“Out on The Town”
Experience, (ikˈspirēəns), noun, practical contact with and observation of facts or events.
My wife and I believe that in life you have to have different experiences. We believe that the vacations we take, the haunted houses we go to on Halloween, the various festivals we attend, the concerts we see and the restaurants we go to are experiences that will benefit us and our kids. As I have been writing this blog, I decided that it had to be just more than the flavors I was trying/buying in the store. It also had to be about visiting various ice cream shops around the city, state and country.
his past weekend we hit two spots in the city of Philadelphia. They are both regarded as top of their class. In this blog post I am going to be talking about one of the two venues and what I call “The Experience!” To those reading this blog, say hello to Sweet Charlie’s. www.sweetcharlies.com
Sweet Charlie’s is just that, a sweet experience. You have to go, not because it is the best ice cream in the world (it is very very good mind you), but because it is an experience. Owner, Kyle Billig, brought a Thai street vendor’s method of making ice cream to the USA and added an American twist. They take a super cold plate (around 20 degrees) drop some sweetened cream on it, add in some mix-ins, scramble it all up, spread it out on the cold plate, and then use grout tools to roll-it! The finished product is a really creamy ice cream that is rolled. You can get your order in a cup or you can order a Tall Charlie. A Tall Charlie is your choice of ice cream placed in a super long donut.
Now why do I call it an experience? Maybe it is easier to just tell you about our evening. My family, along with two other families had dinner at Jones on 7th and Chestnut in Philly. The intent on having dinner down in that part of the city was because I said that I wanted to hit up Sweet Charlie’s after dinner. We could have eaten Burger King or street meat for all I cared. The most important part of the evening was getting to Sweet Charlie’s. We had dinner reservations for 7:45pm, ordered, ate and were out of there by about 10 til 9. We walked down two blocks to Walnut Street, hung a right and then BAM! We ran into a fucking line that was half way down the damn block. Whaaaaaaat The Fuuuuuuuck?
In all honesty, I didn’t care all that much. We were hanging outside with friends, their kids and a bunch of people who really wanted rolled ice cream. So we talked and talked and talked, moved a little, talked some more, moved a little more, rinse repeat rinse repeat. Some were getting irritated that it was taking so long, but where else were we going to go? Home? Again it is all about the experience. At one point I looked at my watch and saw that it was 9:50pm. I started to get concerned as they close at 10:00pm. We were close enough to the front door that I doubted we would be denied entry.
Somehow we all got in before the deadline (note, they didn’t close the door at 10, really not sure of the process).
Once you get to the register, you order. You choose your type of dairy (cream, yogurt or vegan), your flavor and your mix-in. My daughter got the mint chocolate chip (cream with a mint oreo), my wife got the death by chocolate (chocolate bar and chocolate syrup)and I got the strawberry cheesecake (fresh strawberry and cheesecake). You then wait until they call your name and then you set-up in front of your “chef” to watch them make your rolls. The process is pretty cool. They mash everything up much like a Cold Stone Creamery would , but watching them take liquid cream, mixing everything in, spreading it all out, adding caramel or chocolate, rolling it, then adding toppings….whoa! For the record, I added donut pieces to the top of mine along with Whipped Cream…Hollaaaaaaaa! It was super fun to watch. Again, it was an experience. Sitting on your couch with a mug of ice cream is not an experience. Going out on the town, and getting rolled ice cream, yes, that is an EXPERIENCE. Just seeing my niece get all excited at dinner over where we were going was enough for me. Here are some pics of the process followed by the rest of the review.
Now for the ice cream review. First in foremost, the ice cream is good. If the experience was an A+, I give the ice cream a B+ to an A-. What stands out the most is how creamy it is. I am not sure where they get their cream, but it is rich and creamy. The creaminess might take it out of B territory. When you first get the rolls, it is a bit difficult to eat. You have to figure out how to dive in with your spoon to get a bite. It is kinda fucking hard at first. Once it starts to melt and you mush it all together, it starts to resemble traditional ice cream and you can eat it easily.
I think the main reason I can’t give it a higher grade is because I think a lot of flavor gets lost due to the way the ice cream is created. This is what brings it down to a B+. They really have to chop all the mix-ins into tiny tiny bits in order to appropriately smooth it out on the cold plate. My ice cream tasted like strawberry ice cream. I lost too much of the cheesecake. Adding the donuts on top gave it something extra in each bite. My wife too thought that her chocolate got lost in her creation. That said, the ice cream was still good. I did finish the whole fucking thing, but if I am being honest and true to the blog, then I have to be fair. If you add in the experience of Sweet Charlie’s plus the ice cream itself, I would go again for sure. To me the most important thing with this venue is the experience.
We can now say we have had rolled ice cream. We can say that we waited in line for an hour for rolled ice cream. We can now say, we got to spend an extra hour with our friends and family while we waited to have rolled ice cream. We can now say that it is pretty damn cool to watch rolled ice cream get made right before our eyes on a cold plate, with family and friends.
Like I said, this place is fun. It is great. You need to go. Have an experience!
Lick on and prosper
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