(Hence the icon. It's a liger. It's, like, my favorite animal. It's a cross between and lion and a tiger, bred for skills in magic. *snickers*)
Apparently ligers really exist. So it seems a girl can even learn something from Napoleon Dynamite. Whodda thunk it? (Although it seems that real ligers are not bred for skills in magic.)
Saturday, Bobby's teammates and one of my sole female friends who is not family came over for the day. We walked around Ellicott City, had an early supper, and finally went to Cold Stone Creamery.
It was the first time for all of us. We were all Cold Stone virgins, as Cindy so aptly put it. But Cold Stone is all I ever hear people talk about in the way of ice cream. As soon as they find out that I am a hopeful ice cream entrpreneur myself: "Oh! Have you ever had Cold Stone?? It is the best!!!" So of course, I was eager to try it.
Their selling point is "mix-ins": They will smoosh whatever toppings you want directly into whatever ice cream flavors you want. I'd had mix-ins once before in Atlantic City without being particularly impressed, but then again, that wasn't Cold Stone, and Cold Stone is apparently the best.
When we went in, the line was so long that it doubled back inside the store. So we got at the end of it--after figuring out where the end of it was--and tried to figure out what we wanted to order.
Some thoughts (to show what a nerd I am about my ice cream):
- The menu was not set up well at all. Half of it was at the front of the store. Half of it was at the back. Nowhere did they list their flavors or toppings and--with the impressive throng of people waiting to order, blocking the view of the ice cream cabinets--it was nearly impossible to tell what they had. So despite the fact that they "customize," good luck figure what the hell your options are.
- When we had moved forward about four steps, two of the four employees working stopped working and started singing, dancing, and banging ice cream spades together. Andy muttered to me, "I'm tempted to not eat here, just because they're singing." Now there is a place in the Inner Harbor called The Fudgery, famous for the fact that their employees sing while they work, the key words being while they work. But these girls stopped working--despite the twenty-or-so people in line, and started in on their mediocre version of entertainment. (The Fudgery singers are also excellent singers. I could belt it out about as well as these girls could, and that wasn't saying a whole lot.) So if you want your employees to sing songs about your company, accompanied by naught but two ice cream spades, fine. Hey, Waffle House has a good half-dozen songs on the jukebox about Waffle House. But, please, multitask? Or wait until the line is gone to start the entertaiment?
- I'm still not impressed by mix-ins. I say, gimme a good ol' fashioned sundae and have done with it. Sundaes, if made properly, should have the wet toppings marbled throughout and enough space to smoosh in the dry toppings. Sundaes also make a much nicer presentation than an abortive blob of ice cream with foreign matter sprinkled throughout. Furthermore, wet mix-ins--like the caramel I had in mine--when smooshed so thoroughly into a ball of ice cream, basically cease to exist. Cindy and I both had caramel in our ice cream, and neither of us could taste it. Sundaes, on the other hand, if made properly, allow a ribbon of topping to flow from the top of the glass to the bottom, meaning that you get a dose of topping in each bite...and it's enough to taste.
- Cindy and Bobby both got chocolate-dipped waffle cones. They looked awesome, and if I had been hungrier, I probably would have gotten one too. Halfway through, though, Cindy had barely touched hers, and as she finished her ice cream, began pondering it reluctantly. Finally, she apologized to Bobby (who had paid for us all), saying that she couldn't eat it because she didn't like it. I asked, "What's wrong with it?" and she said, "The chocolate has no flavor." Bobby--who had finished his--said that he noticed the same thing, so I stole a piece of Cindy's and...YECH!! It really didn't have flavor; it was like a mix of chocolate and chalk. Bleh. (And we paid a dollar more for it too. Double bleh.)
- My white chocolate ice cream and my caramel are both superior. And I don't really feel it's bragging to say that. (Not like I could taste much of the caramel...but what I could taste was not as good as the stuff I make at home.) The white chocolate ice cream was too sweet, and I like white chocolate.
So...it was okay. Just okay. Not worth the price or the wait, but I give them credit for an interesting idea if not perfect execution.
Nelyo's will not have mix-ins. I'm not impressed by them, and I love the opportunities for unique presentation that sundaes allow. (Also, I don't like the notion of working with an ice cream spade. Maybe because I never learned how to use one for scooping, it seems very imprecise and prone to waste. It's hard enough to learn portioning with a scoop.)
Meanwhile, in historic Ellicott City, there is a restaurant storefront for lease. I whimper whenever I pass it. I want it soooo badly! But I don't think I could afford the price tag, and I don't have nearly enough to bribe a bank to give me a loan. What could I offer them? "Please, take my 2000 Suzuki Esteem with 70K miles on it!" "Please, take my costume jewelry collection!" "Please, take my pet unicorn/mascot!" (Yeah right...Nelyo's not going anywhere!)
Yesterday, I went to the candy-supply store. You know the saying, "Like a kid in a candy store"? It should be "Like Dawn Felagund in a candy-supply store"! I got so many ideas and could have spent $200...but I held myself to $37. And bought only what I needed. And a mold for making rollerskate-shaped chocolate lollipops, but I could not pass on that one!
Today: work. Boring. My cold is almost gone except for a nagging cough, but I'd sooner have that than a dripping faucet-nose. Bobby and I went out to lunch at The Piece for our fifth great experience in a row.
Last night, of course, to make up for the fact that I socialized all weekend and paid them no attention, the muses got revenge on me. By keeping me awake. For almost three hours.