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Nominations for Tour de Soft Serve 2.0

March 16, 2015

Unbelievably, the Yelp job still isn’t in full swing. Still to come is The Weekly Yelp newsletter, the Yelp Review of the Day and our first big Official Yelp Event, but I expect everything to be firing on all cylinders by April. Which, incidentally, is when I’ll be leading readers of the FUSSYlittleBLOG on the next spring tour.

If you can’t wait until April to go on an eating adventure, I’m organizing an unofficial Yelp event this Thursday. So if you Yelp or are even Yelp-curious, you are welcome to join us for tavern pizza, wings and mozzarella sticks with melba sauce at Ralph’s. All the details can be found here.

Now back to this business about the spring tour. Following an old tradition at the FLB, there is always a period of nominations for local businesses to be considered as part of the tour. The Capital Region is a big place with lots of nooks and crannies, and plenty of room for excellent businesses to exist for decades under the radar. I’m hoping by asking people to share their favorites, we can come up with a better list collectively than I can craft on my own.

But first, we need to take a quick look back at where we’ve been.

Even though this will be fifth year we’ve done a frozen treat tour in the spring, 2015 will be only the second Tour de Soft Serve. In 2012 we went on the Tour de Homemade Hard Ice Cream. 2013 was the Tour de Gelato. And while I was in New Jersey in 2014, Maeve led a group of readers on a Tour de FroYo.

In 2011 we went to:
On the Farm
Guptil’s
Country Drive In
Kurver Kreme
Jim’s Tastee Freez

The big winner was On the Farm, and bringing up the rear was Kurver Kreme. For that outing, we largely stuck to Albany County, but did cross the river to get to Country Drive In. It was just so close to Guptil’s, it was hard to resist.

Part of me wants to look west towards Schenectady County, because there are lots of beloved and strange places out in that direction which would be worthy of further scrutiny:
Curry Freeze
Bumpy’s Polar Freeze
Jumpin’ Jack’s Drive In
The Ice Cream Shop
Big Scoop

We could also go north towards Saratoga and have a narrow footprint of:
Humpty Dumpty
Dairy Haus
Ice Cream Man
Farmer’s Daughter
DiDonna’s

There is even a potential east of the Hudson soft serve tour:
Snowman
Likety Split
The Lighthouse
Mac’s Drive In (technically on the wrong side of the river)
The Big Dipper

Or we could mix it up a bit. But since people generally like eating ice cream and tend to be less crazy about big drives around the region, I’m tempted to pick a geography and find five well-loved places to evaluate on some Saturday in April. And looking at these lists, the five in and around Saratoga Springs sound mighty tempting.

Just remember, this isn’t a democracy. Getting lots of friends to post comments in support of your favorite seasonal soft serve joint isn’t going to get the shop on the itinerary. What I’m looking for is critical input. I’m less interested in which places are your favorites, and more interested in WHY they are your favorites.

Some examples of fantastic soft serve attributes are:
Texture
Density
True flavor
Clean finish
Homemade hot fudge
Fresh mix (vs. shelf stable)
Real whipped cream

I’m very excited to get back to seasonal soft serve. In fact, given how much of it there is in the region, perhaps, 2016 should just be Tour de Soft Serve 3.0? I’m not sure. We’ll have to discuss it on the tour. But for now, it’s time to submit your nominations (even if that’s just to nominate one of the three proposed itineraries).

Thanks for playing at home. I hope to have an important story for you tomorrow.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Jack C permalink
    March 16, 2015 10:08 am

    I’m intrigued by this… Being new, I don’t have any recs, but I hope to be able to go. I should be able to do so, as long as it isn’t on April 18.

  2. March 16, 2015 3:28 pm

    I vote for Saratoga, of course, since I live here. There’s now an Ice Cream Man right in town which makes the driving easier and maybe offers the option of adding a place. I have actually been to only two of the Saratoga places you list but if there’s serious interest I can poll some people who grew up here on where they get their soft serv.

  3. phairhead permalink
    March 16, 2015 7:30 pm

    I vote for Sch’dy. Home town pride :D

  4. March 17, 2015 9:03 pm

    I would like to vote for DeVoe’s Rainbow Delights in Clifton Park. They have a hardy soft serve that stands up to any cone.

    • March 17, 2015 9:04 pm

      Also, if you could pick any other Saturday besides 4/11 it would be greatly appreciated.

  5. Dave R. permalink
    March 18, 2015 1:22 pm

    Marthas in Lake George area – far from Albany, Yes; Delicious? YES!!!

  6. Jessica R W permalink
    March 18, 2015 2:41 pm

    I vote for Schenectady. I think those ice cream shops are well known in this region over the ones in Saratoga, so they should be put to the test. Also, since I work in Schenectady, it will help me know where to go for ice cream!

  7. Laura permalink
    March 31, 2015 1:35 pm

    Martha’s has some of the best soft serve that I have tried in the area and with homemade flavors. The portions are wider rather than taller and have a very distinct creaminess. I live in Troy and will make the pilgrimage a couple of times a season. There is no distance I won’t go for really quality product. Even if you don’t add it to the list you should still check it out if you haven’t yet. Maybe you could add it to the Saratoga tour for some people if they are feeling really hard core about soft serve.

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