When I was a boy living in East Haven, Connecticut, if the weather was good, after Sunday dinner my Mom would say, Let’s go for a ride and as a little kid, I didn’t have a choice. Gas cost 25 cents a gallon and no one was worried that the planet would run out of anything. I don’t remember much about our rides. I know we’d sometimes drive along the beautiful Connecticut coast, and if we were lucky, we’d end up on the Roller Coaster Road. That wasn’t the name of the road, it was its description. It wound through the Connecticut woods with numerous rises and dips … and my father, usually a conservative driver, would traverse the road at what seemed like breakneck speeds while I squealed with delight in the back seat … turning it into the Roller Coaster Road.
Sometimes, we’d stop for ice cream. If we stopped at the Knudsen’s Dairy in Hamden, the chances were 9:1 that I would order a black raspberry ice cream cone. On the other hand, if we stopped at Dairy Queen, I’d have a Hawaiian sundae, vanilla soft serve ice cream with crushed pineapple and coconut. By the time I’d reached high school, my friends and I were stopping on the way home from dances and football games at Friendly’s Ice Cream. I don’t remember what my favorite was there but my best friend, Russ, liked maple walnut with an interesting twist … he’d pick out all the walnuts and leave them on the side of his plate. The University of Connecticut agricultural school made its own ice cream and sold it on campus … I seem to remember favoring cherry vanilla.
I’ve been posting Friday Favorites for almost two years, so you could have read fifty or so of my favorite things, from my favorite day and favorite music to my favorite color and number. You may have guessed that today’s Friday Favorite is my favorite ice cream. Here in Socal, the once common ice cream shops have largely disappeared, leaving only Thrifty Ice Cream, sold at Rite-Aid (formerly Thrifty) drug stores and Baskin-Robbins near us. My favorite at Rite-Aid is pistachio. I remember when Thrifty pistachio ice cream had real pistachios instead of walnuts. Ah, inflation. I don’t care for Baskin-Robbins ice cream but if forced at gunpoint to go there, I’ll choose black cherry. OK, enough almost favorites. If I’m in an upscale mall that has a Häagen-Dazs store my favorite is rum raisin … which I can also get by the pint at our local Ralph’s supermarket. But if I’m at Ralph’s supermarket, 90% of the time, I’ll buy a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia. I guess that makes Cherry Garcia the winner I mean how can I go wrong with vanilla ice cream with black cherries and dark chocolate flakes? It’s probably the dark chocolate flakes not the clever play on the name of the Grateful Dead singer that pushes it to the top.
What’s your favorite ice cream?