Mango Ice at Amy's

I grew up in Northern Indiana, and I have a love-hate relationship with Houston weather. It's not just the oppressive, sticky, blanketing heat of summer that rubs me the wrong way, it's also the near utter lack of a winter. I miss snowy Decembers and layer upon layer of cold-weather clothing. I always say that, on balance, I prefer cold weather to hot; you can always put on more clothing, but there's only so much you can take off.

Of course, there are times when I love the exceedingly mild winters we enjoy here on the third coast. For example, al fresco dining tends to end around October 1 in northern climes, while Houston diners can sup on the patio, well, pretty much year-round, at least on a good day.

Ice cream is another reason to love Houston winters. Yes, ice cream. While most of the country reserves this simple yet luxurious treat for the dog days (who wants to eat a double-dip cone while wearing a parka and shivering?), we can indulge pretty much whenever we want to. I'd say that Houston has about 12 days per year which count as cold enough to count ice cream out.

Last Wednesday was not one of those days. Sunny and mid 70s, it was the perfect time to enjoy an after-school scoop with my kids, while my wife was off on one errand or another. I have no doubt that Houston ice-cream aficionados can argue endlessly about the best scoop in town, but for my kids' (use of my) money, it's hard to beat Amy's.

Perhaps it's the cartoon cow gracing the building; perhaps it's the fact that's it's within walking distance of our house; perhaps it's the fact that they make damn good ice cream. Whatever the reason, that's where we found ourselves. My kids excitedly chose a double scoop of root beer ice-cream, whimsically rolled in sprinkles. Going another way, I decided to sample one of Amy's "ice" options. Falling somewhere between a sorbet and a sherbet, the mango ice I chose was light, fruity, and refreshing, but still felt creamy enough to seem indulgent. The kids grabbed my spoon when they were done with their cup, and pronounced my mango ice superior to their more traditional choice.

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