I scream, you scream
I worked in an ice cream store for five years during high school and college. I can tell about how many ounces of ice cream are in a dish just by looking at it. I can tell if ice cream was made with expensive or cheap cream. I can come up with any flavor/topping combination to suit you.
So I won't eat ice cream just anywhere. I'm an ice cream snob.
I actually can't believe I'm going to give a recommendation to the place I'm about to recommend because this franchise is my franchise's competition. But I haven't worked in ice cream for three years, and the store where I worked has since closed and isn't even in Northeast Ohio anyway.
I stopped at Cold Stone Creamery the other night to pick up a pint for my boyfriend and I for dessert. I knew immediately what I wanted when I walked in because, after all, I had worked in a similar place for five years and knew exactly how to mix together a flavor both he and I would enjoy.
If you haven't been to Cold Stone, I'll give you the scoop for how it works:
The ice cream is all flavored plain, without any nuts, cookies, candies or fruit. The people at Cold Stone will mix it in fresh in front of you on a cold stone slab. So you can make any flavor you like -- such as cookies 'n' cream in chocolate ice cream, or strawberry with chocolate chips. (Need any more recommendations? e-mail me your interests and I'll see what I can come up with.)
At first I was disappointed in the service. It was a busy Friday night, and it seemed like not enough employees were working. I grew slightly impatient remembering how I handled busy Friday nights in my ice cream scoopin' days.
But when it was finally my turn, I couldn't have had a nicer person helping me. She asked how I was doing, and we had a nice conversation about my hometown and college. After she finished mixing together my combination (coffee ice cream with Oreos, Snickers and brownie), she scooped it into the pint container -- then offered me the remainder of what wouldn't fit. I told her I would save it for later, so she stuck it in a dish with a lid. That in and of itself was a full serving of ice cream, which makes sense because she added about 6 ounces of mix-ins to the pint she had scooped.
The cost of the concoction? A pint with three mix-ins is $5.99. While that might seem like a lot for just ice cream, it's only about $2 a serving (at least, I got three servings out of mine). And if you haven't noticed, dairy and ice cream have gotten pretty expensive in the past few years, so that's not a bad deal.
Oh, and the ice cream tasted fantastic. Coffee with Oreos, Snickers and brownies might be my new favorite flavor (and I think it could be my boyfriend's new favorite, too).
I'll definitely be making my way back this summer when it's unbearably hot. I would recommend you do the same. But if you're in the South, check out Marble Slab Creamery (the franchise that had the mix-in-your-toppings-on-a-cold-slab idea 10 years before Cold Stone).
Cold Stone Creamery
36175 Euclid Ave.
Willoughby, OH 44094
9560 Diamond Centre Drive
Mentor, OH 44060
-- Cheryl Sadler