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May 26, 2009 10:06 AM

Ice Cream Soda --boston and north

Hi all,

I searched this board for "ice cream soda" and stopped looking after the first three pages of results showed lots of "ice cream" and a few "soda" (almond and grapefruit) and even "cream" and "icing" but not a SINGLE "ice cream soda"!

Warning -- whining ahead:

Doesn’t anybody make ice cream sodas any more? I know Turner’s in Provincetown makes good ones and the place to the left of Hobb’s Popcorn at Salem Willows does pretty good … but there’s gotta be others … They aren’t on Friendly’s menu any more. The two independent ice cream shops in my small town don’t have them on the menu. One shop CLAIMED to make one, but when I saw them pour the ingredients (including seltzer) into a metal cup and put it on the shake blender I was so skeptical that I’ve never ordered one.

Over the weekend I was out and about and thrilled to find the ice cream stand of my youth re-opened, with the original name and a signage claiming “since 1934”. I walked in, didn’t even glance at the menu … I asked “do you make ice cream sodas?” I was told “yes” so I ordered a vanilla soda w/ chocolate ice cream. The young woman working the counter turned away to make it, turned back and said “what flavor did you want?” so I repeated my order and she said “we only have plain seltzer”. Huh? I said “so you don’t know how to make one?” and she looked at me at had her coworker, like I was a lunatic so I said “thanks” and left.

Are sodas becoming a ‘lost art’?

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  1. I know there area number of ice cream sodas (ice cream, milk, syrup and seltzer) on the menu at Pizzi Farm Market and Deli in Waltham but I have never tried them. The rest of their options (sandwiches, panini, ice cream) are all very good so I would give it a try.

    1 Reply
    1. re: thegirlwholovestoeat

      I tried to get one there at the beginning of last summer.... not sure if it was just too early in the season and the kids didn't know what they were doing yet, but none of them knew how to make one. I think they looked it up in a book, but whatever I got was not exactly an ice cream soda, and not very good!

      I have no recommendations really, besides giving it a shot at various ice cream places like I do, but here is another ice cream soda lover anyhow! :)

    2. In downtown Haverhill, England's MicroCreamery makes old fashion ice cream soda's, and Fowle's in Newburyport used to make them, although I haven't ordered one there in maybe two years.

      1. Richardson's on 114 in Middleton makes a great ice cream soda.

        1. I've had very nice ice cream sodas at both JP Licks and Brighams.

          4 Replies
          1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

            I don't recall having a properly-made soda at Brigham's recently, but I'll second JP Licks - at least most of the time. My recollection is that I did get a kind of a half-assed soda one time last summer. I believe I've also had a good one at Cabot's in Newton.

            To respond to SCP77's final question - the ice cream soda has indeed become a lost art, which has been a pet peeve of mine for well over a decade. For one thing, most ice cream shops don't have plain soda water on their soft drink fountains any more, which is how you get the counter staff saying things like "We only have plain seltzer." The other big fail that I often run into is people who mix soda water and syrup, but don't add the requisite splash of milk or half and half, so you end up with a nasty thing that resembles a float.

            I hope folks can post some other leads to good ice cream sodas on this thread - they are one my my favorite summer treats.

            1. re: Allstonian

              I would like to second Cabot's in Newton for a fine ice cream soda.

              1. re: Allstonian

                Went to JP Licks in Cambridge today and it was not good. I asked for an ice cream soda with chocolate ice cream and vanilla soda. The person behind the counter repeated my order back to me but then made a chocolate soda with vanilla ice. Not the end of the world and I didn't feel like asking for it to be re-made and started my walk home. On the walk, I noticed there was no froth and thought this was pretty odd. Then I tasted it. The soda was completely flat -- zero carbonation. Not even a hint. To the point that I had to wonder if it was plain water instead of soda.

                1. re: Allstonian

                  I just had one a Brighams in Arlington (corporate office site) and it was delicious. Also, Coleens in Medford Square makes good ones. I hate it when places try to substitute ginger ale and/or 7 up or mountain dew for seltzer- they claim you can't taste the difference- BALONEY all that stands out is the taste of the soda!

                  I have started making them for my husband and I at home. We love coffee ones and as a treat we will have an ice cream soda night at home! It actually is cheaper in the long run- for the cost of 2 at an ice cream shop you can get a weeks worth at home.

              2. Totally a lost art. I tried to order a chocolate ice cream soda at Emack & Bolio's, which had it on the menu. I got a blank look followed by, "So, you want a Coke with a scoop of chocolate ice cream in it?" I finally got them to grasp what I was talking about by saying it was like an egg cream with a scoop of ice cream in it. I wish they would't put it on the menu if they have no idea what it even IS.

                That said, Brigham's is usually OK. If it's a real Brigham's, not the counters in malls. JP Lick's and Herrell's, too.

                3 Replies
                1. re: BostonCookieMonster

                  Yes, Emack and Bolio's was the first place I encountered staff with nothing but canned/bottled soft drinks and no clue what an ice cream soda even was, let alone how to make one - as I said above, at least ten years ago.

                  Lately I often find myself near the Brigham's in Belmont on Tuesday evenings - I will have to try a soda there. I really like that one - the staff are very good and take a lot of pride in the quality of their work.

                  1. re: Allstonian

                    That's the only Brigham's I've had an ice cream soda at (you weren't with me), and it was quite nice. I had forgotten about Cabot's -- someplace I would love to include in the repertoire more often -- and have not had a soda from there yet, but I have yet to have anything less than stellar from their fountain, so I would expect great things.

                  2. re: BostonCookieMonster

                    Part of the confusion may result from regional distinctions -- I grew up in the Midwest, and I'd never heard of putting milk in an "ice cream soda" before reading this thread. (Sounds good, though.)