Here's a place I go a lot. Okay, almost every day that it's open:
Sometimes I like company when I snack, so I think most of my neighborhood friends are familiar with text messages from me saying things like, "Want to get a Ralph's?" and, "Want anything from Ralph's?" and "Ralph's!" It's not always my idea, either. I get lured in by fellow snackers, too. There's nothing more pleasant than a walk to Ralph's with your closest friends on a steamy summer evening. Which is not to say I don't go there when it's afternoon or starting to rain.
At Ralph's Famous Italian Ices, depending on what's in stock (and as long as you go there while it's open; it closes in the fall and winter), you can have:
1. A Water ice
[my picks: sour cherry, cherry, lemon, and strawberry margarita. Moss will probably tell you to get mango every time. It's great, too.]
2. A Drink
3. An Ice Cream
[I like the peanut butter blast smoothie. Dan (who would like to be known as Jean Valjean in these posts) enjoyed Crazy Coconut ice cream.]
4. A Creme Ice
[My go-to flavors: peanut butter (p.b.) cookie dough, chocolate peanut butter, orange and creme, peppermint patty, chocolate cookies & creme, chocolate hazelnut, and strawberry cheesecake. Dave has enjoyed birthday cake and rainbow cookie, among others].
or 5. A Sundae!
[I haven't been able to tear myself away from the creme ice to try one of these.]
As you may be able to tell by the list of favorite flavors shared above, I most often get a creme ice. Scratch that. I typically get a small peanut butter cookie dough creme ice, please, even though the number of pieces of cookie dough have varied from one (which was disappointing) to a more reasonable 8-10. Still, no matter how much cookie dough is in there, the density and silk of the peanut butter creme ice is perfect.
I'm also a big fan of the flavors based in the chocolate creme ice, which is richer than I'd expected without being overwhelmingly sweet.
Aside: Anyone know what makes a creme ice a "creme ice," and not an ice cream?
Both the creme ices and water ices are full of flavor and few I've tried taste overly artificial. Most varieties' textures hover in a pleasing otherworld somewhere between icy and smooth.
Now let's compare! Although I enjoyed a nice lemon water ice from an Uncle Louie G's near Prospect Park yesterday, I found the the texture, flavor and portion size (at least in comparing the small cups, which are $2 at both locations) to be inferior to the one I had today at Ralph's on Graham Ave. Uncle Louie G's fine-grained ice seemed more reliant on syrup and less cooling/refreshing to my system. Ralph's lemon water ice was like a scoop of fluffy, flavor-enhanced snow. Also, having eaten my samples on these two consecutive 90-degrees-and-then-some days (each day at around 3:00 pm), I can almost-scientifically declare that the Uncle Louie G's lemon water ice melts far more quickly (at least it seemed to) and completely into sticky lemon water.
Bonus -- at Ralph's, you also get a spoon!
On the evening I took these pictures, I chose to consume my standby (once again, that's a small peanut butter cookie dough creme ice, as pictured for a second time above). The light was fading, but I also managed to grab a grainy photo of the employee who helped my day end so deliciously:
She was great. I know it might be the sugar talking, but everybody who works at Ralph's is quite reasonably personable. And, while I know it would be bad for their business, still I appreciate that they never point and laugh and say, "Weren't you just here a little while ago?" Which is nice of them.
Ralph's is at 357 Graham Ave (ever so close to the Graham Ave. L train stop and not far from the G at Lorimer/Metropolitan) in Brooklyn, NY.
p.s. There's also a B43 bus stop just up/down the block.