ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Over the last few weeks, I have been witnessing a phenomenon that left me dumbfounded. On cold or rainy days, there would be lines of people at local ice cream locations like Kurver Kreme on Central Avenue and Devoe’s Rainbow Orchards in Clifton Park.
I admit, I have a sweet tooth and love all things ice cream, but I could not fathom wanting ice cream on a cold, gloomy day, let alone having to wait outside in chilly temperatures. Could the ice cream really be that great? My curiosity was piqued, and thus, my investigation began.
I looked up top ice cream locations on Yelp and was provided with quite an extensive list. No matter how much I love ice cream, the thought of visiting 81 places was quite daunting. I opted to start with three locations and see how things go. Spoiler alert! This turned out to be a good idea!
First, I made my way to Jim’s Tastee Freez in Bethlehem. It was a weekday morning, and there was only one other customer when I arrived. Not sure whether I wanted soft-serve ice cream to start the morning, I asked the sole employee on the clock what they recommended. They made an attempt to help, but after they rattled off a plethora of options, I realized I asked the wrong question. Ultimately, I landed on a vanilla sundae with butterscotch sauce.
Words cannot describe the bliss I felt taking my first bite. The sundae was just what I was hoping for. The vanilla ice cream was not heavy and melted in my mouth. The added flavors of the butterscotch, nuts, and whipped cream were perfect complements. I took my time enjoying my small sundae to the fullest.
Feeling even more excited about my ice cream adventure, I hopped back in my car and drove to Kurver Kreme in Albany. I was shocked to see all the pictures and signs of their extensive menu. Pretty much anything you could think of, they have it.
As I just had a sundae, I decided to try a soft serve, so I asked the cashier what flavors and twists were available. The cashier gave me a blank look and rattled off every flavor in the most boring voice. Thanks? That definitely put a damper on my mood. I chose the watermelon sherbert/vanilla twist since I had never seen or experienced that mix before.
Utter deliciousness! The watermelon sherbert was better than I expected and left me with a hankering to try other flavors. The sweet sherbert and the vanilla probably land within my top three soft-serve twist combinations.
I polished off the ice cream so quickly, I had an extreme brain freeze, but it was worth it. Despite the desire to try other flavors, my goal was to try different locations and not try every single flavor in one spot.
At this time, I felt pretty full but was determined to fit in one more ice cream. Thus, I made my way over to Scoups on Albany Shaker Road. When I arrived, I saw a family sitting outside with colorful twirls of soft-serve ice cream.
Wanting to get in on the action, I looked at the list of flavors but was confused by some of the names. I asked the server what “blue goo” was and was given a simple, straightforward answer: “I don’t know”.
How helpful! Intrigued by the mystery of the blue goo, I had to try it! The ice cream came out in the typical twirl you would expect from a soft serve but had a sky-blue outline. Fancy, but not what I had in mind with a name like blue goo. The flavor of the ice cream itself remained a mystery as I could not quite figure out what it was. Cotton candy?
Unlike Kurver Kreme, this soft serve was very rich and heavy, which I think would be ideal for any ice cream lover if they had not just eaten at two other ice cream spots. After a few bites, I already felt full, but it would be a waste to throw it out. I mustered everything I had to finish the bowl, but I could tell my stomach was not too pleased. I knew this was the end of the road for my taste-testing undertaking.
When I got back to the office, my stomach was grumbling nonstop, and I felt out of sorts. I was in a predicament. There were so many more to try, but I didn’t want to feel under the weather every time I went out. I highly recommend checking out all three spots, just not in one day.
I resorted to asking my fellow NEWS10 colleagues for their picks for the best places to get ice cream in the Capital Region. Here are some of their recommendations:
Cassie Hudson: One of my favorite spots is Pirate’s Hideout in Waterford. You can play mini golf and enjoy some yummy ice cream before or after a round of golf. Or you can skip the golf and go straight for the ice cream. I featured the spot for an Off the Beaten Path segment and have been back a few times. I like when they have anything on their specials menu related to birthday cake.
Jay Petrequin: I like Martha’s Dandee Creme specifically because of their twist flavors. I think having twists other than chocolate/vanilla is one of the biggest power moves an ice cream place can make, and Martha’s does chocolate/raspberry and chocolate/banana regularly that are A+.
Michael Prentice: Snowman in Troy. The location is really close to where I live, and the milkshakes are comedically large.
John Rizzo: Scoups! The ice cream is made in-house and is super creamy! Plus, you can sit and watch the cows that helped make your ice cream. Relatively well-priced, and the staff is always friendly. A great list of options and large portions!
Jackson Tollerton: Country Drive-In deserves some love. The Orange Blossom creamsicle milkshake… try it today, not tomorrow!