Saturday, April 25, 2015

Tour de Soft Serve 2.0

Well, I have pretty much abandoned this blog, mostly because there are already quite a few fantastic bloggers in the area, and also because I've have prioritized other things (like work, family, friends, binge watching Game of Thrones, etc., not necessarily in that order) However, today Matt and I had a fun time exploring some of Saratoga County's little soft serve stands. I couldn't resist posting some highlights, and a link to Matt's public photo album from today: Tour de Soft Serve 2015
He was our driver and photographer, while I helped to navigate and take notes. (Go team!)
The itinerary had 5 ice cream stops:
1. Devoe's Rainbow Delights (Rte 9 in Clifton Park)
2. JJ's Snack Bar (Rte 50 in Ballston Spa)
3. Humpty Dumpty (West Ave., in Saratoga Springs)
4. Dairy Haus (476 Maple Ave. in Wilton)
5. Farmer's Daughter Drive-In (882 NY-29, Saratoga Springs)
We also made two savory stops on the way (one planned, one spur-of-the-moment)
1. Kelly's Mini Hot Dogs (for mini-dogs, what else?)
2. 9 Miles East Farm (for pizza)

  • Although I prefer frozen custard and hard ice cream to soft serve, I realized that the addition of a topping significantly enhances a plain-jane dish of soft serve. We asked for 'Heath Bar' topping for all our dishes of chocolate-vanilla twist. (4 out of 5 places gave us 'toffee bits' instead of Heath bar candy, though.) Kids seem to understand this well, as nearly every kid I saw had sprinkles or a dipped cone. Soft serve is also a better vehicle for toppings than ice cream, since the softness allows more topping to stick.
  • There was no truly bad soft serve in the group we tested, although textures varied a little bit, and depth of chocolate flavor varied quite a lot. 
  • The biggest surprise to me was how much the size of a 'kiddie cup' varied. The one at Humpty Dumpty's was tiny and the ones at Dairy Haus and Rainbow Delight were huge! 

After the 2nd ice cream stop, we made an impromptu stop at Kelly's Mini Hot Dogs in Ballston Spa. At $1.10 a piece for 'works with cheese' it was quite possibly the best value of the day.
Seems like Kelly's is a local favorite, but it's a tiny place, kind of under the radar.
I'll wait for The Profussor to summarize and reveal the results of the comparative tasting of the ice creams. I definitely have my opinion, though.
After five servings of sweet sweet soft serve, we headed out to Nine Miles East, where they let us sit and enjoy some freshly baked pizzas (cheese, sausage and cheese, and the seasonal pizza with farm fresh garlic, basil, and onions.) These pizzas were excellent, especially when it came to flavorful sauce and toppings. Their crust is pretty unique, and it was tasty as long as the pizza was hot. Once it cooled down, it was much more dense and kind of lost it's appeal. Freshness counts, as usual.
The staff there were super friendly, allowed us to eat right at the farm and even introduced us to a beautiful flock of chickens. (Zero didn't get to meet them - that would not have gone well for the chickens!) Although the eggs aren't for sale, we did get to take some home with us!