July is National Ice Cream Month and Sunday is National Ice Cream Day. While you may not take much stock in these national food days, no one needs to twist my arm to talk about ice cream.
Also given this pandemic has left many of us seeking joy in the simple things, ice cream is a good place to start.
My favorite — my mom's homemade vanilla ice cream — is not available widely, but other local spots are offering cool treats. This is just a sweet sampling, curated by yours truly. If you have a favorite local ice cream establishment or order you want to share, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dewar's: For many who grew up in Bakersfield, this is where your ice cream adventures started. My go-to order, especially in the summer, was a lime freeze. Lighter than many of the ice cream offerings, the dish combines lime sherbet with carbonated water for a frothy beverage perfect for sipping at the counter at the classic F Street location or taking it to go.
Another classic is the George's special, named after third-generation owner George Dewar, who reportedly ate the treat for breakfast every morning. Consisting of vanilla ice cream mixed with chocolate syrup, ground walnuts and fresh banana, this seems safer as an occasional treat. In fact, years ago, Californian staffers used to be treated to a Dewar's delivery for a good day in the newsroom or sometimes as a respite when temperatures soared about 100 degrees. Not every super-hot day, mind you; otherwise we would have been challenging George's eating record every summer.
Worth noting for those who haven't been to Dewar's, the business now offers waffle cones and bowls. With Dewar's generous scooping policy, that seems like a good combination.
Moo Creamery: While Dewar's and Rosemary's Family Creamery are local stalwarts, Moo Creamery brought a little pizazz to ice cream in Bakersfield when it opened in 2008. There's lot to enjoy at the restaurant on both the sweet and savory sides, but it's worth starting with the classic vanilla ice cream, made with Tahitian vanilla beans. Creative flavors also abound at Moo with options such as bacon love (maple ice cream with candied bacon) and jalapeño cream cheese (rich cream cheese base with candied peppers and a raspberry swirl).
The restaurant also utilizes area products from fresh fruits for seasonal flavors to Billings almonds as a topping and Rig City Roasting Co. espresso for its affogato.
Moo's butterscotch drop cookie is my pick for their best baked good but the butterscotch brownie is also up there, especially as the base for the Stella sundae, which also includes that decadent vanilla ice cream, along with salted caramel sauce, chunks of chocolate-covered toffee, fresh whipped cream and a cherry.
La Rosa Fruit Bars and Ice Cream: You may see La Rosa pop up often in this column and it's for good reason. Owner Norma Diaz hustles to keep things fresh and customers cooled down. From holiday flavors and designs (the triple-layer, red-white-and-blue bar for Fourth of July is a recent example) to limited-run experiments (chocolate-covered cherry vanilla and pineberry, a mix of pineapple and blueberry), La Rosa has plenty to offer. Even dogs got a treat this summer with PuPPoPs, smaller iced treats that quickly sold out.
It's no wonder the L.A. Times featured the business when one of its reporters deigned to dine in Bakersfield in May.
Of course, La Rosa also relies on tradition. With more than two dozen flavors of fruit and ice cream bars, there's lots of variety. And you've never truly experienced a Bakersfield summer if you haven't heard the tinkling bells of a La Rosa paleteria cart down the street, promising a bit of sweet relief from the heat.
Sno Shack of Bakersfield: Now this is one I've yet to try but it's on the list for this summer. While I have enjoyed many snow cones, offered at Sno Shack's various locations around town, what's most intriguing is the new addition of Dole Whip. Anyone who has been to Disneyland should know the sweet, creamy pineapple delight that is Dole Whip. The Sno Shack at 11000 Brimhall Road #S has made this pandemic summer slightly more bearable with the new addition. Judging by the business's Facebook page, people are getting creative stacking the pineapple frozen treat with various flavors of shaved ice.
As mentioned above, these are just a few suggestions. Bakersfield is lucky to have so many options for ice cream and other cool treats. If you'd like to share your pick, send it to email@example.com.