Santa Cruz Stories and Tips

The Ice Cream Debate

First of all a question: Is the phrase "the battle wages on" or "the battle rages on"? A quick google search on both phrases yields approximately the same amount of hits. I think both are correct grammatically, but was wondering if one was more common. Oh well, the question rages on.

Much like the question of which phrase is correct, in Santa Cruz there is often debate over the best ice cream in town. Now the winner in the local paper for many years has been Marianne's Ice Cream. I like Marianne's and its REALLY rich and creamy (so much so that it never ices over in your freezer. All the other ice cream I have eventually freezes over. One theory: there isn't any water in it to freeze, just pure butter and cream.) Its also available at a lot of restaurants and stores around town, but its not my favorite. I've had too many flavors there that I just didn't care for.

My choice for best in town, and one that many eastside locals agree with, is Polar Bear Ice Cream. Its not quite as creamy and perhaps as a result not quite as fattening, but it tastes good. I find the flavor best used to judge separate ice cream makers is Green Tea. I love Green Tea ice cream and have a refined palate for it. Since many makers don't offer green tea, vanilla is an acceptable guideline.

Upon judging the green tea ice creams, one notices that they are both good, just different. Polar Bears taste more like actual green tea. It is darker in color and a little less sweet. Mariannes taste like a concoction of 1/2 cup green tea, 2 cups cream, a cube of butter, and a lot of sugar. Both are good in there different ways and it’s not just with the green tea, but with all the flavors. Both are good just different.

A new player in the game though is Gelatomania. A Gelato shop in downtown Santa Cruz that was started by two people that met at a Buddhist retreat and came up with the idea to make a business where most of the profits get donated to charity. That is a very Santa Cruz thing, and its great. The gelato is top notch, the prices are high, but you gotta feel good paying it right? The only problem with gelato is that while it is lower in fat than ice cream and better for you, it is very rich and tough to finish even the "regular" size order. Still, Gelatomania with its oxygen bar and full Italian food menu is certainly different from Polar Bear and Mariannes. But, once again, they are all good but different.

There are plenty of places to find good ice cream in Santa Cruz. People will continue to chime in with their favorites, and so, much as the phrase itself, the Ice Cream battle wages/rages on. And, adding gelato to the equation, sometimes the battle even marches on.

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