Remember the hilariously inappropriate Eddie Murphy stand-up about the ice cream man? Wow, remember when Eddie Murphy was funny? You know, before he started making God awful movies? Anyway, when I was a kid in the 70s, we had an ice cream truck, as many communities did. Not a lot happened in my hometown, so it was very exciting when you heard the ice cream man’s music on the next street over. You’d literally hear kids yelling, “ICE CREAM MAN!”

Remember Bomb Pops!?

My Baltimore ‘hood even has an ice cream truck, but much like the rest of Hampden, it’s a little, um, different. Note that it’s dark out when he comes by…

I do love good ice cream. So, before a recent visit San Francisco, my friend told me that I absolutely needed to visit a foodie mecca, Humphrey Slocumbe. It’s this amazing ice cream joint in the Mission District serving creative, unique flavors like honey lavender, cinnamon brittle and Boccalone prosciutto. It was a little out my way, but my friend said it was not to be missed. So, there I go, a total tourist in a $25 cab ride for a three dollar ice cream. But holy peanut butter curry, it was worth it. If you go to the Bay Area, hit ’em up (but take BART).

Charm City has some mighty good ice cream, too. The choices are not quite as extensive as what I found in San Fran, but very, very tasty. For example, one of my very fave restaurants in town, b, makes its own ice cream and I make a point to get it when I go there. Once I had a trio of delicate scoops of cardamom, beet and malt ice creams. Happiness. (Don’t think you’d like those flavors? Try them, then judge.)

I also get Uncle Wiggly’s ice cream (you may remember them as Taharka Brothers or Sylvan Beach) at its shop in Mt. Washington. OH so many great flavors like salty caramel, candied fennel and key lime pie. Scary good. Next time you’re visiting Whole Foods, check it out.

At the Waverly Market, you can get both Broom’s Bloom and South Mountain Creamery ice creams. My absolute favorite is Broom’s Bloom’s “Dirt” ice cream (a mixture of crushed Oreos, chocolate chips and chocolate ice cream). But then…South Mountain also offers home delivery, along with its milk, veggies and other good stuff. Talk about trouble…

Since I’d been bitten by the ‘better than the grocery store brand ice cream’ bug, I wanted to try my hand at making ice cream. I researched lots of ways to make it without a machine (I love you, David Lebovitz ,but no) and quickly realized my time was better spent making other stuff. Sorta like when I made my own goat cheese…neat project, not doing it again anytime soon.

So, I borrowed my friend’s ice cream and sorbet maker and got to work. Since I had gorgeous local strawberries on hand, strawberry ice cream was first up. Wow – it was super delicious and I even got a comment from one of my favorite little kids, Eliza, as she ate a scoop. It was a simple, “You’re great.” That made my day.

Then, I made cardamom ice cream. Big thanks to my friend Elaine for the recipe and cardamom pods. It turned out so well…the flavor was incredible. I’m actually glad I only made a small amount! Also made Ina’s espresso ice cream. Ridiculous.

Left to right: cardamom, strawberry and espresso coffee. Yum.

I also made paletas (delicious Mexican popsicles) and that was a lot of fun. A friend recommended this cookbook and the flavors are simple, but really spectacular together. They are very easy to make and I’m planning on doing lots more this summer, maybe even some boozy ones!

Get ready, hon. Summer’s comin!