Traditionally, Randy and I stop by during this late February opening of the walk-up/drive-up DQ for the bargain Peanut Buster Parfaits. When the DQ closes for the season at the end of October, we’re there, too, for the discounted parfaits.
Typically, we wait in line behind a long string of vehicles for the coveted treat. Last October we pulled up to the drive-up window only to learn that they’d just run out of ice cream and there would be no more with the shop temporarily closing. Disappointed doesn’t quite describe my emotion in that let-down moment. I’d been anticipating the taste of sweet and salty—hot fudge and peanuts atop that sweet, snow white soft-serve ice cream.
And now here it is, March 3, and I missed opening weekend with the $2.49/each Peanut Buster Parfait three-day special. Perhaps this winter of too much snow distracted me. Even if the calendar shows that spring is only officially 17 days distant, nothing feels or looks remotely like spring here. And so, I reason, this is why I missed opening weekend at The Little Dairy Queen of Faribault. My thoughts remain deeply entrenched in this winter of deep snow.
THERE’S STILL TIME. Still time to indulge in a sweet treat before winter closes in and home-grown ice cream shops shutter for the season here in Minnesota.
On an August weekday afternoon in Northfield, Randy and I popped into The Blast, an ice cream shop in an out-of-the-way spot just west of the library, off Division Street and down the sidewalk toward the Cannon River. The walk-up window is located inside a “tunnel” wedged between buildings and labeled “The Nutting Block, Est. 1893.”
We happened upon this business a previous summer Saturday, but left after seeing the lengthy line of customers. This time, on a Wednesday, there was no waiting. Rather, the friendly teen behind the window waited patiently for us to choose from a wide array of treats.
I opted for the limited specialty Puppy Chow Flurry while Randy chose a Red Raspberry Sundae. Puppy Chow is a snack made from Chex cereal covered first in melted chocolate and peanut butter, then coated in powdered sugar.
Selections at The Blast are vast and deciding isn’t easy when the choices in smoothies, slushies, shakes, malts, floats, frosties, flurries, sundaes and cones seem nearly endless.
We both enjoyed our soft-serve ice cream treats at a riverside picnic table on a perfect summer day. There’s something about summer and ice cream that go together, especially soft-serve ordered at a walk-up window.
The Blast has adjusted hours now that school is back in session and days are shorter. Current hours are 3:15 – 8 pm Monday – Friday and 11 am – 8 pm Saturday and Sunday.
As with the limited edition Puppy Chow Flurry, The Blast continues to offer seasonal or limited edition specialty flavors. Like the current pumpkin spice and apple crisp, oh, so fitting for fall in Minnesota. This time of year we crave those flavors.
My appreciation for home-grown ice cream shops with creative offerings runs deep. I’m all in when it comes to trying something new, something different, something decidedly cold and yummy and all about summer here in southern Minnesota.
TELL ME: Do you have a favorite home-grown ice cream shop? What’s your ice cream treat of choice? The Blast also has a location in Owatonna, where I’ve found another terrific ice cream place, The S’Cream.