Arts & Leisure

“Best ice cream ever”? Could this be it?

MARILYN tries the Caramel Cheesecake flavor at the Bruster’s Real Ice Cream in Garden Grove. And yes, she is a big Green Bay fan. Go, Aaron! (OC Tribune photo).

By Jim and Marilyn Tortolano

Yes, we understand. Summer is right around the corner and we all want to look a little trimmer at the beach or by the pool. So we feel a trifle bad about introducing you to this new ice cream place in town.

Bruster’s Real Ice Cream is relatively new to the crowded cold sweets market in Southern California. Based in Pittsburgh, this chain has stores mostly east of the Mississippi, but it’s now starting to make a big move into the Pacific Coast. In our area, there are Bruster’s in Artesia, Cypress, Garden Grove and Huntington Beach.

We visited the one in Garden Grove in the Town & Country Center at Harbor and Garden Grove boulevards. It’s a counter-service operation, with eight windows and no inside seating.

All of the many varieties are made right there on the premises, and the variety is impressive. There’s everything from peanut butter and jelly to cocoanut cream pie, as well as the old standbys of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. Not counting sherbets, ices, sorbets or fat-free desserts, we counted 34 flavors to choose from, one-upping that other more-famous ice cream chain.

But if you’re making comparisons to its competitors, you may find – as we did – that the selection and flavor of the Bruster’s ice creams put it at the head of the class. We tried Caramel Cheesecake and Boston Cream Pie and, well, wow. Marilyn calls it “the best ice cream I ever tasted” and Jim’s favorite dessert of all time is Boston Cream Pie, which was authentically reproduced in his dessert.

The menu is big in other ways. You can get sundaes, cakes, pies and shakes. Prices are pretty reasonable: a small cake cone is $3.80, but you get two scoops! No wonder one of their slogans is “a scoop above the rest.”

Having no inside seating might be a slight drawback, but there’s a very nice patio facing Harbor. It has more seating than you find inside at any of its rivals, and they play mellow music that’s not too loud.

All the real noise is being made by the artisan, hand-made ice cream and other treats inside. If you like good ice cream, and are willing to open a notch on your belt, this is the place to be this summer, and afterwards.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. For more on this chain, go to http://brusters.com.

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