Top 10 Ice Cream Shop Review & Spinach and Chickpeas w/Curried Potatoes

      This week I get the fun of reporting on the Top 10 Ice Cream Shops of Cape Cod. I wanted to see if their list really upheld the test or were just wishful thinkers. If you need to to find the list please google Top 10 Ice Cream shops of Cape Cod. Anyway, This is completely non scientific, totally the opinion of me and my, and was by no means influenced by the shops knowing what I was doing. I understand that really I should give one or two a second try before passing judgement, as they may have just had an off day when I was there. But in the short season that we have here on the Cape, is there time for an off day in this business. I will say that other than 1 shop being a really big disappointment, the rest of the pack was, well, ok, pretty dog good and tasty. However there are a few that stand out head and tales above the others. One thing I did discover is that most, not all, but the majority still only take cash, so go prepared with the green stuff or find an ATM before you get there, one place we went to the ATM machine was out of order, fortunately we went prepared and averted disaster.
      What I can say is my top three Ice Cream shops were in order Twin Acres - Sandwich, Cape Cod Creamery - West Yarmouth, and Sundae School's - DennisPort. Why is going to be the biggest question. Twin Aces, there are many good reasons, the creaminess and taste was right up at the top, full of flavor, smooth not grainy. My flavor to judge is Rum Raisin, does the Ice cream have a solid butter rum taste with raisins that are well not hard or like rubber. If the ice cream is nothing more than weak vanilla with gummy pieces of shriveled brown something, ok you get the point. Twin Aces met every challenge, the portions were out of this world. If you enjoy ice cream but not the appetite of a bottomless pitted teenage boy, then you may want to consider the kiddy cup. Next is price, of all 10 Twin Acres came out the lest expensive. We did stay consistent with all 10 in the size we ordered so to come this. Twin Acres has a nice parking area and some decent seating. My only complaint is that they are all the way in Sandwich, and for me in DennisPort well, is not conducive to a jump in the car and go for a dip on the spire of the moment.
      The next two are so close, Cape Cod Creamery and Sundae School's. You are not going to go wrong with either chose. Both have outstanding taste, full of flavor, no grit, and a choice of flavors out the ying-yang. The only reason I would pick 3C's over SSICP is 3C's takes plastic. Yaa. One other plus is that when the Creamery actually closes in the fall, the ice cream is still available in some of the local stores to take home and enjoy. At both of these shops, the later you go expect the lines to be long, but don't let that scare you off. Both of these are well worth waiting in line for, and both move relatively steady. Unless you have a very hungry ice cream loving smaller tike with you. However other than that, please stick both of these places out, you will not be disappointed.
      Now the wife gave a major thumbs up to Sweet Caroline's stating that it was almost like getting toppings all through her ice cream when she did not even order a topping. Basically put, it was yummy, she had the Totally Turtle. The next to come in was the Polar Cave, nice shop good people and solid flavor. You will not go wrong here, and they make there own waffle cones, think I should have splurged on this one. Smitty's also checks similarly with a good choice of flavors that are creamy and delicious. We went to the one in Barnstable, the counter kids, ( ok after you hit 50, anyone still in school, including high school is still a kid), were pleasant and in good spirits. The day we went was during the heat wave and it was hot and sticky and Smitty's hit the spot. The last of our winners was Nauset Ice Cream in Eastham. This ended up being our last of the 10, and I will say if you are taking a day trip to P'Town or to Marconi Beach, or even on your way back from the winery in Truro, this is a well worth wild stop. I had the cranberry, a bit sweet, a bit tart, and on a warm summer day, what can I say.
      So for the last 3 that I did not mention above, they were not bad, ok 2 of the 3 were not bad, 1 that will not mention by name should not have been on the list at all. The other 2 were ok, mediocre at best, nothing spectacular and personally were not write home about. As I said, every shop has there on days and off days, but again in this short season we have here on the Cape, it is not good to have to many off days. Some of you will agree with me, some with not. We all seem to swear by one shop or another, but I will say the Cape has many ice cream shops to be proud of. So get out there and give several a try even if they are not part of the top 10 list, before this season has passed, then plan to do a lot of walking to burn off those calories. But oh so yum.
      Well that's it for another week, have a great and wonderful, I'll check the lamp in the lighthouse, clean the lens, trim the wick and make sure the oil well is filled, so all can get here and back home safely and hope you see you soon.
      This week's recipe concept comes from one of my many cookbooks called Almost from Scratch by Andrew Schloss published by Simon & Schuster in 2003. Now There are a few changes, if you want the original go by the book, it is a wonderful book with loads of ideas that simple and easy to make. Is there much difference to what I do, no but it does give it changed it just a bit. When ever possible use fresh ingredients, they are always better, but remember the concept of the book is almost, not completely, so take a look at the recipe and see what you can do with it to better it for you and your family's tastes and likes and your time. Hope you find this one a keeper. Enjoy and eat healthy, or at least well. Now on with the show.

      This week's recipe: Spinach & Chickpeas w/ Curried Potatoes

      2      Tbsp      Olive oil
      2      cups      chopped onions
2-1/2    cups       chopped potatoes
      1      can        chickpeas, drained
      1      cup        salsa
      1      jar          curry sauce (16 oz)
  1/2      pd          bacon (fried and crumbled)
                             salt and pepper to taste
      7      oz          baby spinach, cleaned. (1 bag also good)
      1      tsp         parsley
  1/2      tsp         basil

      In large hot skillet add the olive oil ( remember the rule, Hot pan, room temp oil) and saute the onions lightly (don't brown them yet). Add chopped potatoes and cook until lightly browned. Add chickpeas, salsa, curry sauce and simmer for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add spinach and cook until spinach wilts. about 2-3 minutes, (important note: don't over cook the spinach). Add parsley and basil and crumbled bacon. Toss together and serve.  

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