We’ve experienced a bit of a heatwave this week with triple digit temps. On the way to drop off some of Alexa’s friends home after a swim party, the girls wanted a cold treat and decided on an ice cream shop in Dublin. I was heading that direction but decided to Yelp what was nearby since we were in Pleasanton and we were on a time crunch to get home. I found Rita’s Italian Ice and decided to go there. It was located in downtown Pleasanton…what a find!
The logo looked familiar but I was just more excited for some lemon Italian ice like I remembered from my childhood. I grew up in New York City and Brooklyn for the first 8 years of my life. I have some very distinct memories and Italian Ice is one of them. I remember them being sold out of a cart, in the park, in these little paper cups like what you use to rinse you mouth out with at the dentist office. There were limited flavor choices – lemon and I think, cherry, but my fave has always been lemon. I also don’t remember being given a spoon…you just ate out of the paper cup like you would an ice cream cone and squeeze the last bit of goodness out of the cup before you tossed it.
3 years ago when Alexa and I took a trip to NYC, I tried to find my vintage Italian Ice experience but I didn’t see one cart in the park! I don’t think they exist anymore. We had lunch with a friend who now lives in NYC and he took us to Ralph’s Famous Italian Ice. It was good, but sadly it wasn’t the same. I think what was most disappointing is that it’s now so commercialized. There are several chains and they have actual storefronts (although this one was more like a walk-up window) with lots of flavor options and the portions are big! Sounds silly to complain that the size is too big, but I just really wanted that little paper cup treat. It was soooo good, from what I recall. *Sigh*
I’m happy to say the girls loved Rita’s Italian Ice and actually felt like the flight which is a container with 4 little bowls in one and allows you to taste 4 flavors at a time, was too much. It’s a great option for sharing (approx. $4). I opted for a kids size lemon ice (under $3) and that was plenty. There’s a single cup for around $3. Again, I just wanted a little treat. The cups are logo’d and the sizes are much larger than they really need to be. The lemon flavor was very refreshing and there were actual chunks of lemon in it. I had a taste of the mango which was quite good. The girls were also raving about the dragonfruit. I was lost in nostalgia and just wanted my tried and true lemon ice.
I posted the above collage on Instagram and had a friend reply that they’re opening one up here in Fremont and sure enough, if you to go the Rita’s Ice website it says it’s coming soon and I even learned there are already several locations nearby that are already open. It’s a thriving franchise now.
It’ll be fun to have this as an alternative to traditional ice cream and it offers those who have dairy allergies or even nut allergies (I think, I hope) another dessert choice. I still prefer my memories over the modern day version, but since I can’t taste my memories, I’ll settle for what’s here and now! Go give it a try if you haven’t…I think you’ll like it!