Wednesday, July 14, 2010

National Ice Cream Month: Where to get it in Eugene

Apparently, not only is July National Ice Cream Month, but this Sunday is National Ice Cream Day, known also as "Sundae Sunday." Lucky for us all, Eugene is a town replete with ice cream offerings. Here's a few suggestions for places in which to indulge:

  1. The Obvious: Prince Puckler's is Eugene's most famous and well-loved local parlor. Its 19th Street emporium of sweets is constantly crowded (on hot days) by those who enjoy flavors that run from regular old vanilla to Green Tea (once ordered by then-Senator Obama) to nearly any combination of coffee and ice cream and tastiness you can think of. They've been around for 35 years, now, and if that longevity doesn't convince you, maybe their sales will: on Fridays, they have $4 Euphoria Chocolate Sundaes with bananas and whipped cream which are (I speak from experience) not to be missed. They also serve non-dairy ice cream. (1605 E. 19th)

    • Not up for the crowds? Try their less visible location on 11th, which is paired with a Hodgepodge and a drive-thru. (2190 W. 11th)
  2. The Less Obvious: Euphoria Chocolate Company. Yes, they're better known for their melt-in-your-mouth-and-your-hands chocolate truffles, but Euphoria also makes ice cream bars -- creamy vanilla dipped in their local-legend chocolate. (They also sell frozen dipped bananas, but it's not national fruit month!). They'll add other toppings, too. Oreos? Nuts? You name it. On Thursdays, they're only two dollars -- which might leave you with enough for a truffle or four for the road. (Multiple locations, including: 6 W. 17th; Oakway Center; Valley River Center).
  3. The Chain: Cold Stone Creamery. OK, so, sure, you can get this ice cream in any mid-sized city in the country. That doesn't really make it less tasty. Cold Stone specializes in plain ice cream flavors -- Sweet Cream; Coffee; Chocolate; Strawberry -- that you then add tons of toppings to. The toppings then get mixed/beaten into your ice cream on cold stone slab -- ah, you get it, I know. What you might not know is that the best way to enjoy this ice cream is at a discount -- readily available to anyone who's got a Survival Kit coupon book floating around. They're the green ones you pick up at the bookstore at the beginning of every term (for students). You can also access a buy-one, get-one coupon here, which makes the buying and enjoying much cooler. Me? I like sweet cream with strawberries, whipped cream, and bits of pie crust mixed in. (Oakway Center)
  4. Even More Chains: We also have a couple of Ben & Jerry's locations in town -- one at 485 Coburg by Newman's Fish Market and one next to the gigantic Market of Choice at 29th and Willamette. I'm a fan of the second one, which offers a few tables outside at which to enjoy your ice cream. If you're really chain-hungry, check out the multiple Dairy Queens in our midst: Coburg has a pleasantly old-fashioned inside and almost always a line at the drive-thru (particularly right after high school events at Sheldon); 13th and Hilyard has the campus version. You can also (I'm told) still find a Baskin Robbins in the same building that houses the Fred Meyer on West 11th.
  5. Not Quite Ice Cream: If it's Frozen Yogurt you crave, there are two versions readily available in town: organic, local, actual yogurt at Vanilla Jill's [check out Kristen's review] on Coburg, or the FroYo I grew up with, an animal far removed from actual tanginess, at the TCBY on West 11th.
  6. Also Not Quite Ice Cream: Oh, gelato. It's now available in several places in Eugene:

    • Lago Blu Gelato. I've reviewed it before, I'll review it again, because I like an excuse to eat gelato. (Crescent Village)
    • Sweet Life Patisserie. They have a little, oft-neglected case of gelato at the very end which is usually hidden by the line of people waiting to get to the pie/cake/ordering stage. Don't go so fast! They have numerous tasty flavors available, and they're willing to make an affogato with any of them (do try the Dulce de Leche this way. It's amazing). (755 Monroe St.)
    • Market of Choice grand palace on Willamette. I know, you're thinking: really, a grocery store? But up by the bakery there's a small case of about 8-10 gelato flavors, and they're worth checking out -- because here you'll sometimes find the wildest gelato flavors available in Eugene (to my knowledge). I once sampled sweet corn gelato here. What did it taste like? CORN. Points for adventurousness. (67 W. 29th)
The list could go on. Many restaurants in town make their own ice creams or frozen dessert treats. I had some excellent beet ice cream at Nib once, for instance, and I believe Ratatouille nearly always features a non-dairy sorbet dessert option. McMenamin's North Bank has that delicious Terminator Stout Milkshake. Kristen swears by the soft-serve at Dickie Jo's. Etc. If it's ice cream, whole ice cream, and nothing but ice cream you want to celebrate with this weekend, though, I recommend the list above. And inviting me along! ;)


  1. The soft serve at Dickie Jo's IS really good. I recommend the Cookie Monster mixer, for sure!

  2. I like Prince Puckler's to be sure. But my heart belongs to Ben & Jerry's. They have this chocolate ice cream thing they do that is so amazing, it clouds my memory when I'm not around it so I don't spend all my time craving it. It's this phenomenal thing with three "chocolates" in the title or something. I don't know. It haunts my dreams.

  3. It's the Fresh Banana at Prince Puckler's for me. Or the amazing Limoncello gelato at Lago Blu.

  4. Something I didn't know about until recently but it turns out it's the best thing I've ever had; brownie sundaes at Sweet Life. You pick any of their brownies (which they warm up) and over that goes your choice of gelato, plus hot fudge and whipped cream. I always knew about their gelato but never thought to look at the menu. I was missing out. I split this with a friend and there was still some left.

  5. LylaStarr, that sounds amazing. Must investigate pronto. Perhaps right after I try the ice cream/donut sandwiches at Holy Donut!