Lannae's Food and Travel

I hope you like my food and travel blog.

July 31, 2009

Simply the Best

what Tom's looks like from the street

Years ago, my foodie friends in Pittsburgh decided to try ice cream at the top 10 ice cream joints in the USA. What a great idea, I thought! I too wanted to try the top ice cream in USA. Back about 11 years ago, July 24, 1998, th USAToday newspaper printed and listed the top 10 ice cream joints in the USA, and it is still confirmed by website today. I have not had all 10, but I have accomplished ice cream eating at the top 5. The top 5 are as follows:

1. Tom's Ice Cream Bowl, Zanesville, OH
2. Herrell's, Northampton, MA
3. Bassett's Ice Cream, Philadelphia, PA
4. University Creamery, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA
5. Dave and Andy's, Pittsburgh, PA

I have had the pleasure of being in school near, or live near the fabulous #2-5. I went to college near Herrell's and what ever money I had left over at the end of the week, I would treat myself to some Herrell's chocolate ice cream. It was rich, creamy and dense. Oh, those were the days. I worked near Bassett's, the longest continuously running ice cream counter in the USA. On occassion, I walked over to Reading Terminal Market and straight to Bassett's for a little chocolate ice cream treat during the summertime heat in Philadelphia. Oh, and the University Creamery, when I was at Penn State, the old Creamery location was in the center of campus. Twice a week, I had to walk from one corner to the other, and walk straight by the Creamery. On Thursday, on my way back down from my 2nd class, I would stop into the Creamery for an ice cream cone, or the fresh yogurt. Oh the yogurt mixed with strawberries was the original smoothy, before the smoothyking chain ever happened. The PennState Creamery has taught a lot of the world famous ice cream makers to make ice cream, as an example Ben and Jerry learned their craft from PennState. I love PennState, love the Nittany Lions, and I love thinking about the PennState Creamery tasty goods. And for #5, I have had chocolate ice cream at Dave and Andy's near the University of Pittsburgh. When I go on my food tours of Pittsburgh, Dave and Andy's is a must for my tastebuds. Again, the chocolate ice cream is dense, dark and rich. Mmm mmm yum!

hamburger and onion rings

So, for years now, I have been wanting to go Tom's Ice Cream Bowl in Zanesville, OH to cap off the Top 5 Best Ice Cream joints in the USA, but I never happened to be in Zanesville. I mean, Zanesville isn't really on the way to anywhere, and I had no real reason to ever go to that part of Ohio before. So, a couple weeks ago, I found myself needing to go to Zanesville. Yup, Zanesville, OH. If you are not from OH, you probably don't know this small town, there isn't much there beside a strip of chain restaurants and big box stores, and this little gem of a diner and ice cream parlor.

The menu is simple, burgers, fries, Campbell soups, and a few other items. To drink, they offer Phosphates, and then other dairy and soda items. Phosphates are carbonated water with flavored syrup and a little phosphoric acid to make the drink more fizzy and give the finish a nice acid bite. The lime Phosphate I had was delicious! I got a hamburger and onion rings, and I was happy with both. The hamburger is about the size of a regular (small) McD's burger. Tom's does not serve anything with tomatoes, so the burger toppings are lettuce, onion, pickles and special "homemade mayo". Tom's probably does not make mayo, but rather I believe a little horseradish is blended into the mayo to give it a little kick. The onion ring portion was not overly excessive either, so I think the meal was well proportioned. Not too much and not too little, and it left me with enough room for a scoop of ice cream. I, of course, got chocolate. It was not overly chocolate-y or sweet (just the way I like it), but it was a very dense chocolate ice cream with a high fat content. The next time I was at Tom's I got a chocolate milkshake. I really like it too because it was made to the correct consistency, so I can either drink it with a straw or use a spoon. Because the ice cream is not too sweet, just perfectly sweetened, the milkshake was perfectly chocolate-y and the right amount of sweet. To make my time at Tom's even sweeter, I ended my stay by taking away a dozen pieces of Heggy's Candy. I got 12 handmade haystacks that I am still eating today. Heggy's is a local chocolate maker, and you can just tell that these taste better with fresher ingredients than anything you get in the big box store.

lime phosphate

Yeah, now that I had the top 5 ice creams, I was thinking that vacations may have to be focused on the best food in the USA. I will have to browse the for ideas of where I should go for my best food vacations. I am thinking burgers, hot dogs, or maybe pizza. Which list should I try next?

Tom's Ice Cream Bowl on Urbanspoon


At 7/31/09, 7:22 PM, Blogger Jennie said...

Have you read the John T. Edge food quartet books? If you haven't you should pick them up (I know the public library has all four). He writes on apple pie, fried chicken, hamburgers and fries, and donuts and travels all over the US to sample those four foods. You could find a lot of good places to travel to just from those books.

At 8/1/09, 5:55 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks for the tip!! Food vacations are so fun!

At 1/29/10, 3:35 PM, Anonymous tom's ice cream bowl said...

Thank you for the positive feedback Lannae! However, our mayonnaise is indeed homemade from scratch, following our secret recipe we've had all these years.

At 5/21/12, 11:13 AM, Blogger Debbie said...

Sounds like a good reason to go to Zanesville! Yum!


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