June 22, 2008

College Reunion; or, The many ice creams of the Twin Cities

I recently went back to the Twin Cities, Minneapolis/St Paul, Minnesota, for my college reunion. Now, it seems that many people (especially Californians, for whatever reason) are sadly ignorant of these wonderful cities. Here is a sample of some of the questions I've been asked by seemingly intelligent, well-educated Californians when I tell them that I went to college in Minneapolis/St Paul:

-Where's that?
-That's so far north. Doesn't it get cold there?
-Is St Paul a small town?
-Minnesota? Is that a city or a state?

-North of Iowa, west of Wisconsin...wait, you don't know where Wisconsin is either?
-Um, yes.
-No. It is the capital of Minnesota, and the Twin Cities metro area has a combined population of 3.2 million.
-For pete's sake people, did you not take 5th grade geography?!)

In any case, let's just say that Minneapolis and St Paul are delightful places and I will gladly take any excuse to go back and visit, especially during the early summer months, when the whole place is in bloom, the trees and grass a vibrant shade of green and the locals taking advantage of every minute of the nice weather, since they know it won't last.

In addition to reconnecting with long-lost classmates, I also spent much of the trip eating. In two short days I consumed an embarrassing amount of ice cream, which isn't all that unusual for me I suppose, but I had an excuse this time: 1) the Twin Cities have some great local creameries, and 2) Los Angeles, my current home town, has none, as far as I can tell (Seriously, if anyone knows of a great place to get ice cream in LA that is not a Pinkberry or Coldstone or other chain store, let me know).

Some photos from my trip:

Campus: The dorms I got stuck in definitely weren't this pretty.

College was such a blur... I can't believe I spent a whole year in this horrid room.

Spoonbridge and Cherry, in the Walker Art Museum's sculpture gardens

All that art made me hungry. Conveniently located a short stroll from the Walker, Sebastian Joe's makes some fantastic ice cream.

Cinnamon Crunch ice cream- cinnamon ice cream with graham crackers. Seriously good- I'm going to try to make this at home. The cone is a homemade waffle cone coated in chocolate and heath bits. The chocolate and heath went well with the ice cream, but the the waffle cone itself was so-so.

My favorite creamery in the Twin Cities- Izzy's in St Paul. I love everything this place does.

With every scoop you order, you also get a free "izzy"- basically a mini-scoop on top. This is "Irish Moxie" (irish cream and coffee ice cream with chocolate cookies and toffee bits) with a Norwegian Chai izzy. Don't know exactly what's in the norwegian chai - although it has a prominent cardamom flavor- but it's one of my favorites. The Irish Moxie was also fantastic.

While I didn't get a chance to visit it this time around, no tour of the creameries of the Twin Cities would be complete without the Grand Ole Creamery, a St Paul institution. Their ice cream is always superb and they make the best waffle cones, always with a malt ball in the bottom to prevent drippage.

Sebastian Joe's
1007 W Franklin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55405-3138
(612) 870-0065

Izzy's Ice Cream
2034 Marshall Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55104

Grand Ole Creamery
750 Grand Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55105
(651) 293- 1655


Steph F. said...

That Irish cream scoop looks fabulous! If you are ever in the San Fernando Valley, there's a gelato place called Aromi Cafe that is not bad. There's also this weird little Greek ice cream place on Zelzah (also in the Valley) that has great banana splits. Downtown area, I'm not sure; sorry! You're right, we need more ice cream places, because seriously, Pinkberry just doesn't cut it.

Maddy said...

Thanks for the suggestions Steph! I know, there are so few creameries that I've had to start making my own ice cream just to get a fix.

Susan in Italy said...

Hey! You went to college in the twin Cities too! I went to the U. Looks like you maybe went to Macalester?

Maddy said...

I did! I graduated 5 years ago. How cool that you went to school in the Twin Cities too!