Saturday, June 22, 2019

Don't Be an Ice Hole

"How many slams in an old screen door? Depends how loud you shut it. How many slices in a bread? Depends how thin you cut it. How much good inside a day? Depends how good you live ’em. How much love inside a friend? Depends how much you give ’em.” ~ Shel Silverstein

Our snow cone (shaved ice, whatever) adventure has been so much fun! It's nice to take a little breath at the end of the day and spend some quality time with friends. We've all got things going on, but just taking that 30-45 minutes to sit in the sun, eat a snow cone, and catch up has been good for my soul.

If I'm learning anything (other than just how much I love snow cones), it's that the little moments are worth the effort! It doesn't matter how tired I am. It doesn't matter what else is happening. And we're having a blast with our summer taste testing. (PS. We post where we are going on our Facebook page, so you are always welcome to join us!)

Now, down to business:

The Ice Holes got back on the road and tried three more stands this week. We even came up with a strategy for going to them all. We'll go street by street, then branch out to the smaller communities nearby. This week we lucked out and went to a stand on its opening day. We got to meet more owners and talk about all things snow cone!!

Xtreme Ice in the Cool Horse parking lot at Bell & Arden

So, Brian and Ashley decided to buy his cousin's trailer and start their own stand. Little did they know, Amarillo is RIDICULOUS about the rules and regulations regarding stands. What was good for Plainview apparently is not good enough for Amarillo. (Let's just say I love the lemonade stand law, and now I think there needs to be a Snow Cone one to stop the red tape with stuff like this. For all that is holy, city codes are out of control.....)

They practically gutted the trailer, got their business plan in place, and opened up shop this week. And y'all... it's good. Their stuff is cheap, fun, and they are the SWEETEST people. They are still working out the kinks, because their staff is having to get into a groove. Be sure to take your patience with you and give them a fair shot as they might be slower than some stands, but they are worth it!

We tried the following flavors:

Orange Pineapple with Passion Fruit boba
Pina Colada Delight
Zombie Virus
Zombie Antivirus 
(Guess which 2 were the guys' flavors? haha)

Some of our comments:

"The small and medium are pretty close in size and amount."
"The table is in a grassy area."
"Excellent customer service."
"Menu board is very cute."

The location is street side, so it's a little noise. But the flavors were great! We all agreed that the price is right ($1 for a small, $2 for a medium, $3 for a large) and going back will happen soon!

Shaved Ice at Coulter Gardens in the Coulter Gardens parking lot sat 45th & Coulter 

We stopped by this little fan favorite and found our first drive thru! Super cool idea, and I bet it gets used a lot. You can tell this stand has been around a long time, and it has a loyal following. We saw a lot of people who probably see it as their neighborhood stop.

The menu has a LOT of names that have to be explained on a separate sheet, so it was a little harder to order. There's something to be said for just calling something a normal name! (This is a theme though. They all do it! This stand just has a bigger list of them.) They do give you a Dum Dum sucker in your straw. Nice touch! The ice was good; the flavor was good. It's a solid choice, but not anything remarkable. 

We tried the following flavors:

Rock n Roll
Island Breeze

Some of our comments:

"Styrofoam cup is hand, and the Dum Dum is a great touch.
"Great ice texture."
"Need more seating."
"Drive up is nice."

Overall, I think this one has been there long enough to have staying power. And I'm sure the neighborhood close to it are happy with it. I've never met a snow cone I didn't like, but this one isn't at the top of the list for awesome.

Caribbean Ice at 45th & Bell 

We were all kind of rushed and unprepared for this stop, but it was worth it. The first day to be in the 90's this summer made us all need something cool and refreshing. Caribbean Ice, another stand with a drive through, was next on the list, so we dashed there to get our fix. 

There's a nice little fenced-in area with tables, so it's curb appeal is really good. The stand is SUPER clean, and the service moved a decent pace. The staff was young and not overly friendly, but they got the job done. Prices are similar to Xtreme Ice, so cheap! But this is less flashy. It's "get the job done" kind of stand. I can appreciate that! Somehow we didn't take pics of our choices, so use your imagination. (Heat does funny things to old people...)

We tried the following flavors:
Passion fruit
Cherry Lime

Some of our comments:

"The cherry lime tastes like cherry coke."
"I like yours better." (Peach and cantaloupe were promptly traded.)
"The ice and flavor are good."
"This cool ice really cuts the heat!"

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Taste and See that Life is Sweet

“Sweet is the scene where genial friendship plays, the pleasing game of interchanging praise.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

If you've read my blog at all over the years, you know that relationships are very important to me. And my friendships are made up of people I consider family. So, you won't be surprised that, once again, my friends have come to my rescue! This time to save me from Graduation Grief.

We are months away from being empty nesters, and the thought is daunting. We've spent the last 22 years of our lives chasing children around, and pretty soon that phase will be over. (More about that another time, because I do have a lot to say on it.) THANKFULLY we have friends who are a bit ahead of us who are going to be the perfect mentors for our new normal: Pete and Pennie.

Pete isn't just some ol' friend. He's someone I've known for almost all my life. We went to the same church, grew up together, attended college together, wore Mickey Mouse watches together, and are now going to grow old together. He's one of those friends you can always count on; and, even though he's so tall that my ear practically hits his belly button, he gives the best hugs too. His wife, Pennie, and I have been friends since college; and, eventually Pete and Kerry became friends too. 

Last week we were all at a baseball game when Pennie and I decided we wanted snow cones. The guys ran to buy us some, and our first "empty nest" adventure came to mind. This summer we are going to visit every snow cone stand in town (or near town) and rate them. Who doesn't love some sugar and ice???? And you know I can't go on an adventure like this without sharing it!

So, here we go.... the next few (or many) blogs will document our snow cone (snocone, shaved ice, whatever) tour. Feel free to let us know if there's one we need to check out, because we're ready!

We are rating them with a 5-point scale on cleanliness, curb appeal, customer service, price, ice and flavor. (Scoring: 5 is high.)

Here's a little info on our first two stops:

BrrBeary Snowcone on Soncy (by ER on Soncy)

We shouldn't have made this our first stop, because it's going to be a tough one to beat. (Not that we are necessarily trying to find the BEST one.) HOLY MOLY. We all fell in love. We gave it all 5's, and we fell in love with the owner and her mission. We paid $3 for a small that we couldn't finish, and just 50 cents extra for ice cream.

I'm sure we won't get the story on every stand, but this one is a great one. A college kid bought the trailer and told his dad that he planned to sit out a semester of college. The dad picked up the trailer, hauled it home, and sold it to Becky (who works at the emergency room). She parked it at work, where often the doctors "prescribe" snow cones, and she is all about giving back to her community. She makes her own syrups and only uses premium water for her ice. She also has dairy-free ice cream as an add on.

This place is ah-mazing..... and they serve the snow cones in little take out boxes! So cute!

We tried the following flavors:

Strawberry with ice cream
Fuzzy Navel with ice cream
Silver Fox with ice cream
CoCo LoCo
Some of our comments:

"80s music is a big bonus!"
"Interesting packaging"
"Super friendly and great serving size!"
"Great customer service, and they knew their product."

The location isn't necessarily street side, so you have to look for it, but they have two tables to sit and enjoy your treat. We definitely want to go back!

Hokulia (34th and Coulter)

This is a great location for a snow cone stand, and I imagine they get a lot of business. The umbrella-covered tables with "Cone holes" is awesome. If I had small kids, I'd plop them down there and let them eat! 

The snow cones are served in flower cups that are pretty thing, but seem to hold a huge amount! The flavor options were great, and we enjoyed them immensely! The stand was run by some kids who were friendly but there to do a job. 

They packed the snow cones well, and they gave us plenty of syrup. This is definitely worth the $3 for a small (98 cents for ice cream added), and almost overwhelmed the little cup! We gave them 4s and 5s with our only real complaint being that the ice cream wasn't very good.

We tried the following flavors:

Dreamcicle with vanilla ice cream
Tiger's Blood with vanilla ice cream

Some of our comments:

"The ice cream isn't as creamy as the other place."
"Great size for the money, but not so fond of the ice cream."
"Nice seating under umbrellas."
"Great location and better parking. Very flavorful!"

So, there ya go. Our first two stops of the summer. Stay tuned for more on this crazy adventure. (Pray for my diet.... this sugar can't be good for us.....)