best of branson

After our Gulf Coast plans were ruined by oil and a sick grandpa, we decided we would head down to Matt's favorite place in the world -- Branson. Yes, we have already gone once, but we figured another trip down wouldn't hurt! (We typically go 3-4 times a year... we have already made it down 4 times, and will go at least 2 more time this year!)

On our quest to discover new frozen custard places, we did our research ahead of time and discovered there was another frozen custard "stand" besides Andy's on the Strip. You would really never know that Glenn's was there unless you noticed the ice cream cone out front OR wanted to see the world's largest banjo (whether you can actually consider this a banjo is debatable).

Glenn's Frozen Custard is located inside the Grand Country Inn Plaza, next to the all-you-can-eat pizza buffet (now, if they made that all-you-can-eat frozen custard, we'd be talkin'). We were a little underwhelmed by the menu -- a good choice of toppings, but nothing notable when it came to their "specialties". We each decided to create our own... Matt decided on a vanilla custard sundae with caramel + coconut, while I chose a good Fritz's standby, a vanilla custard concrete with Oreo's + caramel.

Mine was a little melty again, but held up pretty well. The custard was nice a creamy, but not too rich or vanilla-y. I also didn't get much caramel in mine, but tasted Matt's and it was mighty good! However, with the next place nearby... we will probably not be returning.

Which brings us to my ALL TIME FAVORITE to date: ANDY'S!

We compare everything we taste to Andy's. The have the absolute richest and creamiest vanilla (and chocolate) custard out there. It is AH-mazing! Why, oh why, must you be so far away!

What really drew us in this time was the Silver Dollar City Cake sundae. Silver Dollar City (Matt's Happy Place) is celebrating their 50th Anniversary this year. We actually went down in May to attend the celebration. In fact, we actually were able to try their birthday cake! Again, I am not a cake person unless it is wedding cake, but this cake was one of the most amazing cakes I have ever tasted. When it is that memorable, you know that I absolutely HAD to try this with my favorite frozen custard.

The cake is chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and a raspberry cream filling. To this, Andy's adds their rich + creamy vanilla custard and hot fudge (also amazing). They were advertising this as a sundae, but as the Concrete Runner, I felt it to be my obligation to get this in a concrete. The nice guy at the register gave me a little look with my request, but they happily obliged.

Matt decided on the Key Lime Pie concrete. Andy's actually takes an entire slice of key lime pie and mixes it in with their vanilla custard.

O.M.G. I do not use that phrase lightly. These were absolutely the 2 best concretes either of us has ever had. The cake was awesome with the vanilla custard -- very rich + sweet + perfect! And Matt's was equally awesome, if not BETTER. So refreshing on a hot summer day, with huge chunks of crust blended in. Mmmmm... I'm ready to go back!

Summer is quickly coming to a close. Matt goes back to school this coming week, and I will also be starting up working again (nothing permanent, unfortunately, but enough to keep me busy for the next couple of months). We are hoping some of the stands stay open late into the fall so we can continue our tour.

I will probably be posting some more running things as we get closer to the marathon! I start week #9 this week of training, which will be half way! My runs have been great, although I'm a little disappointed to have lost some speed with all this endurance training. But, I'll get to that in a later post.


better the second time around

Matt + I decided to stay a little bit closer to home tonight and go to Deter's Frozen Custard. Deter's [spoken in the Hans + Franz accent from the old SNL skits] just recently moved from Winghaven to off O'Fallon Road in St. Peters/St. Charles/Cottleville area (it's in what used to be a Starbucks -- they sell Kaldi's coffee though, which is my absolute favorite!). I was a little tentative about going to Deter's again. Last summer, we did not have the most pleasant experience there. The staff was not very friendly and it took us a looooong time to get our desserts. And then, although this has nothing to do with Deter's itself, we went and sat down on a bench outside, and these 2 random little girls stood about 2 feet in front of us a stared at us the entire time. Don't get me wrong, I love kids -- I'm a teacher, it's kind of my job to love kids -- but this was like 'The Shining' creepy. And the custard was a bit forgettable. Needless to say, not a pleasant experience for either of us...

However, this was a BILLION times better! Not only was the service better, we really enjoyed our desserts. I mean, really! Neither of us were very excited to go, but after tonight, we think we'll be going back again!

We both had a sample of the Flavor of the Day, which was Pecan Pie. It was pretty good (again, no pecans for me). I decided on the Chewy Toffee: vanilla custard + Heath bar + caramel in concrete form, as always. The Hubs chose the Maple Petootie: vanilla custard + praline pecans + marshmallow (with whipped cream and a cherry on top that he promptly picked off and gave to me). You really can't go wrong with anything maple in my opinion, but I didn't find this very maple-y. However, both we absolutely delicious!

The custard was very creamy, but not quite as rich as I would've liked. It did have great vanilla flavor. And my concrete was mixed PERFECTLY... not over mixed at all, with ribbons of caramel throughout the whole thing. Probably the best mixed concrete I've had yet (definitely makes up for the Eugene's catastrophe).

I really enjoyed our visit! You can always tell when you're eating good custard because we definitely did more eating than talking!


national ice cream day

Not gonna lie, I actually had no idea today was National Ice Cream Day until this afternoon... But, we had already made plans to go out for frozen custard tonight! Matt + I decided to have a date night and headed out to P.F. Chang's (we had a gift card -- thanks Mom + Dad VH) and then over to Eugene's Custard Company in Town & Country.

Eugene's is a brand new frozen custard "stand"* that opened in May. The only reason I knew anything about it was because of a random stop I made on my way home from work to Whole Foods. (OMG, favorite store ever! Is it sad that I would rather spend money on food than on clothes?) What caught my attention was this:

Yes, giant fire truck with Eugene's logo on it. I was intrigued, so tonight seemed like the perfect night to go (and make a stop at Whole Foods to walk off some Ma Po Tofu and wine).

*I use the word "stand" loosely since they are technically in a strip mall and you can order inside (like Cold Stone or Dairy Queen). Not exactly what I think of when it comes to St. Louis frozen custard.

Eugene's doesn't offer many "specialty" sundaes or concretes, but we both decided to get one of the Supreme Sundaes. I decided on The Elvis (vanilla custard + peanut butter + bananas + hot fudge) in concrete form (of course) and Matt decided on their Fudgy Turtle sundae.

When we got our desserts, we were both a little disappointed. Matt asked for no whipped cream or cherry and received it anyway (although they did offer to make him a new one) and mine was extremely melty. And not in the less-fat-means-faster-melting. Because of the hot fudge and peanut butter (liquid toppings) mixed with the vanilla, it caused the custard to move more toward it's liquid state.

Matt let me try some of the vanilla custard -- definitely not as rich + creamy as any of the other places we have been to. The whole experience left something to be desired. I'm sure I would've enjoyed it more had my concrete not been in shake form (I did try a taste of their flavor of the day, chocolate cake, which was pretty good -- not as good as Fritz's thought), but I'm not sure I would go back, especially when I have better frozen custard stands closer to home.

Although, I think I would travel 6 hours round trip just to get some Andy's...


melty goodness

Just a quick post to thank my mother-in-law for bringing by some Fritz's on her way home tonight. She brought us 2 original Turtles in sundae form (vanilla custard + caramel + hot fudge + pecans + extra cherries). Turtles definitely are NOT my favorite (noted the pecans), but the couple bites of this I had before sticking it back in the freezer was pretty good! (Of course, if you are a loyal Fritz's customer, you know they have pretty awesome pecans... and they are very hush-hush on where they get them. But, I think you can buy them at the stores now!)

It was a tad bit melty (notice that ALL the toppings have sunk to the bottom except the cherries), which is why it is an absolute MUST you eat your frozen custard AT THE STAND! With lower fat content (most are about 95% fat-free), frozen custard tends to melt very quickly, making it almost impossible to enjoy it in the comfort of your own home (unless you buy a completely frozen quart or pint to take home). So, take the time to eat your custard while you are there. You won't regret it.

Mom #2, along with sis-in-law and niece, also bought me this AH-mazing shirt! Can't wait to wear it! Thank you so much! You guys made my day! :o)

Long run planned with my new running buddy, Lauren tomorrow! It's a step-back week, so we are only doing 9 miles. Last long run in single digits until the week before the marathon! AH!


a spank-tastic day

I'm not sure I would really consider this a "St. Louis Day", but we did make a trip out to another FREE thing to do: Grant's Farm. OK, not exactly free, since it costs $11 to park, and there is really not a whole lot to do since there are limited numbers of animals and we didn't really care about seeing the show, but still something to do in St. Louis... and of course, an excuse for us to go to a new-to-us frozen custard stand.

The two pro's about Grant's Farm: feeding the ridiculously cute goats (who are a little too greedy at times -- especially the bigger ones), and FREE beer! AB-InBev products again (and not nearly the variety we had at the brewery), but still, 2 free, decent-sized samples. Plus, it was nice just to relax, drink beer, and people watch. A nice, stress-free HOT summer afternoon.

Not too far down the road is a frozen custard stand the Hubs has been wanting to try for awhile: Spanky's Frozen Custard. He did his student teaching right down the road (geez, almost 10 years ago) and figured Grant's Farm would be a good excuse to check it out.

Another tiny little stand, with hand-written menus. Classic. Again, it took us awhile to search the menu for what we wanted. It didn't help that the specialty concretes/sundaes didn't have descriptions with them. We ended up asking the nice worker about a few, including the California Crunch (vanilla custard + chocolate chips + granola + coconut + pecans). My mouth seriously fell to the floor when he said granola. Yes, granola is another slight obsession I have. (I may or may not have been known to eat a whole Costco-sized bag in one sitting...) Of course, with the word "granola", I absolutely HAD to get this one, except without the pecans (I'm not so big on nuts in ice cream -- nut butter is a different story). Matt decided to get another German Chocolate sundae -- we think that this one, instead of caramel + hot fudge, had some sort of chocolate-marshmallow sauce that was extremely delicious.

Although the custard was not nearly as creamy as Andy's or Silky's, probably due to the fact that it is another soft serve machine (like Mr. Wizard's) and also serves frozen yogurt, the concrete itself was fabulous! Of course, I might be a bit biased since it did have granola in it, but I think there might be a chance we would return if we are out that way again. Another Grant's Farm trip perhaps?!


happy 7-11 day

OK, so this first part has nothing to do with frozen custard, but we thought it was pretty fun. In honor of 7-11 (July 11), 7-Eleven was giving away FREE slurpees in 7.11 ounce cups! So, of course, we had to go.

I can't even tell you when the last time I had a slurpee was... but it was delicious! Brought back some old memories of grade school carpool and high school volleyball + basketball (since that is where we went between games/practice). And it was just the perfect amount (considering the fact that I very rarely drink soda).

[I am starting to think this might progress to become a food blog with the amount of fun stuff we have been sharing. I have been REALLY wanting to photograph just about everything I have made/eaten in the past week, but I am trying to spare you of that... but we'll see where this goes... ]

Being a nice Sunday after some storms passed through, Matt + I decided to try out another new-to-us frozen custard stand: Sheridan's Frozen Custard.

It takes us so much longer to figure out what we want to get when we don't know the menu. We were both torn between a few. I was torn between either the Grant's Grasshopper (vanilla custard + mint + chocolate chips) or the Mt. Rush S'Mores (vanilla custard + hot fudge + marshmallow creme + graham crackers). Matt couldn't decide between the Mt. Rush S'More or the Choco-Nut (chocolate custard + coconut + almonds). Ultimately, I decided on the S'Mores (something I probably couldn't get too many other places) and Matt ended up with the Choco-Nut.

Although the custard wasn't nearly as creamy as Andy's or Silky's, we both enjoyed the fact that they mixed the toppings well and there were A TON of toppings in the concretes. Always a plus!

As we were waiting for our concretes, I looked up at one of the signs they had up in their window that I didn't look at before ordering and saw this:

That's right. Vanilla custard mixed with WEDDING CAKE! OK, so I am not much of a cake or cake + ice cream person. I would take ice cream (custard preferably) or cookies over cake any day. But, when it comes to wedding cake, I can't get enough. There is just something about wedding cake that makes it better than any other cake out there. I was really disappointed and knew I probably wouldn't be back for awhile to get said concrete. So, after we finished our concretes, I did something I would NEVER do... we went back and got the I Do concrete! We split it of course, but it was TOTALLY worth it! Wedding cake in every bite -- and the best bites were the ones where you got a little bit of frosting along with the cake and custard. BEST THING EVER!

Needless to say, I will definitely be going back to Sheridan's for that concrete alone!

We are hopefully heading out to Grant's Farm one day this week -- we were hoping for a cooler day, but it looks like those days are full of rain, so it looks like it'll be another hot one. But, GREAT for custard! Another new one will be on the way!

Also, if you are interested in my marathon training, check out my training by clicking the tab up at the top. I try to keep it updated, but I'm not always great about it. Heading into week #6 and things have been going pretty well! Hoping it stays that way!


off to see the wizard

For our 3 year anniversary, Matt + I decided to do another St. Louis day. [Yes, we are spoiled that we are both teachers and can pretty much do whatever we want during the day in the summer. I am also starting to think I should’ve named this blog “The Adventures of K + M”.]

We started the day off going to the St. Louis Zoo. It was extraordinarily hot + humid. Not the greatest to spend outside all day, but it also meant the zoo wasn’t very crowded. We spent a good amount of time there [we are now Zoo Members thanks to my in-laws], checking out almost everything, including the new Stingray exhibit. OK, so I’ve swam with stingrays before in Grand Cayman, but I am absolutely scared to death of all things fish-like. So, I was pretty proud of myself for getting over my fear and actually petting some of the stingrays! Very cool… go while they are still there! It is about $5 a person – we had free ticket vouchers due to our gym membership – but totally worth it, I think.

Right after we left the stingrays, we heard some thunder so we booked it back to the car. With some time before dinner, we decided to head over to the History Museum, also in Forest Park. The permanent exhibits are free to the public and include 1904 World’s Fair, Charles Lindbergh, and St. Louis from the 1700s to 2000. However, they bring in new exhibits every couple months or so that cost what I think is a little too much money. Right now they are running Vatican Splendors, which includes all sorts of things straight from the Vatican in Italy. But, with it being $19 per person to get, we chose to just stick to the free exhibits, which were pretty cool. I especially liked St. Louis from 1900-2000 – lots of stuff on the suburbs along with Arch and STL sports stuff.

After the History Museum, we made our way over to Lafayette Square to eat at Square One Brewery. I must say, absolutely delish! They not only are a microbrewery, they also are a distillery. They also had great vegetarian options, unlike most chain restaurants. I loved it!

And onto the Main Event! After announcing my blog on Facebook, a friend from high school mentioned that we should go to Mr. Wizard’s Frozen Custard. Since we had never been there before and we were already downtown, we decided this would be the perfect was to top off our anniversary.

The place just sneaks up on you as you drive down Big Bend. The first thing I saw was their frozen custard street sign, and I looked over to see this tiny little place right off the road. It reminded me a lot of Fritz’s in Florissant – just a tiny, classic custard stand. Extremely dated, but that makes it classic.

We took a few minutes to browse the menu, since we had never been here before. The Hubs decided to get a German Chocolate sundae [can you tell he’s more of a sundae guy that a concrete guy] that had vanilla custard topped with caramel, coconut, and pecans. I, of course, decided to get a concrete, and what better one than the Wizard! The Wizard came with vanilla custard blended with strawberries, hot fudge, and brownies.

Now, there are two things I must note about Mr. Wizard’s. They serve both frozen custard and frozen yogurt. There is a HUGE difference between the two. While custard is rich and creamy, frozen yogurt has more of a tart flavor, and I don’t think it’s nearly as creamy as custard [neither is ice cream for that matter]. When you order, you must indicate whether you want the custard or the yogurt – I don’t know what happens if you don’t tell them which one you want, but they make it pretty clear you must tell them with all the signs they have posted on their windows.

The other thing I must note is that this is soft serve. Although Fritz’s and Ted Drewes’ are both “soft serve”, they are scooped from a bucket. Mr. Wizards comes straight from the machine – think, dorm cafeteria style. I don’t particularly like frozen custard served this way. It’s just not as classic for me, since I grew up and worked with the scoop soft serve. But, that’s just my opinion… it doesn’t change anything about the consistency or make it not frozen custard.

At first, we both thought there was something left to be desired, the desserts really grew on us. [Honestly, I don’t think you can go wrong with custard.] The vanilla was not nearly as rich as Andy’s, it was still pretty good. I didn’t get much hot fudge flavor, but the brownies were awesome with the strawberries! The Hubs really enjoyed his too – he claimed that the pecans had just the right amount of salt and the caramel was delicious. I’m not sure we would go back, since we have better custard closer to us and if we are downtown, we would probably get Ted Drewes’, but we definitely enjoyed it!


We are planning on taking a trip to another frozen custard stand in St. Charles this weekend, probably either Lyon’s or Doozles. Next week, we are doing another St. Louis Day and heading out to South City/County to go to Grant’s Farm and Spanky’s Frozen Custard, another new-to-us frozen custard stand!