It was absolutely gorgeous this weekend, so the Food Critic and I went for a drive. (We also took the dogs for an environmentally friendly trip to the park, but let’s be honest we live in Houston, so we are driving people). Along the way I attempted to snap some photos, but snapping photos while the Critic is driving is well nigh impossible. A typical exchange went something like this:

Me: Oh, look! Is that that little hole in the wall bar where we went with the neighbors?
Him: Uh, I don’t really remember where that bar was – *accelerates*
Me: *attempting to take photo* Was it really necessary to go that fast?!
Him: I thought you said 19th street – we needed to get around that bus.
Me: Hun, we have 3 blocks to go, I think we can get around a bus.

Well I won’t begrudge him his little adventures. Anyway, we wanted to try Cricket’s Creamery and Caffe, an ice cream shop in the Heights. I’m always looking for good homemade ice cream – in college, my friends and I went to Amy’s Ice Cream all the time, but to be honest I always found their ice creams too sweet. I really like Paciugo, but the Critic does not (ironically, he thinks Paciugo is too sweet). The people at Gelato Blu were really nice – I probably could have had samples all night and not ever actually bought ice cream – but the gelato did not leave a lasting impression. One place I have yet to is Hank’s Ice Cream – supposedly the best in the city. So many ice creams, so many love handles…
I really love 19th street in the Heights. We live very close to the area, not to mention that Shade restaurant is where the Critic took me out to dinner the evening he proposed to me. Around the holidays, the Heights is a fantastic area to live in. We have Lights in the Heights, when neighborhood homes are decorated for the holidays and opened for tours. Some even serve festive refreshments like eggnog and cookies. Then there’s Heights Mistletoe Madness, when all the shops in the Heights open late, feature refreshments, carolers, horse drawn carriages, and the Yale Street Arts Market opens up. It’s amazing and festive and so much fun. 19th street in particular is the most reminiscent of an old Main Street, with historic architecture and quaint boutiques.

Cricket creamery is located smack dab in the middle of 19th street, next to an antiques store where I picked up an amazing 1960s era cookbook. The cafe is filled with nick-nacks and quirky furniture and signs. One gelato I tasted was a honey-lavendar flavor; unique, and delicious, though the honey was a bit overkill. The service left a smidge to be desired; no tasting to your heart’s content here, and the mix-ins looked rather sad and unfortunate, unlike the fresh jars of mix-ins at Amy’s, obviously constantly replenished by the constant mixing at the cold table. I should have taken pictures of the scones and other baked goods by the counter, though, as they were astoundingly beautiful. I was unnerved by the standoffish counter service, so no pictures of gorgeous baked goods for you.

hurry up and take the picture already, will you?

The Food Critic got chocolate, the only flavor of ice cream he ever gets, with sprinkles, the only topping or mix in he ever gets. The verdict: Good, fine. A little crystally, but that’s why he prefers custard anyway. The Food Critic’s favorite ice cream place is G’s Frozen Custard in Topeka, Kansas. That’s why we call him the Food Critic. (However, let’s be honest, as I type this, he’s digging into a big bowl of Dryer’s. Hey, it’s all about bang for the buck).

I had the blackberry gelato, which seemed a very popular flavor. I like Cricket for the unusual flavors; the fresh taste of the ingredients really shine through unlike some of the other gelato places I have been to that make “fresh” gelato. Still, with the negligent service, and rather high prices (a norm for the area) I probably won’t be making a special trip back, although I’ll be happy to stop by when I’m in the area for another Heights event.

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