A few weeks ago, the members of our little food adventure club traveled out to one of the happiest places on earth! No, not Disney – that place actually stresses me out. I am referring to the one and only Kimball’s Ice Cream in beautiful Westford, MA.
Now, you might be thinking that ice cream isn’t a particularly adventurous food, and you’d be totally right. However, this isn’t just any ice cream. Kimball’s has some of the richest, creamiest ice cream you’ve ever had the pleasure to eat, in an assortment of creative flavors and, for the amount you’re served, for cheap, cheap, cheap. This is a place where I warn first time visitors to get the kiddie size – it’s more than enough ice cream for all but the biggest appetites.
In addition, Kimball’s is located right next to the town where I grew up. It’s the ice cream of my youth, and it was nice to share it with a group of friends, some who’d been, but others who hadn’t, too. When I was a kid, it was just a little ice cream stand on the side of the road, surrounded on all sides by the fields of the farm that owned it. The only concession they made to family fun, besides the ice cream itself, were some life-sized plastic cows that were in a little pen next to a sort of faux-silo. Man, I loved those cows. Despite the lack of any entertainment outside of stuffing one’s face, the parking lot was always packed in the summer. The Kimball’s of today, however, is a very different experience. The ice cream is still there, and still delicious, but it’s supplemented by a variety of activities and amusements, including:
A driving range
An arcade (this is the newest of the bunch)
A hot air balloon ride(!)
A country store
Clearly, the folks running Kimball’s decided that there was more benefit to providing entertainment than there was to running a dairy farm, and I can’t say they’re wrong. There’s little enough for entertainment in the area immediately surrounding my hometown (even most of the movie theaters have shut down), so Kimball’s provides some fun, family-friendly activities. We took advantage of only a few of them, but it was a grand day!
We started, of course, with the ice cream!
This is an apple crisp sundae with pumpkin ice cream. It’s a pretty good fall treat, but was really only a salve on the wound of them not having what I really wanted, their gingersnap-molasses ice cream. This is molasses flavored ice cream, filled with hand-crushed, homemade gingersnaps. It’s only available in the fall, and it is seriously the best ice cream I have ever put in my mouth. But THEY DIDN’T HAVE IT. So pumpkin over apple crisp had to do.
After ice cream, most of our group made a beeline for the arcade. Jess, however, had gotten an eyeful of the onion rings at the grille and decided that they were necessary. Despite being full of ice cream, it was hard to disagree with her:
These are not beer battered, but that light, crispy coating ala a clam shack. They are not as good as Mr. Menace’s, but they’re still very tasty.
After those of us who’d stuck around for onion rings had stuffed ourselves silly, we joined the rest of the crew in the arcade, where we were greeted by the sight of a make-your-own cotton candy machine! In truth, I’m not a big fan of cotton candy – I can eat about one bite and then I’m tired of sugar. Luckily, Elise was ready to bite the bullet so that we could all watch the magic!
Even though I don’t really like to eat it, watching the sugar be spun from sticky goo into soft cottony strands is pretty amazing. Plus it was as big as her head!
The rest of the afternoon was spent enjoying the fruits of the arcade – in my case, primarily skee-ball and a sweet trivia game that allowed you to face off against other opponents. Since most of the group are big trivia buffs, this was a hit. We cashed in our points for ridiculous prizes, including some horrible little harmonicas that prompted a quick parking-lot concert:
While I wouldn’t say that anyone’s food boundaries were challenged, it was a beautiful fall day and a wonderful outing with good friends. Then again, at least one person confronted a challenging food:
Nope, I guess you STILL don’t like Warheads, Matt.
Our next food adventure will be a trip to the Haven restaurant in JP for Scottish food! If you are local and want in on this and have not already let me know, please do so in the comments ASAP – we’ll be going in November. Oh, and any new readers – please join the Facebook group for updates on these events!