Growing up, I could never get enough of Cabot's ice cream right in Newtonville. With their strawberry ice cream cone clock, huge waffles and giant sundaes, there was little else we needed after a softball game or anytime. As I got older, White Mountain Creamery was a more exciting option as mix-ins appeared. The server would pound ice cream on a marble slab and then smooth in Reese's and Oreos and infinitely more sugary candy then seemed possible. And the best in the pre-calorie-counting days? They would jam all that into a freshly made waffle cone. By high school, I had moved onto what was then unique: one of the first frozen yogurt places in town: JP Licks. We trekked to Brookline so I could have all the non-fat coffee or mint I wanted. As an adult, I have come to have almost no cravings for ice cream. It is too rich, too sweet, and frankly, too expensive. But with two young sons, visiting ice cream places is just required (at least as the occasional treat!)
They have a few recent favorites. First, yes, true: my mother just took them back to Cabot's and they were in heaven. They also enjoyed their first gelato, at the newly opened Nudo Gelateria on Watertown Street on the the Watertown/Newton line. I loved the chocolate-orange and pistachio which weren't as cloying sweet as most ice cream.
Frozen Yogurt Innovations (FYI) in Wayland. Opened by local families, customers just take as much of the yogurt and toppings as you want. Then, you pay by the ounce. While the California Tart just isn't as good as Pinkberry, it hits the spot. And for an occasional treat, it couldn't be more convenient.
We live near one of the few Dairy Queen restaurants. Talk about occasional treat. About once a summer we trek over for them to get a drippy soft serve vanilla or ice cream that often melts by the time we get to the benches in the parking lot.
As for me, for the rare times I splurge, Pinkberry is still it. I stick with the basic tart flavor, typically with fresh fruit. After yoga, it is a relatively protein-rich-somewhat-healthy treat.
My favorite though? The nights we stay home, sit on the porch and the kids enjoy a little bowl of Breyer's. Meanwhile, I sip a homemade basil lemonade. It is the easiest and most relaxing. I can conjure up.