Thursday, June 23, 2011


When I was little, I would go to Bradley Beach in New Jersey with my parents and sister all the time. We had family there—grandparents, great aunts and uncles, cousins and second cousins—with whom we stayed. We would snack on the beach, get Pagano’s sandwiches for lunch, and eat Vic’s pizza for dinner. But our menu was never complete without Strollo’s.

Strollo’s is a little shop in Belmar that my great uncle introduced to us years ago. It has two ice cream windows, outdoor seating, and always a line that hits the street. I’m not a big fan of outdoor seating or waiting in line, but you can easily take your order to go and the workers hustle so that the wait is never too long. Strollo’s sells soft-serve yogurt, hard ice cream, and Italian ice, but personally I think that if you’re going to go to Strollo’s, you have to get the Italian ice. I am sure that their ice cream is good, but it is their Italian ice that is unique to them.

Strollo’s Italian ice is a mix between Italian ice and soft-serve ice cream. It comes out of a soft-serve machine and looks like soft-serve too. When it first hits your tongue, it has a creamy texture, but when you touch your teeth to it, you taste tiny flecks of ice. The flavors range from classic to exotic, tart to sweet: lemon, cherry, blue raspberry, lime, orange, red raspberry, mango, coconut, vanilla, chocolate, cappuccino, and peanut butter. Each flavor is full and distinct, not watered down whatsoever. My favorites are vanilla and mango. But I really like the peanut butter and coconut too. When I go to the beach for the weekend, I will get a cup with mango, vanilla, coconut, and peanut butter. The next night I will just get mango and vanilla; and the third night, mango and vanilla again. Yes, I will go three nights in a row. It is that delicious!

You can get a small or large cup or cone with up to four flavors. I start with four so I can get a little bit of everything I like and then I cut down to two so I get more of my favorite flavors in one cup. Another great thing about Strollo’s is that it doesn’t feel heavy at all. Even after having a big dinner, there’s always room for Strollo’s!

The problem with Strollo’s is that it is only open in the summer and the hours are sometimes arbitrary. Since it is not a chain, the owner can close the shop at any time if he feels business is slow. I’ve been told before that they would be open until 10 and then they closed at 9. So try to get there as soon as possible just so you can guarantee that you won’t miss it. I don’t remember Strollo’s ever closing before 9. But as the summer season goes on, Strollo’s doesn’t close before 10: the crowds are so big that it can’t close any earlier! Also, sometimes all the flavors aren't always there. Strollo’s seems to test the more unusual flavors and determine by its popularity if it will stay. So just keep your mind open as to what flavors you will have. But believe me, it’s hard to go wrong at Strollo’s!

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