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Ring Mountain Creamery - Eagan, MN

MSPD Sep 10, 2007 11:58 AM

Dare I say it's getting to the point where I would never have to leave Eagan to lead a great chow existence? Well...no. But add a very satisfying ice cream/gelato source to the list of dining attractions to the south metro suburb.

After quite a few (maybe borderline offensive) free samples of their 20-odd gelato and ice cream flavors (that's 40+ flavors, not 20 combined), I was pretty impressed with just about everything I tasted. They obviously care about the ingredients and variety.

If you like fruity, they have fruity. If you like nuts, they have nut flavors. If you like the ghastly stuff they make into ice cream on Iron Chef ("Yes Alton, Chef Motohito *is* stuffing catfish, basil, blood oranges, foie gras and bonito flakes into the ice cream machine"), I wouldn't be surprised to find some in the vast array of tubs somewhere between the cotton candy and amaretto.

The gelato is easily as good as relatively-nearby competitors Fat Lorenzo's (S. Mpls) and Luxury Sweets (a place I like to support in Apple Valley). The ice cream, while very good, isn't quite in the "artisan quality" leagues of Izzy's et al., but is a much better treat than the DQ up the road.

On a side-note, Izzy's is actually falling a bit out of favor with me. Yes, I said it. Not the product itself per se...I'm just fed up with going there and them NEVER having any of the heavy-hitter flavors any more and the strange repetition of flavors. Part of this is their flavors that I personally prefer. Example, in my last 10-ish visits I've rarely, if ever, found my old favorites: salted caramel ONCE, peanut butter ZERO, hot brown sugar ZERO, and even plain-ol' chocolate ZERO (not including soy chocolate). Often, there will be two or three varieties of coffee, three varieties of fruity cheesecake, and a lot of their ho-hum flavors (no chocolate but I can get vanilla, vanilla bean and vanilla custard on the same day). The beauty of Izzy's, as highlighted by the "Izzy" itself, is not just utter decadence, but the ability to make incredible flavor combinations or get flavors I can't experience in ice cream anywhere else (the salted caramel obviously). It seems they've lost a little thoughtfulness in the variety they have available on any given day. I've been going there (and their old downtown MPLS location) since the week they opened so I know it's not just me. I'll still go there (probably tomorrow even as I'll be in the neighborhood) but a couple of times recently, I almost left without ordering because there was none of their unique-to-Izzy's flavors in the case. (I will say this..the other day I had an Izzy of the "Yogurt" flavor (not actual yogurt or frozen yogurt...the Yogurt Ice Cream) and enjoyed that one quite a bit. I added it to my "list of Izzy's favorites" which ensures it will be months before I see it again.

Anyway, I digress. Somewhere I read a MN Sun article about the family that owns Ring Mountain and they seem very nice, as does the staff. Great location next to the movie theater and they also serve coffee, espresso, salads and sandwiches (none of which I've tried, but like that there's another lunch alternative near work).

www.ringmountain.com

  1. clepro Sep 10, 2007 04:56 PM

    That's one sad website, but not so sad that I won't be heading over there as soon as possible. Do you recall if pistachio was in their repetoire?

    1 Reply
    1. re: clepro
      MSPD Sep 10, 2007 07:23 PM

      It sounds like the entire operation from restaurant design to product was done by the family so the initially sparse web content doesn't surprise me. A photo of the place would be a nice addition.

      Also, yes, my wife had the pistachio gelato as part of a little sampler (the do a five-scoop sampler). She thought it tasted good but noticed that it had some coconut flavor (I tasted it and it did seem to have a coconut "essence" but overall it had a good flavor). They also had amaretto, hazelnut and almond (separate, not mixed into one).

    2. s
      sweetpig Sep 10, 2007 06:58 PM

      Sounds delicious. Just as an aside, I've thought the same thing about Izzy's all summer. I've gone a few times and left with just DH's cookies-and-cream because nothing really appealed to me.

      1. David_Minh Sep 10, 2007 07:51 PM

        Ive been to Ring Mountain plenty of times, being an Eaganite myself. The prices are great, and they have alot of variety. Not to mention that, when you go, you get as many healthy sized free samples of anything you want.

        Not only do they have ice cream and gelato but good tea's and smoothies with a friendly staff.

        1. r
          reannd Sep 12, 2007 07:23 PM

          all right! you guys convinced my husband (and me). we trekked it down to eagan for this reason alone just an hour ago.

          holy COW were the samples large (my husband said almost too large). the flavors were really strong & really good, but even with 40 types they seemed almost standard. sonny's & sebastian joe's are more unique, but this place is totally worth the drive.

          after trying like 7 kinds each, we had the little sampler bowl of 5 scoops of 5 different flavors for $3.25. great deal! my fav was actually the birthday cake and green tea together. ... good stuff. tiramisu was the one i ordered w.out a sample.. should have sampled or done just plain coffee. i can't believe after all this posting i still didn't manage pistachio -- probably bc we just had pistacho gelato at fat lorenzo's recently.

          really wish they had plain ol' banana gelato (only had banana with fudgey chunks in the ice cream section) or just plain cinnamon on either side. blue sky creamery has those, super tasty.

          liberty's frozen custard (libertyfrozencustard.com) has only 2 flavors a day, but i savor the day they offer sante fe banana -- banana with cinnamon/caramely swirls + sugar cookies. that one still wins my heart. this is the first month they haven't offered cinnamon roll (which was cinnamon custard w.chunky little bits of cinnamon roll dough inside) on our monthiversary (12th).. but it gave us a good reason to go to ring mountain ;)

          1. AnneInMpls Sep 12, 2007 08:11 PM

            Thanks for the tip about the Ring Mountain Creamery, MSPD. Yet another reason I wish I still worked in Eagan. (Being relatively close to Kallyste is the other biggie.)

            And here's a tip back atcha - call Izzy's and ask them to put you on the "flavor list" for Hot Brown Sugar (or Salted Caramel, or Cherries Jubilee, or Peanut Butter - or all of them) so you don't waste a trip and leave disappointed. In this thread, cinnamongirl reports success at nabbing the elusive salted caramel ice cream:

            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/42056...

            Good luck!
            Anne

            12 Replies
            1. re: AnneInMpls
              t
              tart1 Sep 12, 2007 08:22 PM

              While I taste the flavors of Izzy's ice cream in my mind, I'm both lactose intolerant and on a diet so have avoided visiting this summer. At the same time, while doing fall cleaning, I came across a flyer that advertises Ice Cream Pies & Cakes that says, "Graham cracker or cookie crust on the bottom. A layer of fudge. Your choice of Izzy's ice cream, three inches high. Beautifully hand-decorated tops. Your custom message is the finishing tough." All of that leads me to believe that you can order ANY flavor of ice cream you want, and that would include the elusive faves mentioned on this board. I'd say give them a call at 651.603.1458 to ask.

              1. re: AnneInMpls
                MSPD Sep 13, 2007 05:10 AM

                OK, forgive my cluelessness (too early for correct typing of naivite)...what does Izzy's do, call you or e-mail you when they crack open a tub of your preferred flavor?

                BTW, I went on Tuesday evening and it was a little better. They did have Peanut Butter and it was very good. They also had plain chocolate. That said, I wasn't going to order if I hadn't spotted the Peanut Butter.

                And tart1, the cake does sound intriguing.

                1. re: MSPD
                  clepro Sep 15, 2007 09:22 PM

                  If you've been waiting for the Hot Brown Sugar, it'll be there tomorrow. They open at noon; the counterperson I talked to today told me it would go fast, so they're holding a quart in reserve for me. Last three times I've gone I've walked out without anything because they didn't have my favorites: Hot Brown, Salted Caramel, and what I call "liquored up cherries" because I can never remember its name.

                  Edit: Aha! per Anne's note above, liquored up cherries must be the Cherries Jubilee.

                  1. re: MSPD
                    The Dairy Queen Sep 19, 2007 02:56 AM

                    MSPD, regarding Izzy's flavor list, according to cinnamongirl's post here, they take your name and number and call you: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/42056...

                    I admit, though, that this takes away the spontaneous thrill of discovering your favorite favor in the case and enjoying a cone right there on the spot...but, still, it's better than the ongoing frustration of never getting to indulge.

                    I pre-ordered an Izzy's ice cream cake about a year ago --I tried the chocolate chip cookie dough (with, of course, the cookie crust base) as my flavor because I couldn't resist the idea of a cake, made of ice cream, made of cookie dough. It was ready exactly on time with the flavor and inscription I requested with no problems. The resulting cake with its gooey layer of fudge was incredibly rich and decadent and appealed to my sense of efficiency because it was cake AND ice cream in a single package. Don't over-order, if you can help it, because leftovers are problematic to store. I absolutely recommend Izzy's ice cream cakes if you're in the market for something slightly out of the ordinary. (Of course, next time I need a "different" kind of cake, I've vowed to try one of the gorgeous cakes from Bravo Bakery on Grand Avenue in St. Paul. And, of course, the last "special" cake I ordered was from P.J. Murphy's on Randolph because they did the original cake for the occasion I was commemorating and I insist on having the same cake on every anniversary now...But, I digress...).

                    ~TDQ

                    1. re: The Dairy Queen
                      r
                      reannd Sep 19, 2007 06:18 AM

                      I love the digression. I love cake.. and ice cream, and cake flavored ice cream @ ring mountain. (Which I recommend pairing with the green tea gelato)

                      See - I brought it back to the initial subject for ya :)

                      1. re: reannd
                        MSPD Sep 19, 2007 08:37 AM

                        I sampled the green tea gelato yesterday and really liked it. Most green tea ice creams are very subtle, which is fine. Ring Mountain's had a more aggressive leafy taste. The counterperson had given me ample "it's not for everyone" warning and I can see why. It worked for me. She also mentioned that the owner hates it which I thought was ironic because it seems to be one of their more carefully crafted flavors.

                        1. re: MSPD
                          r
                          reannd Sep 19, 2007 08:54 AM

                          Then you'd love Bravo's green tea cake (can I advertise it more). TDQ said it was strong - cuz it is. But strong like they mean it ;)

                          When we were at Ring Mtn, the guy behind the counter alluded to them just taking stuff "from a mix and adding.." blahblah several times.

                          That being said, I'm not convinced they actually do the green tea flavoring themselves (sorry). I'm okay w.it. Liberty's also gets their custard (which has no eggs, so not really custard) from a mix, but I still like them, too.

                          1. re: reannd
                            The Dairy Queen Sep 19, 2007 09:19 AM

                            I am a big fan of green tea and red bean desserts in general and seek them out whereever I go, but, yes, I thought Bravo's green tea cake could have benefitted from more subtlety. I don't think you need to club people over the head with a flavor. But, it's just a matter of degree, really, and personal preference of course--overall, it was pretty good and certainly very creative.

                            Here's a link to my comments in full, in context, together with a photo of a slice of Bravo's lovely green tea cake. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/44008...

                            ~TDQ

                            1. re: reannd
                              MSPD Sep 19, 2007 09:43 AM

                              Oh I also don't get the impression they make all of the flavorings themselves. I certainly wasn't envisioning them whipping out a box of green tea and extracting the natural flavorings. By "carefully crafted", I meant attention being paid to the choice of flavoring (theirs is a more "realistic" green tea flavor than others) and ratio of flavor to other ingredients. I don't think any of the gelato places in MSP actually hand craft all of their flavorings.

                              I have been to Bravo a number of times (I think I was in there the day they opened even) but not for a long time and I don't recall their green tea cake. I'll have to head back in there if I'm in the neighborhood.

                              1. re: MSPD
                                a
                                acetyleneman Oct 6, 2007 06:56 PM

                                Ring Mountain has a really nice space, with big tables, games and books. Definitely someplace to visit year around. The employees are friendly and fast. I also saw the Sun-Current article and video. Looks like nice people running the place. My kids LOVE the (very sweet) cake batter ice cream, and the blue gelato. I like that this is a local family business. With all the flavors you're bound to find something you like! I think it's a great addition to the South Metro food scene.

                              2. re: reannd
                                d
                                davuhr Dec 1, 2007 12:12 PM

                                Reannd your wrong. Libertys custard mix definitly has eggs in it I know the owner of the shop and it is definitly frozen custard

                                1. re: davuhr
                                  r
                                  reannd Dec 1, 2007 05:14 PM

                                  Really? That's good! I read the nutrition facts they had posted over the summer and my husband pointed out it wasn't in there. Maybe that was nutrition facts for something else, but it was def. posted as that for the custard. It was at the end of the counter..

                                  We still go there a ton. Birthday cake is my favorite there, too.. but I have their newest menu and it won't show up again until at least Feb :(

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