Posts Tagged With: Brookline

The search for the best froyo in Boston: some Coolidge Corner options

Yogurtland froyo with the best chocolate sauce

Yogurtland froyo with the best chocolate sauce

Coming in second place on the list of top favorite things of my life: frozen yogurt. Well actually, I guess froyo is tied for second with ice cream. Either way, they are both cool, deliciously sweet addictions. And I just can’t get enough.  Recently, my froyo addiction has grown even larger with multiple-times-per-week trips to the various froyo shops in the Coolidge Corner area with one of my roommates.  Currently, within a ten minute walk, I can visit three different locations, each with their own features and benefits.  Since I already wrote a post on 16 Handles back when they opened in the winter (sidenote: who opens an ice cream place in the winter), I will focus this entry on my other two favorites: Ice Berry and Yogurtland.

Until discovering these recent additions to the Brookline frozen yogurt scene, I was more than content with my hard frozen yogurt from JP Licks (favorite flavors including mint chip and chocolate chocolate chip) and self-serve, soft serve frozen yogurt from 16 handles (hot fudge, nuttella, whip cream?!? who can beat those toppings). Now, though, my horizons have expanded, and I’ve learned that although JP Licks has delicious hard yogurt flavors and 16 handles has amazing toppings, the flavors and consistencies of the yogurts at Ice Berry and Yogurtland are actually better.

My Ice Berry creation

My Ice Berry creation

Ice Berry, located the closest to my apartment on Beacon Street west of Coolidge Corner, is one of my favorites.  Yes, they are a little out of the way from Coolidge Corner (a three minute walk) and a 10 minute walk from Washington Square, but they should not be overlooked. On the contrary, they actually have the best yogurt flavor I have ever tried: Java Caramel Cup Greek Yogurt. Amazing. Mixed with chocolate and vanilla yogurt and topped with chocolate chips, strawberries, and nonpareils, even better.  I hope that others in Brookline realize how great their yogurt is and give it a chance. I’m confident that they will be impressed.

If I decide to 2 minutes head deeper into the Coolidge Corner area, I can always visit Yogurtland.  This yogurt shop replaced Berry Freeze (a former love of mine and the first self-serve froyo place that I visited), and I was hesitant to try it at first. I had JP Licks and 16 Handles within 20 feet of each other, what more could I need. Also, I had heard some not amazing reviews of Yogurtland…and they have weird Looney Tunes posters in their windows. How do the Looney Tunes and froyo go together? Anyways, my roommate wanted to try it, so we walked in one day, grabbed some tiny cups of free samples, and then left to go to Ice Berry.  A couple of weeks later, they switched their Looney Tunes flavor of the month to Devil’s Food Cake (chocolatey so it must be good), and we decided to give it another shot.  This time, I was happily surprised with their selection of froyo that didn’t melt very quickly. I filled my cup with a combination of Devils Food Cake (chocolate, as I mentioned above, always wins), Pistachio (usually not one of my top picks, but tasty and not too sweet), Vanilla (average), and a small amount of Red Velvet Cake (a little too sweet). And topped it with strawberries, cookie dough pieces, chocolate chips, and Giraldelli chocolate sauce…yes, you read that correctly. Giraldelli. Amazing. 

Overall, choosing between the three is very difficult. All have something to offer. 16 Handles has Nutella, hot fudge, and whip cream; Ice Berry has an amazing greek yogurt flavor, which I’ll assume has the same amount of healthy protein as regular greek yogurt does; and Yogurtland has some delicious flavors and Giradelli chocolate syrup.

I guess the verdict is…..I need to try them all. Again. At least 5 times. The winner will be decided in a few months. Check back, please!

Some of Yogurtland's many flavors

Some of Yogurtland’s many flavors

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The search for the best ice cream in Massachusetts: 16 Handles

My 16 Handles Creation

My 16 Handles Creation

Berry Freeze and J.P. Licks need to watch out.  Competition for the best frozen yogurt in Coolidge Corner is heating up with the  newest addition to the neighborhood, 16 Handles.  The frozen yogurt shop, which is a franchise the national chain, opened on Beacon Street a couple of weeks ago, and I had my first taste of it last weekend.  I’m impressed.

16 Handles’ decor is modern and upbeat, with bright pink chairs and flashing blue lights on the walls.  Yogurt machines with 16 flavors line the walls, and countless containers of toppings fill the space before the register.  The perfect place to meet up with friends for a frozen treat.

Like many other frozen yogurt shops, 16 Handles allows customers to fill and top their own yogurt creations.  Always a plus! They also let customers sample a few flavors before choosing, and my friend and I tried many of the delicious options available.  While every once in a while I’m in the mood for some healthy tart yogurt topped with fruit, most of the time when I’m craving my favorite frozen treat, I’m looking for something sweet and covered in chocolate.  So, I was pleasantly surprised with the sweetness of 16 Handles’ flavors.  Of course they also have healthy, tart, fruity flavors and fruit toppings, but that just wasn’t what I was looking for. Current sweet flavors include birthday cake, chocolate love affair, cookies and cream, salted caramel and more.

I decided on a combination of mocha, chocolate, and creme brulee, and topped it with Butterfinger pieces, cookie dough, chocolate chips, and mini peanut butter cups.  To make a great experience even better, 16 Handles has hot fudge! Not just cold chocolate syrup, but actual hot fudge! Not too many other spots have that option, so needless to say, I was very excited.

My creation was the perfect combination of sweet, chocolately, and creamy.  The yogurt was smooth, the flavors tasted exactly like their names described, and topping choices made it the ideal sundae.

With 16 flavors and around 50 toppings, the options to satisfy your sweet tooth are endless.  I’m sure I’ll be back very soon to try a new combination…My ice cream addiction can only go so long without being satisfied.

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My ideal fall weekend in and around Boston

View from Sholan Farms

After a summer full of hot, humid weekends spent laying on the beach, a cool but sunny fall weekend spent outdoors is the perfect remedy.  Fall has recently become one of my favorite seasons, and there are endless ways to enjoy it.

My ideal fall weekend begins with friends, dinner, and pumpkin beers at a casual restaurant on Friday night.  My go-to, Sunset Grill & Tap, boasts over 100 beers on tap, including multiple seasonal and pumpkin offerings.  Shipyard Pumpkin with a cinnamon sugar rim is my choice to wash down a feast of nachos and buffalo chicken.

Saturday morning, I wake up and have a delicious breakfast of an egg & cheddar sandwich and coffee, at one of my favorite Brookline spots, Temptations Cafe, and then head outside of the city for a bike ride. Located less than 30 miles west of Boston, the Nashua River Rail Trail is an 11-mile paved bike trail that starts in Ayer and travels through several small Massachusetts towns before reaching the New Hampshire border.  The 22 mile ride through shaded trails is the perfect way to get some much needed exercise before stuffing my face with some more fall food.

Apple picking is another must-do on my list. Nothing beats a couple of McIntosh or Honey Crisp apples, fresh off the the tree, except maybe hot apple crisp fresh out of the oven, covered in cool vanilla ice cream.  This fall, I picked apples at two different orchards in central Massachusetts: one in Harvard, MA near the bike trail I mentioned previously and Sholan Farms in Leominster, MA, where I grew up. Head to the orchards in September for McIntosh or Honey Crisp and in early October for Cortland or Macoun. These apples make great snacks for work, especially when sliced and dipped in peanut butter! On the less healthy side, my favorite apple crisp recipe always makes a satisfying dessert.

Although I love summer because along with it comes the beach, vacations, seafood, ice cream, flip flops, and a laid back atmosphere, its heat and humidity can make it difficult to exercise.  It’s too hot and humid to run outside, and even the air conditioned gym feels too sticky for a workout.  Gross. Fall is my favorite time to head outside. Whether it’s for a long run through the streets of Brookline and along the Riverway near Fenway, or a hike up a local mountain, when it’s a nice fall Sunday I’m ready for an outdoor workout.  This Monday, since I have Columbus Day off, my friend Katie and I are planning on heading up to New Hampshire to hike Mount Monadnock.  The last time I hiked that mountain, I was twelve and my parents were bribing my sister and I with $5 each and lunch at McDonald’s.  Hopefully I’m in good enough shape to do it again.

My ideal fall weekend ends with a trip to a local ice cream shop.  Nope, fall is not too cold to go out for ice cream.  Neither is winter, for that matter.  I’ll trudge through ice, snow, or rain to devour my favorite dessert.  And no, the stuff from the grocery store freezers is never as good. My go-to, J.P. Licks in Coolidge Corner, features different homemade flavors each month, and October has some great ones that I can’t wait to try.  Chocolate Chocolate Chip yogurt, Caramel Apple, Cheesecake Oreo, Pumpkin Custard. Yum! So many reasons to look forward to the weekend. Now I just need to get off the computer and go enjoy it!

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Berry Freeze: Where all my money went this summer

 

My Berry Freeze creation. Taken on my phone. Looks/ tastes a lot better than this picture portrays.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m an ice cream addict. There’s no better way to end a stressful day of work than cold, creamy goodness topped with chocolate, candy, fruit, and sauces.  As I’ve also mentioned before, I started my first full-time “real” job this spring, which created a lot of stress.  Now I know my favorite part of waitressing was that no matter how busy a night was or how many angry customers I encountered, when I went home for the night, that was it.  I didn’t have to worry about anything.   Needless to say, many nights this summer were spent making the under 10 minute walk from my apartment to Coolidge Corner for some ice cream.  And by “many” I mean at least 5 or 6 nights a week.

Now Coolidge Corner is amazing.  Three places to get ice cream all right in  a row.  First is  Berry Freeze, a couple of stores down is Friendly’s, and finally there’s J.P. Licks.  I was in heaven.

Each place has their specialty.  I like J.P. Lick’s unique homemade flavors (apple crisp is my current favorite), Friendly’s sundaes  (I’ll always love their 3-scoop Reeses Pieces sundae), and Berry Freeze’s create-your-own sundaes.

Berry Freeze is great because you can get exactly what you want.  Their ice cream (well actually it’s frozen yogurt) is priced by weight.  You walk in, grab cup, and go over to their soft serve machines.  There are always unique flavors to choose from.  My favorite combinations are either strawberry or blueberry and a little chocolate.  Once you have your frozen yogurt, you go over to the toppings.  So much to choose from! Snickers, raspberries, kiwi, chocolate chips, mango, skittles, coconut, graham crackers, strawberries, Raisinets.  The possibilities are endless.  You scoop how ever much you want into your cup.

My go-to creation, pictured above, is the blueberry and chocolate softserve, topped with a few M&Ms, a few chocolate chips, strawberries,  blueberries, raspberries, chocolate sauce, a little caramel sauce, and crushed graham crackers.  At any other place, I could never afford a sundae like that.  With all of those toppings it would be over $10!  At Berry Freeze, though, you’re able to put on as much of each topping as you want.  If you want only 4 M&Ms, then just use 4 M&Ms.  The combination of a little bit of everything allows people to create their dream frozen yogurt sundae each time.  I’ve made some pretty big creations, and I’ve only paid over $5 a few times.  Usually it was around $4.

To add to Berry Freeze’s appeal, it’s also much healthier than regular ice cream.  Their frozen yogurt is  100 calories per serving (3.5 ounces I believe?) and has actual nutritional value.  The fruit is all fresh, not the sugary sauces at other ice cream places.  So you can have a treat and your recommended amount of fruit at the same time.

The only thing I don’t love about Berry Freeze is that their yogurt always melts really quickly.  Other than that, I think it was a completely acceptable way to spend a large portion of my first “real” paychecks.

Real ice cream still has a place in my diet, but Berry Freeze is definitely a more healthy, delicious alternative.  As the temperature drops, I probably won’t eat it as often, but I’m sure that even when winter comes, I’ll brave the snow storms for my favorite frozen yogurt sundae and a pink spoon.

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Friendly’s Express in Coolidge Corner

Logo from friendlys.com

Once again it’s been forever since I’ve written in this blog.  Maybe I’ll be a little better at it once I get used to my new schedule.  April was a crazy month; I got a job, started looking for an apartment, had to figure out how to pay for this apartment, finished working at my internship, started the new job, worked a lot at Sports Depot, and finished my last semester of college.  Needless to say I was a little stressed.

I got a little break last week when I got to try out the new Friendly’s Express in Coolidge Corner in Brookline. One of my friends got a job there for the summer, and since he knows my love of ice cream he gave me a free pass to go a few days before it opened. I’ve been a big fan of Friendly’s from when I was a little kid eating Conehead sundaes to when I was a high school student splitting a 12-scoop sundae to when I was a college student at home from break stuffing my face with some late night fried food.  My first job was even at Friendly’s.  When I went away to BU, my love of Friendly’s only grew stronger.  I no longer lived in a town with three Friendly’s, and I only got to eat my favorite Honey BBQ Supermelts and Reeses Pieces Sundaes when I was at home for breaks.

Reeses Pieces Sundae from friendlys.com

When I heard that Friendly’s Express was opening in Coolidge Corner I was very excited.  The whole “Express” concept seems to make sense for Friendly’s.  Most of their food is quick and easy to make, and a lot of their business comes from to-go ice creams.  Too bad it didn’t open earlier!  Well maybe it’s a good thing because I would have gained more weight than your typical freshman 15.

According to a quote from a press release published on Boston.com,”The restaurant features a limited menu of Friendly’s favorites – like SuperMelt Sandwiches, Big Beef Burgers, salads, Fribbles, and kids’ meals – as well as new additions like the Southwestern Chicken Wrap and the Apple Walnut Chicken Salad – and, of course, Friendly’s signature ice cream desserts.”  When I looked at the menu, it looked like they had some new ice cream creations, too! Lots of fatty delicousness.

Unlike regular Friendly’s where you sit at a table and are waited on by a server, at Friendly’s Express, customers order at the counter, and decide whether they want to eat at the restaurant or take it to go.  If they want to eat at the restaurant, they place their order and are give an order number to place on their table.  They get their own drinks, and their food is brought to them when it is ready.

My friend gave my roommate and I coupons for a meal, a drink, and a two scoop sundae.  I got a Honey BBQ Supermelt and a 2 scoop hot fudge sundae with Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream.  The food tasted great, was warm, and was delivered quickly.  The Honey BBQ melt was just as good as it is at every other Friendly’s.  My ice cream was amazing, but I mean, who can mess up a sundae.

I’ll definitely be visiting Friendly’s Express a lot this summer! Especially when I have my (fingers crossed) apartment in Coolidge Corner! Also, I know this blog is typically a travel blog, but since I’m not doing any traveling, at all, in the near future, I’ll probably write a lot about Boston/New England stuff this summer.

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