Tour de Soft Serve
At first I thought that soft serve was like a religion in the region, but now I’m starting to feel that it’s more like a cult. I’m very excited that so many people have expressed interest in joining me on this tour, and it was great to have my eyes opened to people’s passionate backing of their favorite seasonal soft serve stands that weren’t even on my radar.
Actually that last part made my job a good bit harder.
The list of potential stops on the tour went from five to twelve. And even five I think is pushing the reasonable capacity of adults to critically consume ice cream over the course of a single afternoon. Despite being tempted to include a sixth stop, I capped the tour at five. Not everyone is going to be happy about which places made the tour and which ones got left off. But let’s try to take the long view. We can revisit some of the other places next year in the Tour de Soft Serve Extended Remix.
Here’s the plan for the first Tour de Soft Serve on Saturday, April 9.
Do you remember the bad experience I had at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que? Well, the upper management at Dinosaur heard about it too, and they want to sit down and talk it out. So that morning I’m going to have a face-to-face meeting with their Director of Operations, and he’s going to give me an up close look at what they do. I imagine when he’s in town, everything is done right. But I hope to really get some answers about maintaining quality control and standards at their Troy restaurant.
He may also make me eat one of his sausages.
I’ll keep you posted to how it goes. But I’m mentioning this for three reasons:
1) I am actually looking forward to seeing how their operation runs
2) I may be in the dangerous position of starting the tour with a full belly
3) Given the timing of the meeting, the start of the tour will need to be near Troy
The obvious answer would be to start at The Snowman. But this venerable institution is getting totally shafted. Actually, I went there recently, and it seems that the major draw of this place is their house-made hard ice-cream and yogurt. Their soft serve may be good, but it isn’t what makes the Snowman special.
Troy isn’t the only city getting the shaft. Because the weather forecast for the day looks dicey, enjoying a nice evening by the river at Jumpin’ Jack’s didn’t sound so appealing. Plus one criticism of former tours has been the actual amount of time riding in a car, so I was looking for a tighter footprint in which we could conduct the tour.
Finally, by my own admission, I know precious little about soft serve ice cream. So I took people’s nominations very seriously. One day very soon I will make it to Curry Freeze. But it will not be this upcoming Saturday.
Instead, we will start in Latham at On the Farm. I’ll meet you there at high noon. From there it is up to Guptil’s. Our first crossing of the Mohawk will bring us to the Country Drive In. After three rounds of delicious ice cream, we will cross the river for a second time to descend upon Kurver Kreme. I do not have high hopes for this one, yet it must be included, if only to be dismissed. But what I am most excited about is a big finish at Jim’s Tastee Freez in Delmar.
If you tilt your head just right, you may be able to see the shape of a soft-serve handle. I think that’s a good sign. On the off chance that it turns out to be a beautiful evening, and should anyone be able to even contemplate such a notion, I might be open for a Jumpin’ Jack’s after-party.
Here’s some mumbo jumbo that should be obvious, but I’m just going to say. Please let me know if you are coming, and if you plan to bring people with you. I’d just like to make sure I have enough score sheets to go around. If you want your score sheet to be counted, you must complete the tour, in its entirety. Attendees will be among bloggers. You should expect your picture to be taken and for it to appear on the internet. Please bring a pen. Please be on time. You may want to wear loose pants. The only things I will be providing are scoresheets, the map above, color commentary along the way, and a wrap up post of the event.
To be able to fill out the score sheets, you will need to order the following at each of the five stops:
– A chocolate/vanilla soft serve swirl
– Size is up to your discretion
– Choice of cone or cup is up to the reviewer, but once chosen must be held constant
– Choice of one topping is up to the reviewer, and can be ordered on the side, but again once chosen must be held constant
It is perfectly fine, and even encouraged to share your ice cream with the close friends you bring with you. I will not be sharing with anyone. Touch my ice cream at your peril. Also if you want to just tag along and try some of the ice creams, but aren’t so into the judging thing, the score sheets, and the restrictive ordering that’s fine too.
Just know that we’ll have to discount your opinion accordingly.
I think that about covers it. I’m looking forward to eating a lot of ice cream with you all on Saturday. In the meantime, please take a few minutes to review the FUSSYlittleBALLOT 2.0 and vote in the Times Union poll. If you’ve already voted, maybe you can take a few minutes and send the FUSSYlittleBALLOT 2.0 to your friends. Getting a critical mass of people is entirely possible, but I need your help to make it happen. Thank you.
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Update 4/14/2011 – For the results of the Tour de Soft Serve click here