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The One Good Thing at Sonic

September 9, 2015

We have a new rule. There is no eating in the car. Ever. No cheese sticks. No apples. No lollipops. No trail mix. No nothing.

Well, water. The kids can have water. And gum. The adults can drink coffee. But that’s it.

This is the new cruelty that we imposed after paying a $250+ detailing bill just to clean out the inside of the minivan. There was six years of cereal and granola bar accumulation in pretty much every nook and cranny of the back seat.

Needless to say, the appeal of a Sonic Drive-In, where you eat in your car, is lost on me. Fortunately, because we live in a place where it’s really only nice outside about four months of the year, our local Sonic has eat-in seating. Capital Region denizens continue to mob the place.

A couple months ago, JoeN pontificated, “Why anyone would choose bland, precooked, mass produced food-like substances over a place like Pirates Lakeside Grill is beyond me.” Well, I happened to stumble upon one thing that you can get at this national chain that’s apparently hard to find elsewhere.

Ever hear of nugget ice?

Even if you’ve never heard the term, perhaps you are familiar with the form. It’s ice that is formed into pellet shaped nuggets that aren’t quite solid, but aren’t quite crushed. They are kind of like the tater tots of ice.

When I was a kid growing up in Florida, I loved chewing on ice. Loved it. It was refreshing, and chomping down through the large, hard ice cubes produced by the refrigerator was especially satisfying.

My mom was mortified. And like a good Jewish mother, she scared me into stopping this practice by convincing me of the dental damage I would cause and pain I was going to endure if I persisted.

Well, it worked.

But now they make soft ice. Oh, hallelujah! And there are entire communities of people who are dedicated to the pleasures of ice chewing. Doctors suggest the urge could be tied to iron deficiencies, which is funny, because as a kid I went through a period when I needed to take iron supplements.

Fortunately, I think my ice chewing days are behind me. I really don’t need to start any more bad habits. Otherwise, I might be tempted to get the new GE tabletop pellet ice maker. It looks pretty sweet. But it’s $400. And when I really want to chew on some ice, I can get it at Sonic.

Within ice circles, Sonic is beloved for the quality of its ice. I’m totally serious.

$400 would pay for a lot of ice. The WSJ reports one Texas Sonic parting with 10 pound bags of pellet ice for a buck and change. It may be worth a call to our local shop to see if they would consider a similar deal.

So I went to Sonic to give this nugget ice a try. I even got one of their cherry limeades to make the experience complete. Would you believe there was almost no ice in the whole thing? I had to ask for an extra cup of ice on the side, and even then I got just about four ounces worth.

Perhaps had the cherry limeade been packed with nugget ice, it would have been a better experience. But I think the impossibly red cherry thing sank it. Maybe next time I’ll have to be a bit more of a purist and see how they do with the baseline limeade. I was impressed with the real sections of lime in the drink, but it was still far too sweet.

A problem, I might add, that would be fixed by more ice.

But now that I know this is a thing, I’m on the prowl. They have nugget ice at the Million Air private aviation place over by Albany International Airport. So if you ever need to charter a flight, you can get your chew on before your trip.

And I’m also left wondering how many closet ice chewers are out there. Anyone brave enough to come forward?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. -R. permalink
    September 9, 2015 12:18 pm

    Seriously? You wrote an nearly an entire blog entry about ice? I never knew it was such a thing (no surprise really), but it begs the larger question of why you are flying a private charter out of Million Air? Surely if you can afford the charter, then a $400 ice maker seems like pocket change…

  2. Jack C. permalink
    September 9, 2015 1:08 pm

    Love that ice at Sonic. It’s also the perfect ice for mint juleps. My uncle throws a Derby party every year and gets bags of nugget ice from Sonic just for the juleps.

  3. September 9, 2015 8:27 pm

    I completely agree with your assessment that the ice is the one good thing at Sonic.

    I’ve tried eating the food and it’s just not happening for me.

  4. September 9, 2015 11:21 pm

    Your posts always make me laugh. No pressure for the next one or anything.

  5. Klab permalink
    September 10, 2015 3:55 am

    You wrote about their ice being the best thing going for them. Yet you admitted that they skimped on the ice in your drink then they also skimped on your requested side of extra ice since there wasn’t enough in your drink. How can you seriously promote this place if the one thing you think makes them worthy failed you?!

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