Sometimes we bought ice cream at our favorite “scoop deck” at the marina. We sat on wrought iron chairs around small glass-top tables, being careful to tuck our legs under our chairs, lest the rollerbladers or cyclists buzz by too closely and run over our toes.
These are happy memories, but they are not Kodiak memories. Taking the family out for an ice cream is different here. It requires a double scoop of planning — and, sometimes, a dollop of luck.
Several places downtown offer ice cream.
El Chicano’s is a favorite hangout for my now older kids and their friends. When the weather’s nice, nothing beats their fantastic open-air seating area. And El Chi’s fried ice cream is a real treat, especially when dished up with their buttery, sweet sopapillas.
Across the street, Angelo’s Express offers decadent ice cream treats including sundaes, banana splits and waffles with ice cream.
Sizzlers, adjacent to the Credit Union 1 parking lot, offers ice cream in a range of flavors, as well as milk shakes.
Henry’s on the Mall features root beer floats, small and large sundaes and other ice cream treats. On request, Henry’s also serves single scoops of chocolate or vanilla ice cream, but these options aren’t printed on the menu.
If I were entertaining a group of small children I wouldn’t be able to visit any of these restaurants without stopping first at the bank for a consumer loan. The single scoops at Henry’s are reasonably priced ($1.50 each), but I’d be in financial straits if every child in my party wanted a root beer float ($5.50 each).
Likewise, the shakes at Sizzlers ($6.50) and the fried ice cream at El Chi’s ($4.50 without sopapillas; $6.50 with) would be a stretch if I had a carful of kids.
Monk’s Rock would fit the bill.
When I first visited Kodiak in 2003, Monk’s Rock at the Y was little more than an ice cream store with a dusty collection of used books and a bin full of religious icons.
It has evolved into a wonderful restaurant with sandwiches, baked goods, calzones, soups and salads. It still offers books, icons, and other religious items. Happily, Monks Rock still offers ice cream in a pleasant setting where I don’t feel strange if ice cream is the only thing I want. And where there’s plenty of indoor seating, and fantastic coffee to boot.
Unfortunately, Monk’s Rock’s hours are limited — the restaurant’s not open on weekends or during the evening, the best times to savor ice cream.
A lesser-known spot for ice cream is the Pizza Parlor at the U.S. Coast Guard base. The Pizza Parlor, located near the base pool, is open to everyone.
As a general rule, civilians can enter the USCG base so long as they have a driver’s license and proof of registration and insurance for their vehicle. Movement on the base is restricted, but the short drive between the gate and the Pizza Parlor offers interesting sights for kids of all ages.
The Pizza Parlor has a full menu of snacks, sandwiches, pizza, grill items and salads in addition to ice cream, in a setting where I feel comfortable taking young children. And the prices ($1.00 per scoop for ice cream!) are certainly something I can afford — even if I take a busload of kids.
My only caveat about the Pizza Parlor is this: watch out for the coffee. I’m not saying it’s bad, I’m just saying it’ll definitely open your eyes.
Speaking of coffee, let me not forget our local coffee shops. Harborside and Harborside Fly-By offer ice cream shakes in 30+ flavors including mocha and white mocha ($5.35 each). They also offer delicious coffee drinks for the ice cream chauffeur—and fruit drinks and ice water for the diet conscious.
There’s indoor seating at both establishments, and Harborside’s location near, well, the harbor is the ideal place to sit and enjoy a treat. On a sunny day.
Although all of these places make for good eating, my favorite Kodiak ice cream memories involve ice cream made in my home. DIY seems to be the true Kodiak way, a practice enhanced for me by my son Doran and his wife Ashley, who gifted me with an ice cream maker.
I have since made a boatload of ice cream, delicious treats with Kodiak-grown fruit stirred inside.
Of the times we’ve made memories with the ice cream machine the one that stands out is the night we served spruce tip ice cream.
I used a standard vanilla ice cream recipe, but I infused the milk first with the delicate fresh pale green tips of the spruce tree from my own front yard. The ice cream had an amazing flavor that caught my guests—and myself—completely by surprise.
Suzanne Bobo is the author with Brittany Tregarthen of “The Road Going: A Mother, A Daughter, An Extraordinary Journey”, available at online bookstores.