Let me be clear: I find myself in Chinatown ALOT this time of year. It's one of those, ya know, top ten touristy "to-do" things - "Shop in Chinatown." And though I tire of it, I'm not knocking it. I dearly LOVE taking 8th graders visiting from California or Texas and challenging them to not pay full price for anything. You should see the gleam in their eyes when they come back boasting that they got a very ugly watch down from $90 (what!) to $40. Hey, who am I to judge that you just wasted $40? It's empowering to them to get to choose whether or not they want to pay. It's a game.
That being said, I have personally run out of ways to entertain yours truly in the interim. Foot massage? Check. Pedicure? Check. Shoe shopping at Miz Mooz on Broadway? WAAAY too many checks. So I decided to haul a** to go get ice cream. So what if it was 13.5 blocks away from the meeting spot? I had TWO HOURS to kill.
I'm so glad I did. Emack & Bolio's has been on my list for a while, but as it's a little out of the way I'd never made it there during ice cream season. Here's some info on them from their Wikipedia page and website.
Emack & Bolio's is a chain of ice cream stores based in Boston, Massachusetts, United States. The chain was founded by Bob Rook, a lawyer and self-declared hippie who started E&B as a place that musicians could go to after their gigs to "mellow out" and satisfy their munchies. The solution to the midnight munchie blues: rent a basement in the Coolidge Corner section of Brookline, MA, buy a commercial ice cream machine, invite your rock star friends to hang out after their gigs eating homemade ice cream with outrageous flavors (creatively inspired by the lawyers and the rock ‘n rollers), play acoustic music ’til the wee hours of the morning. The rock ‘n rollers loved the ice cream and the vibe. The basement ice cream hangout needed a name. Two homeless gentlemen that the lawyers did pro bono work for asked that the ice cream shop be named after them. The name had good karma: Emack & Bolio’s. An ice cream legend was born. Emack and Bolio's was founded in 1975, three years before Ben and Jerry's used the concept of a "hippie ice cream store." There are now a few stores in other states, including New York, Florida, and Illinois. The mascot is now a red-eyed moose whose name is Stoney.
I can't find too much other info in le internet about them aside from their Wikipedia page and website, but the reviews on Yelp are all pretty much raves. As for me? I chose the Cosmic Crunch, a vanilla with caramel, pecans, chocolate chips, toffee pieces and cookie bits. Yup, that pretty much sounds like ice cream heaven, and it was.
I like Emack & Bolio's. Yeah they're in a weird spot (although - no lines ever, HUZZAH), and yeah they might be haughty about their claim to fame, but it just smacks of down-homeness, doesn't it, with the hand-designed flavor board and small staff? When I went in there were only two people working the store, proudly toting facts on how long they've been around and showing off letters of love from children. It's really not a place you'd imagine on Houston Street among the SoHo hoi polloi, and maybe that's just part of the charm, Rock n Roll creds or no.
....also, they had me at Hello: