#251: Sugar + Cream

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After lunch yesterday, at Aria Kabob Cuisine in the Galleria food court, I walked a few tenants down towards Sears, where a little kiosk sits housing a local Ice Cream Parlor called Sugar + Cream.

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They opened up in June and serve 16 flavors each day (at least that’s how many are on display) in scoops, milkshakes and sandwiches (although the sandwiches are not explicitly on the menu, I’ve seen photos of ice cream macaroon sandwiches as well as donut [ponchiks? Google says they are Armenian donuts] sandwiches).  I stepped up and was greeted by a friendly person behind the counter who offered up a samples of any flavors I was interested in.  I asked for a sample of the Thai Tea ice cream and was given a real metal spoon with a sizable bite on it.

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It was fantastic, so I got 2 scoops in a cup [$5.50].  You can of course mix and match scoops.  I saw a kid after me get 3 different scoops which was visually quite interesting and colorful.  The colors are very vibrant.  $5.50 is a reasonable price, I think, considering how massive the scoops are.  I probably could have done with one after my filling lunch.  The two scoops towered over the rim of my cup.

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I love the Thai Tea ice cream that Gunther’s makes, but Sugar + Cream’s is just as good, and soooooo much closer than driving down south of 50 in Sacramento to their shop (edit: according to Facebook commenter Melissa, it actually IS Gunthers ice cream!).  I didn’t think to ask if they sell pints, but I’d probably keep my freezer stocked year round if they did.  I loved every bite of this, sitting at one of the handful of little tables nearby.  I suspect I’ll be finding reasons to head into the Galleria more often now so I can top it off with some tasty ice cream.

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Website: (no website, so here’s their Facebook page): https://www.facebook.com/Sugarpluscream/

 

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#249: Rita’s

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My excitement for Rita’s opening in Roseville is built on a foundation starting back in 2010, when I first tried frozen custard at a Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers in San Antonio, TX.  After that I was was always on the lookout for this incredibly creamy frozen treat, but only seemed to find it while traveling out of the area.  Rita’s isn’t exactly a local business; they have locations in 33 states.  Somehow I had missed the one nearby over in Rocklin until a few people pointed it out after my Buck & Sadie’s visit, where they have frozen custard that I found to be closer to regular ice cream.

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Our Rita’s, located at Sunrise and Cirby, opened just over a week ago, and I’ve been twice already, not including a trip to the Rocklin location a few days before they opened because I couldn’t wait ;). They have various flavors of frozen custard, and in addition to that they also have Italian Ice, all of which is made in store each day.  On my first visit I was going to just get a simple chocolate custard, but decided instead to try their signature creation, the Gelati.  It is a cup of your choice of custard with a layer of Italian Ice in the middle.  At the time they had a marshmallow peanut butter flavored ice that I picked out.  It was pretty amazing.  On my second visit (on opening day in Roseville) I picked up a chocolate custard to go, which was delicious, but I ended up getting busy with a project when I got home and did not get to enjoy it fully.

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Yesterday I returned to the Roseville location once again.  The Gelati is neat and I feel like you get a lot of both custard and ice in even the regular size [$3.99].  Although I am usually a purist and tend to shy away from toppings or mixing flavors or textures (such as their ice with custard), I do think the Gelati is the way to go here.  It’s the perfect amount of both custard and ice, and they aren’t blended, so you get to enjoy them together or separately, however you like it!

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This time I went with another peanut butter flavor, this time it was chocolate instead of marshmallow.  As I tasted a sample on a tiny spoon the girl behind the counter said that this one can be an acquired taste.  I did think it had a kind of artificial quality to it, compared to the marshmallow, but it was still good so I went with it.  I took a little video on my phone quickly while she added the ice layer, though it didn’t turn out very good through the glass with lots of reflections.

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This one was pretty much just as great as the original, and the proportions of custard to ice were the same as well.  Their custard is so rich and smooth that it’s hard not to take your time and enjoy each bite, even if you want to tear through it.  If you read my Vampire Penguin post from not long ago you may remember that I described their ice as being dry (not like CO2 dry).  Here, this ice is very much wet.  It is right on the verge of becoming a cup of liquid with just a little bit of added heat.  Breaking up the custard layers probably keeps this size from leaving you feeling full afterwards, since it is much lighter.

etr-249-ritas-007 If you like to do toppings then there are a lot to choose from and, like the ice flavors, may vary based on the day and what is fresh (particularly in the case of fruit I imagine).  You can of course get custard or ice all by itself, and then in addition to the Gelati combo, they have a Misto Shake which blends the two together, and then a Blendini which is the Misto Shake with a topping mixed in. They also have regular shakes and ice drinks.

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Definitely excited to have Rita’s in town.  If you’ve never had frozen custard before, do yourself a favor and go check it out!

AM19: Vampire Penguin

Bold statement: This was probably one of the most unique and fascinating desserts I’ve ever had.  Ok, tone set.

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I saw this place called Vampire Penguin, next to Blue Oaks Century Theaters in Rocklin, a while back and my usual curiosity had me drive close to it to see what it was.  Looked like some sort of dessert spot so I added it to a list of possible places to visit.  They are apparently a small Sacramento-area chain, with 5 of their 9 locations here locally.  The others are in San Mateo, Berkley, Eureka and Reno.  Today I decided I’d go grab some dinner at Prime Wok and hop over to Vampire Penguin for dessert.

I arrived just after 6PM and the place was kind of busy.  The dining room was about 75% full.  I don’t have a photo of that to show you unfortunately since I hate pointing my camera at strangers, but it was very clean, bright white with metal chairs and modern-looking.  There was no line so I headed up to the counter and was greeted immediately.  I told her that I’d never been so I needed a moment to look at the menu.

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She pointed out their most popular item, the Strawberry Cheesecake (Strawberry & Vanilla shaved snow w/ crushed graham crackers, strawberries, raspberries, white chocolate sauce, strawberry sauce, and condensed milk), and a couple of her favorites – the Dulce De Leche (Vanilla snow, sliced bananas, drizzled in caramel sauce, whipped cream and flan) and the S’moreos (Cookies & Cream shaved snow, crushed graham crackers, oreos, marshmallows, and chocolate syrup).  Not being entirely sure, I asked “so is all of this like shave ice?”  She corrected me, saying it is shaved “snow”, Vietnamese style, having a texture more like snow.

I ordered the S’moreos in a small for $5 (large is $7.  Prices vary slightly between the flavors, and you can build your own as well).  They must have had a small rush before I arrived, because about 3 or 4 orders came out before mine, so it took a little while, maybe up to 15 minutes max).

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It was gorgeous.  This small size was about 4 inches high.  The snow was chocolate colored throughout, different from shave ice apparently since it was very uniform, rather than a flavor syrup working it’s way in from the outside.  I was extremely skeptical about the claim that shaved snow was different from shave ice, but the moment I tried to scoop a spoonful out of the side I knew this was something very different.  My first impression was “wow, this is dense.”  I thought maybe there was something else mixed in that I hit with the plastic spoon, impeding it’s movement.

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When I took my first bite, I was stunned at the texture.  It was dry!  Actually no, that’s not an entirely accurate description.  It was not wet.  Ha, I know it sounds like the same thing, but I swear it’s a better description, you’ll have to try it out and see what I mean.  When I think back at all the shave ice I’ve ever had, I would definitely describe that as cold and snowy, but also wet.  This is indeed very different.  I think they must keep their ice significantly colder than normal blocks of ice used in the Hawaiian-style shave ice.  By the time I was at my last bite it had not melted one bit.  The plate helped since it was clearly kept in a freezer prior to preparation.

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While it was incredibly dense, it was also strangely soft and snowy in texture.  The chocolate flavoring of the snow was delicious, as was the chocolate syrup, crushed graham crackers and oreos.  The marshmallows were good as well and a little chewier due to how cold they had become.  I thoroughly loved every single bite of this thing and I can’t wait to come back.  This is a place that I expect to take visitors in town to, which I think is one of the highest forms of praise I can give a place.  I cannot recommend this enough.

A customer next to me had ordered a large Strawberry Cheesecake and let me take a snap of it:

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