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What am I not getting about Amy's Ice Cream? And...

femmenikita Jul 17, 2007 08:02 AM

Every summer, I go on a frozen dessert kick. I think I have had some form of frozen treat every day this week (and riding my bicycle to work to offset calorie guilt...) My problem is this: I can't find any ice cream that really knocks my socks off. Matter of fact, I freely admit that I do not get what all the fuss is about Amy's ice cream, and it seems to be the main option for real ice cream in Austin. There is an Amy's within walking distance from my home and friends are constantly wanting to go there. *What am I not getting?* I think their ice cream has a weird chewy/sticky texture. Often times I have crunched sizable ice crystals which makes me think the stuff has melted a bit at some point and then been refrozen. I also think that Amy's tries too hard to be "funky." A couple years ago I walked into an Amy's and the server proceeded to refer to me as "hippie" each time he addressed me. I think the "tricks" they do are fun for kids, but I myself don't want gimmicks, just rich, creamy, delicious ice cream that sends me into brain freeze heaven! Recently we had this thread:

http://www.chowhound.com/topics/395995

But the discussion turned mostly to shaved ice/raspa stands and gelato joints.
Have you been to any restaurants that have served great ice cream? I went to El Chile's about a year ago and thoroughly enjoyed their Mexican Hot Chocolate housemade variety. It was not too sweet, was chocolatey enough for me, had a hint of cinnamon, and was smooth in the mouth, without any weird crystals. For comparison, my current favorite is the yoghurt gelato at Central Market, or the Vanilla Bean Affogato at Teo's, but thats not real Ice cream. I don't mind the dark Chocolate Green and Blacks pints from whole foods, either.

Any suggestions?

  1. Honey Bee Jul 17, 2007 08:26 AM

    This may not be the type of suggestion you were hoping for...

    I also don't care much for Amy's and took matters into my own hands. For less than $50 I bought an ice cream maker. It is really easy to make (freeze the tub, add ingredients, and 20 minutes later you have ice cream). Now that I am used to the homeade stuff nothing else will do. My best experiment? Dulce de leche ice cream.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Honey Bee
      femmenikita Jul 17, 2007 08:39 AM

      I knew someone would suggest this, Honey Bee! And while I still would like the convenience/experience of eating good ice cream out somewhere, and would appreciate replies to that end, I have actually been meaning to shop for a good machine. I need to do some research on this because I don't want to spend a lot of money (i.e. I can't afford a PacoJet!)... What type of machine did you buy? And would you be willing to share your dulce de leche recipe? The moderators might move it to the Home Cooking board but I'd be interested to try it out at some point.

      1. re: femmenikita
        Honey Bee Jul 17, 2007 08:47 AM

        I bought the cuisinart electric ice cream maker from Sam's. It makes 4 quarts (I think) and I love it. I was hesitant to get one because I thought I would never use it due to the process being cumbersome, but I was so wrong. For the dulce de leche, I used:
        4 cups cream
        2 cups whole milk
        2 cups store bought dulce de leche (available at hispanic markets and at HEB next to the the Eagle Brand)
        1 T vanilla
        4 egg yolks
        I slowly bring all ingredients to a slow simmer and then cool completely. Pour into ice cream maker and run for 20 minutes. Transfer to airtight container and put in freezer for a couple of hours. Best used within 3-4 days (not a problem at my house!)

        1. re: femmenikita
          The Chowhound Team Jul 17, 2007 08:49 AM

          You are indeed correct. Recipes are discussed on the Home Cooking Board. Please post recipes and recipes requests on the Home Cooking board so everyone can contribute. Please discuss ice cream makers on the Cookware branch. Feel free to link back to this thread.

          Thank you!

          1. re: femmenikita
            tokyomonamour Jul 17, 2007 09:59 AM

            I usually use the adjective "goopy" when I think of Amy's. I think it feels like cold globs (think of a frozen version of the kombucha in kombucha tea) and is too sweet. For something different, try LaLoo's goats milk strawberry darling ice cream (it has balsamic vinegar in it). It's got a great zing to it and isn't too sweet. Also amazing is their rasberry frozen yogurt. WF also has a Texas peach champagne sorbet (can't think of the brand but the packaging is clear plastic w/ a black lid). It is delicious and guilt-free.

            For other options, have you thought of snowballs instead of ice cream? Try Casey's on Airport at 51st.

            1. re: tokyomonamour
              c
              ChristineR Jul 17, 2007 08:55 PM

              ...and I thought I was the only one!

              I did try Teo's Texican Vanilla today, and WOW was I blown away!!!! Give it a try and let us know your thoughts.

        2. d
          dcx1287 Jul 17, 2007 11:22 PM

          I've honestly never enjoyed Amy's Ice cream too much. I prefer Marble Slab Creamery.

          1. Bababooey Jul 18, 2007 06:49 AM

            I feel the same abot Blue Bell...Before we moved here, Texas natives told us how great it is. I have an uncle that ships it to denver just to have his Blue Bell fix. Naturaly we bought a carton our first week in town. BLECHHH! The Vanilla tasted like some chemical comound - I checked the label to see if it was spelled "Venela", indicating that the tase was in fact chemically generated. No - they claim to use the real deal...The texture was a bit gummy, though most production ice creams have some of that. I guess I am spoiled by the homemade versions. But for prodcution ice cream, I'd rather have Dreyer's than Blue Bell.

            1. f
              finocchio Jul 18, 2007 07:17 PM

              Y'all... thank you for making me feel like I'm not the one taking the crazy pills. I have never liked Amy's, and forget about Blue Bell, that stuff is pure crap. I'm glad that there is so much good gelato now in town (my favorites being Whole Foods and TEO), since the only place 5 years ago was Dolce Vita and that stuff is practically inedible, not to mention totally inauthentic. For real ice cream, I have to go with the Ben & Jerry's at 5th and Lamar. It's kind of nice that it benefits Lifeworks, too, except that the kids working there can be kind of ... dirty.

              1 Reply
              1. re: finocchio
                n
                NirvRush Jul 18, 2007 08:28 PM

                i LOVE Ben and Jerry's! awesome...

              2. c
                cstrombe Jul 19, 2007 08:52 AM

                I can't say I know good ice cream, but I agree re Amy's. I like the Mexican Vanilla enough, but I only go there for my kids--the one on Burnet has a playscape which they like, and they are amused by the servers and the fun stuff you can put on your ice cream. I find the whole Funky Austin Behavior annoying.

                1. kitchenknife Jul 19, 2007 12:20 PM

                  i like amy's and the funky behavior and the rotating strange flavors and all of it. my favorite is the dark chocolate, but the other day i had a banana pudding which was perfect with bits of banana and vanilla wafers. i have never encountered ice crystals in anything i have ordered there and love to get samples of whatever they are serving that day.

                  likewise, i'm a lifetime fan of blue bell--the best ice cream in the country, even if they do say so themselves.

                  but then again, i enjoy liking stuff and would prefer to spend my time enjoying food rather than going on and on about what i don't like. but that's just me! :)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: kitchenknife
                    s
                    scoutaustin Jul 19, 2007 02:20 PM

                    thanks kitchenknife for rescuing Amy's............i think i'll go ahead and trot on down there and git me some funkyaustin ice cream!

                  2. n
                    nosh Jul 19, 2007 02:42 PM

                    I have been to Amy's just about every visit to my bro's family in Austin once or twice a year the last several. I think I get it. It is the standing in line waiting, so the kids are amused by the tricks of the servers and the anticipation. The servers, at least some of them, are skilled and savvy enough to save a special trick to make the party feel a bit special. The ice cream is better than ok, they give tastes, and they do seem to want to make people happy. Sure, I take out a $20 expecting to get change and end up reaching in my pocket for some more small bills, but the servers deserve tips. I get a tiny cup and a couple of tastes and enjoy the kids.

                    1. orchidarts Jul 23, 2007 07:09 PM

                      I like most of Amy's flavors and I've not experienced the ice crystals. I do feel like it's very rich and I don't eat much in a sitting. My biggest problem is the pricing, which I feel can be a bit high. However, after the discovery that they will pack pints and quarts (and larger, if you pre-order) and sell them at wholesale pricing, I have been much happier. When I want Amy's, I'll go in and find a nice flavor and then have them pack it to go. I can get at least 6 servings out of a pint so it makes perfect sense for me.

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