The Great Food Search: Ice Cream To Beat the Summer Heat!

Jun 29, 2019 | 2019 Articles, Terrance V. Mc Arthur, The Great Food Search

by Terrance Mc Arthur

Our roving food critic Terrance Mc Arthur continues his search for great food in Sanger and the surrounding communities. Check out more Great Food Search here!

“Hot town, Summer in the City…”

Yep, the Valley is “Hot! Hot! Hot!” in the “Summertime.”

So, what do you do? In summer, thoughts turn to ice cream, and the Great Food Search has industriously worked its way through ice cream shop after ice cream shop, just to let you know what’s out there. Here are some of the usual suspects…and a few of the unusual ones.

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Criminally good ice cream from Ampersand by Fresno High

Ampersand Ice Cream (1940 N Echo Ave, Fresno) I know there’s another shop on N. Marks at Herndon, but I always go to the branch on Echo, across from Fresno High, because it’s close to the Tower District. This is amazing small-batch ice cream at its finest. A small cup of yumminess is $3.50. The flavors change frequently, with seasonal varieties often rotated in. I had Dark Chocolate, which was a journey into the heart of darkness with a strong, solid texture. My wife tried Blackberry Peach Crisp, a creamy medley of flavors with happy bits of fruit and crunchiness that wasn’t overly sweet, reminiscent of a Fruit Crumble. A small cup is $3.50…and take a look at the local artwork displayed on the walls. Incidentally, if you pay cash, 2% of the purchase price goes to local non-profits, the company’s commitment to community action.

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Our Strawberry Blonde at Cold Stone Creamery. Ooey-gooey yummy-sunny!

Cold Stone Creamery (3047 E Campus Pointe Dr., Fresno) West of Pieology Pizza and the Maya Theatre, and east of Fresno State’s Save Mart Center (a Date Night hotbed if I’ve ever seen one), this branch of the popular chain has the tasty possibilities covered. The available flavors are tantalizing on their own, but you can go beyond that with add-ins. If the options confuse you, look at the Signature Creations menu, which is blended when you order it; I did! The Founder’s Favorite matched the Sweet Cream Ice Cream with pecans, brownie, fudge, and caramel to create something that looked like a wintry Yosemite rock formation, but it tasted so much better: sit-down quality. My wife’s Our Strawberry Blonde mashed Strawberry Ice Cream with Graham Cracker Pie Crust, strawberries, caramel, and whipped topping (They asked, “Do you want the topping inside or on top?”), like the center of a super-sized Banana Split—oh-so-creamy! As a small (16 oz.) cup, these were $4.95 each. Not satisfied with those options? Construct your own Tower of Yummiciousness!

Gourmet Goodies by Delilah (626 O St, Sanger) Next door to my beloved Uncle George Kabab, Delilah makes chocolate-dipped apples, cupcakes, dipped pretzel sticks, and more…and…she serves ice cream! Not your everyday brand, but that Valley favorite, imported all the way from Hanford, CA—Superior Dairy Ice Cream! I treated myself to a $3 scoop/cup of Chocolate Chip, fluffy and delicious, like eating a super-chilled Three Musketeers bar. My wife’s cup of Peach had chunks of fruit in it.

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Superior Dairy ice cream at Sanger ‘s Gourmet Goodies by Delilah.

Roll Me Some (530 Pollasky Ave, Clovis) This is the Broadway of Ice Cream—food and a show at one time! The ingredients are poured onto a below-zero cold griddle, mixed, chopped, and blended with flashing spatulas like a performance of Benihana on Ice, and shaved off the un-cooker like rolls of frozen carpet, to be artfully arranged and garnished in a cup (two sizes: $6 and $7). I opted for Chocolate Lovers, made with a chocolate cream, brownie Bits, Hershey’s sauce, a chocolate straw, whipped topping, and a cherry on top. My unsuspecting friend, talked into this side trip after an errand of mercy, got The Pollasky, which started with sweet cream, then added mint Oreos and Hershey’s sauce, a chocolate straw, topping and…crowned it with a whole Mint Oreo! The ice cream is very good, but the real draw is the floor show, watching the pouring, mixing, and rolling. You can wait for your creations to be brought to you at the outside tables, but you’d be missing the main event! You’ve got to see it to fully appreciate it!

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Roll Me Some in Clovis, where making ice cream is a spectator sport.

Scoop’s Soups and More (433 Pollasky Ave, Clovis) A block from Roll Me Some, Scoop’s has long been a favorite of Old Town Clovis Farmer’s Market patrons. It looks like an old-fashioned ice cream parlor, with the metal-wire chairs, black-and-white checkerboard floors, and vintage memorabilia, but Bulldog Boosters flock to the place because they serve Fresno State Ice Cream! A medium scoop runs $4.35. Caramel Toffee had a good grain to it, and my wife’s Raspberry Romance had swirls and fruit that would make Casanova swoon. On top of that, they whip up soup, sandwiches, and more. The ambiance makes you expect to see Andy Hardy walk through the door on a date!

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Fresno State ice cream at Scoop’s Soups and More in Clovis. The lovable Raspberry Romance—Scoop it up!

The Bottom Line For sheer spectacle, Roll Me Some is the best bet. When it comes to that old-time feel, plop yourself down at Scoop’s. Ampersand’s artisanal flavors are my gourmet choice. Cold Stone has loads of wow-factor. Delilah’s has that superior Superior Dairy Ice Cream. My #1 (for now—because I have a whole list of ice creameries I haven’t tried, yet) is…Gourmet Goodies by Delilah!

P.S. I thought I’d mention a few places that aren’t ice cream-centric, but they serve good frozen after-dinner treats. Golden Restaurant in the Tower District offers vanilla or sherbet after its Chinese dinners, and The Old Spaghetti Factory on Shaw tops off its pasta meals with Vanilla or Spumoni.

P.P.S. After all this ice cream, for July I’ll focus on something less waist-expanding—salads.

Check out more food articles and more of Terrance’s Great Food Search column in our Food Fun section. And check out a KRL staff profile this week on Terrance!

Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a Librarian in Fresno County, California. He is also a storyteller, puppeteer, magician, and maker of pine needle baskets. On top of that he writes stories that range from rhymed children’s tales to splatterpunk horror. He’s an odd bird, but he’s nice to have around.


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