After months of planning, three friends (Riley, Binder, Luke) and I embarked on our First Annual Ice Cream Crawl last weekend. It was an adventure of legendary proportions: 5 creameries, 25 miles, a number of tacos, and a scientific analysis of which frozen delight reigns supreme. My buddy Riley and I have a rich history of hunting for the Twin Cities best, whether it be restaurants, lakes, museums, or concert venues. However, our search for the best of ice cream joints has long been at the forefront, and this was our chance to let the top dogs go head to head. So here is the general consensus (after years of deep contemplation):
1. Milkjam Creamery
It is indeed the most hyped creamery in town, having only opened a few months ago. I’m no fan of following the trends; however, you’ve gotta get to this place. It’s owned by the team next door at World Street Kitchen (go there too, get a Yum Yum Bowl), and pushes the boundary of ice cream like no other. Let’s break down some highlights:
-Cereal Killer (orange coriander milk w/ candied pebbles)
-Hard Knock Life (dark chocolate w/ salted pretzels, brownies, and chocolate fudge)
-Indian Elvis (curry peanut butter banana)
But of all the crazy unique flavors and toppings, what really steals the show is the Jam Bun (a Glam Doll donut stuffed with ice cream), specifically when you stuff it with Grandma’s Blueberry topped with their homemade honey comb candy and Szechuan sauce (featured pic). I could describe it, but it would just waste time that you could be driving over to treat yo self. Get going!
2. Izzy’s Ice Cream
Another cliche-but-deserving joint. If you’re looking at national lists of the best ice cream, this will be our Minnesotan representation. All the flavors rock (booze-infused creams seem to be everywhere now), but what really wins me over is the cone. Good luck trying to pass on one after walking in and having those homemade-waffle-fumes assault your nostrils.
3. Sebastian Joe’s
Quintessentially Minnesotan. What you need to know is that this is an incredibly tight list. You could easily throw Joe’s in at number one. It’s been around since the early 80’s if I remember correctly, which just might make it the original top tier ice cream palace of our beloved cities. Also, the second location in Linden Hills has the best outdoor seating for chilling and chowing on your frozen goods. Their oreo is the best in the land, and everyone knows The Flavor Formerly Known as Nicollet Ave Pothole; however, you can’t forget the raspberry chocolate chip and Pavarotti (my personal favorite, I can’t resist the banana).
4. Grand Ole Creamery
Just an all around safe bet on the circuit. My personal favorite when it comes to the cone game. Extra points for throwing in malt balls at the bottom of the waffles. Grab some Punch Pizza on Grand then head on over.
5. Pumphouse Creamery
Possibly the best fruit flavors around. The mango-rhubarb will blow your mind, even more so because it doesn’t even use dairy (yes people, we are talking about coconut milk here). They try to throw a healthier spin on the ice cream, and the verdict is in: it still tastes awesome.
honorable mentions: Nelson’s, Edina Creamery
And special thanks to Taco Cat for giving us that final jalapeño boost needed to complete the final leg of our journey! Best tacos around (maybe, might need another list for that).
And one final pic of us mid-bike: