The Sour Cherry Frozen Custard at The Shake Shack in NYC

When it gets hot outside, what do you most want to put in your mouth and swallow to cool you down? Do you go out of your way to get that favorite treat? How far will you drive? Is it sweet? Bitter? Icy? Acidic? Does the glass show lazy bobbles of oversized tapioca sitting at the bottom? Do you forgo dinner for salad?

Summer is an emotional memory. For me it was salt water fishing and clamming with my grandfather, all day at the beach on Long Island, hot humid days and the sheer joy of hearing the ice cream truck, Good Humor bars and Italian Ices in little green wax paper cups. Sweet cold things. Salty skin, riding waves until dusk, water fights at camp, deep sleeps and mosquito bites.

Pistachio Soft Serve at Coney Island, NY

I associate going to the beach with French fries and ice cream. Somehow these mundane items tasted more delicious than anything. Even now, after I’ve swum and lounged all day at the Russian River, what I crave most is salty, crunchy French fries with ketchup, followed by ice cream.

I could make an argument for the fact that ice cream is indeed a food group.

Three Twins Vanilla Ice Cream Samples at The Berkeley Farmer’s market

But I’d rather hear from you. If you’re reading this, perhaps you could chime in, in our comments section, and tell us where you get your chilly and/or sweet fix in summer?

The Individual Coffee Brewing Station at Blue Bottle Coffee Co.

Here are some to get us started:

Strawberry ice cream at Fairfax Scoop, fruit or Strauss yogurt sorbet at Sketch, lychee bubble tea, taro iced beverage at Out The Door, Blue Bottle’s ineffable iced coffee, Mitchell’s Buko (young coconut) ice cream, dense nutty chestnut ice cream at Marco Polo, the Rizogalo at Evvia: Anson Mills Carolina rice pudding “cannoli” with honey roasted apricots, the thick mango lassi at Vik’s Chaat House, honey-sweetened saffron and pistachio ice cream at Zatar.

Strawberry ice cream at Fairfax Scoop

And if you haven’t been to Picco yet to try their unbelievably PERFECT frozen custard drizzled with light, buttery olive oil and seasoned with a few pebbles of sea salt, I suggest you get over there before the fog rolls in! It is not to be missed! Gather your friends, get in the carpool lane, and treat yourself to a beautiful bowl of child and adulthood rolled in one.

And what should I jump in my car for? Am I missing an icy drink in a nook and cranny only you know about? Should I taste a new taste? Share with all of us at KQED, what you make a habit of in summer…. We look forward to hearing from you!

  • Liz

    For me, it was frozen Jamaica, a Mexican agua fresca made out of a strong and sugared Hibiscus flower tea. My grandmother used to freeze it in a wide shallow pan and then have at it with an ice pick.

    I can get the same feeling from the Jamaica at “El Centenario, la Cenaduria de Ana Rosa”
    in the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland. It is a homemade brew in a deep sangria color, not overly sweet or tart, and hits the spot in just the right way.

  • cookiecrumb

    I think LaLoo’s goat milk ice cream, from Petaluma, needs to be mentioned. I will say that for me it’s too goaty (but I’m, like, a “taster”?). Beloved husband was completely immune to detecting any goatiness (but see, he’s a Capricorn). Mouthfeel is very rich; fat content is low. I tried both choc and fig. Look for it at the detested Whole Foods if you dare (it’s where I got mine).

  • J-dub

    Ah, LaLoos…definitely grows on you. I got the pumpkin flavor recently, because I love pumpkin ice cream and it’s not easy to find. I hated it on first taste. Hated it less the second time, a little less the third, etc. By the time I finished the container, I was craving more. I wish I knew what they put in that stuff.

  • The Jeff Next Door

    The espresso shake.

    Often offered, rarely perfected, I most recently found this summer treat at a drive-booth in a mall parking lot in Montana. The best kind is made with a double shot (or a bit more) of excellent espresso, vanilla ice cream, and just enough milk to allow the blender to perform its magic.

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