Saturday, May 31, 2008

DQ Double Review - Lake St then Lexington

This weekend I turned 42 years old. I was born at 3:30pm Central Standard Time and on exactly this time on my first birthday-I had my 1st Dairy Queen Cone. That was over 14,000 days ago and I am still a bit fixated on Dairy Queen.

For this birthday, I went to Dairy Queen for Breakfast. Not a bad way to start the day. I went to the DQ on Lake St and 44th in Mpls, near the St. Paul border. This store is the possible new standard-bearer. Cones were cheap, tasty, and sold to me on my birthday.
Small cone: $1.40Medium: $1.68
Large: $1.88
Peanut Buster Parfait: $3.31

Please notice that these prices are a bit different than the other DQs I hav reviewed. What is awesome about this is that your bill comes to a round number. My small cone was $1.50 after tax. I like this. The cone was average in size, but perfect in texture and flavor. I could have gone back for another one.Which I did, later that 3:30pm Central Standard Time. I went to the Lexington and Larpentuer store because I believe this was the site of my very first DQ. Full circle, 41 years later.

This time I got the Peanut Buster Parfait and split it with my wife, Sally.
Small cone: $1.48
Medium: $1.80
Large: $2.12
PBP: $3.94

Astonishing differences in price!

Peanut Buster Parfaits are excellent and great for a birthday treat. This one was extra fudgy. Service was a bit slow. I think someone came out of retirement and was learning a new job for the summer. No points off! since it was my birthday.

Everyone's a Winner!

Monday, May 26, 2008

DQ Party

The Queen of Ice Creams Surrounded by Wanna-be Rulers

This weekend, Sally's friend Tehilah came to stay.  Of course, we had an ice cream social.  A hand picked selection of friends were invited to share 10 pints of various Ben and Jerry Ice Cream and 3 quarts of Dairy Queen Soft Serve.

Many may feel that Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream is the highest quality ice cream middle America can hope to consume.  The have fancy flavors with cute names: Cherry Garcia, Chubby Hubby, Phish Food.  These ice creams are really just regular ice cream with frozen candy, fruit, or pretzels in them.  Reflecting specifically on the Peanut Butter Cup ice cream...They just wrecked a perfectly good Peanut Butter Cup!

Good thing I saved the day by buying 3 quarts of DQ soft serve for $10.85.  That's $3.61 each. That is just the cost of a small and a medium vanilla cone.  There are some serious savings to be found by buying by the quart.

I purchased my ice cream from the Lyndale Ave N Mpls DQ, reviewed recently.  I went here because I knew the flavor would be marshmellowy like I require, and reasonably priced.  I was correct on both counts.

While most people at the party consume their Ben and Jerry's, I can only assume due to years of brain washing to assume that BandJ ice cream is good, I and a couple others had our fill of the DQ.  This volume of ice cream needs to be frozen, so it loses the consistency of a cone, and takes on the consistency of the ice cream in a Buster Bar.  It's a trade off.

The other trade off is that even though you can have as much ice cream in your house at one time, by buying in quarts, unlimited access can be an issue for those for little will power.  This is me.  I have eaten most of this ice cream myself when my goal was to go to DQ only once a week and write a review.  It was my best laid plan! How could this go wrong?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

N Mpls - Lyndale and 47th

Monday, 5/19/08 3:30pm.

This DQ is a little hard to find. Cross the railroad tracks, pass some possible-abandoned warehouses and a sorry-looking nursing home and yo will find it on Lyndale Ave N.

This is a walk-up DQ which has a hallway-sized enclosed area for ordering. Perfect for the DQ fix on a cold or rainy day. This store is a bit in the hood, which means that my wife will not go with me. She does not share my love of hood-based fast food establishments--like Hook's Fish and Chicken, KFC behind plexiglass, or any Wendy's that employs a full time guard.

Small: $1.69 This is what I got.
Med: $1.99
Large: $2.29

Peanut Buster Parfait: $3.99

Prices were reasonable--not too high, not too low. I ordered a small dish of ice cream and got more than my money's worth. Again I believe that this is the way to go to stretch your budget. A medium or large dish would even be a splittable treat bringing total cost to just over $2.00 for 2 people.

Unfortunately, this was not a pretty dish of ice cream. It was a formless mass of slightly runny goo, but the flavor was awesome. Creamy and marshmellowy. Compared to the gritty ice milk cone of the Broadway store in NE Mpls, this was heavenly!

A chipper little girl served me my dish, charged my the right amount, and was quick with the goods.

And as a bonus, this store has a Royal Seat on the side of the building. For those not in the know, a Royal Seat is a loveseat-sized chair shaped and painted like a banana split. A perfect place for a portrait to document whatever success you are celebrating in the hood. I'd even take that portrait. I'm just down the road. Check out my website.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Lowry - NE Mpls

I do not know the exact address, but this store is on Lowry a few blocks West of Central Ave.

This was an interesting visit. Like always, it was a cold night on the trip to the DQ. There was some confusion when Sally ordered her small "dish" of ice cream--she was charged the Sundae Rate. I can understand the confusion since it looks like a sundae, but just doesn't have the fixin's. The friendly cashier had trouble correcting the change so we got back and extra $.20 for some reason.

Cone size was excellent and my cone was really heavy. Why is this important? It's because the cone was more crystalized milk that the marshmellowy fluff I prefer. It is possible to overdue the marshmellowy flavor (I haven't reviewed a store like that yet), but when it is too milky it is also a bit gritty from the ice crystals. There is less flavor, too, so points off for that.

The prices were interesting:
small cone: $1.49 - ($1.39 is the lowest I've seen, so this is pretty good)
med: $1.69
Large: $1.99 - overall, quite reasonable.
Peanut Buster Parfait: $3.79 - Also a good price.

Parking is sparce, but this is a walk up store. If I lived in the neighborhood, I'd be biking there all the time, but also wishing that the cones were better. Perhaps it was a fluke in regards to cone flavor. I'll update and give them a second chance if they do better later this summer.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Crystal DQ Grill and Chill

Do they still have Brazier stores?

My experience with the Crystal DQ has been hit or miss over the years. Often the wait is too long. I suppose this is because of families eating dinner and messing up the whole serve up the ice cream flow.

Today, Seis de Mayo, Tuesday, it is rainy. No line. Staff was cheerful and my change was correct. My cone arrived with little delay. Extra points for them today for speed.

Vanilla Cone:
sm: $1.69 - This is what I ordered.
med: $2.19 - Ouch! a big jump in price for a medium.
large: $2.69 - Ouch again!

Peanut Buster Parfait: $4.19

The cone was a 3 bumper, the way it should be, but the cone was a bit small. Too narrow, actually. I feel a bit cheated out of the ice cream.

My lovely wife, Sally, ordered a small dish of ice cream and got quite a bit more than me. This is a trend, now. If you want good cone value, order the dish instead of a cone. Plus, Cool Red Spoon!

Quality-wise, this was the best of the three stores reviewed so far. Not too runny, not too marshmellowy.

This store has lots of indoor seating, but the heavy metal music they play in the dining area is too loud. I suggest eating in the car.

In regards to price, West 7th in DT St. Paul is still the price leader, but if I want a small dish of ice cream and want to stay close to my home, I'll come back to Crystal again.