My love affair with ice cream began when I was a student in Cambridge. Residents of Cambridge eat more ice cream than residents of any other city in the country. This is partially because Cambridge is a student town, but mostly because they serve the very best ice cream in the country. Storefronts peddling the rich, creamy treats are busy even in cold winter months. You could spend an entire day touring and sampling the enormous variety available. New Englanders consume 23 quarts per person per year, compared to 15 quarts in the rest of the country. People in the Southeast consume the least amount of ice cream, about half as much as New Englanders.
When you are in Cambridge, go to the following for the very best ice cream.
Perhaps the very best, offering the most intriguing and authentic flavors, including Orange Chocolate Chip, Coffee Macadamia Nut, Gingersnap Molasses, Cardamon. Even plain old vanilla is spectacular. 899 Main Street, Cambridge, (617) 491-5877.
Herrell's Ice Cream
Founded by Steve Herrell, a former high school English teacher who originated then later sold Steve's Ice Cream, now a national brand. Many think Herrell has outdone himself in his new enterprise. Try Lemon Mousse or Chocolate Pudding or Vanilla with smoosh-ins - candies, nuts and other treats smooched into ice cream to order. 15 Dunster Street, Harvard Square, Cambridge, (617) 497-2179.
Steve's Ice Cream
Try Coffee Oreo. Steve's is famous for mix-ins mashed in to order. Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston, (617) 367-0569
Here in Los Angeles it is difficult to find good ice cream. Californians seem to prefer frozen yogurt over ice cream. But there are a few places worth an hour drive or less.
Bert & Rocky's Cream Company
The best ice cream in the Southland. Try their almost paradise. Tell Brent that Linus sent you. 1041 West Foothill Blvd, Upland, (909) 946-6805 and 242 Yale Avenue, Claremont, (909) 625-1852.
The family owned and eternally busy Eiger's (names for the mountain in Switzerland) has been making its intoxicatingly delicious ice cream on the premises for 18 years. Popular flavors include mocha almond fudge, chocolate raspberry and vanilla brownie fudge. Barrington Place, Brentwood, (310) 471-6955.
100 Fishermans Wharf # B, Redondo Beach, (310) 376-2544
835 E Canon Perdido St, Santa Barbara, CA, (805) 968-8813
Robertson Boulevard has been a slow drive lately, so if you must drive it at all, why not stop and console yourself with a creamy, homemade gelato from this friendly Italian takeout café? Try the crème brulee gelato with its intense caramel flavor. Also good are cappuccino with toffee chips, coffee crunch, the delicate vanilla creme and the fruit ices. Open until midnight seven days a week. 806 S. Robertson Blvd, Los Angeles, (310) 659-8069.
Fosselman's Ice Cream Company
This family owned Alhambra ice cream company was started more than 70 years ago and still makes the best ice cream around - it wins a Gold Medal at the L.A. County Fair every year. Don't miss the peach, the French vanilla or the toasted almond. New and popular are fat-free sorbets. 1824 W. Main Street, Alhambra, (818) 283-6533.
Gill's Old Fashioned Ice Cream
Homemade ice cream, homemade sorbets, sugar-free/fat-free yogurt. Ice cream cakes and special ice cream molds for all occasions. Family owned since 1963. 3rd Street and Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, (213) 936-6786
Bennett's Ice Cream
Premium ice cream, frozen yogurt, ices, ice cream cakes, molds. Full fountain service. Also at the Farmer's Market. 3rd Street and Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, (323) 936-7986
Emack & Bolio's
2049 Century Park East #14, Los Angeles, (310) 556-1895
This terrific old-fashioned soda fountain, located just south of Old Town in Pasadena, features Fosselman's ice cream and some of the best-natured "soda jerks" around. There's everything from 2 cents plain and lime rickeys to mind-boggling sundaes and wonderful coffee. 219 S. Fair Oaks Avenue, Pasadena, (818) 583-8031.
Among top-notch rich ice creams, Double Rainbow distinguishes itself for having the biggest chips and chunks. For example, the cappuccino chocolate crunch has huge chunks of chocolate-covered toffee. The French vanilla and the dark, profound ultra chocolate are also very popular. 1898 Westwood Blvd, Westwood, (310) 470-6232 and 7376 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, (213) 655-1986.
Titus Levi also recommend the following place in Los Angeles:
Hans' Homemade Ice Cream
3640 S Bristol St, Santa Ana (714) 979-8815
Robin Rose Ice Cream
215 Rose Ave, Venice (310) 399-1774
Lappert's Ice Cream
29 Pier Avenue, Hermosa Beach (310) 318-3953
In other parts of the country you should try the following places.
Ted Drewes Frozen Custard
You must try Ted's "concrete", a frozen dairy-and-egg concoction so thick you can turn it upside down and not lose a drop at this city institution, right on old Route 66. It is closed for the winter December - March. 6726 Chippewa Street, St. Louis, Missouri, (314) 481-2652. (I have never been there, but had them FedEx me 6 quarts of concrete.)
Ben and Jerry's
278 York Street, New Haven, Connecticut (203) 865-3661
This is a 12-seat ice cream parlor in the Glover Park section of Washington, D.C.
San Francisco, California
Southampton, New York
Serving their French Pot ice cream since 1870. 2145 Reading Road, Cincinnati, Ohio, (513) 721-6265. Other locations in Columbus, Louisville and Lexington.
San Francisco, California
Blue Bell Creameries
They eat all they can and sell the rest. 1000 Horton Street (FM 577), Brenham, Texas, (800) 327-8135
If you don't want to drive very far, then your local supermarket must carry Ben and Jerry's along with HaagenDazs and McConnell's. Remember, the key to good ice cream is lots of butterfat and very little air.