Sub Zero Ice Cream

Sidney and I just didn’t eat pizza this weekend. We packed on the calories by indulging in another beloved treat as well: ice cream.

Because I love ice cream, I naturally like all the recent industry gimmicks such as Dippin Dots, froyo, and ice cream prepared on stone/marble. As long as it is cold enough to induce a brain freeze, I don’t mind if it is a couple scoops of the classic stuff served in a cone or a cup containing a mixture of flavors and toppings weighed on a scale.

I once ate seven scoops of  ice  cream in five minutes.

I once ate seven scoops of ice cream in five minutes.

This past Saturday, just a couple hours after our MOD Pizza experience, we tried the newest ice cream craze. Not really craving ice cream since we were still full, we went inside of Sub Zero Ice Cream just out of plain curiosity.

Sidney and I visited the Myrtle Beach Sub Zero Ice Cream shop on Saturday.

Sidney and I visited the Myrtle Beach Sub Zero Ice Cream shop on Saturday.

Sub Zero Ice Cream puts quite the spin on the classic dessert. You order which flavor of ice cream you want along with the mix-ins desired at the counter. Then, the magic occurs. The staff makes your order right in front of you by using the science of liquid nitrogen.

Let me back up and explain this process a little better by using our order as an example. Because Sid and I were so full from lunch, we decided to just split a regular sized cup. Although Sub Zero has several creations with many mix-ins available for customers to choose from, we decided to go simple. We wanted just vanilla ice cream and Oreo cookies.

But even the simple is complex. We now had to decide what type of cream we wanted as our ice cream base. Given options such as low-fat, vegan, yogurt, lactose-free, and more, we chose original. The staff member poured the cream into a big silver bowl, added the Oreos, and then placed it under a liquid nitrogen shower/gun contraption. As the nitrogen engulfed the cream, puffs of vapor rose up, creating a pretty cool scene. After a couple more shots with the gun and after some serious mixing, our ice cream was ready.

A look at the set up behind the counter at the Myrtle Beach Sub Zero Ice Cream location. If you look to the left, you can see the staff member pouring the cream into the silver bowl.

A look at the set up behind the counter at the Myrtle Beach Sub Zero Ice Cream location. If you look to the left, you can see the staff member pouring the cream into the silver bowl.

As I paid for our dessert at the counter (it was around $5.50), I thought to myself how it was pretty cool that basic liquid cream could be turned into actual ice cream in just a couple minutes.

With the cup now in front of us, Sid and I dug in. It took just one bite to realize that we were eating some very rich and very heavy ice cream. Of course in the ice cream world that description translates into a taste that is nothing short of delicious. You know how with some ice cream you can dig out a spoonful and you can just see the creaminess and texture in it? This is what Sub Zero Ice Cream is like. Because our vanilla and Oreo cookie mixture was so flavorful and rich, we couldn’t help but think what a chocolate type of ice cream would taste like with multiple mix-ins.

This was our ice cream cup. As you can probably tell, it was very creamy.

This was our ice cream cup. As you can probably tell, it was very creamy.

While we were impressed with the ice cream, I don’t know if it is a place we will frequent that often. Besides the steep prices, it takes a long time for orders to come out, which is semi-understandable since they are making the ice cream right in front of you. But it took us at least 10 minutes from the time we walked through the doors to get our order, and there was just one person standing in line in front of us.

My photography skills are lacking in this photo because I failed to capture the intense vapor that is produced when the mixing occurs. However, you can still see a little bit of it.

My photography skills are lacking in this photo because I failed to capture the intense vapor that is produced when the mixing occurs. However, you can still see a little bit of it.

Also, part of the reason why I like ice cream places so much is because of the ice cream atmosphere. I love the fresh smells, the quirky décor, and the tubs of ice cream visible under the glass. At Sub Zero Ice Cream, you obviously don’t physically see all the flavor choices because everything is made to order. Also, the chain adheres to a science theme so instead of pleasant colors and neon signs, you have depictions of molecular formulas on the walls and liquid nitrogen tanks lining the floor area. It just doesn’t feel that welcoming.

A look at one of the walls inside the Myrtle Beach Sub Zero Ice Cream location.

A look at one of the walls inside the Myrtle Beach Sub Zero Ice Cream location.

Sub Zero Ice Cream hits it out of the park with its product. However, the atmosphere, and, to an extent, the experience, just doesn’t justify me becoming a regular customer. Don’t Blink.

My “Sweet” Documentary Idea

I love documentaries. On Netflix, the genre I will always search first is documentaries. Sidney and I watched a couple of them this past week. First we viewed “The Resurrection of Jake the Snake” and last night we watched “My Friend Rockefeller.” Both were great.

The documentary industry is booming. These days, these type of films are so specialized and perfected that it makes for great watching. It is definitely an art. Although documentaries are now being made about seemingly every aspect of life, there still must be a great story to tell.

With this understanding above, I would like to pitch a documentary. The subject at hand is pretty narrow but there is a legitimate and interesting story that is to be told. I would like a filmmaker to do a documentary on the ice cream truck business.

Over three years ago, I wrote this long blog post about my mild obsession with the ice cream man/woman. During my childhood I would almost waste my summer away waiting for the ice cream man to arrive in our neighborhood. I wanted to be an ice cream man when I grew up. I heard the jingle of the ice cream truck in my sleep.

During the time since I wrote it, my interest has not died. Rather, because of my relocation to South Carolina, it has possibly intensified. You see, since living in Myrtle Beach, I have seen even more twists on the “ice cream on wheels” concept. I have seen ice cream men on mopeds, in pick up trucks, and in regular cars! I guess it only makes sense that the types and volume of “mobile ice cream professionals” would increase in a climate that is dominated by hot and humid days.

It has been this awakening to the diversity of the ice cream truck profession that my idea for a documentary is based. I think it would make a great film to follow several different ice cream men from all corners of the country to get an inside look at their profession. The documentary would chronicle the routes they take, the products they sell, the music they play, the problems they face, and the vehicle they use.

But the heart of the documentary wouldn’t hinge on any of those aspects above. Rather, it would focus on the joy of the children whenever the ice cream vehicle pulls up to the curb. My hypothesis is that no matter where at in the country, there would be a similar sentiment of happiness displayed by all the young people waiting to give their ice cream order. The imagery and uniqueness of this documentary could be award winning.

Anyone want to take a stab at this documentary? Let me know. I should be able to donate the cost of a fudgesicle to the project. Don’t Blink.

An Ice Cream Buffet

I don’t have enough fingers to count the number of times I have written about ice cream over the years on this blog. I also lack enough fingers to jot down the number of times I have introduced one of my wacky business ideas. Well, tonight I combine both common topics into one. I have an ice cream related business plan that you might like.

By this time, it seems as if the froyo craze is starting to die down a little bit. It had a great run. A couple years ago it seemed as if there was one on every corner. I was so into it for awhile that I visited three shops in a weekend. But the novelty has started to wear off. With the decline of froyo, now is the time to introduce my ice cream idea.

Froyo is experiencing a decline.

Froyo is experiencing a decline.

People are over going into a froyo shop and picking up a cup and filling it with overpriced ice cream while guessing how much they will have to pay once they weigh it. I also think people still get bored with walking into a traditional ice cream shop and having an employee hand them a one or two-scoop cone. My idea entails keeping the self-serve aspect of froyo while cutting down the product per dollar expense. It also entails keeping the hard ice cream of traditional parlors (along with the great smell) but eliminating the scooper on the other side of the glass. Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to introduce your first ICE CREAM BUFFETS!

Say goodbye to overpriced waffle cones.

Say goodbye to overpriced waffle cones.

My all-you-can-eat ice cream shop idea is pretty simple. For the price of around $5-$6, a person can come into the parlor and eat all the ice cream desired until his/her brain freezes solid. There would be a single buffet line with tubs of 16 different ice cream flavors and then a diverse toppings bar. The ice cream scoop technology would be top of the line so customers would not have a hard time scooping out the product. At the start of the line would be large ice cream bowls like the ones we all use at home and customers would also have the option to select traditional cones or waffle bowls. Bottled water and soda would be sold for a slightly inflated price.

To turn a decent profit, the product would not be premium ice cream such as Ben & Jerry’s or Dreyer’s quality. Rather, it would be similar to generic/store brand ice cream. People wouldn’t really know or care though. The concept of walking into a shop smelling of fresh baked waffle cones while looking at 16 flavors of ice cream and knowing that there is no limit will squash the apprehensions of anyone questioning the quality of the ice cream. When you go to Golden Corral you aren’t going to eat high quality food; you are going to eat large amounts of okay food. The same philosophy holds true with my ice cream buffet idea.

According to my plan, we would not be offering Ben & Jerry's-like quality ice cream.

According to my plan, we would not be offering Ben & Jerry’s-like quality ice cream.

My idea will make money. Customers will come with great intentions to eat a lot of ice cream only to finish two bowls. Think about it…it’s ice cream! It is cold, it is filling, and it is, um, cold. When people hear about an all-you-can-eat ice cream shop they will arrive as if the gates to Heaven on earth have opened but they will hit the wall fast. Limited consumption of product by the customer in addition to cheap ice cream in the first place will yield a profit.

An ice cream buffet will start off as a huge novelty. People will want to go experience the madness. But after the hype has died down I think the concept will be sustainable. People get tired of froyo because it is overpriced and not real ice cream. At an ice cream buffet there are no limits and you get the real deal for a low price. So get in line, grab yourself a bowl, and invest in my brilliant idea! Don’t Blink.

Mascots, Ice Cream, Golf

Because my brother always complains to me about the length of my blog posts I try to humor him every once and a while and publish a post that is both shorter in length and on the lighter side of things. Thankfully for Glen, tonight is one of those rare occasions where I don’t write a book and I don’t necessarily have a message to get across. This evening I simply want to briefly describe three cool things that have happened so far in this short week.

Monte Defeats Cam The Ram: The most famous bear in Montana got off to a great start in the 2013 Mascot Challenge as he defeated Cam The Ram from Colorado State. The head-to-head battle went down to the wire and I was definitely refreshing my iPhone every few seconds as the deadline approached to make sure that Monte did in fact hold on. Thanks to Griz Nation he did indeed score a victory and is now 1-0 and up against Bucky the Badger from Wisconsin this week. When Monte and I were down in Albuquerque for the 2012 NCAA Tournament we got to meet Bucky because our basketball team was playing Wisconsin. While we came up short to Wisconsin in basketball we are confident that we will have their number when it comes to mascots.

Monte and I were happy campers after defeating Cam The Ram.

Monte and I were happy campers after defeating Cam The Ram.

Cheap Dairy Queen Ice Cream: In Missoula there is a seasonal Dairy Queen located in an old school hut type building that kind of strays away from the typical corporate DQs you mostly see today. Well, I think the season for this particular Dairy Queen is coming to an end because they had a pretty sweet sale going on yesterday. For just $1.25 you could buy frozen quarts of ice cream…yes, that is just one dollar and a quarter. I saw the sign advertising this bargain as I was driving to the Griz soccer game yesterday and sure enough after the match concluded I went straight to the Dairy Queen and bought a lot of ice cream for pocket change. For $2.50 I got two quarts of premium chocolate ice cream. I smiled the whole way home and now I got enough frozen dessert to last me the rest of September.

I am the owner of enough ice cream to last me the month,

I am the proud owner of enough ice cream to last me the month.

Griz Golf Team Wins Missoula Tournament: For the first time in 16 years the Griz golf team hosted a tournament in Missoula. Yesterday and today the team played in the Sun Mountain Grizzly Invitational at the Missoula Country Club. The last time the team hosted a tournament in Missoula was in 1997 and they definitely made up for lost time as they ran away with the team title, defeating six other schools including Montana State. I got to watch the ending of the tournament and then the awards ceremony that followed. It was just another great day to be a Grizzly.


Congrats to the Griz golf team on winning the Sun Mountain Grizzly Invitational.

Congrats to the Griz golf team on winning the Sun Mountain Grizzly Invitational


There you go…mascots, ice cream, and golf! Short and sweet. Hope you approve, Glen. Don’t Blink.

The Ice Cream Man

This past Sunday as I was enjoying a day at the pool at my apartment complex I noticed some cheerful kid’s music playing. I looked up from my chair and past the gate that surrounded the pool area and out onto the street that runs right through the middle of the apartment complex. What I saw slowly moving by brought a smile to my face.

I guess before the smile crept on my face I had a mild sense of shock. I mean I had no idea that an ice cream truck would ever take the time to visit my apartment complex! But when I realized that there are a lot of children that live around me and that kids who live in apartments deserve ice cream just as much as kids who live in houses it made sense, and a feeling of happiness went through my body. In fact, I almost left my spot at the pool and dashed through the gate to flag down the truck and buy some ice cream. Actually that is a complete lie. These days I would never buy a popsicle from the ice cream man but that didn’t mean I didn’t think about back in the day when I couldn’t live unless I got a treat from him.

Back when I was seven years old, I proudly professed to my parents and my teacher at school that I wanted to be an ice cream man when I grew up. This was after my President of the United States dream and before my professional athlete aspirations. I am not kidding though, I legitimately wanted to be an ice cream man. I thought he had it made. He got to ride a cool little truck around, had an endless supply of ice cream in the back, and hauled in all those quarters and dollar bills from everyone! I thought he had to have been one of the richest dudes in the world.

Along with professional wrestling, the U.S. Presidents, and vampires, the ice cream truck/man was another thing I was fascinated about when I was really young. I would wait all year long for summer to come and once it did I would sit out on the front porch and wait for the ice cream man to come. Of course he probably only came 5% of the days during the summer but it didn’t stop me from wasting precious childhood moments hoping he would come all those other days. I would psych myself out believing that I heard the ice cream truck’s music when I really didn’t, listen to my sister when she would lie about seeing it, and convince myself on several occasions that he for sure would be coming that night when he never did.

The 5% of the time that the ice cream man did come during the summer I was either in two locations. The first was at the dinner table. My parents would cringe when we would all be eating a nice meal and then all of a sudden you could hear “The Entertainer” music shooting through our open windows and sending the three of us kids into a frenzy. The other time he would come was when I was in bed. My parents put us to sleep at notoriously early times…I am talking bush league times. On many occasions the ice cream truck would roll through our neighborhood a little past 8 p.m. and we would be in our bedrooms. Besides when Santa Claus would come through on a fire truck in the winters, this was our only other “Get out of bed” card. We would hear that music and my parents would just concede to us jumping out of bed and begging for money.

And that brings me to my next point. My parents maybe paid for ice cream about half the times he would come by. The other half of the times I was either counting out pennies or going without. Although completely enraged during the times I did not get ice cream, now as an adult I can look back and realize it was just part of my parents’ plan to instill discipline and self-control in us.

Just a little bit on my childhood ice cream truck and the products offered: The ice cream truck that serviced me throughout my younger years really wasn’t a truck at all. It was more like a golf cart that had a large freezer built in the back. Sounds pretty tacky but it did look presentable and was always freshly painted and in working order. Throughout the years I have seen some sketchy looking ice cream trucks so I feel fortunate that I ate ice cream from a vehicle that didn’t look like it was smuggling drugs. Our ice cream truck served (for heavily inflated prices) popsicles, ice cream sandwiches, ice cream bars, malt cups, and my favorite, sherbert on a stick. Whenever the truck would come by there would always be a special sherbert popsicle dessert in the form of some character. Sometimes it would be Mario, sometimes it would be a Ninja Turtle, sometimes it would be Tweety Bird. Whatever it was, it would always have bubble gum added in some way! Like Mario would have a bubble gum nose or the Ninja Turtle would have bubble gum eyes. Even though the bubble gum was hard as a rock and had absolutely no flavor I thought it was the coolest thing ever.

I don’t mind when something reminds me at my old age of something from my childhood. Not only does it send good feelings throughout my soul, it also gives me something to write about. Although I now buy my ice cream from a grocery store instead of a vehicle I appreciate what ice cream trucks do to highlight the joys of being a kid. Don’t Blink.