Proud to have blogged about three of these five places:

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/life/food/five-great-places-to-enjoy-ice-cream-648643/

Looking forward to checking out the other two!


Oh Yeah! Ice Cream

Last week, we were enjoying some Mad Mex with our friends on Highland Avenue.  Being back in that neck of the woods—we lived down the street for 2 years—reminded me of one of our favorite ice cream joints that happens to be right next door.

Oh Yeah! is a little pricey, but worth the splurge every now and then.  If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you know that Kit Kats are one of my two favorite things to mix into ice cream (chocolate covered pretzels being the other).  Well, Oh Yeah! has Kit Kats and 99 other mix-ins available.  Think Cold Stone Creamery, with a funky, non-chain-store vibe.  Not only do they have 100 different mix-ins available, but they also have a decent list of soy ice cream options, too. 

The sizes can be a little confusing on your first visit.  They come in 1/4 scoop, 1/2 scoop, 1 scoop and 2 scoops.  I always go for the 1/2 scoop.  It’s what I would consider to be one actual scoop of ice cream.  Each mix-in costs extra - see what I mean that it can be a little pricey?

All in all, Oh Yeah! ranks up there as one of the ice cream places in Pittsburgh with the best options.  Next time you’re in the East End you should check it out!


Old fashioned ice cream parlor.

One of the most classic places to get ice cream in Pittsburgh is at Klavon’s in the Strip District.

Klavon’s has been in operation since 1923.  They even survived the St. Patrick’s Day flood of 1936.  If you go to Klavon’s today you can still see the actual flood line from where they sat on top of the telephone booths to keep from floating away.

Klavon’s is the real-deal old fashioned ice cream parlor that your grandparents remember.  You can sit at the counter on a spinning stool.  The menu includes all the classics like ice cream sodas, egg creams, and banana splits.  My favorite is my favorite standby - a simple chocolate milkshake.  It is almost too big for me to finish in one sitting. Dan had a hot fudge sundae with one scoop of vanilla and one scoop of coffee ice cream.

The best thing about Klavon’s, though, is the homemade whipped cream.  They always have regular, chocolate, and amaretto in addition to a specialty flavor.  You can even get a little bit of sass with your whipped cream.  We overheard a guy ask the lady taking his order how the chocolate whipped cream was.  Her response - “It tastes like chocolate.”

The only downside about Klavon’s is that it’s a little pricey.  Our bill for a milkshake and a sundae was $10.85.  This is definitely a special place we don’t visit every day, but if you find yourself in the upper end of the Strip District (28th and Penn to be exact) you should stop by Klavon’s for a piece of local history.


You haven’t had ice cream, ‘til you’ve had Hanks

I couldn’t post about my favorite ice cream without the next one being about Dan’s favorite ice cream.  Meet Hank’s Frozen Custard.

If you ever find yourself in Meadville, PA or Beaver, PA do yourself a favor and stop by Hank’s.  (The pictures in this post are from the Meadville Hank’s. They’re not owned by the same Hank, but the owners do come from the same family tree.)  To be considered custard, there must be 10 percent milkfat and 1.4 percent egg yolk solids (see Wikipedia).  It also has less air making it more dense than your typical ice cream.  But it’s a lot creamier than a traditional hand scoop ice cream, too.

Frozen custard anywhere is a special treat, but look at Hank’s prices!  Where can you get any dessert for $1.90? 

Dan fell in love with this place during college in Meadville and ever since it’s been an all-time favorite of ours.  We generally try to drive up to the Hank’s in Beaver at least once if not twice per season.  Bonus if you go to the Beaver Hank’s - it doubles as a taco stand!  So, come get your lunch and dessert and you can make a day out of it.

In Meadville, there’s even room to park your tractor!


Ladies and gentleman, the ice cream has arrived.

I can’t remember ever not liking ice cream.  I grew up with some amazing ice cream-making role models in my family, so homemade ice cream is something I’ve always been exposed to.  But, I think the real solidification of my love for ice cream goes back to my days at the Berkey Creamery (that’s the Penn State Creamery). 

In college, I worked at the beloved Creamery for a year and it was wonderful! Don’t get me wrong football game days are hard and exhausting (the line generally wraps around the corner and down the street and afterwards my arms would be bruised from banging up against the ice cream coolers), but eating all of the free ice cream you can is totally worth it.

One of my favorite things was having the ability to try all different kinds of ice creams, especially ones that I would most likely not try.  There are a myriad of flavors at the Creamery - Peachy Paterno, Death by Chocolate, Alumni Swirl, Monster Mash, Bittersweet Mint, just to name a few.  I like to think my time at the Creamery broadened my ice cream horizons, but I’ll never love another flavor as much as I love the plain chocolate.  The chocolate ice cream has a unique flavor that I’ve never found to be better anywhere else.  Don’t get me wrong - it definitely tastes like chocolate, but it has a richness and creaminess that can’t be matched.

It’s been a 2-year drought since I had my last Creamery ice cream. (You can order it online, but it costs about half a month’s salary to have it shipped to your house)  As luck would have it, a co-worker of mine was heading to Penn State yesterday.  He’s a Penn Stater himself, so he understands the yearning.  He offered to bring me home some. And ladies and gentlemen, that is how the ice cream arrived. If you come to my house later tonight, you will find each of us on a separate end of the couch, half-gallon of ice cream and spoon in hand savoring every last bite.


America’s oldest ice cream company.

There’s a show on the Travel Channel about ice cream.  I’ve seen this show numerous times and one of the places featured I’ve always longed to go.  Two weekends ago, I was able to make that dream a reality.  Hello Bassetts Ice Cream!

Bassetts touts itself as America’s oldest ice cream company.  They were established in 1861 - now that’s a long time!  Today you can find Bassetts in Reading Terminal Market in downtown Philadelphia.  Actually, they’ve been in Reading Terminal Market since 1893!  As you can imagine, Bassetts is a family owned company.  In fact, in their 150-year history, they’ve only had 6 different people manning the ice cream ship.  The current CEO is the great-great grandson of the founder.  I like a family-owned business, especially one that stays in the same family for 150 years.

If you’ve never been to Reading Terminal Market, it can be overwhelming.  You definitely need to go there with the mindset that you’re going to get jostled around, but it’s okay.  Take a breath and enjoy!  You can eat anything you can imagine inside the market.  For you Pittsburghers, think the Strip District all compacted under one roof.

So, we finally made our way through the market and ate lots of other yummy items (including crepes, soft pretzels, and pastrami).  But then, the moment I’d been waiting for arrived - we arrived at Bassetts counter.  The ice cream servers were very pleasant.  The set-up reminds me of the Creamery at Penn State - a handful of coolers all with separate flavors.  One person takes your order and the server in front of the cooler with your flavor scoops your cone or makes your milkshake.  We decided to share a cookies and cream milkshake.  It was very sweet and extra creamy.  The shake had the perfect consistency - not too runny and not too thick!  My only regret is that I ate a lot of non-ice cream items.  Next time, I’ll definitely leave room for more ice cream treats!

The next time you find yourself in Philadelphia a trip to Reading Terminal Market is a must on the agenda.  You can’t miss Bassetts - it’s right inside the main entrance.  You’ll be greeted with a smile and you’ll be left with a smile after you finish your well-worth-the-wait ice cream!


Eat ice cream for a good cause.

We recently went to Dream Cream Ice Cream downtown on Liberty Avenue. It is part of Project Pop Up: Downtown. The proceeds for each scoop you purchase benefit a different fundraiser.  For example, if you buy red velvet you help to fund liver disease research.  If you buy cookies and cream you help two guys who are trying to start their very own graphic t-shirt company. Each month the flavors change and Dream Cream will be open all summer.

We tried the cookies and cream.  It was nice and creamy!  Here’s an up close look:

Visit their website to read about the current flavors and what they support!
http://www.dreamcreamicecream.com/


The official start to summer.

It’s Memorial Day weekend and we’ve made our first trip to Page’s Dairy Mart.  That can only mean one thing - summer has officially begun!  Page’s, which is located on the corner of East Carson Street and Becks Run Road, is one of our all-time favorites in Pittsburgh.  It is not, however, open year-round so you must make the most of it from about April through October. 

Here are just a few reasons why we love it so much:

- They have Kit-Kats as a mix-in for their “Arctic Swirl”.  I’ve said it on here before, and I’ll say it again - any ice cream place that has Kit-Kats is a favorite of mine. There’s only one mix-in that I love more than Kit-Kats and that’s chocolate covered pretzels!  Page’s uses a local company called Esther’s.  They don’t just give you a little spoonful of pretzels.  They are ample in their pretzel helping AND they put an entire chocolate covered pretzel on the top of the Arctic Swirl!

-Their ice cream is just so creamy.  There’s really no other way to explain it except for it’s absolutely delicious!

-They have so many options.  You can have everything from homemade ice cream sandwiches to the classic South Side Shake - it’s the best of both worlds! (see below)

Not only does Page’s have wonderful ice cream treats, but they’re historic, too!  If you go to the back of the building you can read a lot of interesting history about Page’s Dairy Mart including the fact that there used to be a baseball field behind the current location.  They have a picture of Becks Run Baseball team playing the Homestead Greys in 1913.  You can find the telephone pole that was the original location of home plate.

The next time you find yourself in the South Side or at the Waterfront, you need to add Page’s Dairy Mart to your agenda.  You won’t be disappointed!


milkmadeicecream:

all american flavor of the day: Stimulus Packageespresso ice cream with salted-chocolate covered Cracker Jack’s and black and white cookies
Did you know that the Rocky Road ice cream flavor was created for the Great Depression? Story has it that Dreyer’s/Edy’s named the flavor after the Wall Street Crash of 1929 “to give folks something to smile about in the midst of the Great Depression.”
Taking inspiration from that story - we’ve created Stimulus Package! Espresso ice cream with salted-chocolate covered Cracker Jack’s and chunks of black and white cookies. Guaranteed to turn this economy around.

This was created with my husband in mind…

milkmadeicecream:

all american flavor of the day: Stimulus Package
espresso ice cream with salted-chocolate covered Cracker Jack’s and black and white cookies

Did you know that the Rocky Road ice cream flavor was created for the Great Depression? Story has it that Dreyer’s/Edy’s named the flavor after the Wall Street Crash of 1929 “to give folks something to smile about in the midst of the Great Depression.”

Taking inspiration from that story - we’ve created Stimulus Package! Espresso ice cream with salted-chocolate covered Cracker Jack’s and chunks of black and white cookies. Guaranteed to turn this economy around.

This was created with my husband in mind…


Strawberry frozen yogurt deliciousness

                             

I found this amazingly easy recipe for frozen yogurt last summer.  Finally tried it and it’s awesome!  Here’s the recipe:

3 cups of fresh berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)
4 cups low-fat vanilla yogurt
1 cup granulated sugar (I like tart frozen yogurt so I only used about 1/4 c of sugar)

All you have to do is mix the ingredients together in a bowl.  Let it sit in the fridge for about half an hour (optional).  Then, freeze it in your ice cream freezer.  As you can see above, I have the ice cream maker bowl/attachment for my Kitchen Aid stand mixer.  I let mine churn for about half an hour.  Serve immediately or for a harder consistency put in the freezer for a couple of hours.

Makes about 6 cups.  Serves 8.  Enjoy!