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Cold Stone Creamery -- bleh

  • k

We stopped by Cold Stone today to try their Cake Batter Ice Cream, which a friend had raved about. I had been there once before, didn't like the ice cream, but attributed it to the flavor -- sweet cream. This time, the unpleasantness was exactly the same -- what do they put in that ice cream?? The mouthfeel and flavor are just downright odd, almost as if I'm eating cool whip (except frozen). I can't put my finger exactly on it, but we agreed we wouldn't be back ($4 for a regular scoop in a cone, too). There's no "real" ice cream flavor, just something fake tasting... I almost feel as if I'm searching for the milk, cream and sugar. I guess it must appeal to a lot of people, though, judging by the lines and a few of my friends who are fanatical about the place.

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  1. Totally agree. The frozen Cool Whip description is good. It is too sweet and too rich, probably very (too) high in butterfat content.

    1. It's a total gimmick. They can stir as much junk as they want into it, its still subpar ice cream.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Ernie

        like a lot of food fads some people will love it!!!
        i have tasted a lot worse!!!

      2. w

        We discovered this a few years ago while living in Thousand Oaks. Coldstone opened a store on Los Arboles. After trying it once, it was obvious the quality was sub-par and prices outrageous. How do they stay in business?

        9 Replies
        1. re: westsideclyde

          Some people rave about them. I wouldn't know -- never been there. And I believe what the hounds here are saying...

          But ... a friend of mine who's a great cook, grows her own vegetables in her garden -- in other words, has some houndly characteristics -- is a big fan of Cold Stone. Go figure....

          1. re: Scooter Pie

            that would be enough to make me question her hound credentials!!!

            1. re: tony g

              Immediately after I hit "post," it occurred to me that somebody probably would retort with something snarky like that...

              I think it's just that people's taste in food isn't uniformly "houndly" or "snobbish" or whatever you wish to call it. People may have great taste in and be very knowledgeable about, say, Italian cuisine, but be completely uninterested in other forms. Whatever. Judge away.

              1. re: Scooter Pie

                Everyone in my family are big fans of Cold Stone. But I would hasten to add that it is nothing special if you are a fan of 31+ flavors. Multiple flavors are not their thing... mix-ins are their thing. I believe the mouth feel is so soft because they keep their ice cream at higher temperature so as to have soft cream for mixing in. And the mix-ins are pretty darn great, IMHO. Add to that a very rich cream base, and you have very unique ice cream. I think that is why they are so popular.

                1. re: teddyt

                  However, I should very quickly add...

                  It doesn't hold a candle to McConnells! Now THAT is something special!

          2. re: westsideclyde

            I tried it last week and found it just awful. I don't understand the raves either!

            1. re: westsideclyde

              And their billboards suck, too.

              (One thing I learned from the candybars of my childhood is that deliberately misspelling "chokolate" allows you to omit the real thing.)

              1. re: westsideclyde

                my ex used to get her panties in a gnarl over this place. i can't understand it- why not just mix the flavors in at the factory for a more robust flavor? this is like bucca di beppo (spelling?) where the novelty is supposed to make you over look the quality of the food.

                remember the candy where you were provided a neutral flavor stick and three pouches of colored sugar? well the ice cream is like the neutral stick and the mix-ins are just flavorless frozen berries.

                whatevery happened to humphry yogarts where the mixed the yogurt and toppings in some oversized press with a slot machine handle? i wasn't the biggest fan, but looking back, the flavor was notably better than cold stone.

                i'll take a 31 flavors any day.

                1. re: westsideclyde

                  Do you have actual Dairy ice cream stands in CA? I confess to being spoiled by fairly local dairys in New England. I adore the "cake batter" from both Richardson's and Shane's of Maine. I did try the local Coldstone once, but the "base" tasted weirdly chemical (worse than a hoodsie) to me.

                2. to me it tastes almost like they have artificial butter flavoring in their ice cream. i am not a fan at all.

                  1. Agree...My GF loves it, but I never have the slightest urge to to go back.

                    But I do love a similar store called Maggie Moo's. Theres one in Burbank and another in Porter Ranch. The only reason I go is that I'm addicted to their Cotton Candy flavored ice cream.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: dodgerx88

                      Maggie Moo's in Burbank closed several months ago. Don't know about the other location however.

                      1. re: levbarg

                        Other location of Maggie Moo's at the Porter Ranch Shopping Sahara just opened recently, I believe. So you can still get your cotton candy fix there.

                        Question- if this is a Coldstone-style place, does that mean that they mix in bits of cotton candy into the ice cream? Now that I'd have to try.

                        And to extend this discussion a bit further, I'm a fan of Humphrey Yogart (the one on Van Nuys in Sherman Oaks, don't know about any others.). In the past week I've had vanilla yogurt mixed with toasted almonds and brownie, as well as tangy unsweetened yogart blended with strawberries. Yum! And very refreshing.

                        1. re: Spoony Bard

                          They don't mix bits, it's a cotton candy flavored ice cream, it's blue and tastes just like cotton candy. Way better than the DQ one.

                          1. re: Spoony Bard

                            Friends of mine love Maggie Moo's!!
                            I can't wait to try it!!

                      2. i agree that the ice cream is no good. but the frozen yogurt ain't bad at all. in fact, it's quite good. especially with some mix-ins. i'd stick to the yogurt.

                        1. I have only been to coldstone once a while ago and so don't remember it in great detail. But I definitely did not have the gag reflex that so many people here are posting about (actually, I did gag at the price...) I ordered just plain vanilla with no mix-ins and the 16 year old behind the counter looked at me like I was mad... when I try a new place I often like to try a very "basic" item, which gives me an indication of how much care they put into their more complicated menu items (for example, plain cheese pizza or tuna nigiri). Then if I like it I'll come back for more.

                          I just came back from Italy where all the ice cream (gelato) is freshly made and is similar in texture (though not flavor) to coldstone... that is to say very smooth and much softer than traditional American ice cream. The gelato usually began melting down the cone within a minute of being handed to me. The flavor of the many gelatos I had tasted really fresh, and the mint ice cream I had in Florence actually tasted like real mint leaves! What a comcept...

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: levbarg

                            Forgot to add...

                            A big 3 scoop cone of gelato only cost about $2...

                          2. Oh good! I thought it was just me, because lots of people go on and on about this place. Been there twice and besides the lack of real ice cream flavor, what got me was as I ate, I watched the counter person mixing each order and then wiping off the 'stone' with the same ol' rag time after time. The rag got put back in a small container (don't know what was in it) located at the side of the counter. Got me to wondering how long that rag had been used and what other 'mixtures' I had in my pricy dessert...!

                            1. Cold Stone ice cream tastes just like what it's name implies: a cold stone.

                              1. i guess the mix should be right. i've been to several different cold stones, but some stores taste worse than the others. i like the ice cream located in eagle rock. cannot remember the exact address.. but for some reason their ice cream tastes better than the ones in other location.. at least for me. i don't like eating ice cream b/c they are too sweet.. but whenever i feel like eating one i drive to that location.

                                1. I once worked with someone who had a friend who worked at CSC. The CSC employee saw the labels on the containers - loaded with artificial flavors, artificial colors and preservatives. The CSC employee refused to eat there.

                                  1. My husband and I went there once--and that was once too many. It was a surreal experience. My husband asked for a simple cone: chocolate chip, I believe. Had no idea it was going to be so expensive, which was our fault for not looking at the price board. The employees acted and looked like they'd rather be anywhere but there. But the oddest thing was when they broke out in a song and started clapping concurrently for no apparent reason (it wasn't any guests' bday, etc.). We hightailed out of there.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: gloriousfood

                                      The singing/clapping starts when a customer puts money in the tip jar. It's a company wide practice, so I assume that it increases tips in general, but the practice certainly kept me from dropping change in the jar the few times I was there.

                                      I found the ice cream to have a gummy/waxy feel, plus overly sweet. I did like their sorbet, even though it wasn't very sorbet-like. It tasted/felt more like a sherbet even though it's dairy free.

                                      1. re: mpjmph

                                        Thanks for enlightening me on the singing/clapping thing. I guess it works, but if you don't know about it--like we didn't--it just makes you want to get the hell out of there and never come back.

                                    2. DNiece is avowed low carb and very adherent.

                                      EXCEPT when she gives in to cold stone.
                                      So, I went with her once. Meh.

                                      1. Glad, like others here, to be validated in my opinion that Cold Stone's ice cream is nothing to write home about. Tried it twice...and that was one time too many. Aside from the clearly syb-par ice cream, the very image of someone mucking my ice cream around on a marble slab that is wiped down each time with a used rag is pretty stomach turning.
                                        I am fortunate to live near a great locally owned ice cream place (Thomas Sweet's in New Brunswick and Princeton, NJ) whose ice cream, service, and overall quality runs rings around any other place I've been to.

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: The Professor

                                          by no means am I trying to start anything but I find it really comical to hear people who get "sickened" by something like "the very image of someone mucking my ice cream around on a marble slab that is wiped down each time with a used rag."

                                          there was another comment earlier about the rag sitting in some "bucket."

                                          From my experiences, the bucket is generally filled with some type of sanitation solution that is changed ever few hours. Can you imagine a restaurant that cooks or prepares one item at a time and then cleans and sanitizes the entire station/cooking surface/utensils? Talk about cost and time prohibitive!

                                          1. re: joe777cool

                                            Yeah, when I read my OWN comment back it sorta made ME laugh too. I was overstating it, I suppose, but still...that marble slab thing is a bit of a gimmick. Anyway, I'm not at all squeamish or fussy about food in general but frankly even if the old rag is soaking in a sanitizing solution, I wouldn't want _that_ near my ice cream either...the sanitizing residue is probably worse for me than any bacteria living on the table. LOL. The place I go to (mentioned in my post) has a fairly simple mix-in device that accomplishes the same thing more efficiently and cleanly. But hey...to each his own. Some folks really LIKE Cold Stone and those places seem to do fairly well without my business. I feel fortunate indeed to have a local place to go to that runs rings around the national chain.

                                            1. re: The Professor

                                              (re-posted from an earlier thread)

                                              I'm in Sherman Oaks, California, and there's a CSC right around the corner. Of course, I had to try it; it gets awful hot 'round these parts come summer.

                                              The main thing that bothered me was the total inefficiency with regard to the "mix-on-a-slab" preparation. Sorry, but I don't have anywhere from five to ten minutes to wait for this laborious procedure to finish. Considering there were two customers ahead of me, it took a total of fifteen minutes from walking in the door with my cash-money to walking out the door with the product.

                                              Meanwhile, was I supposed to stand there, transfixed, watching some bezitted teenage summer employee play with my food the way a toddler might play with her own bodily waste? I don't think so.

                                              The product was, in a word, abysmal. As otters have mentioned above, the "ice cream" is too sweet, too airy, and too lard-like to pass for the real thing. I was left with a curiously oily coating within the confines of my otherwise pristine mouth -- an annoying sensation that lingered for hours, no less.

                                              Aside from the Dow Chemical-like consistency of the "ice cream", the unrelenting sweetness killed it for me. This thing was sweet with a capital "F". Beyond enjoyable, frankly.

                                              Although I chose to leave a small tip in the counter-top jar, I was not vocally serenaded -- something for which I am forever grateful.

                                              No, thanks, I'd rather gorge myself to the point of paralysis on Haagen-Daaz bars or Ben and Jerry's.


                                              1. re: The Professor

                                                to each their own for sure - I have been to a CSC twice..... too many good local establishments in RI. From what I remember - it wasnt very memorable.

                                            2. re: The Professor

                                              I love Thomas Sweets (it's actually a chain--I frequent the one in DC)! I'm personally a fan of their frozen yogurt, especially the oreo and snickers (they say it's only 10 cals an ounce--yeah right).

                                            3. "$4 for a regular scoop in a cone, too"
                                              It's so bad, and the servings are so small !

                                              1. Another poster here agreeing with the awful mouth feel. I don't like feeling like I need to chew my ice cream. Flavors are certainly nothing remarkable. I'd rather have Dairy Queen than this, frankly. We have Maggie Moo here, and DH likes it a lot; I think it's okay but not fabulous.