Best Ice Cream Spots Around Tacoma and the South Sound
Updated 3/17. Did we miss your fav? Leave a comment!
When I asked readers to share their favorite spots for cool treats, there were some great answers over on the Facebook page! Boy, did we get a drool worthy list going! If you prefer to make it yourself, I’ve got an old camp recipe for making ice cream in a can. It’s magical, it’s tasty, and it can keep your kids busy for a good, long while. In other words, it’s perfect!
These spots are all over the Puget Sound, and I’m fine with that (ice cream road trip, anyone)??
If you know of locations we should add or spots that have closed, let us know! Food spot lists are a bit of a bear to maintain. Thanks for helping!
Bliss Tacoma All natural ice cream made with local ingredients. I tried some at an event, and it was ah-mazing. They’re opening a scoop shop in UP eventually. For now you can follow their fb page to see where their cute trailer is.
*I did note just a couple references on their page to allergy issues, so my rec is that if you have serious food allergies you make sure the employees actually call and speak to the owner about the ingredients.
Menchies Froyo, Federal Way Now multiple locations Check for deals on Amazon Local or Groupon-they often have ’em.
Sub Zero, Federal Way Also now in Puyallup It’s flash freeze ice cream-fun to watch them make it.
Elements Frozen Yogurt, Puyallup Downtown; This is a fav at our house. Great service; love the toppings. Get a punch card!
Milkshakes at Mikie’s Burgers, Tacoma Old School; you might want a burger first!
Gelato at Metropolitan Market, Proctor Feeling fancy?
Ice Cream Social, Tacoma This is amazing, gourmet quality stuff with locally sourced ingredients. Yes, there will be a line.
Milkshakes at Frisko Freeze, Tacoma Sort of Tacoma’s answer to Dick’s. It’s been around forever. Picnic in Wright Park if you decide to get a burger.
Lucky’s Drive-In Parkland/Spanaway I haven’t tried it yet, but the owners have some pretty serious restaurant cred, and the wife of one left a personal recommendation on our fb page. Let me know if you try a shake or lemonade.
Milkshakes at Van’s Burgers, Olympia This place has earned a reputation for being a restaurant that is “never open.” It is open on Thurs-Sat, unless they run out of product, or the temperature is over 100 degrees, or unless they are, well, closed. On the website they offer a current schedule, including planned closings. They say a small staff and limited hours ensure a quality experience.
Ben & Jerry’s, Uptown Gig Harbor There is also a Menchie’s in Uptown
And, finally, wait around for the ice cream truck, pick up some Breyer’s at the grocery store, and home made all got votes! Mmmm…..good!
Tin Can Ice Cream Recipe
About a thousand years ago, I spent many happy summers working as a camp counselor and unit coordinator. Tin can ice cream was a favorite treat for the kiddos. Try it yourself!
1 cup milk (This makes ice milk; if you want true ice cream use cream. Duh, I know).
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoon sugar
Rock or ice cream salt (Kosher salt or sea salt would also work)
You can vary the amounts of the ingredients as you like. It’s the ice and rock salt and stirring that’s making the magic. If you use less of everything, it will be a quicker project.
To make it, you place a small tin can inside a larger one. Fill the larger one with ice and sprinkle with rock salt. Take care not to get ice or salt into your smaller can.
Now, fill the smaller can with your ingredients.
At this point, you have a decision to make: If you can figure out a way to seal the whole lot, you can let your kids roll it back and forth. Lidded coffee cans are ideal for this project, but I only drink instant coffee in case of true emergencies-like if I’m camping, or in an earthquake or something. Anyway, if you can come up with lids, you’re in luck. If you can’t, then have them stir it. We always used popsicle stick stirrers at camp.
It does take a while, and you may have to replenish the ice/salt, but I promise it works, and it’s so delicious, even if they give up and drink it in shake form.
Of course, shortly after we started this project, the neighbor boy rang the doorbell, and off my kids went. Oh, well. It was sort of meditative sitting in my quiet kitchen stirring away. Yes, they showed up to eat the finished product. Surprise, surprise
There are loads of variations on this idea around the web. If you don’t have cans handy, you might try making ice cream in a bag. It’s basically the same recipe, using ziploc baggies-I would spring for the pricey ones here.
You can also make a lot more by making it in big coffee cans. If you’re in charge of making vats of coffee for church or the office, you’re in luck!
This site explains the science behind using salt. (Scroll down past the recipe and “tips” section.) Btw, if you need to come up with a project for the science fair this year, this one screams, “Winner!” to me-try it with or without the salt, write up the results, pass samples to the judges…….hello, blue ribbon.
The only way to mess up here is by using leaky cans, or doing the roll method without having good seals. Watery rock salt is just not a good ice cream flavor. Period.
If you try any of these, or you have your own variation, let me know!