Thursday, January 04, 2018

Friendly's Ice Cream

I grew up in a town with few restaurants, but we had a Friendly's.  We didn't go out to eat that often, but when we did, and particularly when we were going for a treat, Friendly's was on the list.

Why?  For the ice cream sundaes.  I honestly don't remember the food at all.  I know we got meals, but, I have zero recollection of what I ever had there.  What I do remember?  The peg games on the table, and, the ice cream sundaes.  While many of my friends always talked about the Fribbles (milkshakes), I had eyes only for the sundaes.  But not the one that all the other kids went for, the signature "Cone Head" sundae with a sugar cone upside down on top like a hat and a face, no, I went for the Reese's® Peanut Butter Cup Sundae.  Every single time.  It just used vanilla ice cream as a base (although I often swapped that out), but it was smothered in warm peanut butter sauce and hot fudge, topped with a mount of whipped cream, and garnished with sprinkles, a cherry, and of course, a peanut butter cup.  On really rare occasions I'd mix it up and get the Reese's Pieces version instead, with, well, pieces instead of pb cups, but this was my constant goto.  I just loved the chocolate and peanut butter.  The sundaes are huge, but, you could add a reasonably size "Happy Ending" one on to any meal, which was always my move.

Friendly's has long been in the ice cream business, a featured part of their menu for 80+ years.  Sadly for me, the restaurant shut down in the town long ago, and no where I have lived since has one.  Since then I know they expanded, offering soft serve, Friend-z (mix-in versions),   But they do make ice cream (gallons and novelties) sold in grocery stores everywhere, so, I finally got inspired to try them out, and see if they measured up.

Sundae Cups

I see this in grocery stores everywhere in New England.  The stores sell them 10 for $10, as in, literally, $1 each, which is a bit mind blowing to me.
"Our Sundae Cups come in a perfect personal size for when you just need a sundae all to yourself."
Friendy's individual sized sundae cups come in basically every variety of sundae they serve at the restaurants, and then some.  Which means, they do have a peanut butter cup sundae.  One really unique offering they make is an ice cream cake sundae cup, literally the layers of vanilla and chocolate ice cream they use in the ice cream cakes, layered with the same chocolate crunchies, and topped with the whipped topping and confetti sprinkles.  If you like their ice cream cake, but don't have an occasion to celebrate, just get the sundae!

But back to the peanut butter cup sundae.  The sundae cup version uses peanut butter ice cream, and the fudge and peanut butter sauces on top are obviously not warm.  And no whipped cream.  Same with the Reese's pieces version.  This just didn't feel right to me, so I went for something different.
Crayola™ Color Me Sundae Cup.
 "Enjoy an ice cream masterpiece of green vanilla flavored ice cream topped with a layer of yellow vanilla flavored ice cream, topped with blue marshmallow, whipped topping and primary colored sprinkles—all in a perfectly personal size sundae cup!"

So yeah.  I went for the ridiculous Crayola™ Color Me Sundae Cup, clearly designed for kids.  The reason was fairly simple, I was having it in the evening, and so I had to rule out all the chocolate based ones.  Every single option, besides a strawberry one, had chocolate, either in the fudge sauce on top, or chips in the ice cream.  So, this was it.  It sounded a lot like the ice cream cake, just minus the chocolate layers.

I did laugh when I opened the lid.  They weren't joking about the colors.

Bright blue marshmallow topping.  Colorful sprinkles.  Yellow ice cream poking out.

I dug in.

The whipped cream was pretty standard, as were the sprinkles.  The blue marshmallow topping was sweet and fluffy, just like on their ice cream cakes.  I liked it.
Crayola™ Color Me Sundae Cup: Inside.
Under that all was, well, yellow and green ice cream.

It was a bit confusing to the brain to eat yellow and green ice cream, and have them taste like vanilla.  They didn't taste distinct.  They really were vanilla.  They just looked like Playdoh.

Overall, this was clearly fairly simple, but, I liked it.  The ice cream was decent, the marshmallow topping and whipped cream exactly what I remembered from their ice cream cakes.

I don't think I'd get this again, as it was a bit too simple, but, I enjoyed it.  Next time, I'd get the ice cream cake one, or maybe try the peanut butter one, knowing it is nothing like the beloved version served in restaurants.

Ice Cream Cake

I grew up in an ice cream cake family.  Every birthday.  Every year.  Without fail.  However, Friendly's was not our ice cream cake maker.  It was Carvel.  Always.

When I was younger, Carvel had a store in the town, and we had custom made cakes.  It closed when I was probably 8 or 10 years old, forever ago, but luckily, grocery stores still carry Carvel cakes.  Until one year, when my Mom couldn't find them anywhere.  I think she looked in nearly every store to no avail.  She sent my dad on a last minute job to try a final store, and he came back with something that sure looked like a Carvel cake, except ... it was Friendly's.

It wasn't the same.  But, that doesn't mean it was bad.
Celebration Ice Cream Cake.
"Friendly's ice cream cakes are lovingly handmade to transform any occasion into a happy occasion!"

Friendly's ice cream cakes are much like the Carvel ones - layers of vanilla and chocolate ice cream, chocolate crunchies in-between, fluffier whipped forsting on the outside. Available in different shapes and sizes.with the classic one having blue frosting border and some confetti sprinkles. They also make a Oreo version (Oreo ice cream layers, crushed Oreos in the center, fudge and Oreo topping), a Reese's version (peanut butter ice cream layers, chopped pb cups in the center, chocolate truffle frosting), and now, a trendy Salted Caramel Truffle one (salted caramel ice cream, caramel chocolate truffles, caramel sauce, fudge, etc).

But we had the classic.
Leftover Celebration Cake.
"Every big (and little) celebration deserves ice cream cake! Lovingly handmade layers of premium chocolate and vanilla ice cream, separated by chocolaty crunchies, are topped with freshly whipped ice cream and decorations. "

Of course, we all immediately compared this to Carvel.  Most of the family refused to even consider that it might be better in some ways.  But it was.

The ice cream was higher quality.  Sorry, Carvel.  It was creamier, less icy.  Just, better.  The ice cream was in reverse order: chocolate on top, vanilla on bottom.

The crispies weren't as good though, they were softer, not as crunchy, not quite the same magic.

The whipped topping was sweet, fluffy, and good.

Overall, it was a fine replacement for a Carvel cake, and, if you actually care about the ice cream, a better choice.
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