The best ice cream in the US (reachable by JetBlue)
I need help picking the best ice cream shops in the country to visit over the course of 30 days.
I got a JetBlue "all you can jet" pass for Sept 7-Oct 8, and I plan to sample the best ice cream shops in the country. Unfortunately JetBlue doesn't fly to some places with great ice cream, like Ohio, MI, and WI. I've also excluded some places that are hard to get to without a car outside of the mid-Atlantic region. And, although my list includes California places, I'm going to focus on places outside California while I have the flight pass.
I've put together a rough list of candidates based on several sources, including the great chow thread here from 2006: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/324492
I put the candidate list at the bottom of this post, and an editable version on Google docs ( http://tinyurl.com/BestIceCreamUSA ). Any input you have is welcome and can be made at either place.
Here are my specific questions:
What should I add to the list?
What should I remove from the list?
Do you recommend particular flavors?
This is primarily an ice cream list, and I want to limit distractions, but I've already got a few gelato places on the list. Frozen pop suggestions are welcome too.
To give you a sense of the kind of ice cream I like, my favorite ice cream stores so far are Bi-Rite (SF) and Scoops (LA).
My pass excludes flights operated by Cape Air (to Cape Cod and nearby islands) and foreign destinations cost extra, so I'm excluding those too.
Thanks! I haven't figured out entirely how I'm going to track my progress, but I'll post updates or links here when I figure that out.
Here's the list (Name followed by metro area):
Angel Sweet Gelato, Phoenix
applegate farm, NYC
Bellvale Creamery, NYC
Bi-Rite Creamey, SF Bay Area
Blue Bell Ice Cream, Texas (Austin?
)Bulgarini Gelato, LA
Carl's, Fredericksburg VA
Chinatown Icecream Factory, NYC
Creole Creamery, New Orleans
Dave and Andy's, Pittsburgh
Doc Burnstein's Ice Cream Laboratory, San Louise Obispo
Downtown Bakery & Creamery, 70 miles from SF Bay Area
Dr. Mike's Ice Cream Factory, NYC/CT
Fairfax Scoop, SF Bay Area
Far Fars, Boston
Farr's Fresh, Utah
Flamingo Crossing, Key West
Franklin Fountain, Philadephia
Gerenser's Exotic Ice Cream, New Hope PA
HALO PUB, NYC
Ici Ice Cream, SF Bay Area
Jake's Ice Cream., Atlanta
Joe's, SF Bay Area
JP Licks, Boston
Kimball Farms, Boston
Kline's Dairy Bar, Harrisonburg VA
Lappert, Monterey CA and Los Angeles
Margies Candies, Chicago
Marianne's Ice Cream, Santa Cruz CA
Mariposa Ice Cream, San Diego
max and mina's, NYC
McConnell's Fine Ice Creams, Santa Barbara CA
Meyer Dairy, State College PA
Mitchell's, SF Bay Area
Moxley's Ice Cream Parlor, Baltimore
PALATERIA FERNANDEZ, NYC
Premise Made, between Allentown and Reading PA.
Purity Ice cream, ithaca NY
Richardson's Dairy, Boston
Rick's, SF Bay Area
Robin Rose Ice Cream & Chocolate, LA
Ronnybrook Farms, NYC
Scoops, Los Angeles
Shubert's Ice Cream and Candy, Chico
Snoqualmie Gourmet, Seattle
University Creamery, Penn State
Yellow Snow Ice Cream, Utah
Zozo's Juice & Grille, NYC
Not much new to add but...
In Santa Cruz, if you go to Marianne's, I wouldn't say it is the best ice cream but it is very good and the flavors are fun to choose from. You've got to try 10/20 or, if they've brought it back, Thai iced tea.
In SF, if you do go to Mitchell's, I did not find it my favourite but people lined up and waited forever for their ice cream! You'll have to at least sample the avocado! I'd go to Joe's instead. They are on Geary and, I think, 18th in the Richmond. I loved their chocolate/white chocolate or the lemon chiffon.
If you're in Colorado, look for Bonnie Brae. Their blueberry cheesecake is one of the few ice creams I'll try in that kind of flavour--so yummy! Or, try to find a tub of Boulder Ice Cream's Dutch chocolate. Absolutely my favourite chocolate ice cream ever!!
Sounds like so much frun :)
The Bent Spoon in Princeton, NJ is a must try. Named to MSN's top 9 ice cream places in the country last year - numerous glowing reviews, including a couple from the NYT, . Great artisanal, seasonal ice cream - haven't had anything like it anywhere else in the country and better than any of the vaunted gelato places I've been to in Italy. Love it every time I go.
What a great idea!! I love ice cream, and am always on the lookout for great homemade flavors. Here's a link to Jane & Michael Stern's Roadfood website. Last year a couple of intrepid reporters visited the northeast, and this list shows what they liked, ice cream and home made topping wise!
The absence of Christina's in Cambridge, MA from this list is a major oversight. Innovative flavors, great ice cream.
A couple of other Boston shops to consider are Lizzy's and Emack & Bolio's, but you might want to come over to the Boston board and ask specifically over there.
We take our ice cream very seriously in Boston. It's an oft quoted maxim that Boston eats more ice cream per capita than anyone else in the country. Not sure where it came from, but Bostonians hold the idea dear. We do have an annual event called the "Scooper Bowl."
I was blown away by the ice cream in Boston when I lived there - I was delighted to see Toscanini and Herrell's on your list. At Toscanini, my favorite was "Sluggo" - I always prayed to see it on the menu when I walked in, which it was about 25% of the time. At Herrell's I loved the chocolate pudding, with peanut butter sauce on top. So rich, and SO good. Both are very memorable ice cream shops.
As long as you're in the Bay Area, don't miss Fairfax Scoop. In Berkeley, some people like Ici and some people don't. In Oakland Lush gelato and Flavor Brigade and if you'll include sorbet on your list, Scream Sorbet (their storefront may or may not be open, but you can usually track them down at a farmer's market).
Yes, I considered adding this, but Jet Blue does not fly to the Quad Cities. Whitey's is not an artisanal product, but the graham cracker ice cream is just so delicious....
Moline, Illinois seems pretty bleak from a chow perspective, but between Whitey's and Lagomarcino's, it's a good town for ice cream. (Though Lagomarcino's is more about the experience - and the hot fudge - than the ice cream.)
It kind of depends what criteria you are using. Are you looking for the best ice cream, or literally the best ice cream shops. Margie's Candies in Chicago might be worth a visit from a nostalgia perspective, but the ice cream is notably horrible. The ice cream at the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory in NYC is o.k., and it's a fun place to visit, but it would never make my "best" list.
Purity is good, but not worth traveling to Ithaca for.
Can't wait to see your top 10.
Molly Moon's in Seattle: http://www.mollymoonicecream.com/
I went twice a week when I still lived there. They serve fresh flavors made with local and organic ingredients.
Have fun on your trip(s)! What a great idea; if I were you I'd bring a videocamera and document your adventure.
Add: Manning Dairy Farm in Scranton, PA. Any flavor containing vanilla as a base (there are many). This has become my new standard for great ice cream.
Definitely remove Franklin Fountain in Philly and McConnell in Sanata Barbara from your list. Both good, not great.
Gifford in DC does not even rate good for me. York Castle Tropical Ice Cream in Rockville, MD is the best in the DC area, especially for tropical flavors.
Since you are including gelato, then Ottho in NYC, I can highly recommend the olive oil, burnt sugar, hazelnut and pistachio as some of the best int he world.
Done! Thanks for helping me winnow those out. I'll definitely be checking out York and Ottho, but I'm not sure how far into PA I'm going to get. Manning will at the least stay on my "to do" list. Every time I read your Ottho flavor recommendations, my stomach contracts. Can't wait!
Yup - they're in Ohio too (although I know you can't go there...glad it's outside of Ohio!). That was what I popped on here to suggest, actually! You HAVE to get something with the chocolate chunks/ribbons.
Seriously, I still have dreams about it and it's been almost five years since the last time I had it. I even paid theme park prices for a tiny 1/2 pint ($6 or something ridiculous like that).
You would be seriously missing out if you didn't visit Graeter's!
Well, you're not gonna get to STL on Jet Blue unless that pass affiliates with American Eagle. And Ted Drewes custard is pretty unimpressive unless it's in a concrete, which is the shake that inspired DQ's Blizzard. But since you have Ohio spots on there despite saying you can't get to Ohio, a strong recommendation for Jeni's in Columbus. Just stunning stuff.