Friday, January 03, 2020

Good Thins

Update Review, 2020

I continue to have fond memories of the first Good Thins I ever tried, so I always try new varieties when I see them offered.  I recently tried a new base: "the corn one".

The Corn One

"The Corn One" is actually corn and rice flour based, not just corn, but besides oil and salt, there is nothing else added.  Gluten-free by nature.

Unlike "The Potato Ones" or "The Rice Ones", there is only one flavor offered, and it is ... quite plain. Sea salt only.
Sea Salt.
These were honestly a fairly boring cracker.  Square shaped, with some bubbles to them.  Very mild corn flavor ... I would have believed they were just rice crackers.  The corn was not dominant in any way.

They were crispy, salty, and healthy, and, if you were looking for something just slightly more interesting than a rice cracker they would fit that need, but for me, they were just ... boring.

Update Review, July 2019

After success of the sweet potato and spinach & garlic Good Thins, I was eager to try more varieties.  And many more varieties have popped up since, made with a slew of different bases: potato, rice, chickpeas, corn, and oat.

I tried several more, but also got another box of the sweet potato, since, well, they were just so good.  The sweet potato remain the best, no question, but I'm glad I tried a few more.

Beet

Good Thins dabbled in a veggie base, picking beets.  They have been discontinued however, clearly not one that consumers went for.  Still, I got to try them before they disappeared.
The Beet One: Balsamic Vinegar & Sea Salt.
"The Beet One" I selected was Balsamic Vinegar & Sea Salt flavor.  I got these thinking they would be more like actual beet chips, not realizing that potato flour was the first ingredient.  Ooops.  They really belong in the "The Potato One" product line ...
The Beet One.
They were much like the other varieties I had tried, a baked thin savory potato based chip, not greasy or fried, healthy tasting, well seasoned.  And they tasted like beets.  The color was that of beets.  But clearly weren't actual beet chips.

I wasn't a big fan, since I wanted real dehydrated vegetable chips, but, I think these will likely be better crowd pleasers (although I think they have been pulled from the market already?).  I didn't really taste balsamic, but they were savory.

My beet loving mother enjoyed them.

Potato

Potato based thins remains the largest product line, and since that is where I had found previous success, I decided to try more.
The Potato One: White Cheddar.
They were ... eh.

First, um, many were burnt?  My box had probably 50% burnt ones.  Not the best quality control!

But really, they were just ... boring.  Potato flour + cornstarch + wheat flour make up the base, which turned out to just be kinda starchy and plain potato chip seeming, just with a bit more body to it like  a cracker rather than a chip.

The white cheddar flavor was too mild, it was sorta there, but a cheesy snack these were not.
The Potato One: Sweet Potato.
Finally, I went back to my old favorites, the sweet potato.

These continue to be my favorite.  They are salty, slightly sweet, and have a wide variety of uses for me.  Sure, great as an afternoon or evening snack, or alongside a meal instead of chips, but sometimes, I even like a handful with my breakfast.  The sweetness from the sweet potato, and added brown sugar, really does make for a nice breakfast pairing.  They sometimes even taste like they have cinnamon to me, although I know they do not.

Original Review, February 2017

One day, I was walking down the street in San Francisco, and a little van pulled up, giving out samples of some cracker looking things.  They had little plastic cups, each with 2 or so crackers in it.  They turned out to be called "Good Thins", a product sorta like a cross between a cracker and a chip, boasting all the labels you'd expect: no artificial flavors or colors, no cholesterol, no partially hydrogenated oils, no high fructose corn syrup.  They have 60% less fat than standard potato chips.  A healthier snack.

While I do love snacks, these quasi healthy chip like things didn't really sound that interesting to me, but of course I tried some.  They turned out to be rather awesome.

Good Thins come in a slew of varieties, with all different bases: potato, chickpea, corn, oat, rice.  The rice and corn ones are gluten-free.  The ones being sampled that day were all potato based, which come in white cheddar, sweet potato, spinach & garlic, and "original".  (If you are curious, rice based varieties are salted, veggie blend, poppy & sesame seed, and sea salt & pepper), chickpea ones come only in a garlic & herb flavor, corn come only salted, and oat with flax).

I tried the spinach & garlic and the sweet potato at the sampling site.  I liked them both, so much so that when I saw them in the store later, I actually bought a box, a rare move on my part, since I don't tend to have a shortage of snack foods laying around the house.  I'd gladly eat more of these.
Sweet Potato.
"Sweet Potato GOOD THiNS are made with real sweet potatoes. So if you share them, you're sure to hear "Sweet. You're the sweetest."

The Good Thins actually look just like their box picture (those are the real things on the right hand corner here, on top of the box).  They are round, thin, and crispy.  The form is perfect for munching, much like a chip, but a bit bigger.

The flavor in the sweet potato ones was a bit sweet.  I really was impressed with how much sweet potato I could actually taste.

But the best part?  The salt level.  They were so salty, in a totally addicting way.

I thought these were remarkably good, and they hit all the check boxes for me - sized just right, crispy, salty ... just excellent snack food.  I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that a serving is only 130 calories, and a serving is a whopping 23 chips!
Spinach & Garlic.
I didn't take notes on the Spinach & Garlic when I tried them on the street, but I also liked the thin, crispy form, and the excellent salt level.  I remember finding this flavor quite savory, and appreciated that they tasted kinda healthy from the spinach, but also, actually tasty.
Read More...

Thursday, January 02, 2020

Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream

Update Reviews, 2019 Visits

A few more visits, and I found a new flavor I do like!
Nutty Coconut & Peppermint. Small (split scoop).
Did you know you can get a split scoop at Baskin-Robbins, even for a small?  YES!

I was thrilled when my server suggested this, as I really was torn between 3 flavors: the Nutty Coconut and two different peppermint ice creams (this one, and the York Peppermint Pattie).  I only had to rule out one, and decided on the regular Peppermint, rather than Peppermint Pattie, but it was a close call.

Nutty Coconut:
"Feeling crazy? So will your senses when they feel the chill of coconut flavored ice cream mixed with almonds, pecans, and walnuts."

This is one of Baskin Robbins "Classic" flavors, that has been around ~forever, yet somehow, I hadn't ever tried it before.

It turned out to be rather awesome.  I *think* my favorite flavor so far!

The base is coconut ice cream, great coconut flavor, and I think some texture from shredded coconut as well.  But the real texture comes from the plentiful nut mix-ins, bits of almond, pecan, and walnut, all of which are chopped up and give this ice cream a ton to look forward to.  The nuts and coconut worked together surprisingly well!

Peppermint Stick:

This is another classic flavor, but I believe it has been discontinued.  But my shop still had it, and I actually tried it accidentally - I asked to sample the Peppermint Pattie, and she gave me this instead.  Good mistake on her part, as I liked it *slightly* more than the Peppermint Pattie!

It was a ridiculous fake pink color, but besides that, it was just simple peppermint goodness.  Far more minty than any of their other mint offerings, and enhanced with bits of peppermint stick.  For mint lovers, no question.

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YORK® Peppermint Pattie -  December 2017 Flavor of the Month

"Mini York peppermint patties and a rich dark chocolate mint flavored ribbon swirled in mint flavored ice cream."

This was a "returning favorite", last offered in December 2014.

It was good.  The mint base was slightly minty, a white base not a silly pink peppermint.  The ribbon and mini York patties gave it plenty of interesting bits.  But I actually preferred the regular Peppermint slightly, as it was a more intense mint, and didn't have the chocolate to take away from the minty experience.  But chocolate and mint are a great combo, and this worked, for sure.

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Bobsled Brownie® - January 2018 Flavor of the Month.

"A combination of Butter Caramel-flavored ice cream and Milk Chocolate Mousse-flavored ice cream with blonde brownie pieces and a fudge crackle swirl throughout."

This certainly sounded interesting, butter caramel ice cream, chocolate mousse ice cream, blondies, fudge crackle ... but, it was all blended together too much, so all you could really taste was some chocolate with a bit of cakey texture.  Not for me.

Also: why was my scoop shop still selling in April when I tried it?  This is more evidence that half my dislike of Baskin-Robbins comes from their low turn around and freezer burn!

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Golden OREO® ‘N Churro

"This innovative new flavor features cinnamon caramel-flavored ice cream with crispy churro pieces and Golden OREO® cookie pieces all wrapped together with a fried dough-flavored ribbon!"

Discontinued flavor.

This one caught my eye, amusingly.  I don't like Oreos (golden or not), and I don't really like churros, so, why this?  Well, I do like cinnamon flavored ice creams, and, uh, the promise of a "fried dough" ribbon was just too much to pass up.

I'm glad I asked to sample first though.  Because I did not like this.  It did taste like fried dough, but, not in a good way.  It tasted like fried oil.  Greasy, old, stale, carnival oil.  Somewhat like the June Flavor of the Month in 2015, Dunkin’ Donuts® Coffee ‘N Donut, that tasted like stale donuts.

Not good.  No wonder this was discontinued (and yet still in stock at my location ...)

Update Review, 2017

Another year, a few more flavors tried ...
Icing on the Cake, Regular (4 ounce). (July) $3.25.
"Have your cake and lick it too! Cake flavored ice cream with cake pieces, frosting bits, and a candy confetti ribbon."

I loved the sound of this one.  I don't like cake exactly, so the cake pieces aren't what drew me in, but I adore frosting, and, "candy confetti ribbon" sounded awesome.  Plus, I could see sprinkles!

The base was sweet, but didn't actually taste like cake, just like the when I had it in the America's Birthday Cake flavor.  Just sweet, not very high end ice cream, not very creamy.  But I wasn't here for the base.

The cake pieces, also unremarkable, also just like in America's Birthday Cake.  Texture, sure, and not stale, but, not special.

So what about the good stuff?  The "frosting bits", for example?  Well ... I'm not quite sure where those were.  I didn't find them really, and the ingredient listing never has a component for frosting bits, but instead has "cookie pieces" listed, in addition to the "cake pieces".  Uh ... what?  Not that I found cookie pieces either.  I find this puzzling.

But that ribbon.  I was there for the ribbon.  "Candy confetti ribbon", according to the description, or, "Confetti Swirl Ribbon", per the ingredients.  Whatever you call it, it was pretty great.  Sweet, full of texture from the sprinkles and sugar bits.

So, overall, not bad.  The ice cream quality still isn't high, but this had lots of mix-ins that worked together well to provide textures I enjoyed.  I still wonder if my local Baskin-Robbins just has low turn-around (because, really, San Francisco isn't known for ice cream weather, and, when people want ice cream, we have too many artisan ice cream shops to ever actually pick Baskin ...), or if they just don't keep their freezers well calibrated or something, because the ice cream is always so icy, and I just don't see how that could be normal.
No Sugar Added Peanut Buttery Bar Blast Ice Cream. Kid's Size (2.5 ounce). (August) $2.79.
"Go nuts for no sugar added peanut, caramel, and nougat flavored ice cream, chocolate chips, and a buttery peanut butter ribbon running throughout!"

This sounded great.  I like peanuts and caramel.  A crunchy peanut butter ribbon sounded awesome.  Chocolate chips would add some texture.  Sure!

I tried a sample of if, and I was drawn in by the crunch ribbon.  It didn't actually taste like peanut butter, it was basically like crunched up Butterfinger, but, I liked it.  So, I got a scoop.

It wasn't until I had the full scoop in front of me that I realized I had selected a No Sugar Added flavor.  "Hmm, well, if I didn't notice, great!", I thought.  And then I had a few bites.  Doh.  It tasted like sweetener.  I wasn't ever able to stop tasting it after that, and it left a particularly bad aftertaste.  Note to self: do not get the No Sugar Added flavors.

The ice cream base was described as "peanut, caramel, and nougat flavored ice cream", and, well, it just tasted like sweet (fake sweet, that is).  I did not taste peanuts, nor caramel, nor I guess nougat.  It also just wasn't creamy.  At least this time it wasn't icy like most of my Baskin Robbins visits, but, creamy it was not.  Not as it melted either.  I think their ice cream just isn't very good.

I did still like the crunch ribbon, although I didn't get much of it.  The "chocolate chips" were very confusing.  I had no chips.  But, there were bits of chocolate.  When I read the ingredients later, I found the reason why.  The ingredient listing said "No Sugar Added Chocolate Liquid Chip".  Aha.  Not real chocolate chips.  Still, they added flecks of chocolate and some texture, which is why I wanted them.

The ingredients also listed pretzel pieces, which weren't in the flavor description, and I don't think I ever really found either.  Odd.

Overall, just not very high quality ice cream, and I'm really not a fan of the No Sugar Added base.  Whoops.

Others
Wild ‘N Reckless Sherbet
"A green apple, blue raspberry, and fruit punch flavored sherbet party. Fruit has never had so much fun."

The colors in this were quite vibrant, and although I'm totally not a sherbet person, I did like Baskin Robbins Splish Splash Sherbet, so I gave this one a chance.

Woah, sweet.  Soooo sweet.  I did like the tartness of one of the flavors, but wow.

Peach of Cake
"Peach and butter cake flavored ice creams combine with blonde brownie pieces and a caramel ribbon for a flavor that is far more than just peachy!"

This was actually quite good.  The peach flavor was vibrant.  It was quite refreshing.  I only tried a sample, so I didn't get any of the blond brownie pieces, but, I almost ordered it.  Next time ...

Update Review, August 2016

Yadda, yadda,  start with my original review, then the update, and then come back here, if you want more context for Baskin-Robbins.

For my birthday, I of course went to Baskin-Robbins to get my free birthday scoop.  I had a hard time picking a flavor, since, I don't actually think their ice cream is all that good.  I sampled a couple, and in the end, decided to just go for the special Flavor of the Month, OREO® Milk 'n Cereal Ice Cream, since it was, well, special.  This was an interesting choice for me given that I don't really care for OREO (sorry, Dad).  I was drawn in by the promise of the crunchy frosted corn flake ribbon.  Ben & Jerry's always does such a great job with ribbons, and my pick last year had an insanely good cookie dough batter flavored ribbon, so, I knew Baskin-Robbins could pull off the ribbon.
OREO® Milk 'n Cereal Ice Cream, Child Size.
"It's breakfast with Baskin! Cereal milk flavored ice cream swimming with OREO® cookie pieces, frosted corn flake cereal pieces, and a crunchy frosted corn flake cereal ribbon."

This was actually pretty good.  And I admit, I was pretty skeptical about this flavor, as it sounded rather confused.  Cereal and OREO?  How do those go together?

The base ice cream was apparently cereal milk flavored, which, to be honest, I didn't really taste.  I assumed it was a vanilla base until I copied the description from the website here.  It was loaded up with goodes though, so the base didn't really matter.  Chunks of OREO cookie were as expected, assorted sizes, and, well, they were OREO.  Since I'm not an OREO lover, these were what they were, and were not particularly interesting.  But, everything else was.

I didn't necessarily find distinct "frosted corn flake cereal pieces" and "crunchy frosted corn flake cereal ribbon", but, there was plenty of light brown stuff in there that had a slight crunch to it.  The texture was pretty strange, sorta like what you'd expect peanut butter to be like if it were made of corn flakes.  It wasn't bad though.  If you got a bite of it, it was also sorta like cookie dough with a bit of crispy crunch to it.  Pretty fascinating actually, and there was plenty of this too.

So, overall, a decent flavor.  The base ice cream wasn't flavorful nor particularly creamy quality ice cream, and the OREO cookie pieces I could do without, but the corn flake components were interesting enough that I enjoyed my scoop.   I'd likely try something new next time though.

Update Review, August 2015

If you didn't read my original Baskin-Robbins reviews, I suggest you start there, and then return to this update, since I'm skipping the background this time around.  See "Original Review: August 2014" below.

This year's visit was inspired by, you guess it, a birthday freebie.  I can't resist free treats!  My birthday rolled around, and, just like clockwork, Baskin-Robbins sent me an e-mail offering up a free scoop.  I eagerly headed there to pick a new flavor.  Spoiler: I found a winner.
Mom’s Makin’ Cookies™, Child Size.
"Mom’s secret recipe of brown sugar flavored ice cream filled with chocolate chip cookie pieces, chocolate flavored chips, and a delicious cookie dough batter flavored ribbon."

Ok, this was just downright delicious.  It was like everything you always want chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream to be.  All the flavors and textures, just amped up another notch.

So, stepping back.  The base was a sweet base, apparently brown sugar.  I'm not quite sure I'd identify it as brown sugar, but it was clearly more interesting than vanilla and not cloying sweet like cake batter.  It was creamy, and it melted perfectly on the hot day.

But the mix ins are where the magic was. First, the cookie dough batter ribbon.  This was really interesting, it wasn't thick like cookie dough gobs, or the flavored ribbons you find in Ben & Jerry's ice cream; it was more like a caramel, albeit a cookie dough flavored one.  Yup, it tasted like cookie dough, buttery and sweet.  Kinda awesome.

Next came the chocolate chip cookie pieces.  This is where I was a bit skeptical.  I didn't want chunks of cookie in my ice cream, I wanted cookie dough!  Except, these were soft, just like gobs of cookie dough, perhaps just a bit grittier?  Big, sizable chunks, perfect for some texture.

And finally, little chocolate chips, which added more crunch.

This was definitely awesome.  It was sweet, creamy, had a fun cookie dough batter swirl to keep discovering, and chunks to dig for.  It reminded me of Ben & Jerry's Milk & Cookies, just with the chocolate cookie swirl replaced with the cookie dough one, and a more interesting base swapped in.  Similar concept, but I think Baskin-Robbins had a slight edge here.

I'd definitely get this again.

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June Flavor of the Month, Dunkin’ Donuts® Coffee ‘N Donut

"Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and donut-flavored ice creams dunked with donut pieces and a chocolate flavored icing ribbon."  

Before settling on the Mom's Makin' Cookies, I also tried another tempting sounding option, inspired by their partnership with Dunkin' Donuts.  You know my fondness for Dunkin' Donuts, as I am originally from the east coast ...

I'm glad I tried it.  Because, well, wow, it was exactly as advertised.  It tasted like donuts.  Like greasy, sorta stale, cake donuts.  I didn't taste any coffee, but wow, donuts.  I can't imagine eating a scoop of this, unless maybe used in an affogado?  It was fun to try, and I'm glad I asked to sample before committing to a full scoop.

Original Review, August 2014

I grew up without a Baskin-Robbins nearby, and we always got our ice cream at home from Schwans delivery, so I somehow made it to my 30s without ever having Baskin-Robbins.  But, I love ice cream, and I'm always interested in trying out new places, so I finally checked it out.

My first visit was when I had a very sore throat, and I was on a quest to eat soft, cold things, using my GoPago credits as inspiration on where to go (yes, this was a few years ago, since GoPago is no longer active in San Francisco).  I'd just spent a couple weeks on the east coast, eating tons of soft serve ice cream, so even though it was still freezing out and totally not ice cream weather, I headed for the one place on GoPago that had soft serve: Baskin-Robbins.  (Yes, soft serve.  No it is not normal for them, they clearly specialize in hard ice cream)/

My second visit was prompted by joining their e-club, which gave me a certificate for a free scoop of ice cream for my birthday, so I went to cash in on it.  I looked up all of the flavors online beforehand so I wouldn't be too slow to decide, and had picked out a slew of flavors that I wanted.  I thought choosing one would be impossible!  Unfortunately for me, it turned out to be quite easy, as they didn't have ANY of the flavors I wanted to try!  Out of my list of 8 flavors, they didn't have a single one I wanted!  Not quite sure how that was possible.  They also didn't have the monthly special flavor.

My third visit was due to my realization that Togos was on LevelUp, with a $2 credit.  Sure, I could use my free credits to get some chips or a drink, but Baskin-Robbins is attached to Togos, and they use the same checkout.  Thus, I could use my credits to get a mini sundae!  Way better than chips or drinks :)

My next visit came from Togos running another LevelUp promotion, with a whopping $10 credit.  I think the idea was that you could get a full meal at Togos, but again, I didn't really want Togos, and that could get me quite a bit of ice cream.  And ... since Ojan wasn't going to use his credit either, I could fetch some for him too!

So, over the course of the past few years, I've tried a lot of their ice cream.  And for the most part, I'm highly unimpressed.  Maybe I'd go back for another freebee, but I certainly wouldn't pay for this ice cream.

The service at the SF location was varied.  As I mentioned, it is adjacent to a Togos, with the same staff running both places, running back and forth between them.  They are attached, but not exactly right next to each other, so this seems a little crazy.  It means you can stand there for a very long time with no one paying any attention, since they are all on the Togos side.  One staff member was also completely unfriendly, never smiling, never seeming remotely interested in her job, and generally annoyed that I was there getting ice cream.  I'll call her Ms. Surly for the rest of this review.  Another staff member was less friendly on my first visit, but was more informative and personable on subsequent visits, even striking up random conversation with me the last time I was there.  The third, I think a manager, gave decent standard service.

Soft Serve

The menu was advertising a new item: mini soft serve parfaits.  They had several varieties, each with a sauce in the bottom, then the soft serve, and then a candy topping.  Since I wanted soft serve, and a sundae is far more fun than just a cone or cup, I eagerly tried a few.

The soft serve just wasn't very good, and the form factor of these mini parfaits was far from ideal, making it impossible to get to the sauce until the end.  Why was the sauce on the bottom?
Reese's Mini Soft Serve Parfait.  $2.
I have a thing for peanut butter, so the Reese's one immediately called out to me.  Peanut butter sauce in the bottom, vanilla soft serve, peanut butter cup crumbles on top.

It was ... basically exactly as advertised.  The soft serve is a newer item for Baskin Robbins, and they only have vanilla flavor.  It wasn't very good.  It had a strange sourness to it, not tart like frozen yogurt, just ... sour.  It was creamy and a decent consistency.  It also wasn't really vanilla flavored.  Very, very mediocre soft serve.  The peanut sauce in the bottom was basically just generic creamy peanut butter.  It was hard to get to, since it was only in the bottom, and thus even though I wanted some to mix into my initial bites, I couldn't really without spilling the whole thing.  And at the end, I wound up with just a ton of peanut butter left over.  The pb sauce also got really hard from having the cold ice cream on top, making it difficult to scoop up.  The peanut butter cup crumbles were exactly what you'd expect.

I wanted this to come together better, being more than a sum of its parts, but it really wasn't.  Mediocre soft serve, pb cups, and hard to get to low end peanut butter.  Meh.

But for $2, it really did seem like a bargain, particularly compared to anything else on the menu.  I don't really understand why it was so cheap (as in, cheaper than just a bowl or cone of soft serve, even though it was bigger and had toppings ...).
Hot Fudge and Almonds Mini Parfait.  $2.
On my next visit, I tried a parfait again, since it is the only ice cream item that tell within my LevelUp budget.  I wasn't a fan of the peanut butter last time, so I went for one with hot fudge.  Even mediocre hot fudge is usually pretty good, right?

This parfait suffered from exactly the same issues as the first, namely, that you couldn't get to the sauce in the bottom, until the end, when you are left with only sauce.  Unlike the first one however, I didn't have the problem of spilling the parfait as I tried to dig for the sauce, as this one was tiny.  I thought it seemed like it had much less ice cream than the first one, and looking at the photos afterwards confirmed it.  This one barely extended above the top of the rim, whereas my first one had a nice swirl on top.  I'm not sure which one was correct, I'm guessing the first, as this looked pretty sad.  This one was made by Ms. Surly.

Anyway, the ice cream was the same mediocre soft serve, decently creamy, but not very vanilla, and with a slight sourness.  The nuts were just generic little bits of almond.  The fudge wasn't actually hot, and it wasn't particularly chocolatey.

This would have been a very boring parfait, but being the pro I am, I brought along a banana and a peanut butter cup, and turned it into a real sundae.  My final product was pretty good, but that wasn't exactly what they were offering.

I certainly would not order this plain parfait again, as it offered nothing flavor-wise.
Build-your-own Mini Parfait, hot fudge and cookie dough.  $2.
My third and final attempt at a parfait.  I kept trying, because $2 for a parfait really does sound like a great deal, if I could come up with a combo I liked.  And Ojan didn't want his $2 credit, so I might as well try again if it was free ...

On my last visit, I saw that they had the standard parfaits listed (chocolate with M&Ms, Oreos, or nuts, caramel with Snickers, peanut butter with Reece's, or strawberry with nuts).  But then it also said "or, build your own".  When I asked about it, Ms. Surly  told me that was only for the 31 Below Mix Ins, not the soft serve parfaits.  I was skeptical, since it was listed under the parfait section, but she was so grumpy and clearly unwilling to entertain this idea, that I gave up on it and picked the simple hot fudge and nuts, since I had my extra toppings with me anyway.

On this visit, I had the nicer employee, and I asked him about it.  He told me you can pick any sauce and any dry topping.  The dry toppings available were the standard candy toppings (M&Ms, Oreo, Snickers, Butterfinger, Reece's, gummy bears, sprinkles, nuts) or ... cookie dough!  This seemed like the clear winner, as it was more likely to be good than a generic candy topping.  Plus, cookie dough can be so good!  For sauces, there was the peanut butter, hot fudge, caramel, or chocolate sauce.  I didn't care for the peanut butter the first time, and thought the hot fudge was pretty mediocre, but it was the only one that seemed to go with the cookie dough, so I selected it again.  I guess the chocolate sauce would have as well, but why pick chocolate sauce when there is hot fudge?

As you can see, the nicer employee again made a much bigger parfait.  He even layered it a little, so there was the hot fudge in the bottom, then the soft serve, then some cookie dough, then he added even more soft serve, and more cookie dough!  Surly employee certainly did not do that.  Then, he asked if I wanted chocolate sauce on top too.  Such a difference!

The chocolate sauce on top was standard chocolate sauce, indistinguishable from Hershey's.  It didn't have a lot of flavor, but I appreciated that there was something on top, since, like every time, the hot fudge was trapped in the bottom.  The fudge was the same as last time, except that it was luke warm this time.  But like always, I had a very hard time getting any until  the end.

The ice cream was actually better this time, it still didn't have any vanilla flavor to it, but it didn't have the strange sourness.

But ... the cookie dough.  It was, quite literally, the worst cookie dough I have ever tasted in my life.  It was dried out beyond belief.  It tasted stale.  It just tasted ... awful.  I don't know how to describe it really, just beyond horrible.  I tried a couple pieces, and then picked them all out.  Or so I thought, forgetting that they nice employee had layered it throughout, so I accidentally got more later on.  Ugh.  It was truly foul!

Would never, ever, ever get this again.  Luckily, in my bag of tricks, I had a banana and other assorted toppings, and turned it into a proper sundae, which I enjoyed.

Hard Ice Cream/Sherbet/Frozen Yogurt

I've tried quite a few flavors of the regular ice cream, and several frozen yogurts.  Most were pretty standard, a few were kinda bad, and a few I really liked.
Mint Chocolate Chip, sugar cone.  $2.19.
For your birthday, you get a free kids size cup or cone.  I went with the mint chocolate chip, without sampling it first, because Ms. Surly looked like she wanted to kill me when I asked to sample one.  Rookie mistake.  It really wasn't very good.  Not creamy, no real mint flavor, even the chocolate bits weren't flavorful.  Really, really mediocre.

The sugar cone was also pretty generic.  Not much to say here.

The ice cream was just plopped on top of the cone.  It would have fallen off with my first lick if I hadn't secured it more properly.

Would not get again, and would have been very sad if I'd paid for this.
America's Birthday Cake, single scoop.  $2.19.
"Strawberries, cake-flavored ice cream, confetti topped cake pieces and blue whipped cream".

Another year, another birthday. I started this post over a year ago, which is crazy!  I returned this year to get my birthday scoop, and this time, went for America's Birthday Cake.  I'd probably never normally get such a silly flavor, but hey, it was free, and it seemed like the most fitting choice, given the circumstance.

Cake and ice cream, very festive, and quite colorful.

Like most of their ice cream, it wasn't creamy, was a bit icy, and kinda tasted stale.  I still don't know if that is just Baskin-Robbins in general, or if it is just this location.  Really just not good ice cream at all.

The "cake" flavored ice cream I actually thought was just plain vanilla, it wasn't until I looked up the description online that I saw it was supposed to taste like cake.  Very unremarkable.  The "strawberries" seemed to just be strawberry ice cream, fake tasting strawberry at that.

There were a few small chunks of vanilla cake mixed in.  I didn't see any promised confetti topping.  The cake wasn't stale tasting, or too hard, but was pretty unremarkable.

The "blue whipped cream" was my favorite component, and the real reason I picked this flavor.  It was sweet, fluffier than the ice cream base, which improved the overall texture.  It reminded me of the whipped cream style icing on Carvel ice cream cakes, which I always had growing up, and still have a weakness for.
Premium Churned Light Orange 'N Crème Ice Cream. $2.19.
"Soak up the sun with this orange light ice cream with a whipped cream flavored ribbon for a new twist on a frozen favorite!"

I didn't actually realize this was a Light version, but the flavor sounded somewhat interesting, at least, compared to my other options.  Baskin Robbins does have some really interesting flavors, but for some reason, my local shop never seems to carry them.  I hoped this would be somewhat like a creamsicle.

It was ridiculously sweet.  I'm not sure if they try to make up for the Light version by adding artificial sweetener or something?  Just way too sweet.  There was very little of the whipped cream ribbon, which is too bad, as I actually liked that, and it helped combat the sweetness of the orange ice cream.

The ice cream itself was fairly fluffy and light, but it was loaded with ice chunks.  Not just ice crystals, but actual chunks.  Sad for a scoop shop to not properly store their ice cream, as the result was just not appealing.

I ordered a single scoop, and got a very large multi scoop serving, which would have been quite nice, if I liked it.
[ No Photos ]
  • Apple Cinnamon Crisp Ice Cream: "Cinnamon flavored ice cream topped with a sticky brown betty ribbon and packed with tasty apple and oat chunks."  Tasting notes: This was decently creamy, seemed fresh, and had a ton of cinnamon flavor.  There was even little chunks of mushy apple in it. Not bad, but not great. [ This is really quite good.  Its like apple pie and ice cream, all in one!  Great cinnamon flavor, ridiculously sweet brown betty ribbon, but quite good. ] [ Loving this!  Yes, it is very sweet, but it is apple pie in ice cream form!  Kinda amazing.  Love the cinnamon flavor and the brown betty ribbon, oat chunks give some good texture. ] [ So sweet.  Love the gooey caramel swirl. ] [ My favorite of their flavors, by far.  Would gladly get again. ]
  • Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream: "A little bit blue, a lotta bit delicious. Creamy cheesecake flavored ice cream packed with cheesecake bits and swirled around with a blueberry ribbon."  Tasting notes: I didn't taste cheesecake at all, the base seemed pretty plain vanilla.  I also didn't find any cheesecake bits.  The "blueberry ribbon" however was quite generous, which was not a good thing, as it was just sweet and didn't really taste like blueberry.  I really didn't care for this.
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream: "Vanilla flavored ice cream with cookie dough and chocolate flavored chips".  Tasting notes: Standard vanilla ice cream, with chunks of cookie dough.  This cookie dough was much, much better than the inedible stuff from the parfait.  It had a decent buttery flavor and wasn't all dried out.  Pretty standard cookie dough ice cream. [ Something tastes a little stale about this. ] [ Just not interesting.  Vanilla ice cream doesn't have much flavor, it isn't creamy.  There are little chocolate chips and some stale tasting dough.  I don't like this much at all. ]  [ Not creamy, base ice cream very generic, cookie dough bits not that great.  Would not get again. ] [ Just really not very good.  I've had a lot of different cookie dough ice creams, and this one just offers nothing.  The ice cream itself isn't very good, the cookie dough are just tiny chunks and not flavorful.  Meh. ]
  • Nutty Ice Creams
    • Nutty Coconut Ice Cream: "Coconut ice cream mixed with almonds, pecans, and walnuts." Tasting notes: Good coconut flavor, fair amount of nuts.
    • Old Fashioned Butter Pecan Ice Cream: "Butter pecan flavored ice cream with, yep, butter-roasted pecans.".  Tasting notes: Somewhat generic tasting base ice cream, with plentiful whole pecans.  Not particularly remarkable.  Decently creamy.  [ Ok creaminess  I like the whole pecans, ok buttery flavor, not really standout though. Could be any old butter pecan ice cream. ]
    • Pralines 'N Cream Ice Cream: "Praline-coated pecan pieces and caramel in vanilla flavored ice cream."  Tasting notes: Nice sweetness, thick swirl of caramel, pretty good.  Better than Butter Pecan.
    • Black Walnut Ice Cream: "Walnut flavored ice cream with a black walnut explosion." Tasting notes: Decent walnut flavor, but not particularly interesting.
  • Chocolate Ice Creams
    • World Class Chocolate Ice Cream: "Rich white chocolate flavored mousse ice cream swirled with even richer milk chocolate flavored mousse ice cream."  Tasting notes:  Not really sure I get the whole mousse part here.  Nor the white chocolate, mostly just seemed like generic chocolate ice cream and some white ice cream.
    • German Chocolate Cake Ice Cream: "Swiss chocolate ice cream with coconut, walnut pieces, and milk chocolate brownie. Oh and let's not forget the caramel swirl!" Tasting notes: the caramel swirl was nice, good sweetness.  Chocolate ice cream was pretty generic.  Liked the chunks of brownie. [ Big chunks of brownie, nice walnuts.  Yum! ] [ Love the nuts, love the texture from the coconut, great flavors. ] [ Nice coconut flavor, good rich chunks of brownie.  My second favorite of their ice creams. ]  [ Good creamy chocolate ice cream, nice flavor from coconut, plentiful brownie bites. ] [ I like this.  Fairly creamy, mellow chocolate ice cream, with good coconut flavor.  I love discovering the generous chunks of brownie and nuts throughout.  And the caramel swirl adds a little bit of gooeyness to it.  Second favorite flavor. ]
  • Splish Splash Sherbet: "Blue raspberry sherbet and a splash of blueberry sorbet".  Tasting notes: This was really quite good!  It was icy, but in the way that sorbet is.  Overly sweet, but fruity and refreshing.  I love, love, loved blue raspberry Slush Puppies when I was a kid, and it reminds me exactly of that. [ The blue colored one is way too sweet, so if you get some without the other swirl, it can be pretty cloying ] [ You need to be in the mood for sweet with this, but it is somehow refreshing at the same time.  Quite good. ]
  • Frozen Yogurt
    • Raspberry Cheese Louis: "Cheesecake flavored frozen yogurt is sprinkled with raspberry cheesecake pieces and graham crackers with a sweet raspberry ribbon.".  Tasting notes: I didn't taste cheesecake in any way.  Very icy.  Raspberry swirl just sweet.  Didn't like.
    • Sweet N' Salty Frozen Yogurt: "Super smooth salted caramel frozen yogurt and caramel pretzel balls tied up in a salted caramel ribbon bow."  Tasting notes: Just sweet, didn't really get any salt, my sample didn't have any pretzel in it either.

Novelties

Praline Caramel Ice Cream Cake Bite: Pralines 'n Cream ice cream over white cake, white coating, finished with caramel drizzle and crushed praline pecans.  $2.99.
This is one of their "novelty" items, small versions of their cakes, called cake bites.  Since I wasn't about to buy a whole cake for myself, this seemed like a good way to try out their ice cream cakes.  I grew up having Carvel ice cream cakes for every birthday, so ice cream cake has a special place in my heart.  Of course, Carvel cake is all about the crunchies and the frosting, of which this had neither.

The white cake was not good.  Kinda dry, and very flavorless, with a horrible aftertaste.  Cakes made from boxed cake mix come out better than this.  Not a good base layer.  The ice cream was just their standard Pralines 'n Cream ice cream, good enough I guess, but not really special.  It was covered in "white coating", which I give them credit for not even trying to call white chocolate.  It was kinda just sweet and there.  On top of that was a fairly tasty caramel drizzle and some bits of pecans.  The toppings were the best part.

Yes, this was cake and ice cream, which should be good together, but honestly, it didn't have much going for it.  Wouldn't get again.

Shakes

Very Berry Strawberry Shake, mini, $3.49.
I've went through a serious milkshake craze.  It had been years since I'd had one, and then I just got hooked.   I had just about every type of shake possible, ranging from ones made in real blenders (like the one at Roxy Cafe that started the trend), to those from shake dispensers at fast food joints (like my free birthday shake from Del Taco), to something in-between (like my shake from Bistro Burger).  But the best was from Holy Grill, made with Mitchel's vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries.  Even though that one didn't have whipped cream, which I consider to be an important element, it was still the best one I've had flavor-wise.  Quality ice cream and fresh fruit really just makes a big difference!   Every time I've seen strawberry shakes since, I've gotten it, even though I never would normally pick strawberry, hoping to replicate my experience from Holy Grill.  The last one I had was the least successful shake ever, from McDonald's (yes, I should have known better).  That was horrendous.

This one wasn't nearly as bad as the McDonald's shake, but really wasn't very good.  There was no offer of whipped cream, even though I know they have it for making sundaes.  I wish I'd gone out of my way to ask for it, because once I left with it and tried it, it was obvious that it would have really helped out.

It was made in some sort of blender/mixer combo device.  Not quite a classic blender, nor a classic milkshake maker.  The result was not a good consistency.  Mostly, it was just milk, with a few bits that were too thick to suck up.  And then a ton of froth.  The high powered mixer thing just really destroyed the ice cream.  The small amount that stayed frozen melted far too fast.  It wasn't exactly hot out, as I was in San Francisco after all, and I had basically no ice cream or iciness remaining after about 2 minutes.  Very poor execution.  I was really surprised, since I think they sell a lot of shakes, and the machine seemed custom.

Flavor-wise there wasn't much going on.  Slight strawberry flavor, not even in the same ballpark as the one from Holy Grill, but not fake and horrible like the one from McDonald's.  It was at least made with real ice cream, with some bits of strawberry in it, but the addition of all the milk just watered it down.

On the plus side, I had the nicer employee this time.  I also ordered a hand packed pint, which he thoughtfully stashed in a freezer while he made the shake and rang me up.  I really appreciated that extra effort, as it helped my pint not melt as fast for my trip home.

I got the mini size, which was "only" 12 ounces.  $3.49 was actually kinda pricy for this size, more than the 12 ounce mini I got from Bistro Burger for $2.99 and just slightly less than the $3.99 large sizes I got many other places.  Certainly not worth the price, would no get again.
Baskin Robbins Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Waffling Leftovers: Mashed Potatoes & Potato Puree

Update, December 2019

As you know from my earlier posts, leftover mashed potatoes are something I often try to throw into a waffle iron, as they always seem like they should waffle beautifully, but they really do require a bit of extra love to get perfect.

This is a story of being lazy though, and not entirely putting in that effort.  The result however was still tasty!
The Original: Homemade Mashed Potatoes.
The original was my sister's mashed potatoes, served as part of our Christmas eve spread.  Butter, milk, and her "secret" ingredient: cream cheese.  Good, classic, creamy mashed potatoes.
The Leftovers: Cold Mashed Potatoes.
But we had a ton left over.  Trying to get others to help me eat them up, I kept offering them to my father in particular, who I thought liked mashed potatoes, but only learned then that he loves hashbrowns, homefries, fries, roast potatoes, baked potatoes, anything like that, but NOT mashed potatoes.  I somehow never noticed that in all his potato eating, he never went for mash.

I asked about potato pancakes.  He hadn't ever had them.  I offered to transform the leftover mashed potatoes into potato pancakes, and he said he'd try them that way.

But then I got lazy.
Very Advanced Prep!
I got VERY lazy.  Instead of making potato pancakes, forming patties, pan frying them ... I ... uh ... just dumped a big pile of mashed potatoes into the waffle iron.

Now, of course I know from my own previous experiences, that mashed potatoes don't usually waffle very well without crusting.  I knew I should crust them.

But, lazy.
Partway through cooking ...
I set the waffle iron to a standard 350*, and set off to gather other leftovers to pair with his mashed potato waffles.

When I checked once, they were looking pretty pale.  I knew better than to just do them this way ...
Golden Brown Potatoes!
Yet I left them, and let them go a bit longer.

They did get a nice light golden brown, and even extracted fairly easily.  Were they crispy though?  Not really.  But at least they didn't make a mess?
Waffled Mashed Potatoes & Mom's Meatballs.
I served them with some leftover meatballs, really, a meal that made no sense, but hey, it was leftovers season, and this was at least slightly interesting?  He had leftover meatballs the day before with leftover brunch hashbrowns on the side, so it seemed not much different.

I'd say he ... tolerated the mashed potato waffles.  Declared them better than mashed potatoes, but, as I knew, he wanted something crispier than this.

I really should have crusted them, or at least maybe oiled the waffle iron.

Original Review, May 2017

Do you really need an intro to my Waffling Leftovers series at this point?  By now, you know what I do.  I reheat my leftovers, generally as is, in my waffle iron.  And I usually love the results.  I've covered Italian main dishes (lasagna, pizza, etc), I've covered casseroles (tuna noodle, shepherd's pie, etc), and now, its on to side dishes (like the crazy successful grits from last week).

Mashed/pureed potatoes: Will it Waffle?  Yes ... but, like mac and cheese, some crusting is required to maintain structural integrity.  Or ... make it opened faced.  More on that below ...

Mashed Potatoes

The ingredient I had in mind for this experiment was simple: leftover mashed potatoes. 

Mashed Potatoes.
The potatoes actually came from leftover shepherd's pie, so there was a bit of peas, carrots, and corn also in the mix, but, just go with it.

Inside the waffle maker ...
I thought the mashed potatoes would waffle up and get a crispy exterior, like a potato pancake.  It sorta did ... except, there was absolutely no structural integrity.

I left it cooking for quite a while longer, and it got slightly more crispy, but it was clear that there was no way I'd ever be able to extract it as a full waffle from the waffle iron.

Tasty, and I liked the crispy bits, but certainly not a waffle.
Crusted Mashed Potatoes.
I had a tiny bit left of the mashed potatoes, that I was planning to just heat up and eat as regular mashed potatoes, but I couldn't resist trying to improve on my failed experiment.

Remembering how adding a cornflake crust made waffled mac and cheese a success, I added a crushed cornflake crust to the mashed potato and made a tiny little crusted mashed potato patty and waffled it.

And ... it worked.  While this was a small test, it held together fine and got super crispy on the outside.  I didn't mind the slight cornflake contamination of my mashed potatoes either, although I certainly wouldn't think of combined the two normally.

Next time, I'd certainly go for a crust again, although I'd try breadcrumbs.

Potato Puree

A few months later, I again had leftover mashed potato.  Ok, technically, it was potato puree, not mashed potatoes. 
Potato Puree.
The puree was incredible, loaded up with soooo much butter and cream, plus chives for even more flavor.  It was crazy creamy, crazy decadent, and oh so delicious.

Thus, into the freezer the leftovers went.
Leftover Potato Puree.
I pulled out the leftovers, and heated one block up in the toaster oven.  It came out fine, and I was impressed at the texture of the potatoes, even when frozen and reheated.  I think because it was such a smooth puree, no strange texture resulted from the freezing, as usually happens with mashed potatoes.

But you know me, I wanted to waffle things, so, into the waffle iron the other chunk went.
Almost there ...
Except ... I forgot to read my previous post, and failed to crust it.  I remembered this when I opened the lid to check on it, but actually, it looked like it was holding its structure fine, just obviously not done yet.

So, I let it go a bit longer, so the two halves would bind together.
Done!
I waited a bit too long though, as the top got a bit burnt.  Somehow the bottom side didn't though, which upset me slightly, because it means that my waffle plates aren't the same temperature ...

Anyway, even without crusting, this was a success.  It held together nicely, was super crispy on the outside, and a bit creamy inside.  It was kinda like hashbrowns or fries even.  I really enjoyed it, even if slightly over done.

Mashed Potato - Open Faced?

Another day, another batch of mashed potatoes to waffle, but this time, something didn't go quite as planned ...
The Original: Silky Smooth Mashed Yukon Golds.
I started with some seriously good mashed potatoes.  Just mashed yukon golds, with the perfect amount of butter and milk.  Creamy, with a bit of texture from a few chunks.  They were really fantastic potatoes, somehow not too decadent, but also still very delicious.  I think there was likely more butter than I realized, but, hey, they were great.

They were great cold the next day.  They were great warmed up in the oven.  But, I had to try waffling them too.
Cooking Underway.
I did not crust the potatoes.  I set the waffle iron to 350°  fairly randomly.  I was having them for breakfast, so I was going for more of a thin crispy hashbrown style than a big potato pancake, so I spread it in fairly thin.

After a few minutes of cooking, things didn't look good.  After 5 more minutes, it still didn't look good.  Because I did it so thin, the top grill didn't make contact with the potatoes, so it looked like a pool of mush, not crisping up.  I thought it was going to be a disaster to remove.  I didn't take a photo, and decided it was likely a waste.  I put another batch of potatoes in the regular oven, and returned to the waffle iron to clean up.
Lightly Waffled Mashed Potatoes!
And then I realized my creation was actually fine.  The bottom was in contact with the plates.  It did crisp up, lightly, and it didn't burn.  The waffle extracted from the iron with no problem.  And the top (now underside once I flipped it out), was creamy and moist.  It was the best of both worlds.

I actually loved this creation, and it inspired me to think about more "open-faced" style waffles, where I only intentionally waffle the underside, either by doing it thin like this, or, by not closing the top.

The evolution continues ...
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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

J.P. Licks, Boston Area

I visit the northeast United States several times a year, for several reasons.  The primary reason of course is family: my parents live in New Hampshire and Ojan's live near Boston.  But I'm not going to lie and say it is *just* to see them.  In July or August, my visits are also sorta motivated by the desire to have some actual summer.  And a major part of summer?  Ice cream, duh.  It is no secret that I have a major weakness for the stuff.

I didn't grow up in the Boston area though, so I was not familiar with J.P. Licks until I met Ojan.  But once I did, J.P. Licks quickly rose to top of my reasons to visit the east coast.

J.P. Licks is a chain of ice cream and froyo shops, located all around the Boston area.  They currently have 12 stores, 2 of which are very close by Ojan's parent's house, so I plan at least one outing nearly every time I go to visit them.  The J.P. in the name stands for their original location, in Jamaica Plain, an area of Boston (nope, they didn't name the place after me, sorry).

The focus is ice cream and frozen yogurt, all of which is homemade, but they also roast their own coffee, and serve some baked goods.  I know, can it get any better than this?  All things I love.

The ice cream is hard serve, and they make regular ice cream, plus dairy free versions (soy, coconut, and hemp milk are all used), and sorbet and sherbet.  The frozen yogurt is mostly soft serve.  For hard serve, they offer a base set of flavors at all times, and then add on ~10 new flavors every month.  The soft serve rotates weekly.  They also have a slew of toppings, many homemade.

I really love the soft serve frozen yogurt, and they make the best peanut butter soft serve frozen yogurt I've ever had.  A warning though, the place is expensive.  When I visit my family in New Hampshire, our ice cream cones cost $1.50 at one place in town, and $1.75 at Dairy Twirl, my favorite.  At J.P. Licks, a kiddie cone costs $3.50.  On the plus side, they always offer sprinkles for free, and, well, I love my sprinkles.  They are also generous with, and encourage, samples before you decide.

If you find yourself in the Boston area, I recommend.

2017, 2018, 2019 Update Reviews

I've reviewed JP Licks fairly extensively before, but, an update is in order, as I've continued to "perfect" my order.

I still love JP Licks, and visit whenever I am in the Boston area, I fully admit that only a handful of their items are really rare-worthy for me at this point, and many others are hit or miss.  Stick with the reliable: hot fudge (always, seriously, so good!), hard serve black raspberry or Candy Cane (winter only), and soft serve vanilla and peanut butter.

December 2017, Newton

Small Sundae: Vanilla Soft Serve Froyo, Myers's Rum Raisin Ice Cream, Gingersnap Molasses Ice Cream, with hot caramel sauce, walnuts, and yogurt chips. $6.35. [ Newton Highlands Store ]
My annual free sundae in December is always a hard one for me.  I adore ice cream, but, only in "ice cream weather", and on this particular visit, it was as far from ice cream weather as it gets.  Every single night was DOUBLE DIGIT below zero.  Yes, really.

I almost, almost traded in my free sundae for a warm beverage or breakfast pastry.  But ... I couldn't resist the lure of JP Licks sundae toppings.

On this visit, I had a mission.  I was finally going to try a new sauce.  No more hot fudge, as much as I love it, I really wanted to try the others.  JP Licks makes their own caramel and (seasonal) butterscotch.  I was hoping for the butterscotch, but I know only some locations carry it.  I knew I could also fall back on decadent peanut butter sauce if I really wanted.

Sadly for me, they did not have butterscotch, as I feared.  But the caramel was there, and it, like the hot fudge, is served hot.  Caramel it was.

Thus, I had to design my sundae around caramel rather than hot fudge, an entirely new endeavor for me.  My favorite hard ice creams (necessary to stand up against a hot topping) of black raspberry or the seasonal Candy Cane were clearly not right.  Nor was my goto soft flavor of choice, peanut butter.

I almost took back my decision, but after sampling a few, came up with my sundae.

Soft serve vanilla froyo on the bottom (since I love the froyo and wanted it included, but it needs to be at the bottom so as to not melt immediately when hot topping is applied), rum raisin in the middle, and seasonal gingersnap molasses on top.

The vanilla soft serve was standard and what I wanted, creamy, tasty.  The rum raisin was ok, but far sweeter than I wanted.  It was nicely boozy though, and had plenty of plump raisins.  If the sweet was toned down just a bit, it would be a great flavor.  The gingersnap molasses, much like the rum raisin, was also just a bit too sweet.  The flavor was lovely, and I liked the texture from the cookie bits, but, still, just a touch too sweet.

The ice creams on their own would have been just a bit sweeter than I liked, but not a big deal, but the real issue was my choice of caramel.  It was ... cloyingly sweet.  And applied far, far too generously.  I always say that about the hot fudge, but in the case of the fudge, I always seem to finish it all, happily, although, guiltily.  With the caramel though ... it was just way, way too much.  And way, way too sweet.  And way, way too sticky.  It got a bit chewy as it solidified and just took over the entire sundae.  It ruined it, really. I couldn't get a bite without it, no matter how hard I tried.

I declined the whipped cream as usual, and opted for two dry toppings instead, selecting chopped walnuts and yogurt chips.  I wanted the waffle cone bits, but alas, this location didn't have them.

I thought the walnuts would go great with the caramel (plus, uh, protein?), but they were quite bitter.  I didn't care for them, and they got entirely mixed in with the caramel so were impossible to avoid.

The yogurt chips I can't really evaluate, as they were lost in the caramel.  

Overall, this was a fail.  Too sweet, toppings I didn't like, and not much was salvageable.  I kept eating it, trying to like it, but I should have just cut my losses.  The only part I liked was the very bottom with some vanilla soft serve with minimal caramel on it.

Safe to say, I won't get the caramel, nor walnuts, again.

August 2018, Newton

Peach / NS Vanilla / Peanut Butter Froyo, Chocolate Sprinkles, Small. $4.95. (August 2018, Newton Location).
This year, my birthday reward was reduced down to a small cone, rather than a small sundae, as I haven't visited enough times in the year to be worthy of a full sundae.  Doh.  Not my fault I live on the other side of the country!

I asked about getting a kiddie cone and adding a topping instead, as that would be the same price, and before the "sundae" actually meant "anything up to the value of a sundae, or pay the extra yourself", but this time my server said that I had to just get a small.  Well, ok, I didn't *actually* want that much ice cream, as I was coming straight from lunch, but, what's a girl to do?  I had to get a small!

And then, when I asked how many flavors I could have in a small (as I've always done kiddie before), she said, "As many as you want!".  Um, really?  I think she might have been new, but still took her up on the offer, selecting three, since the two I wanted wouldn't combine well, and this way I could add a simple vanilla separator.

As she finished the second flavor, she turned to me and said, "it was hard to do three flavors as a small, so I'm making a medium instead, I hope that is ok".  Normally, I'd be all for this, but I actually wanted a kiddie cone!  I smiled and accepted my fate.  I was getting a lot of froyo.

And .. it wasn't great.  The NS vanilla and peach were incredibly icy.  I wish I'd sampled them first, as I never would have ordered them.  I usually find the JP Licks NS vanilla so creamy, and I had sampled the peach at the Wellesley location the day before and loved it, so I didn't bother sample here.   Doh.  I was shocked by how icy they both were, and not really enjoyable.

The peanut butter was good though, creamy, good peanut butter flavor, great with the chocolate sprinkles, that were sadly kinda haphazardly applied.  I wanted to ask for a cup of sprinkles on the side, but, resisted.  The peanut butter was my top layer though, and it was certainly the smallest, so I mostly had a giant cone of icy flavors I didn't care for.

I'll admit, this was one of the most disappointing cones I've had!

Dec 2018 Newton

Peanut Butter Soft Serve Yogurt, NS Vanilla Soft Serve Yogurt, Grinch's Peppermint Ice Cream
with Hot Fudge, Nonpareils, Rainbow Sprinkles (Kiddie).
On this visit, I had a free small dish or cone, and a $2 reward credit, rather than a sundae(JP Licks changed the rewards program).  It was winter, and quite cold.  My plan was to sorta make a sundae, using the free small for the ice cream, and my $2 credit to get a topping (dry toppings are $1, wet are $1.30, but with tax I couldn't get two toppings, even if I did both dry toppings).  But I had a thought as I waited in line - what if I got a kiddie instead of small, and used the price difference between Kiddie and Small sizes to get a topping?  I asked the server if this was an option, and he confirmed it was.  So I realized that not only could I get two toppings, one could be a sauce, like ... my favorite hot fudge (because, alas, the elusive butterscotch was still no where to be found)!

My ice cream and yogurt choices were easy, as I made my decisions just like I do with a sundae - hard ice cream on top to handle the hot fudge without melting immediately (I went for The Grinch's Peppermint, a green colored peppermint ice cream), vanilla soft serve in the middle to act as a barrier, and peanut butter soft serve (my favorite!) on the bottom.  All were good choices, the peppermint minty, the peanut butter glorious as always, and each went well with the fudge.

For my dry topping I was tempted as always by nuts to "add protein", but decided to just go for what I knew I wanted, the little rainbow nonpareils, which were as expected a nice crunch and more chocolate flavor.  I also added the free sprinkles (rainbow!), because, why not?

This was all a positive creation, although, the quantities of things were really off.  Getting a Kiddie size meant a small amount of each ice cream (although a perfectly reasonable size, I didn't need more at all), but the toppings were not scaled accordingly ... which somewhat makes sense, as all toppings are the same price, no matter the size.  So there was nearly as much fudge as ice cream (I'm not joking), and between the nonpareils and sprinkles I had basically 25% of my cup filled with candy.  Next time, I think I'd need to ask for less toppings, or, go for a small when more hungry, or with someone to split with.

December 2019 Newton

Create Your Own Sundae!
Well, I've now really perfected another aspect of my JP Licks visits: getting the hot fudge on the side.  Game changer.
Pomegranate X / Eggnog Soft Serve / Grinch's Candy Cane Ice Cream (bottom), Rainbow Sprinkles, Small.
December 2019, Newton Location.
These flavors were ... not what I was intending to get.  I was in the Boston area for two days only, scoped out the soft serve flavors at each location, and went specifically to this location, with a plan.  And I was foiled, horribly, as one of their machines was broken, and it happened to be the one with the exact flavors I was intending to get.  Doh.

I tried a few of the hard ice creams, including some I was quasi excited for (the new oat milk based ones in particular), but alas, nothing was really doing it for me.  So I sorta compromised, and got one I wanted (the hard Grinch's Candy Cane) and two soft serves that I was lukewarm on.

I added rainbow sprinkles (because, fun! and free!), but opted for other toppings on the side.

The tart Pomegranate X was good for what it was, but, it is a tart, healthier style, not very creamy, a bit icy, and, well tart.  The pomegranate flavor is good though, and if I was in the mood for healthy, and had great ripe, fresh fruit and nuts or granola to top it with, I'd probably really enjoy it.  But JP Licks sadly *doesn't* have great fruit, and their nuts are hit or miss for me.  I wasn't really thrilled with this choice, but that was my own fault, I wish however that it wasn't the one he choose to give me the MOST of!

The eggnog soft serve was the complete opposite: creamy, rich, decadent, and quite sweet.  I wanted NS vanilla to mix with it, but alas, that was on the broken machine.  On its own this flavor was a touch too much sweet, but I loved the creamy consistency, and it went nicely with their fantastic hot fudge (and with my pumpkin bread pudding ... yes, I mostly saved this flavor and just brought it home to use later that evening with my own dessert base).  It did not have much eggnog spicing however.  A good flavor, but I'm glad I choose to save it and use it my way.

And finally, the one you can't see, because it is buried, the seasonal Grinch's Candy Cane, hard ice cream.  Brilliant green, lovely minty flavor, bits of candy cane inside for extra minty goodness, and plenty of crunch.  And the perfect, perfect, perfect match for JP Lick's hot fudge.
Topping: Hot Fudge (on the side). $1.30.
I've long loved JP Lick's hot fudge, but lament how quickly it melts the ice cream.  And although I adore it, I also somewhat dislike how generously they apply it, it sometimes is just a bit too much of a good thing at once - it really is sometimes nearly a full cup!  And ... it is always just right on top, so hard to use on your bottom flavors.

I realized at some point that when they package orders for delivery or pickup, they put the wet toppings on the side, for quality control.  Well, huh.  Even if I was getting it at the store, in person, why couldn't I do that?  Then it wouldn't melt my ice cream too fast, I could apply it as I wanted to each layer, and if it was too much, I could just stop, and save it for later joy?

Asking for a side of hot fudge was easy as can be, same price as all other wet toppings, $1.30.

I loved it so much.  Soooo rich, soooo thick, soooo chocolately, just, the best hot fudge I've ever had.  Honestly.  No where else has ever compared.

There are several flavors that I really, really love with it.  In the summer, the hard style Black Raspberry is my go-to, which I still don't entirely understand, but think is pretty magic and I'm glad I discovered.  In the winter, the seasonal Candy Cane (or Grinch's Candy Cane) compliments it perfectly.

The only caution I have with the hot fudge is that on soft serve, it melts very, very fast.  As much as I love JP Licks vanilla and peanut butter soft serve, and I think they work great flavor-wise with the hot fudge, I don't generally recommend soft serve and hot fudge.

So protip: get it on the side, stick with hard serve.

[ Other Flavors ]

Soft Serve Frozen Yogurt - Sweet
  • Cheesecake (August 2018, Newton): Icy, just sweet, didn't taste cheesecake nor cream cheese in any way.
  • Eggnog (December 2019, Newton): I had tried this several years prior, and was impressed, so when the flavor I was planning to get (NS vanilla) was broken, I opted for the Eggnog instead.  It was creamy, rich, and that signature consistency that made me initially fall in love with JP Licks.  It ate like soft serve ice cream, not frozen yogurt.  I'm sure it was not low fat.  It didn't have as much spicing as I remembered, but it was sweet and creamy, and perfectly enjoyable (although really a bit too sweet for me, I would have liked it better mixed with vanilla).
  • Oatmeal Cookie (December 2018, Newton): I did not like this at all!  It tasted, well, like oatmeal.  Icy, grainy, cold oatmeal.
  • Peach (August 2018, Wellesley): Incredible!  This was summer in a fruity, sweet, creamy froyo.
Soft Serve Frozen Yogurt - Tart
  • Cranberry Orange X (Dec 2017): This was a disappointing flavor, so I'm glad I only sampled it.  It was tart as expected, but I didn't taste cranberry nor orange.  It was also very icy.
  • Raspberry X (December 2018, Newton): Icy, tart,not good berry flavor, did not like this at all.
  • Pomegranate X (December 2019, Newton):  When the flavors I wanted were broken, I went back to tart, never my top choice at JP Licks, since what I enjoy there is the richer styles (which also match better with their toppings).  It was fine, tart, only a touch sweet, a bit icy, good flavor, and I guess nice if I wanted that (and brought my own fruit?)
  • Yogurt X (December 2019, Newton): After years of JP Licks visits, I finally tried the simple, classic, yogurt X. Not sure how it took me this long, besides that it just isn't an interesting flavor, and if I wanted a healthy style froyo, I'd go elsewhere, with better fruit toppings (sorry JP Licks, your fruit toppings just are not very good!).  How was it?  Yup, classic, tart, fairly icy, froyo.  No better than any other, but no worse really.  Highly average, but at least not too strangely sweet or anything.
Hard Ice Cream
  • Caramel Apple (Dec 2017): "Combines the crisp taste of apples with a swirl of sweet caramel".  This was a fine flavor, slightly sweet, and would have worked well with my desired caramel topping, but, I decided against it mostly to do something more different.
  • Fresh Peach (August 2018, Newton): "A J.P. Licks signature flavor, made with fresh peaches at the peak of flavor, marinated in brown sugar. (GF)". I've loved this previously, but this time it was a bit icy, and the peach flavor wasn't very intense.
  • The Grinch's Candy Cane
    • December 2018, Newton: "In collaboration with the Boch Center's How The Grinch Stole Christmas, we took our classic peppermint ice cream with candy cane pieces and turned it green just like The Grinch! (GF)".  I've had the classic peppermint ice cream before, and I believe this was exactly the same, just, green.  It was minty, flavorful, and a good choice for a hard ice cream with fudge.
    • December 2019, Newton: "For folks on the naughty list, our classic Candy Cane ice cream in The Grinch's color!" Since I had it the previous year and enjoyed it, I went for it again, and again enjoyed it.  A lovely minty flavor, crunch from the candy canes was nice, and I just loved how it went with the rich, thick, hot fudge.  Always a good choice.
Non-Dairy Ice Cream
  • Mint Chip - Oat  (oat, df,gf,v) (December 2019, Newton): "Our dairy free oat ice cream with peppermint and chocolate chips." I discovered oat milk in the past year, and although I have no dietary reason to need it, I've realized I prefer it in many cases over dairy milk, much like soy milk.  In particular, I really love it with granola, most cereal, and overnight oats.  I was quite curious to see if the lovely oaty notes would translate well to ice cream.  I did not enjoy this though - although it was minty, and the chips were nice, the consistency was just not there, it was rather icy, and just not really enjoyable.
  • Tahitian Vanilla - Soy (soy, df, gf, v) (December 2018, Newton):  "Dairy free soy ice cream with real Tahitian vanilla - light, fruity, and twice the flavor of regular vanilla. (DF, GF, V)". I love the flavor of soy, so I was eager to try the JP Licks non-dairy option, even though I clearly regularly eat dairy.  It did have a lovely soy flavor to it, and if I was looking for a simple base for a sundae, I'd gladly opt for it.

July 2017 Update:

I've decided that with the soft serve, which J.P. Licks you visit makes a big difference.  Charles Street in Beacon Hill is consistently the worst.  Icy froyo.  Sad Julie.  The Wellesley location on the other hand has high quality product, and ridiculously friendly staff.  Same with Newton.  Going forward, I'll include location information in each update review.

Soft Serve Frozen Yogurt

Each store has a different number of soft serve machines, generally ~8 flavors.  They rotate weekly, and vary by location.  The soft serve calendar is published online so you can choose your destination based on flavors.  You know, if you are the type of person who does that kind of thing.

They offer 3 styles of yogurt: regular, tart (known as X), and No Sugar Added (NS).  No, I don't understand the X either.

I've tried ... all of them?  Below is a compilation of tasting notes.  Peanut butter remains my favorite, particularly when paired with chocolate sprinkles.
Peanut Butter Froyo, Chocolate sprinkles (kiddie) $3.50.
This is my default order.  I love peanut butter, and J.P. Licks always has good peanut flavor, and the soft serve is quite creamy.  I think the peanut butter has the best consistency of all their flavors, likely due to the added fats?

I always add chocolate sprinkles (free!) because I love sprinkles, and I think the peanut butter and chocolate combo is a good one.

I also always go for a kiddie, which, varies widely in size.  This was a fairly wimpy kiddie cone, and not particularly photo worthy.  Expensive for $3.50, particularly when you compare to places like those in my hometown such as Dairy Twirl, where the smallest size, half-small, is $2.50 and much bigger, or even more dramatically, Ice Cream Fore-U, with the baby cone is only $1.50 and again, larger.
Peanut Butter Soft Serve / Nano Black Soft Serve / Rainbow Sprinkles. Cone. Kiddie. (July 2017, Charles Street). $3.96.
Another example of a cone, this time, with two flavors, which J.P. Licks let you do with no problem, layering one on top of the other.

I adore JP Lick's peanut butter flavor normally, but I wanted more than just one flavor.  The other flavors available (tart, grapefruit X, peppermint) did not seem like good combinations, and I didn't want chocolate or simple vanilla, so, nano black it was!  Plus, I liked it before.

This time however ... it was gritty.  It was icy.  It was really not good.  Was it the Charles Street machine?  They seem to have icy froyo far more than anywhere else.  Or is the charcoal actually gritty?  I don't know.  I just know that I ended up scraping it off, as I just really didn't like it.

The peanut butter however was great.  Creamy, great peanut butter flavor, although a bit strangely sour.  Still, good, and I'm glad I had it.

This was a kiddie cone, larger than the one above, but at nearly $4 it really seemed expensive ... again, the places I go around New Hampshire are literally more than half the price!

Regular Soft Serve Frozen Yogurt

  • Black and White Malted: This sorta seemed like a malty version of cookies and cream?  Not bad but not particularly interesting.
  • Candy Cane: Nice minty flavor. [ Meh, not very flavorful ] [ Not that minty, candy cane ice cream is much better. ]
  • Caramel: No real flavor, just sweet.
  • Chocolate: creamy, good chocolate flavor [ Creamy but I don't like this chocolate ]
  • Chocolate Raspberry: Not much raspberry, same chocolate I don’t like.
  • Cinnamon Latte: Strange bitterness, do not like.
  • Coconut: Creamy, sweet, mild coconut flavor.  Ok, but not remarkable.
  • Coffee: Just sweet, creamy, but do not like.
  • Cookie:  Just sweet, sorta chocolate flavor. [ Not bad, sweet, creamy. ]
  • Cookies N Cream:  Creamy, sweet, not distinguishable as Oreo. [ A little icy, no real flavor, not very good ] [ I don’t really get the Oreo flavor here ]
  • Eggnog: Almost too much to have a ton of, great as sample, and good with cone.  Tons of flavor, spices.
  • Gingersnap: Slightly spiced, not really special. [ No ginger flavor at all. ]
  • Mint Cookies N Cream: Really great flavor, the reason why I originally really liked J.P. Licks. Came out kinda icy though.
  • Nano Black Soft Serve (July Special). "Made with activated charcoal this dusky treat tastes sweet and is a natural detoxifier."  Yes, yes, trendy.  Black.  Oh, and they introduced new bright pink cones to go with it.  Instagram creation, for sure. That said, it was actually interesting.  I'm not sure anyone cares about having good health effects of charcoal in their soft serve froyo (e.g. it whitens teeth, relieves gas, and more), but, the flavor was mostly vanilla, with a touch of ... dustyness?  Ashyness?  It was interesting.  It was fun to eat.  It was creamy.  So, really, not bad. (Wellesley) [  I was excited to get this again, but ... the texture was off.  It was gritty.  Icy.  Not very good.  I ended up throwing out this part of my cone, and I wished I had sampled it first. (Charles St) ]
  • Peanut Butter: Creamy, decent pb flavor.  [ Ridiculously creamy, but peanut butter flavor not as strong as I recall. ] [ Noms, noms, noms [  Creamy, great pb flavor, awesome ] [ Creamy, good as always ] [ Not strong peanut butter flavor, a little icy ] [ Creamy, not tons pb flavor ] [ Creamy good pb flavor] [ Not tons of pb flavor, but had in a sundae, so flavor got covered up by toppings ] [ Creamy, but still not as flavorful as I remember ] [ Good pb flavor, creamy] [ Creamy, light pb flavor ] [ Creamy, ok pb flavor ] [ So creamy, great peanut butter flavor. ] [  Good creaminess, but not nearly as much peanut butter flavor as past times. ]
  • Red Raspberry: Creamy, good raspberry flavor, pretty good, particularly with sprinkles. [ Creamy, decent raspberry flavor, a bit tart ]
  • Vermont Maple: This was way too sweet.  It did have a decent maple flavor, but, it was far, far too sweet.
  • White Russian: Kinda too sweet, but good.

No Sugar Added (NS)

    • Chocolate: So creamy, nice chocolate flavor but not my thing at all [ Good chocolate flavor but chocolate isn't my thing ] [  I just don’t like their chocolate flavoring, a little icy ]
    • Coffee: Way too sweet, not good. [ Way too sweet, awful ] [ Creamy, good flavor, not too sweet ]
    • Peppermint: Nice and minty, a tiny bit fake sweet tasting. [ Minty but a little strangely sweet ] [ Nice minty flavor ] [ Sweet, nice minty flavor ] [ Good minty flavor, but icy ] [ Good minty flavor, but icy. (Charles St) ]
    • Vanilla: So creamy. [ Creamy, good vanilla flavor, awesome] [ Decent vanilla flavor, creamy ] [ Sweet, not much vanilla flavor, not very creamy ] [Sweet, slightly fake, creamy, good ] [ Creamy, ok ] [ Decent vanilla flavor, a little icy. ] [ Creamy, sweet, good ] [ Creamy, sweet, but no real vanilla flavor ]

Tart (X)

    • Black Current: Tart, ok flavor, but also really sweet.
    • Blood Orange: Tart, good orange flavor, would be good swirled with vanilla? [ Just sweet, not very good, icy ]
    • Blueberry: Very tart, blueberry flavor, even visible bits of blueberry.  But, too tart for what I wanted.
    • Grapefruit X (Charles St): Crazy tart. In a grapefruit way, in addition to being a tart yogurt. It seriously made me pucker. Which was fine, but, it was also icy. The Charles street location just really doesn't maintain the same consistency.
    • Lychee: Nicely tart, slightly sweet, a bit icy, but quite nice, for a tart yogurt.
    • Peach: Nicely tart, good peach flavor.
    • Pomegranate: Decent tart and fruity flavor. [ Decent, tart ]
    • Raspberry: Decent raspberry flavor, tart [ creamy, tart, not tons rasp flavor ]

Hard Ice Cream

Hard ice cream makes up the majority of the menu, all housemade.  They have about 20 or so flavors all the time, plus an additional 10 or so that change out monthly.  The monthly flavors are often seasonal, like Candy Cane around Christmas, and Fresh Peach in the summer.  The signature standard flavors are the Cookies 'n' Cream series, available as Peanut Butter Cookies 'n' Cream, Mint Cookies 'n' Cream, and Coffee Cookies 'n' Cream.  They also offer a soy, coconut, and hemp flavor every month.

I never get hard ice cream when I go to an ice cream shop, because it never seems much different than what I can get at a store and bring home, and a single cone will cost the same as a pint or quart.  But, J.P. Licks makes some really interesting flavors, and I do end up getting hard ice cream when I make a sundae (which I do frequently), as the hard ice cream stands up against the hot fudge better (more on this soon).  Black raspberry is my favorite.

Tasting notes, on all the hard flavors I've tried:
  • Banana Peanut Butter Ripple:  Tasting notes: Slight banana flavor, little bit of peanut butter swirled in.  I like banana and peanut butter together, but I wanted the flavors to be more intense.
  • Black Raspberry: Tasting notes: Good raspberry flavor, creamy, quite good.  Very good with hot fudge. [ This is my number one pick for sundaes, it goes perfectly with hot fudge, and is full of flavor. ]
  • Blueberry Pancakes & Syrup: "Maple ice cream blended with pancakes and wild blueberries."  Tasting notes: this tasted vaguely of maple, kinda like waffles, but, I didn't really taste the "pancakes", although the scooper told me it had real pancakes in it.  Interesting flavor idea, but, not particularly great.
  • Butter Almond: "Real butter and brown sugar mixed in to our ice cream with fresh roasted and salted almonds."  Tasting notes: This was a great ice cream, for a hard ice cream.  The flavor of the base was good, and it was loaded up with plentiful almonds.  If I ever wanted a hard scoop, not as a sundae, this would be a great pick.  But sadly, I only ever get their hard ice cream as sundaes, since I love the soft serve so much. [ I tried it again, and found it really flavorless and boring.  I liked the crunch from the nut, but really, nothing else about this was interesting.  Meh ]
  • Butter Pecan: "A sweet combination of butter base and brown sugar, loaded with chewy pecans". Tasting notes: Nice chunks pecan, good butter flavor. 
  • Candy Cane: "Our original intense peppermint ice cream with pieces of peppermint candy. A J.P. Licks favorite, and a great way to start the holidays". Tasting notes: This was great! Super minty, and I really loved the chunks of candy cane throughout.  A serious winner.  Great with hot fudge too. [ Great flavor, big chunks of candy cane. ] [ Nice minty flavor, chunks of candy cane are minty and refreshing ]
  • Carrot Cake: "An autumn favorite! We shred tons of carrots and marinate them with brown sugar, add raisins and walnuts to create this unbelievable flavor." Tasting notes: This had a lot of flavor, was well spiced, and really was loaded up with shreds of carrots.  Incredible interpretation of a carrot cake, in an ice cream!
  • Chocolate Peppermint Sorbet: "Dark chocolate sorbet with a light peppermint flavor." Tasting notes: chocolate sorbet with nice peppermint sauce throughout.  Would be a good lower fat alternative.
  • Cookie Dough: Tasting notes: The cookie dough bits were plentiful, but not particularly good, meh.
  • Egg Nog: “Another holiday tradition, Egg Nog ice cream is made with real eggs, a hint of cinnamon, nutmeg and just a splash of rum.”  Tasting notes: A tiny bit boozy, not very spiced. Meh.
  • First Night Bananas Foster: “A brand new creation, fashioned after the dessert of caramelized bananas and rum. Sorry, we don't set it on fire.”  Tasting notes: Decent banana flavor, not boozy, ok.
  • Fresh Mint Hard Ice Cream (June Special). "Pounds and pounds of mint leaves are handpicked to create this light and refreshing flavor.": Tasting Notes: This was really interesting.  It was not mint in the way that most mint ice cream is, sweet, and usually with chocolate chips.  Nope, this tasted like a mint leaf.  It was refreshing.  Really different, and the server told me that she always has kids taste it first when they order it, because she's pretty sure they aren't going to actually like it.
  • Fresh Peach: "Fresh, ripe peaches are cut and marinated in a secret brown sugar recipe, then lightly pureed to create a chunky texture that tastes so good, we'll keep it coming all through august!" Tasting notes: Not much flavor, meh.
  • Fruity Pebbles Cereal Milk Hard Ice Cream (July Special). "Fruity Pebbles cereal infused with cream for a sugar cereal taste that will leave you wanting more." Tasting Notes:  Yup, this tasted like Fruity Pebbles.  Amazingly like Fruity Pebbles.  It was sweet, it was fruity, and it was a thing that childhood dreams are made of.  But not my dreams.  It was what it was, but it wasn't for me.
  • Gingersnap Molasses: "Creamy molasses based ice cream with chunks of gingersnap cookies." Tasting notes: I was shocked by how sweet this was.  I expected more ginger flavor as well.  Overall, it was tasty, but totally not what I was expecting.
  • Glogg: "A sweet, spicy combination of port wine, brandy, oranges, spices, and raisins, it’s no wonder that we had plenty of volunteers to taste test this deliciously boozy concoction."  This was actually pretty tasty.  Lots of flavors, and I liked the boozy quality to it, adn the plump, soaked raisins I found in my sample.
  • Maple Walnut: Tasting notes: Good flavor, good nuts [ Too sweet for what I wanted, decent maple flavor and plentiful nuts ] [ Good maple flavor, but nothing remarkable. ]
  • Mint Chip: Decent minyness, good amount of chocolate chips. 
  • Noodle Kugal: "A creamy mixture of sweetened egg noodles blended with butter and brown sugar and spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg." Tasting notes: meh.
  • Peanut Butter Oreo --> Peanut Butter Cookies 'n 'Cream: Tasting notes: Good peanut butter flavor. [ Ok flavor, but meh. ] [ Awesome, peanut butter ice cream super flavorful, big chunks of oreo. ] [ Decent peanut butter flavor, but Oreo chunks get soggy inside, and just aren't appealing to me ]
  • Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Chip: "Delicious peanut butter ice cream loaded with chocolate chip cookie dough and chocolate chips." Tasting notes; ok peanut butter flavor, bits of chocolate chip and cookie dough. Kinda icy though.
  • Pistachio: Very pistachio-y.  Bits of pistachio, strong pistachio flavor. [ Little chunks of pistachio, good textures, decent flavor. ]
  • Pumpkin (SOY): A bit icy, but decent flavor.
  • Pumpkin Cheesecake: "Our famous pumpkin flavor blended with that famous NY cheesecake flavor, finished with those famous graham crackers. Bring this to a party, and you'll be famous, too!" Tasting notes: This was well spiced, slightly pumpkiny, and very cheesecakey.  Too rich for what I was in the mood for at the time, but very nice.
  • Pumpkin Custard:  "We use our secret homemade recipe of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and molasses to make this taste just like grandma's pumpkin pie. This flavor contains eggs."  Tasting notes: Spiced, but soapy, some pumpkin flavor. [ Great spicing, creamy. ] 
  • Salty Caramel: "Rich caramel, made even better with a ripple of sea salt caramel." Tasting notes: The texture of this wasn't very creamy, but the caramel flavor was nice.  Not a bad choice, but not my favorite.
  • Sweet Cream: This was pretty plain, as the scooper described it, "Its like vanilla, without the vanilla".  It was fine, sweet, creamy, but, not interesting.  Perhaps a good base for a sundae.
  • White Chocolate Cranberry Cheesecake: "Pureed cranberries, our famous New York style cheesecake ice cream, together with real graham crackers and white chocolate chips".  Tasting notes: nice chunks of cheesecake, but otherwise not that interesting.

Hard Frozen Yogurt

JP Licks also makes hard frozen yogurt (and sorbet, sherbet, and non-dairy ice cream).  The menu has 4 standard flavors (coffee chip, peanut butter chip, oatmeal cookie, and mint chip), and then they add on a monthly flavor as well.

I finally tried one.

Red Raspberry Chip Low Fat Yogurt (July Special)
"Our low-fat yogurt with red raspberry puree and chocolate chips."
I've never been one for hard serve yogurt, but, I decided to give this a try, thinking it might be ok in a sundae, and a lighter option than my regular black raspberry ice cream.

It was ... ok.  The berry flavor was good, and I liked having chips in it, but, it was icy, and, well, it was yogurt.  Meh to yogurt (that isn't soft serve).

Sundaes

Small Sundae: Black Raspberry Ice Cream and Candy Cane Ice Cream, Hot Fudge, Walnuts, Almonds, Whipped Cream.  $6.50.
Since I spend so much money at J.P. Licks, I signed up for their "Cow Card" which allows you to earn rewards for your purchases.  It also gives you ... a free sundae for your birthday.  And on the anniversary of your cow card.  ZOMG.  I'd never normally splurge for a sundae ($6.50 for a small!), but, you know how much I love freebies!

For a small sundae, you can pick two flavors of ice cream plus two toppings.  It comes standard with whipped cream and a cherry on top.  The list of toppings available is extensive, ranging from "wet" items like homemade hot fudge, caramel, butterscotch and marshmallow or berries and other fruits, to "dry" toppings like all sorts of candy.

I learned after several visits that you can opt to not have the whipped cream, and pick a third topping instead.  I also learned ... many other things.  Like the fact that soft serve and hot fudge don't mix very well (it just melts too fast). But that there is no way I can pass up the hot fudge because it is crazy good.

The following is my journey in perfecting the perfect sundae.  Which, at this point, I actually believe I have.

Small Sundae: Black Raspberry Ice Cream and Soft Serve Peanut Butter Frozen Yogurt, Hot Fudge, Rainbow Nonpareils, Whipped Cream, Cherry.  $6.50.
This sundae looked much different from my previous one (pictured above).  The amount of ice cream was the same, but the guy who made this one was far more reasonable with the whipped cream.

What I love about J.P. Licks is their soft serve frozen yogurt, but, when I've used it in sundaes in the past, it just melts way too fast when the hot fudge is applied.  So I was torn.  I wanted creamy delicious soft serve, but I also wanted a decadent sundae with hot fudge.  As I stood there being a bit indecisive, the server reminded me that I could mix and match multiple flavors AND types of ice cream.  Perfect solution!

So I picked my two favorites, the black raspberry that I had the first time, and the peanut butter froyo.  Perhaps a bit of a strange combination, but I thought it might taste a bit like a pb & j, and both flavors seemed like they would be great with hot fudge.

I did make one mistake though, in not asking for the soft serve on the bottom.  Thus, the more quickly melting soft serve was on top, and was the one that came in contact with the hot fudge.  It melted pretty much immediately.  It wasn't a total loss, as it added more creaminess and some slight peanut butter flavor, but I didn't really get to enjoy my peanut butter yogurt.  The black raspberry was flavorful and stood up against the rest of the sundae, a great choice.

For my toppings, the first was a no-brainer.  I adore their hot fudge.  Applied hot, it stays soft and fudgey, and they add soo much.  On all occasions that I've gotten the hot fudge, I've initially thought it was far too much, and then laughed at myself as I was scraping every last bit off at the end.  This time was no different.

The nonpareils added the perfect crunch and additional chocolateyness.  The whipped cream was again pretty boring, just from a can.  I need to remember to just leave that off in the future, and opt for another crunchy topping (like nuts?) or a second sauce.  The cherry was, well, a cherry on top.

This was a size small sundae, which I could actually imagine sharing.  It was a little bit too big for me, but, like I said, I didn't actually have trouble finishing it, and was licking the cup clean at the end.

Overall, this was a winner, but I have two final refinements: next time, peanut butter or vanilla froyo on the bottom, black raspberry or seasonal hard ice cream on top, hot fudge, nonpareils, nuts and no whip.
Small Sundae: Mint Chip Ice Cream and Soft Serve Peanut Butter Frozen Yogurt, Hot Fudge, Rainbow Nonpareils, Chopped Walnuts.  $6.50.
I'm narrowing in on the perfect sundae!  This time, I took my own advice from last time - see, I don't just write this blog for you, it is great to have for notes to myself!  I went for half soft serve and half hard ice cream, stuck with the winning hot fudge and nonpareils, and ditched the whip in favor of nuts.

Since I love JP Lick's soft serve frozen yogurt, but I don't want it in contact with the hot fudge since it melts too fast, I asked for the soft serve on bottom.  I picked peanut butter, my favorite flavor.  I don't normally get the hard ice cream at JP Licks, but for a sundae, it works better.  I decided to break out of my mold and get something besides black raspberry, so I went for mint chocolate chip, as I thought it would also go well with the hot fudge.  My ice cream/froyo selections achieved exactly the results I wanted: creamy soft serve didn't melt too fast since it was on the bottom, and the ice cream held up against the hot fudge.  Peanut butter and mint chocolate chip however was a bit of a strange combo.

The key ingredient to any JP Licks sundae is their housemade hot fudge.  It is just so, so good.  Really hot when it is added, so it does melt your ice cream, but it is thick, creamy, rich, just, amazing.  I cannot imagine a JP Licks sundae without it.  Even as it cools, it is delicious.

Since I liked the nonpareils last time for the crunch they added, I stuck with them, and again like them.  And since I had repeatedly noted that I should skip the whipped cream, this time I actually did skip it, and was offered any other topping in its place. I went for nuts, to add even more crunch, and uh, some protein?  I had the choice of walnuts or almonds, and went for walnuts, since they seemed like they would go well with hot fudge (which, they did).

Overall, this was the best sundae I've created so far.  The mix of soft serve and hard serve, with soft on the bottom, is certainly the way to go.  And this trio of toppings is the best I've found so far too.  So, I have just one further refinement: next time, I'll go back to black raspberry (or perhaps another seasonal ice cream).  I'm nearing perfection here!
Small Sundae: Peanut Butter Frozen Yogurt, Candy Cane Ice Cream, Chopped Walnuts, Chopped Nonpareils, Hot Fudge. $5.95.
This time, I thought I had it down. I was going to get vanilla soft serve on the bottom, and my favorite seasonal flavor the Candy Cane hard ice cream on top.  The hard ice cream on top would protect the soft serve from the hot fudge, and then I'd get to have both my soft serve and my hard serve, and the flavors would all compliment each other.

Except ... the vanilla soft serve machine was broken.  I had my heart set on the Candy Cane flavor, since it is only available in December and I love the mintyness, but no other soft serve flavors offered that day were appealing, except my favorite, the peanut butter.  I knew peanut butter and candy cane were a strange combination, but ... I had to make a rush decision, so I went for it.

I liked the creamy peanut butter soft serve.  I liked the minty, refreshing candy cane.  And, since it was winter, the ice cream didn't actually melt too fast, so they stayed fairly separate.  Not a total flavor strangeness disaster, but, they certainly didn't mix.

I again loved the crunch from the nuts and nonpareils.  And I adored the flavor of the hot fudge, but this time, it wasn't really hot.  Lukewarm at best.  As you can see from the photo, it was just glooped on top, rather than melted in like all the other times on the bottom, adjacent to the ice cream.  On one hand, this is better, as it didn't melt the ice cream.  But ... I like the runnier consistency much more.

Anyway, this sundae was one of my least favorite.  I actually like ice cream getting a bit melty, which didn't happen because it was cold outside, and the fudge wasn't hot.  And, I feel strange saying this since I love the fudge so much, but, there was too much of it.  It was hard to get bites of ice cream at first.  Next time, back to the game plan: seasonal flavor or black raspberry hard on top, complimentary soft serve on bottom, and the same toppings.
Small Sundae: Peanut butter soft serve frozen yogurt, black raspberry ice cream, hot fudge, rainbow nonpareils, strawberries.
Another day, another sundae.

This time, I went for the soft serve on the bottom, as always.  This continues to work well in terms of meltyness, but the peanut butter flavor was far too subtle.  Quite disappointing.

On top I went for the black raspberry again.  I tried a few other hard flavors, but wasn't inspired by any.  It was ok, and paired nicely with the hot fudge, but wasn't outstanding.  The hard ice cream did hold up nicely with the hot fudge.

The hot fudge was thick and chocolately, but it wasn't really hot.  This meant that it didn't melt the ice cream, but it also just wasn't as good.

I appreciated the crunch from the rainbow nonpareils.

I tried a fruit topping for the first time, as I was a bit uninspired when it came to my final topping pick.  I didn't want more candy, and I didn't think the sundae could take two sauces.  Strawberries seemed like they'd pair the best with the hot fudge.

They were awful.  Mush. Sweet mush.  Clearly not fresh berries, but also not even trying to be a compote.  Just frozen strawberries that were then warmed up.  Ojan and I were sharing this sundae and decided to just throw them all out.  This meant that we sacrificed some precious hot fudge, but, alas, we really did not want them.

I skipped the whipped cream since I never really care for it.

Overall, really not a good sundae, my least favorite ever.
Small Sundae: Vanilla Soft Serve Yogurt, Candy Cane Ice Cream, Hot Fudge, Rainbow Nonpareils, Waffle Cone Pieces. $5.95.
I continue to perfect my sundae.  The combination of soft serve yogurt on bottom, and hard ice cream on top is clearly the way to do it.  It was over Christmas when I visited, so the seasonal Candy Cane flavor was available, which I always love in a sundae, so it was easy to pick my top flavor.  My favorite soft serve is peanut butter, but I learned from my past experience that it wouldn't combine well with the Candy Cane.  I also liked the Lychee X tart flavor available that day, but again, it seemed like not a good combination.  So, vanilla it was.

The Candy Cane ice cream was great, minty, and it went nicely with the hot fudge, as anticipated.  I loved the additional crunch from the bits of candy cane.  The vanilla soft serve yogurt was creamy and tasty as always.  Both good choices for the base of the sundae.

The hot fudge was ... plentiful.  There actually was too much.  I ended with a big glob of it left over, no ice cream or other toppings to go with it.  No fear, a few minutes later, I just enjoyed it by the spoonful.  The fudge is just so ridiculously good.  Thick, chocolately, melty ... delicious.

The rainbow nonpareils were tasty as always, crunchy little bits, chocolately.  Great with the fudge.

My final topping was a new experiment: waffle cone pieces, rather than nuts as I usually do.  The pieces were a mix of chocolate coated waffle cone pieces, white chocolate waffle cone pieces, and plain waffle cones pieces.  I liked the white chocolate pieces the best, but all were good.  The chunks were all different sizes, but all were big enough to pick up and scoop up some ice cream (or, just fudge), which I enjoyed doing.

Overall, this was a success.  I'd pick these flavors of ice cream, and these toppings, again.  I still like the combination of nuts and hot fudge, so I missed the nuts, but I liked having the waffle cone pieces to dunk in.  I also always love the hot fudge, but I'm curious about the caramel, butterscotch, peanut butter sauce, and marshmallow sauce.  So many toppings I want to try!
Small Sundae: Peanut Butter Soft Serve Yogurt, Black Raspberry Ice Cream, Hot Fudge, Chopped Walnuts, Assorted Waffle Cone Pieces, Cherry. $6.50.
I continue to refine my sundae.  It is a given now that I'll leave off the whipped cream, subbing it for an additional topping.

As always, I was tempted to try the caramel, the peanut butter, or marshmallow sauce, but, the hot fudge is just too ridiculously good to pass up, so, hot fudge it was.  And since I was using hot fudge, i needed to put hard ice cream on top, and soft serve yogurt on the bottom, so it wouldn't melt too fast.

I went back to my classic combo of peanut butter soft serve on the bottom and black raspberry ice cream on top.  The two flavors combine together decently, and are both ones I generally like.  The peanut butter soft serve was good, rich, creamy, and went well with the hot fudge.  The black raspberry was really quite good and flavorful, and, also went perfectly with the hot fudge, and melted nicely with it.  Overall, successful flavor choices, although, I do wish I could find others that I like more.

The hot fudge was as plentiful as always, and, as always, I looked at it and thought I'd never be able to eat that much hot fudge.  And, as always, I somehow did, and found myself scraping up every last bit from the sides of the container.  The fudge was warm, it was super thick, it was super rich, and I loved how it hardened a bit upon contact with the ice cream.  They seriously know how to make hot fudge.

My other two toppings are where I always experiment.  I discovered the Rainbow Nonpareils many sundaes back, and loved them, so they have been a constant for a while now.  Since then, I've alternated my final topping between the various nut choices and waffle cone bits.  But this time, I decided to leave off the nonpareils.  I do love them, as they are crunchy and delicious, but, with all the fudge, do I really need more chocolate?

I picked walnuts, not a nut I necessarily generally want, but, they do go great with the hot fudge.  I was provided a very generous portion, and they satisfied all my desires to have something crunchy that the nonpareils normally do.

Finally, I went for the waffle cone pieces, a recent discovery.  The waffle cone chunks provide a different sort of crunch, and are larger in size, adding some textural interest to the sundae.  My pieces came from all different kinds of waffle cones, some plain, but many coated in dark or white chocolate, some with sprinkles or nuts too.  These pieces really added so much fun to the sundae, and I liked picking them up with my fingers to scoop up some ice cream too.

Even though I didn't get the whipped cream, my scooper offered me a cherry, which I accepted.  Why haven't others offered this?  It was just a standard maraschino cherry, but, it was tasty coated in hot fudge.

Overall, this was a successful sundae.  The hot fudge, walnuts, and waffle cone pieces may be my favorite topping combination yet.  I did sorta miss the rainbow nonpareils, but, I had enough chocolate and crunch with the other two.  I still wish I could come up with a better base ice cream mix, but, I'd get this again.

Small Sundae: Peanut Butter Soft Serve, NS Vanilla Soft Serve, Marshmallow Sauce, Waffle Cone Pieces, Chopped Walnuts.  $6.50. (Dec 2016)
One night, I went to get my free annual ice cream sundae at JP Licks.  Because it was nearly 9pm, I was faced with a dilemma: should I break my no chocolate at night rule and get hot fudge?  I love, love, love the hot fudge at JP Licks.

I decided to use the opportunity to try another sauce, as I wanted to try the caramel, butterscotch, peanut butter sauce, and marshmallow before anyway.  This forced me to do it.  I had my eyes on butterscotch, but alas, the location I visited did not have it.  Caramel or peanut butter sounded great, but then I realized that none of the ice cream flavors I was considering would work with those.  Pistachio, black raspberry, mint chip ... those all screamed out for hot fudge.  Sigh.  Marshmallow seemed like the only more neutral option, even though I wasn't excited about it.

Once I realized I was picking a not warm sauce, I decided that I could just get soft serve rather than hard serve, since I no longer had to worry about the hot fudge melting the ice cream too quickly.  The soft serve flavors of the week however weren't great.  I didn't want mocha, mango, or tart.  The maple was far too sweet when I tried a sample.  Which left me with peanut butter and vanilla, both flavors I enjoy in a cone, but, not particularly exciting.

I still had two toppings to go.  My regular rainbow nonpareils were out, as they are dark chocolate.  Doh.  I still opted to get the waffle cone pieces, even though they have some chocolate.  And  walnuts, for uh, protein.

I'll admit that I wasn't particularly excited about this sundae, even before I tried it.  I was sacrificing too many things I wanted, just not to have the hot fudge.  The result was about as expected.

The vanilla soft serve was a fine base for a sundae, albeit boring, obviously.  The peanut butter soft serve I had on the bottom, but it somehow didn't have nearly as much peanut-y flavor as I remembered from past times, it was nearly indistinguishable from vanilla.

It turns out that I had tried the marshmallow sauce before.  I just didn't remember it, and didn't read my notes first.  Doh.  From my previous notes: "Marshmallow Sauce: Just sweet, doesn’t go well with soft serve, too much same texture."  And ... yup, it was too sweet, and too much the same texture as the soft serve.  Very, very sweet, very very gooey.  I'm not entirely sure what flavor ice cream I'd want it on, perhaps it would be better when mixed with the hot fudge or another sauce?

The waffle cone pieces were still a good choice, crunchy, good sized chunks, and the small amount of chocolate I wasn't too concerned about.  The chopped walnuts were also good for crunch.

So, overall, just boring, too sweet, and not much flavor.  Bad choices on my part.
Sundae: Peanut Butter Soft Serve Frozen Yogurt, Nano Black Soft Serve Frozen Yogurt, Black Raspberry Hard Ice Cream, Hot Fudge, Dark Chocolate Nonpareils, Waffle Cone Pieces. Small.  $6.50.
As always, I continue to have fun innovating on sundae perfection when I redeem my free sundae rewards.

On this visit, I was told, "You can pick as many ice cream flavors as you want".  I always thought I needed to pick just two.  This solves many issues for me, like, wanting two flavors that don't go great together.  I could add a separator layer!

So that is just what I did.  Soft serve Peanut Butter froyo on the bottom, soft serve Nano Black soft serve froyo in the middle, and hard serve Black Raspberry ice cream on top.  Three layers, all different colors, light brown, black, and purple.

I stuck with hard serve ice cream on top because I knew I'd be adding hot fudge, and soft serve melts too fast.  I went for Black Raspberry, since that is my favorite of their hard serve flavors, and it goes great with hot fudge.  It was great as always, full of flavor, and yup, went excellent with the hot fudge.

Below that, I added the new Nano Black soft serve, a black, activated charcoal flavor.  This was a nice, neutral flavor, a bit smokey, soft and creamy.  Very good, and a great dividing layer, more interesting than regular vanilla, and, more picture-worthy of course.

The base was my favorite of all JP Licks flavors, soft serve Peanut Butter froyo.  Full of flavor, soft, creamy, delicious, and, again, a great combo with the chocolate.

And about that chocolate.  I went overboard on my chocolate toppings.  Sundaes are supposed to be one sauce, one dry topping, whipped cream, and a cherry.  But I've long since learned that I don't really find much value in the generic canned whipped cream, and that I can sub in any other topping I want.  I stuck with ones I knew well: hot fudge, rainbow nonpareils, and assorted waffle cone pieces.

JP Licks hot fudge is a thing of wonder.  Its really remarkable, home made, insanely chocolatey, thick, served hot, decadent.  And they add way too much.  Every single time I think of asking for less.  I know it is an unreasonable amount of hot fudge.  As in, literally, like a cup of it.  Way more than any human should eat for health reasons, but also, it kinda takes over.  But its just so good I can't bring myself to do it.  Next time?

The fudge was fantastic.  It was hot, it was awesome.  As it hardened against the ice cream, it changed the eating experience, but was still great.  I always love this, and haven't found another sauce I like more.

The rainbow nonpareils I love for their crunch.  The dark chocolate is decent quality, and they go great with the fudge.  In retrospect though, I think nuts would be a better option, they also add crunch, and also go great with fudge, and wouldn't be quite so much chocolate.  Save the nonpareils for when I'm not getting so much other chocolate topping?

And finally, waffle cone chunks.  The waffle cone topping is an assortment of crushed cones, regular, chocolate dipped, white chocolate dipped, sprinkle coated, etc.  I asked for the fun coated ones, and my server had a lot of fun picking them out and arranging them on top.  She even offered to just crush a brand new pink one just to make it look better (which I told her was totally unnecessary).  I do like having these to dunk into the ice cream, but, actually, I think I'm ready to move on from these.  Maybe replace these with nuts?

So next time ... 3 flavors, hard on top, two types of soft serve, hot fudge, nuts, and, I really want to try the toasted coconut sometime.  Next time.

Toppings/Extras

Just some notes on the different toppings I have tried.  There are many, many more toppings, mostly fruits and candy, that I have not gone for.
  • Almonds: Good with fudge. [ Good roasted almond flavor, great with fudge. ]
  • Hot Fudge:  "We make it all here in Jamaica Plain in our super steam kettle from real butter, high quality chocolate liquor and the best cocoa powder available."  Tasting notes: This is homemade, and you can tell. Very delicious, thick, great chocolate flavor.  They put way too much of it on a sundae, but it is really good.  Served piping hot, then thickens as it gets cooler. [ Very thick, good flavor, hot, really great. ] [ This is perhaps the best hot fudge I've ever had.  Very thick.  Always hot.  Goes amazingly with nuts.  They always give way more than I want, and it does make the ice cream melt a bit fast, but it is a must have for any sundae.  I always scrape some too the side because it seems like too much, and then come back to it at the end, to eat just as fudge.  It gets thicker and harder, and is particularly great with nuts. ]  [ Always so good, nice and think ] [ This is outstanding, I just sorta wish they'd give less.  Hot, soooo rich, amazing, and I like how it gets thicker as it cools .]
  • Marshmallow Sauce: Just sweet, doesn’t go well with soft serve, too much same texture.
  • Rainbow Nonpareils: chocolately, crunchy, noms. [ Crunchy, chocolate, always good to have ] [ Nice crunch, quality dark chocolate, always a winner. ] 
  • Sprinkles: Awesome. Always included for free!  Chocolate or rainbow. Very generous servings.
  • Waffle Cone Pieces: Assorted bits of waffle cone, chocolate coated, white chocolate coated, plain.  Good crunch, nice to dunk into fudge and ice cream. [ Good crunch, fun to add, but not necessary ]
  • Walnuts: Chopped up, love the extra crunch, good with fudge.
  • Whipped Cream: Menu says "homemade", but on all occasions, it was generic from a can. [ Fluffy, generic, given a huge sundae, really not necessary, would skip in the future. ]

Drinks

J.P. Licks also roasts their own coffee, and offers all standard espresso drinks.  I know I've tried the regular coffee, but, I never took notes on it.  I think it was fine?
  • Iced Chai: Sweet, ok.
  • Iced Mocha: Decent, sweet.

Baked Goods

And, they have a selection of baked goods, mostly muffins and croissants.  Since I'm usually there for ice cream, I haven't gone for many of these, but, it seems to make sense with their coffee selections.
  • Corn Muffin: Nice grit, but not much flavor.
  • Berry Muffin: Dry, uninteresting.
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