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ISO Ice cream stands where kiddie size does not mean a scoop the size of a baby's head

I was happy to discover Orchard Hill Ice Cream in Billerica, adjacent to Augusta Market and Griggs Farm. The kid sized cone is a manageable scoop about 2" in diameter, for less than $2. They have both hard ice cream and yogurt, and their soft serve, which is 95% fat-free, comes in dozens of flavors. Better yet, it's really close by. Good quality ice cream is abundant in eastern MA but most places go overboard on portion size, with correspondingly high prices,

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  1. I had to laugh at this while I wholeheartedly agreed! My family was at Richardson's and split a single kiddie scoop between my husband, I, and our two kids...whenever I order one I always think,"Whose kids actually eat that much ice cream?"

    Question, is this phenomenon common throughout the country or just the Boston area?

    It's been a while since I've been to one, but I recall the ice cream scoops at Tosci's to be a reasonable size...and they have interesting flavors to boot.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ladycale

      Ladycale - my kid. She can eat me under the table in ice cream consumption (this is no small feat). 7 years old, tall, and pretty lanky.

      Lizzie's in Needham has a "mini" size.

    2. Not an ice cream stand, but JP Licks' "Kiddie" and Toscanini's "Micro" come in Dixie cups.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Prav

        One reason Orchard Hill Farm may be so affordable is that it's not paying for prime real estate the way JP Licks does in Harvard Square and Charles Street.

        Separately, why can't more ice cream shops adopt Toscanini's model and use a more neutral term like "Micro"?

        1. re: Velda Mae

          At least it's not like Cold Stone Creamery :) From their website:

          Like It™ - approximately 5 oz.
          Love It™ - approximately 8 oz.
          Gotta Have It™ - approximately 12 oz.

          Blech, 12 oz. of artificially-flavored crap, with more junk incorporated into it to hide the taste.

          I think we have a pretty good ice cream scene in Boston!

          1. re: Velda Mae

            Really? There's an issue with the term kiddie cone now? Oy

            I don't always eat ice cream, but when I do I always appreciate when places go overboard on portion size!

            1. re: Gabatta

              This may sound stupid, but I didn't know for a long time that adults could order them -- I thought it was like a lot of children's menus where they're only offered to people under a certain age. Nope, just a size.

              1. re: antimony

                Precisely why I prefer to name a scoop for it's size, not for its target audience.

                And, in fact, there are places that only sell kiddie cones to kids, just like restaurants have age limits on their kids menus.

                1. re: Velda Mae

                  Which ice cream shops wont sell a kiddie size to an adult?

            1. re: enhF94

              +1 :-)

              I always get the kiddie size too when going out w/ friends for ice cream. I'm actually satisfied w/ about a tablespoon or two to cool my tongue off since I'm not too mich of a fan of ice cream.
              I remember going to Kimball's w/ coworkers years ago and their "small" size was ridiculously huge and I had to ask for a kiddie size which was still too big for me. I should have just asked for sample spoons :-P

              1. re: enhF94

                Aw, shucks! Wasn't it Miss Piggy whose advice is to never eat anything bigger than your head? Some folks seem to have taken that as a legitimate portioning guideline.

                Remember the Howard Johnson style conical scoop? That was a good size and seemed to me to minimize dripping. You ate around the bottom first, before it melted, and then could take your time with the peaked center.

              2. Don't go to Kimball's in Westford if you want reasonable portions. The kiddie sizes yesterday were outrageously large. The small was ridiculous. Lots of happy people, though. That's just too much ice cream for me.

                1. Scoop size???? Isn't that why parents assist?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: treb

                    You mean by eating most of the kiddie cone before giving it to the kid? Otherwise, no good way for the parents to re-portion when the smallest available size is way too large, unless when the family goes out for ice cream they bring along their own scooper and extra cones - which would be ridiculous, IMO.

                    1. re: greygarious

                      "You mean by eating most of the kiddie cone before giving it to the kid?" It's a parents duty right!! How many food groups have you eaten for/from your kids over the years? remember eating those Cherrio's on the baby high chair?

                  2. Socs in Melrose
                    Richardsons in Middleton

                    they both have small kid size scoops

                    1. Christina's in Inman Sq, Cambridge has an appropriately sized small, with some of the most delicious and unique flavors around.

                      1. You nailed it with the last sentence. I'm not interested in paying $5 bucks for a kiddie cone.

                        I go infrequently but for the couple of times I'll go out to an ice cream stand during the summer, I really like Soc's (Melrose,MA) or Leavitt's (Plaistow, NH)

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: pinehurst

                          Tosci's is $3.50 which is quite reasonable in my opinion, for very high quality product.

                        2. Mad Maggie's in North Andover has good ice cream, reasonable sizes, and are willing to mix flavors in any multi-scoop portion. I know they do single-scoops, don't remember if they have a "kiddie" per se.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: T.B.

                            Mad Maggie's may have reasonable sizes however their price of $3.50 for a kiddie size I think is unreasonable for the very small serving size that it is.

                          2. At Rancatore's in Lexington, the micro size is a very reasonable 4 oz, but it depends on who is scooping. They tend to err on the side of generosity, so you usually have to say, "not too big, please."

                            1. Was at toscaninis last week and they have a small that is the size of those bathroom dixie cups. Perfect for me!

                              1. Farther afield, Mo's Fudge Factor in Shelburne Falls serves Herrell's ice cream - smallest size is the "dainty dip", a modest scoop for under $2. AND they have the Herrell's real honest-to-god chocolate sprinkles, too.

                                1. I would rather see more full-fat sugar free ice creams than smaller sizes. The Splenda sweetened strawberry at Kimball's seemed quite good, though I only had a sample--I'm not much of an ice cream eater, but when I find a flavor I like I'm happy to get a lot of it for a little money. And Nectresse is likely to be an even better ice cream sweetener. But most sugar-free ice creams are also low-fat, and low fat food is never to my liking.

                                  1. The kiddie size at Ericson's in Maynard is a real kiddie size. I have stopped going to Kimball's because even when I order a kiddie size and plead with them to please scoop conservatively, I still get a scoop the size of a baby's head. Very annoying. And, our family all like different flavors, so we can't even share.

                                    20 Replies
                                    1. re: Kat

                                      What I end up doing half of the time is eating what *I* think is a kiddie portion, then throwing away the rest to save myself from myself. It is a horrible waste, but I simply don't need the extra 500 calories being dolled out. This is reflective of portion sizes in the U.S. in general.....so ridiculous!

                                      1. re: Science Chick

                                        I'm with you, when I can spare the willpower. It's worth $2 for me not to eat those calories.

                                        ETA: I'm more effective at this if I toss the extra food _before_ starting to eat.

                                        1. re: Science Chick

                                          Throwing Away..... Think about all the dogs, hanging out a Kimball's, you are depriving!

                                          1. re: treb

                                            good grief! dogs should not be eating ice cream.

                                          2. re: Science Chick

                                            Or you could eat 500 calories less of something you don't like as much as ice cream.

                                            1. re: KWagle

                                              I like my HUGE kiddie cup at Kimball's.. I go a few times a year and i thoroughly enjoy it.. I think its less than $4 for a giant cup of good homemade ice cream.. I hate places that give me a thimble full of ice cream.. I am not worries about the difference between $2 and $4.. Most of the threads on this forum are about eating meals / food much more expensive than this and often less of a value. I dont blame them for wanting to get more than $2 per patron. Judging by the mob scene there on most nights, i would say others like the big sizes for the price too

                                              1. re: KWagle

                                                Given my 5'3" frame, and menopausal age, I can only eat about 1300 calories a day before I start ballooning up....so giving up almost half my daily food intake to eat a garmungous ice cream just ain't worth it. I guess I could hit the gym for an extra 90 minutes of cardio........ ;)

                                                1. re: Science Chick

                                                  Ok fine then dont eat it all, is ones lack of self control the fault of the establishment? Surely not everyone finishes much more expensive dinner portions at most of the establishments discussed on this forum but i dont see people complaining that their $30 lobster roll was too big and that they wish they offered a $4 version. Adults getting micro $2 kiddies are taking up parking spots and making the line longer for potential Large sundae and fried clam eating patrons who may decide to go elsewhere because of it..

                                                  1. re: hargau

                                                    I don't think it has anything to do with self control. There's no reason for a "kiddie" to be the equivalent of a large anywhere else. And one of the very annoying things I've found at some of these places (I think Kimball is oneo) is that they won't allow two flavors in a kiddie size, even though it's more than one scoop. In addition, most of the time you can bring home a doggy bag of whatever other food you eat but obviously that's not the case with ice cream (unless you're carrying around the liquid nitrogen that other person mentioned). I also don't like going to Toscanin's and getting a small the size of a golf ball but there's a happy medium somewhere.

                                                    1. re: hargau

                                                      Taking up parking spaces and making the line longer? My goodness, this has digressed considerably! We all have a right to patronize establishments and enjoy in the way that best suits us. I think the generally commentary here has more to do with the increasingly large portion sizes that are inherent in our obese society. To suggest that we should just dole out our hard earned money for ridiculously large portions, and then throw out most of it is hardly fair. What happened to "the customer is always right"? Food vendors should be trying to please their clientele and if there is a sizable group that wants small ice creams, they should offer it. From the looks of this discussion, I'd say it is warranted.

                                                      1. re: Science Chick

                                                        We can agree to disagree then.. What about all the hundreds of pizza places that don't sell slices?? I find that much more of a problem than a $$3.75 ice cream that is larger than i would like.

                                                        1. re: hargau

                                                          Right.....so if a place *does* sell slices, are people who order slices taking up parking spaces and making the line longer for those who want whole pies? total13 already made the point about leftovers....no problem for pizza! But scooped ice cream is an immediate event.

                                                          1. re: Science Chick

                                                            And people who want more ice cream can always order a large, or two bowls. People who want smaller servings have a right to get what they want, too. It's not a money thing to me, it's about not wasting food.

                                                            Just because I want a small serving of ice cream doesn't mean I'm being unfair to the business or the other customers, it just means that I don't want to throw out perfectly good ice cream. Offer a variety of sizes and everyone will be happy.

                                                            1. re: bear

                                                              The op mentioned "correspondingly high prices" which is why i mentioned that. These places do offer many sizes, if your not happy with any of the sizes than it might just not be the place for you.. but the idea that every restaurant should offer sizes that please everyone i think is unrealistic.. Customer is not always right when it comes to dictating what the menu is. Can you go to cheese cake factory and order just a 1/2 slice of cheesecake?? Or better yet, order 1/2 slice but demand it be 1/4 slice each of 2 flavors??? I might try that, next time i am dragged there!

                                                              1. re: bear

                                                                If it's not a money thing, perhaps you would prefer they charge a single fixed price for say 1-4 scoops. And I wonder, if you specifically asked them to fill the bowl only half or less full, would they acquiesce?

                                                              2. re: Science Chick

                                                                But we are talking about a $3.75 investment here in which i am sure you will eat $2.. So if $1.75 worth of icecream goes to waste or to a dog, so be it.. Or split it with someone.. A pizza you would have to buy a $12-15 pizza just to get the 1 slice you wanted.

                                                                I have not been to any pizza places where i have to drive around for 15min looking for a parking spot and then stand in line for 30-40 so i dont think that is a problem. I have driven right by kimballs though when i have seen it like that.

                                                                I also think the giant ice creams are part of their image and what most flock there for.. I have been to Toscaninis and have got their smallest which seriously was like 2 spoon fulls. about the size of a ping pong ball and cost only cents less than the giant kimballs kiddie. After waiting in line, picking a flavor and then getting that, it was such a turn off that i wont ever step foot in one of their places again.

                                                                I actually dont find their kiddie that big anyway, its a good size for me, it is usually about flush with the cups top, where a small is a good 50% more above the rim.

                                                        2. re: Science Chick

                                                          I think it's worthy to sacrifice eating several portions of veggie grass substance, non-fat yogurt or anything perceived to be healthy etc for homemade ice cream straight from the cow! So of the 1300 calories +/-, make 1000 of them ice cream! Life is short enough.

                                                          1. re: treb

                                                            I agree treb.....I used to eat that crap and then realized I was better off just eating a smaller portion of true-blue, high quality dairy!!! Maybe not 1000 calories worth, but I get my fix on for sure!

                                                          2. re: Science Chick

                                                            How many calories does 90 minutes of cardio actually burn? I've only seen reliable numbers for running (on treadmills, in labs, running a mile burns .63 calories per pound of body weight.)

                                                            Is your daily food intake as appealing as a bowl of ice cream? Mine often isn't. So if Kimball's ice cream were sufficiently high in fat and sugar-free, I'd gladly consider eating it for dinner.

                                                    2. I have a few paper bowls stashed in the car for when we wind up at Kimballs. Order 2 flavors in a large dish, then divvy it up. Also some good plastic spoons, their floppy spoons are hard to eat with.

                                                      Kimballs pricing has always bugged me - a large is only like 50 cents more than a small, but so much bigger it seems like a ripoff to get the small. So I think that makes people tend to get the large, then be impressed by how much ice cream they got, and I've always suspected that was the goal. I really wish they had something resembling true small, medium and large at prices that matched, but they'd probably sell way less ice cream that way.

                                                      1. Just take the excess home. I bring a liquid nitrogen dewar whenever I go out for ice cream. It works well to keep the product cold until I return home on my bicycle.

                                                        4 Replies
                                                          1. re: blinko1

                                                            in hopes that you're not kidding or trolling, where do you get small amounts of LN as a consumer?

                                                            1. re: enhF94

                                                              Who said I was a consumer?

                                                              I was more talking about using the dewar as a thermos as they work ok for that as well.

                                                              I guess you could just use a regular thermos if you want your ice cream to not stay ROCK HARD.

                                                              1. re: enhF94

                                                                My friends who make LN2 ice cream get it from a welding supply place. I almost tried to score an air cooler from MIT reuse until I realized that it would also produce liquid oxygen, and pure oxygen is extremely dangerous.