WARNING: If you don’t like soft-serve, read no further. And if you don’t think that the term “soft-serve” is frickin’ hilarious, especially because the end product is very doo-doo shaped, please never read one of my columns again. If you don’t see the connection, then… y’know… wake up.
Aaanyhoooo… now that we’ve dispensed with that, let’s get on to The Eat of the Week…
I love ice cream. When I first moved to Asheville, I lived really close to The Hop‘s original location (where YoLo is now), and because I didn’t have any friends… or a life… I would ride my bike there once a day, every day, and get me an ice cream. Yum! I was such a regular customer that when I skipped two days, and then returned, the nice person at the window asked, “Hey, where have you been? We missed ya!” . _ . Yeah, I slowed my roll after that.
I still eat ice cream more that a couple of times a week, from The Hop, and Ultimate Ice Cream, and Marble Slab, and I even go for fro-yo at YoLo and custard at Whit’s. I love whipped ‘n’ frozen treats, of that there is little doubt! Soft serve? You bet! My daily trips to The Hop were actually just an extension of childhood summers spent riding my bike to the Dairy Queen every afternoon for my classic soft serve jam: Chocolate / vanilla swirl — why choose one? — and when I was feeling fancy, and/or had an extra quarter in my pocket, I would add a hard crust of “cherry” flavored plastic coating, applied tenuously to the quickly melting surface of the delicious poop-shaped swirl beneath. YUM! Heaven on a cake cone, Yo.
We all know that about 80% of what we like about food can be attributed directly to the nostalgia factor, especially childhood nostalgia, but even great memories can’t make up for crap food, or the fact that every time I returned to Dairy Queen as an adult, I felt slightly ill about 20 minutes later. I don’t know what the fuck is in the bags of mix they use, but… oh, wait, yes I do… kinda sorta…
“According to its website, Dairy Queen vanilla soft service ice cream is made with milkfat, nonfat milk, sugar, corn syrup, whey, mono and diglycerides, artificial flavor, guar gum, polysorbate 80, carrageenan, and vitamin A palmitate.” – Google Search Results [ LINK ]
Blurg… I dunno… maybe those ingredients aren’t as carcinogenny as they sound, but I’ll tell you what, there ain’t no amount of childhood nostalgia factor gonna help me get over that hump. I gave up on Dairy Queen ages ago… but not on soft serve! FUCK NO!
My favorite soft serve ice cream in Asheville comes from Frostbite Ice Cream way out on Patton Ave, in front of Skylanes bowling, so when I recently took a trip Westward with my friend Duncan the Plumber for lunch at Taqueria Muñoz, I requested of him that we hit-up the Fostbite afterward, where I got my classic jam… fancy style!
So, what the fuck makes the ice cream at Frostbite so good? What sets it apart? Well, the same thing that makes some of the fanciest foods in Asheville special: The care taken in sourcing the ingredients involved. I don’t know specifically what-all is in their mix either, except that their product actually tastes like dairy to me, and doesn’t give me “chemical belly” a half hour later. According to an early news report by smarter people than me, the Frostbite mix is…
“…a scratch-made base with the right balance of butterfat to achieve the perfect texture without artificial stabilizers. Sixteen or so daily flavors come from local ingredients, from peaches in the summertime to Hendersonville apples in the fall.” – Mackensy Lunsford, Asheville Citizen Times [ LINK ]
All I know is on that day, I was really in the mood for something super-duper tasty and colorful and fun and frozen and trippy and drippy and sweet, and when the nice young person at the counter said “We have five flavors of hard dip,” I thought it was the single greatest sentence I’d ever heard in my fucking life. Fuck, yeah! Hard dip it!
Disclaimer: There’s a chance that I may have accidentally walked through a cloud of marijuana smoke before going out for ice cream that day. Second hand high, I believe, is the expression?
After placing my order, I hung back, checking-out the decor, while the other nice young person behind the counter swirled and dipped my psychedelic treat. Super-brightly lit, tiled & painted in red, white & blue to the Nth degree, with touches of tie-dye here and there, the atmosphere gives the slight impression that Frostbite might in fact be run by hippies, or Uncle Sam, or both. Captain Trips? Izzat you? I was practically seeing trails by the time my ice cream arrived. WAH! It was a beautiful monster, oozing delicious white guts from cracks and holes in its insanely, unnaturally, primary red shell. It looked up at me, its pointed little head cocked to one side, and started licking my hand.
So, yeah, that’s that. I tucked in, and devoured it like a pro, enjoying every single molecule of hard dip shell, soft doo-doo swirl ice cream, and cheap, dry, crackery cone. What can I tell ya? It was fuckin’ awesome. If you know what soft serve ice cream is, and you can imagine one that’s bad, and then one that’s better, and then one that’s best… this is the best.
Frostbite is taking this classic “trashy treat,” and elevating it, Asheville-style, by sourcing quality ingredients. They’ve come up with a brand and a product that even an ice cream snob like me can really get behind. It’s truly fabulous & fantastic, but it’s also not trying to rewrite the book on one of my most nostalgic faves. Everything about it whisked me straight back to that summertime jam I treasured so much on those rare occasions when I had an extra quarter in my pocket at the Dairy Queen. Now days I wouldn’t step into a DQ during my most desperate ice cream moment, but I totally agree with this young customer’s sentiments…
Frostbite really IS the place to go, and their chocolate / vanilla swirl, cherry hard dip, soft serve ice cream is totally my…
Frostbite ice Cream
“Asheville’s BEST local soft-serve ice cream & dessert shop. Come enjoy premium ice cream, locally roasted organic coffee, Five Star Funnel Cakes, & more!”
Address: 1475 Patton Ave, Asheville, NC
Phone: (828) 774-5245
Stu Helm is an artist, writer, and podcaster living in Asheville, NC, and a frequent diner at local restaurants, cafes, food trucks, and the like. His tastes run from hot dogs and mac ‘n’ cheese, to haute cuisine, and his opinions are based on a lifetime of eating out. He began writing about food strictly to amuse his friends on Facebook.
ON THE RADIO: wpvmfm.org
Im definitely trying out Frostbite SOON. Thanks Stu!