Frozen Custard on a Hot Day

The thermometer in the car said 100 degrees on Saturday afternoon when we stopped for ice cream at Ritter's Frozen Custard on North Fry Road in Katy. Ritter's serves scoops of frozen custard in a variety of flavors. We sampled the rich vanilla and chocolate-flecked strawberry romance flavors. Frozen custard is never hard-frozen like conventional ice cream. That makes for a pleasantly soft texture, but it also means that the ice cream melts faster.

Ritter's is a franchise of a custard stand that started in Indiana. In the Northern climes where frozen custard is king, the places that sell the stuff seldom have an interior. You sit outside on a picnic table or loiter along the boardwalk with your ice cream. That's part of the charm. So when entrepreneurs import frozen custard stands to Houston, they try to replicate the experience.

There is a grove of picnic tables shaded by blue and white umbrellas out in front of Ritter's. We were the only people sitting out there. We attempted to eat our ice cream, but it was a disaster. At 100 degrees, this kind of ice cream melts so fast that it's impossible to enjoy -- especially for the younger, inexperienced ice cream eater. And there is no rest room to clean up in either.

The Houston solution to this logistical problem is the drive-through lane. You eat your ice cream in the car. That's not a very good recreation of the charming Northern custard stand experience if you ask me, nor is it an option for three-year-olds.

But there's still hope. In the North, frozen custard stands often close up for the winter, especially the ones at the beach. In Texas, a frozen custard stand would be a great place to visit in the winter -- when it's pleasant to sit outside

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