During a recent visit to Grand Rapids, Michigan, one of my granddaughters, 13-year-old Anneliese “Annie” Kelly Waalkes, asked if she and I could do something special with one of her friends, Morgan Nicole Locke.
“Like go find the best ice cream in Grand Rapids?” I suggested.
Annie responded with an incredulous, “You’re kidding, right Papa?”
“No.” I replied.
Annie’s eyes lit up and she rewarded me with a naughty-girl smile, asking if she could call Morgan right away. While it wasn’t said, she knew if she waited too long her parents might kibosh the plan. Hearing Annie repeatedly assure Morgan that this wasn’t a joke only added to the pleasure of a doting grandfather.
We began our journey at Jersey Junction in East Grand Rapids. If you check Google, this is the best ice cream experience in town and the ever-present aroma of freshly baked waffle cones and old-fashion décor makes it easy to understand why.
Morgan chose Cake Batter and Annie Milky Way. Sweet, savory, gooey and lemony with a hint of coffee were just a few of the adjectives used by the girls to describe their Hudsonville ice cream experience. On a scale of 1 to 10, Morgan rated the flavors a 7 and a 6, while Annie gave Cake a 6 and Milky a 7. When I asked Morgan if Cake was a boy or a girl, she insisted he was all boy, calling him Josh. Annie named hers Hailey and said that the two
flavors were destined to get married.
Our second destination was to Gus’s Original, which serves MOO-ville ice cream. Annie chose Sea Salt Caramel and called it Luke. Morgan decided on Cookie Dough, calling her Meredith. They both preferred Sea Salt giving it a 10 and an 8. Dough got a 5 and a 4. Would the combo make a good marriage? “No! It’s like the movie, The Proposal, except they wouldn’t get together in the end.”
Our next stop was at a D&W store that serves Palazzolo’s gelato. Morgan chose Dutch Fudge Cookies & Cream and called it Carl. Annie picked White Chocolate Raspberry calling it Katherine. They both gave Katherine a 1. Carl was not much better and received a 3, “putting Katherine to shame,” they confessed.
Our journey ended at a Baskin Robbins on Plainfield. Annie decided on Splish Splash, calling it very refreshing after bad gelato. It reminded her of a flavor her sister Erika would like although she called it Victoria. Morgan chose Icing On The Cake, saying it was really sweet like a jolly rancher birthday cake. She called her experience Betsy. Annie rated the two choices with a 7 and a 6, while Morgan reversed the ranking. They agreed that these two flavors were good together and had what it takes to sustain a good long-term friendship.
According to both girls, the best place to experience the total ambience of ice cream was at Jersey Junction, hands down. However, the best ice cream of the day was Moo-ville’s Sea Salt Caramel. And as we drove home, I asked them if the philosophical lesson learned from the eight scoops-of-ice-cream experience was that you can have too much of a good thing. They shook their heads in agreement, or at least I thought they did, and said that it made sense. But, they couldn’t recall any personal experience that they had in the last year to support that point of view.