Recently we took our children for the inaugural first ice cream cone of the season. "The Season" is the key word here.  In fact, I added “ice cream” to my budget tracker this year.  I figure it would be a good number to know when I want to hold things over my children’s heads.  It is not entirely their fault… after all the summer swim team drops the kids off at the local ice cream shack guaranteeing at least once visit a week!  (Brilliant whoever negotiated that arrangement!)  

I am a huge fan of ice cream.  You could say I identify with King Charles I, except that we diverge at a critical point.  He supposedly offered his ice cream maker a lifetime pension to keep "his" ice cream formula a secret.  Charles wanted it to be a delicacy of the elite.  You have to love this guy’s passion! However, I think he got it backwards.  He should have shared it with the public at large… and well, to put it as delicately as possible here, he might have kept his head.  I one hundred percent agree that ice cream makers deserve a lifetime pension, but that it should be eaten in public and with the public.  Why?  Well, not so we can keep our heads, but maybe our arteries.  To put this as delicately as possible again, if people like me are to have any chance of avoiding it or keeping it minimal, it has to never come in the house.  Hence, we go OUT for ice cream.  Every time.

All of this takes me back to our first summer back on the East Coast.  We were seriously mourning California and so what better for move-induced-depression?  Find the best ice cream cone within reasonable driving distance of course!  I know, I know… not good coping skills to be passing onto my kids, but it was productive because I can now tell you who has the best ice cream within the neighboring 7 towns.   

Zita’s in New Providence.  The best tasting.  Service is so-so, parking better than most, community aspect on the outside patio is great.  Truly excellent ice cream (and my kid’s favorite Italian ice.)

Magic Fountain in Summit.  It has a cult following.  The line can literally be a mile long.  It was an instant hit with the kids, but at first I did not like it at all.  However, I now totally love it.  It truly has its own flavor.  Not sure what has changed.  Wish I could go back to those first bites to reexamine anew.   Service is fantastic, parking not so great, community aspect positive and very social. 

Alan’s Orchard in Westfield.  This is my favorite.  Only mine, but a Mom can dream.  It is organic, local, grass-fed… everything I value and love.  The toppings are natural.  I love it!  It has that tang to it and I wish it was closer.  It is worth it just to go check it out at least once.  Great little store too and the service is awesome, but parking awful.  

Negeen’s Persian Grill in Summit.  Ok.  So this is not an ice cream shop, but since the Persians played a huge role in ice cream’s history it seems worth pointing out that you can get Persian ice cream here.  I recommend getting it with the falludeh.  While we are at it, I just really recommend this entire place.  I repetitively order the hummus, Panir-Sabzi and the Wild Strawberry Tea has to be one of the best sleep aids on the planet.  The owners Azar and Mehrdad Zarrabikia are extremely kind also.