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A clammy, creamy, corny weekend

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I had a friend staying with me this weekend, so after our apres-airport dinner at Taranta, we decided to do an eating tour of the countryside the following day.

We started at Dairy Joy in Weston. My DC said her fried clams were excellent, much better than Kelly's. Ditto for my onion rings, which were sweet, golden, and as greasless as possible. The breading was delicious and didn't fall off, so no pile of crumbs at the bottom. They have a lot of picnic tables in the shade set well back from the road.

Next we stopped at Verrill Farms in Concord to pick up that night's dinner of corn and tomatoes. Both were great, especially the corn, which was their own. Apparently they have many varieties of Heirlooms in the morning, but by the time we got there they had sold out. They did have tomatoes from Leominster, which were just ripe enough to eat, and in a different league than the ones I'd had at Taranta the night before. It was like eating summer itself.

After the veggie pick-up we hit Kimball's in Carlisle for a couple of kiddie cones, grapenut for me, pistachio for her. She seemed incredulous to the point of anger at the cones' magnitude, and complained about it for the whole half hour it took us to finish every last drop of them. She said, "If you're going to eat ice cream, you might as well get it right, but that's a once-in-a-lifetime thing." Both were so flavorful and creamy, and loaded with nuts. We broke up the chore with talking to one of their unusually friendly and cute goats. The next day she said, "The next time we go to Kimball's...."

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  1. I'm confused about what your friend didn't like?

    12 Replies
    1. re: BostonBarGuy

      Nothing! She complained about the obscenity of the size of the ice cream (a kiddie cone is nearly a pint at Kimball's) as she uncontrollably gobbled up every drop. This is not all that uncommon among women who claim to be watching their weight. I remember when I was handed my first Kimball's cone I said, "Oh, crap."

      1. re: pollystyrene

        I really hate that. There should be small ice cream options. I'm not watching my weight, but I can't eat more than a scoop. I knock off all but the bottom scoop when I can't convince places to give me just one scoop, but that's wasteful and stupid.

        Um, to keep this on-topic, I have had that problem always at Crescent Ridge. At JP Licks in Somerville I had a different problem: I ordered a kiddie cone and they gave me (and charged me for) a small. Which was 2-3 huge scoops. :-P I'm going to try Louie's next time I can get a ride over there (or convince someone to walk the 2 miles there with me), and hopefully they will be willing to give me Just One Scoop.

        Pet peeve, can you tell? :)

        1. re: maillard

          I'm with you, maillard, on this one. With more and more people having problems with expansive waistlines, skyrocketing cholesterol levels, and such, I don't get why so many ice cream places insist on having their smallest ice cream sizes be enough to feed a family of 20. It's wasteful and irritating.

          Worst of all was a recent encounter I had at Herrell's in Harvard Square, where they refused to give me a kiddie sized cup because I'm not a kid. The head office got a serious squawk from me on that one mentioning the above concerns; the person I spoke with said they'd rectify it and to contact the branch manager. I haven't been back yet, though.

          Of course, maybe I could stop eating ice cream altogether....I don't have it very often as it is.

          1. re: bachslunch

            If your ever up near Amesbury and want ice cream - say after going to Salisbury beach - DO NOT go to Hodgie's. The portion sizes are way to big, bordering on obscene. A "regular" size served in a dish would easily be enough for 2 people. Way too much ice cream for one serving.

            1. re: steve999

              When we were in spain recently, all the ice cream places had very long, narrow cones that held a single scoop of ice cream that was slightly smaller than a golf ball. It was a perfect snack - not a days worth of calories. Even my wife, who is an ice cream hoover, appreciated the size and the freedom to go every day instead of once a season. I can't even finish a kid-sized portion here.

              1. re: steve999

                Been to Hodgie's. Their ice cream is very good, but yeah, they're the poster boys for obscene sized portions. "Kiddie size" was three huge scoops, though you can get single and double scoops, which are super-sized as it is.

              2. re: bachslunch

                I'm with you both. I want a SMALL cone, not a HUGE small cone. Was at Lizzy's in Harvard Square last week for a simple small chocolate chip cone and it was mammoth... I love ice cream, hate the calories, but would like a small, "small" ice cream cone.

                1. re: kittychow

                  All of you can just cry me a river! lol

                  1. re: kittychow

                    Lizzy's does offer a kiddie size and they don't require you to be a kiddie to order it. Just one perfect scoop!

                2. re: maillard

                  Last time I checked Louie's doesn't do kiddie cones - or won't give them to adults, don't remember which.

                  on my last visit to Kimball's I tried the - "charge me the normal price but please just give me one scoop so i don't waste your wonderful ice cream" but it didn't work and i threw out two of the three scoops.

                  1. re: heathermb

                    I'm not sure what's up with Louie's cuz I've gotten kiddie sized all these years I've been yammering on about them, and earlier this season. Then when I went back about 3 weeks ago, she told me they didn't have kiddie. I asked what she was talking about, I just got one but ended up ordering a small. Which was much more than I wanted at the time (too much food, too hot to eat it without making a mess). I'll try again, I hope this was a mistake on one server's part.

                3. re: pollystyrene

                  Another take on this topic might be that cash-strapped families or coaches often want to take kids out for ice cream, but prices especially in urban areas have become almost prohibitive.

                  I think many old-fashioned places serve large cones for the kids (at kid's pricing). If an adult were to say " I really want a very small portion" they would probably comply, leaving more for the little guys and girls who may have worked it off playing soccer.

                  The sight of a kid's eyes widening over an occasional generous ice cream cone in the summer is wonderful. The Dairy Freeze on the Quincy/East Milton line often has lines of kids still in uniform waiting with excitement.

                  Your food journey sounds great, and hopefully for all her protesting your friend indulged her inner child!

              3. Thanks for the report. I've always felt that the clams at Dairy Joy don't get their due. I think they're as good as any of the north shore places that people rave about.

                I was at Verrill Farms, too, this weekend, picking up sandwiches to bring to Walden Pond. Their mozzarella and procioutto sandwich was fabulous!

                9 Replies
                1. re: Blumie

                  Perhaps because the large ala carte clams at dairy joy are around $35 last time i checked. Thats a lot of $ for a container of clams at a drive up place, especially when you dont even get fries or anything. If i recall correctly a large onion rings will set you back another $7

                  1. re: hargau

                    Yeah, I think they screw you with their prices. I have found that you're much better off buying smalls of everything in sufficient multiples that you have enough food. So I typically buy a small clam for each person, plus an additional one for every three of four people in case we need some extra.

                    1. re: Blumie

                      When we were kids they used to charge $1 if you wanted a cup of tap water. Also they never had salt/ketchup/napkins out like they do now. You always had to ask for them and they would give you like 2! So they are getting better!

                      They have one in Hudson now too, same menu + hard ice cream too and some indoor seating as well.

                      1. re: hargau

                        Wow, I guess they have gotten less stingy. We got plenty of salt and napkins, and they had a cooler of free, filtered water on the counter.

                      2. re: Blumie

                        That's a good idea. My friend got the small clams, which were only $15 I think. It didn't look like much, but she said they really packed them in there, and was completely satisfied. My small o-rings were $5 or $6, and they were big. It was the only thing I had and I was full. NB: we both have huge appetites.

                        1. re: pollystyrene

                          The portions are decent size. Just something about it when you go to a dairy bar and you see:

                          Onion Rings Small $6 Large $8 or whatever it is...

                          Sorta scares people away!

                          1. re: pollystyrene

                            "Only" $15 for small clams at a shack? Exactly, Dairy Joy's prices are way, way out of hand. That probably didn't include fries, right? That's set you back another 5 or 6 bucks...

                            I had fried clams and fries at B&G Oysters on Saturday for $25 I think. There was a ton of food, they were expertly prepared, and I didn't have to wipe off my own table or run away from bees near the trash can!

                            1. re: heWho

                              So you paid $10 more, maybe for a few more clams and some inexpensive fries and o-rings? That doesn't seem like a big discrepancy. Also, it depends on what kind of experience you're looking for. There was no table-wiping needed, no bees or insects of any kind (I guess we lucked out there), and we had a private table in the shade at the edge of the woods. Plus, free and easy parking. It was great!

                              1. re: pollystyrene

                                I agree with you. Dairy Joy may be pricy, but not way out of line with the competition. And if you're in the neighborhood and have a hankering for some great clams and o'rings, it makes no sense to go anywhere else.

                    2. Did you have to get a 2nd mortgage for the fried clams at Dairy Joy? I'd love to go back there, but I'm still paying off the debt from the lobster roll and small fries I had there two years ago.... just 16 more payments and those long-ago-digested fries are MINE!!!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: heWho

                        A lobster roll and fries at Dairy Joy is a lot less expensive than at the places typically discussed here. But, yes, you do have to wipe your table and chase the bees.

                        1. re: Blumie

                          The Hudson Dairy joy also has specials. They had twin Lobsters advertised in the Hudson Sun for $18 in June.

                      2. Sounds like fun! I liked the small order of fried clams I had there recently, though the raspberry lime rickey wasn't up to snuff. Too much syrup and just cut up, dried out lime wedges. Much prefer the juiced lime version at Richardson's.