The Good: Wonderful flavors of ice cream, Good milkshakes
The Bad: Comparatively expensive
The Basics: Cold Stone Creamery makes good sundaes and milkshakes, but has higher ice cream prices than many places.
I am, as it turns out, a danger to myself and family members when I have a disposable income. Yes, keep the artist starving and everyone seems happier . . . except the artist. The last few weeks, I've been working a steady job where I can set my own hours, but only work forty hours a week, so I've taken to getting done with my work within three days, then having four days to spend time with my wife, pay off my debts and write my scripts. Time with my wife has frequently meant visiting the local mall, Carousel Mall (soon to be DestiNY U.S.A.) and us taking time to enjoy ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery.
Before we started to frequent Cold Stone Creamery, my only experience with the chain was through eating the Cold Stone Creamery Assortment of Jelly Belly Jelly Beans (reviewed here!). Those flavors of Jelly Bellys were characteristically delicious and it made me want to try the ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery when I discovered one locally. And for a once-in-a-while treat, Cold Stone Creamery delivers delicious ice cream, but it is a bit expensive.
Cold Stone Creamery ice cream parlors are located throughout the United States. As one who travels a lot, I seem to find them mostly in strip malls, shopping centers and within mall settings. Truth be told, my current experiences are all based with one Cold Stone Creamery here in Syracuse, NY at the local mall.
Cold Stone Creamery tends to be organized like a sit-down restaurant though it is an ice cream parlor. Ours has tables and booths arranged around it, but there is a central counter where one places their orders and where the ice creams are easily visible to help make decisions about what ice cream flavors one wants just a little harder! The entire restaurant has a neutral, family friendly atmosphere. Cold Stone Creamery, outside the initial counter where one may choose to go further in or take their ice cream out, is a sit-down restaurant where customers are waited on at a counter and then they seat themselves.
Cold Stone Creamery tends to be modestly decorated. Ours is very conservatively decorated with prints of ice cream in cones on the wall and a very maroon colorscheme to it.
Cold Stone Creamery has a cafeteria or fast food organization to it, so those who make the ice cream treats tend to be the ones who also cashier at the end of the line. The ice cream artists do not wait on the customer after they finish making their order.
Cold Stone Creamery is very much an ice cream parlor, nothing more, nothing less. While they do have some bottled juices and sodas, the prime reason to go to Cold Stone Creamery is for their ice cream. More than just simple ice cream, though, the chain prides itself on having delicious ice cream flavors and the ability to make knockout sundaes and milkshakes. And for that, they deliver, though their prices are higher than any locally-owned ice cream shop I have ever been to.
Flavors of ice cream (I refuse to call soft serve ice cream!) range from the predictably mundane (chocolate, vanilla, strawberry) to the delicious (mint chocolate chip, apple pie, birthday cake) and all of the ice cream seems to have a consistent quality to it. Cold Stone Creamery does not seem to have a gimmick I can find outside making sundaes that are creative or truly become a flavor overload. So, for example, one of their sundaes is chocolate ice cream with chocolate chunks in it, atop a brownie and drenched in hot fudge. Every layer of the chocolate experience is different, so each bite is different and the flavor is rich and complex.
My wife seems to get an ice cream cone each time we go and Cold Stone Creamery at least follows the decent trend of giving full scoops (as opposed to hollowed out scoops) and that is nice. The price, though, is a little steeper than I would like (I object to paying more than $3.00 for an ice cream cone), but the two-scoop cones are surprisingly filling and it has given us a chance to taste many of the flavors. So far, there have been none that I have not enjoyed.
As well, Cold Stone Creamery seems to be one of the last places on Earth that can make a good mint milkshake. Because they use their mint chocolate ice cream (as opposed to vanilla ice cream and flavor syrups), the milkshake comes out flavorful and rich each time. It seems the workers at Cold Stone Creamery are adequately prepared for their jobs as well, as the milkshakes always come out perfectly blended, with no large chunks of the ice cream in the fluid.
Because I love mint ice cream, my favorite sundae has been a brownie sundae with mint chocolate ice cream and the hot fudge sauce. The telling nature of the greatness of their ice cream is that even with all of the chocolate in the sundae, the mint flavor breaks through and is cool, distinct and delicious.
Cold Stone Creamery is a good chain ice cream parlor, but with their higher prices, I still trend toward the local ice cream shops. Still, Cold Stone Creamery's sundaes and milkshakes are a nice occasional treat when I'm out and about.
For other restaurants, be sure to check out my reviews of:
Long John Silvers
For other restaurant reviews, please be sure to visit my index page!
© 2011, 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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