanks.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: foodseek

                                                                                  I felt that it didn't taste the same either! But I think it's more the novelty of getting the cylindrical scoop on the cone that makes it taste so darn good. I'm so excited others share the same nostalgia for Thrifty ice cream. I remember being very worried when Rite Aid bought out Thrifty.

                                                                                2. true... But I still prefer .99 for the ice cream at savon

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. I live in Seattle and the Rite-aids here dont have them as well.

                                                                                    I was born in raised in California and miss those delicious triple scoops of Chocolate Malted Crunch!

                                                                                    I think it's time for a road trip!

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: jdomingi

                                                                                      I grew up on Thrifty ice cream. It was the closest place to our elementary school in SoCal, and us kids would ride our bikes there almost daily. The Rocky Road and the Black Cherry are both very good.