Friday, July 30, 2010

The Hamptons, Redeemed: Professional Foray #3, Sip n' Soda, Southampton

After a disappointing morning cone at the Candy Kitchen in Bridgehampton, it was with some trepidation that I approached Sip n' Soda in Southampton.  Like the Candy Kitchen, it's also a luncheonette, and like the Candy Kitchen, it also claims "homemade ice cream."  Even more suspiciously, their menu also featured "Fresh Peach," which set off red flags.  Was this just another ye olde time-y ice cream shoppe hocking mediocre product out of a cutesy, retro diner?

I am happy to report that the answer is a resounding "no": this is the real thing.  I had coffee chip, chocolate chip cookie dough and chocolate in a cone, and each flavor was excellent.  The ice cream had actual ice cream consistency, and to me was very American: the scoops were hard, the butterfat percentage was high without rendering the texture occlusive (I'd say it was premium), and everything tasted natural and fresh.

My only complaint, which I later passed onto the lovely co-owner, Mark Parash, was that the amount of mix-ins, such as the chips in the coffee chip or the cookie dough in the vanilla cookie dough, was a little skimpy.  I'd like to run into a bite of something or other more often than not as I make my way down a cone.
That is a genuine, post-cone smile of happiness.

As I was rummaging around the internet, I discovered that Mark Parash's grandfather William started Candy Kitchen in the 1920s.  (An article describing the family business can be found here.)  Bewildered - the discrepancy between the two establishments' quality is vast - I called Mark to check if this was truly the case.  It turns out that his grandfather sold the Candy Kitchen sometime in the 1940s, "after World War II," he said.

I love when major events like World War II get mixed up in ice cream tales.

Mark, now 39, runs Sip n' Soda with his uncle Jim; William and his wife Nicoletta originally opened it in 1958.  Mark said he makes most of the ice cream himself, starting with homemade syrups - chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and bases made from scratch.  The fresh peach flavor, which I now deeply regret I didn't try, uses Georgia peaches.  Not local peaches?  "Only Georgia peaches," he told me.  "They're by far superior."  The strawberries, he said, are local, and in a few weeks he'll be launching a fresh cantaloupe flavor.  If this keeps up, I may find myself back on the LIRR.

And thank you to the gaggle of gorgeous brunettes - Nicole, Kelly and Michele - who hosted me over the weekend and indulged all of my ice cream excursions.  I had a wonderful, wonderful time.

Sip n' Soda, 40 Hampton Road, Southampton, NY.  631-283-9752.  Single $4, double $6.


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