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Dec 9, 2007 12:21 AM

Finding Blue Bell near the Alamo in San Antonio

Hi, I'm a student tagging along on a trip to San Antonio for a day or two. My Texas friend gushes at least once a meal about Blue Bell ice cream (which we don't have up here in Washington D.C.), and I'm pretty eager to try some and see how much it lives up to the hype. However, I'm trapped in a hotel on the Riverwalk without a rental car, which makes heading to the actual Blue Bell creamery difficult. Is there a place within a mile or two of the Alamo area where I could just walk and get some of this supposedly mindblowing ice cream? Is this stuff sold in grocery stores?

Much thanks for the help!

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  1. There are a couple bodegas in the downtown area...just ask your concierge to point you in the direction of the nearest one. You might find some at the Walgreens on Houston and St. Mary's Street (southeast corner)

    I might add that Bluebell is good, but it ain't the cat's pajama's either. Me, I tend to the Ben/Jerry spectrum of Phish Food. But, you can find Bluebell ice cream in downtown SA. If all is lost, there's a Haagen Dazs just south of the Alamo (that is, if your standing in front of the Alamo, looking at it, take a right). Hope this helps.

    btw, is that friend of yours an TAMU grad?

    2 Replies
    1. re: YGBSM

      Actually, Walgreens is at Navarro and Houston on the southeast corner one block east of the previously mentioned location. I think that's probably the best bet for Bluebell downtown. Here's an idea, and I don't know how valid it really is but I feel that the better flavors of Bluebell are the ones that suggest something local as opposed to the usual Rocky Road, French Vanilla, etc. I know butter pecan is offered by most brands, but the nuts in Bluebell's seem a little crunchier? or flavorful than some of the other national brands. Who knows? Maybe you'll tell me that the pecans are shipped in from Pittsburgh or somewhere and blow my idea away.

      Here's another idea, for a real honest local treat, visit the Menger hotel's restaurant, not the ice creamery mentioned above, and see if they have some of their mango ice cream. I think of that as a real San Antonio classic.

      Enjoy your stay,


      1. re: YGBSM

        Nope -- my friend and I are both still college students. Thanks for the Walgreens tip -- it was perfect (as was the Blue Bell :D).

      2. I believe Blue Bell is the best selling ice cream in Texas and 3rd best selling in the US despite being only regional. That says something and it should be available at lots of places, Walgreen's, convenience stores, etc., but Blue Bell is not a premium, i.e., high butter fat, ice cream. I think lots of people have the wrong expectations.

        The best selling flavor is supposedly Home Made Vanilla but I've never understood why. To me the appeal has always been in the very generous add-ins. For instance, Cookies 'n Cream (which I think BB may have invented); in some brands that means sawdust like crushed Oreos mixed in but in BB that means large chunks of broken up Oreos, 1/4 cookie in one spoonful and maybe nearly half a cookie in the next. It's like the ice cream treat your mommie would have made for you when you were little and she wanted to reward you for being a good little boy or girl, hence a very basic appeal.

        My favorite flavors are the C 'n C, banana split, banana pudding and Pralines 'n Cream.

        1 Reply
        1. re: brucesw

          You do have to taste the Homemade Vanilla at least once, but Bruce is right about the flavors with add ins are very generous. I can't make up my mind which is my favorite - Pistachio almond, butter pecan, Moo-llineum, or chocolate chip cookie dough!

        2. Thanks for the recommendations on both location and type of Blue Bell to get. I ended up snagging a pint of Cookies and Cream at the Walgreens on Houston and Navarro. I also realized later that room service at the hotel had delivered some Homemade Vanilla to boot.

          Between those two, I freely admit it: Blue Bell really is the cat's pajamas.