Ice cream is quite possibly the only food liked by everyone on the planet. In fact, it may truly be the ultimate bond we humans share, which might explain why there are so many superb ice-cream places in town.
The Soft Serve
BJ's Velvet Freez Drive In (1511 N. Union Blvd., 633-6365) offers the traditional soft-serve flavors of chocolate or vanilla (swirled, dipped or sprinkled) and other cold, tasty treats like floats, slushies, malts, sundaes, splits and Boston Shakes. They also have frozen yogurt and strawberry or hot fudge short cake. But mostly, they have the Peanut Buster: a frothy vanilla shake layered with hot chocolate, whipped cream, peanut butter and peanuts. Drive up or drive-through, but do not drive past.
The Drive In (2309 N. Weber St., 633-0618), a landmark in the Old North End, has changed very little since the day it opened 46 years ago. Full to the brim with nostalgia, good food and great ice-cream inventions, they too have the basic chocolate and vanilla cones, topped five different ways, including with a Pixie Stick. But for fans of snow cones, flurries, slushies, slurpies, sodas, floats, sundaes, malts, shakes and anything else you can flavor, the Drive In rules. Simply put, it has more choices and flavors than anywhere else in town -- 25 and still inventing. Cotton Candy Blue Goo is one of my favorites. Mind-alteringly sweet, it will leave your mouth bright blue for hours. But trust me, your inner child will be happy.
Churned, not stirred
Family owned, operated and churning out their own ice cream for the past 22 years, the Colorado City Creamery (2602 W. Colorado Ave., 634-1411 and 6628 Delmonico Drive, 265-6556) provides homemade ice cream in a homespun atmosphere. They've recently branched out into the organic coffee business too. A homemade organic coffee shake? It's the bomb.
The closest to Wonkaland you'll ever get, Michelle's (122 N. Tejon St., 633-5089 and The Citadel mall, 597-9932) also makes their own ice cream. And in the 48 years that they've been open, they've had time to think up some excellent concoctions. All in all, there are 31 ice-cream specialties on the menu, but it is the dependable hot fudge banana split which reigns supreme. Served in a metal dish with scoops of chocolate and vanilla ice cream, flanked by a whole banana and accompanied by sugar wafers, whipped cream and a dousing of freshly made hot fudge, this simple classic embodies the essence of an ice-cream parlor, right down to the cherry on top.
A little more modern in decor, Josh and John's (111 E. Pikes Peak Ave., 632-0299) dreamy, rich and creamy product is made from all-natural ingredients. Flavors change daily and because certain kinds are made every morning, you can always count on a right-out-of-the-churn consistency. Like butta. Hence, this ice cream makes for some of the thickest and best shakes around.
Ice cream with a view
On a clear day, the view of Pikes Peak from Westside Cones 'N Coffee (3012 W. Colorado Ave., 667-0330) is spectacular. But the view is only one reason to visit. The other 24 reasons are the stellar flavors of Anne and Mann's locally made ice cream, served in sugar or waffle cones or chocolate dipped cones that have been artfully covered with rainbow or chocolate jimmies. Very cool. This is also the largest single scoop of ice cream I've ever seen -- a huge bargain at $2, with incredibly friendly service to boot.
Besides their unique arcade atmosphere and sidewalk window, Patsy's (930 Manitou Ave., 685-9437) in Manitou offers all of the basics and then some. But their dipped cones are truly addictive. We're talking hand-packed ice cream, dipped into real chocolate, caramel or cherry toppings. They also have an outstanding root beer float, heavily carbonated with very creamy vanilla ice cream.
Finally, Christine's Mountainside Terrace (4455 Fountain Ave., Cascade, 684-2331) is a sweet little place located in Cascade, on the right-hand side of the road as you head up the Pikes Peak Highway. Though you might be tempted to write it off as a tourist trap, do not. Just remember three words: Key lime pie. If you like key lime pie, you must try this ice cream. Minty green with little chunks of pie crust mixed in, it's a creamy explosion of flavor in your mouth, which in the end will make you pucker.
-- Suzanne Becker