Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Beach Bums and Bacon Ice Cream: Rehoboth Beach Part 2

Whoever designed Rehoboth Beach must have gotten their start designing medieval defensive fortifications; of this I'm positive.

Rehoboth Ave. funnels visitors directly to the boardwalk, and like a team of well trained archers high upon the keep, restaurants and shops a like methodically mow down the invading hoards with slices of pizza, fudge and candy by the ton, and novelty t-shirts.

Except for Sunday, it was raining. This wasn't just rain, this was - let's go out and get an ax for arc building purposes - rain. So after seeking shelter in a little novelty store on the boardwalk and eating our weight in fudge, I decided that the best way to ride out the storm was to find a restaurant and get a drink.

We ended up at Mariachi Restaurant, a charming little Mexican restaurant with subpar service, decent food, and a Margarita with enough booze in it to kill a small animal. In retrospect, this was probably the only place I'd take a Mulligan on - it wasn't bad, but there are so many other places along Rehoboth Ave., I'd probably wait until I got back home again for average Mexican food.

Somewhere between the chips and the booze the rain stopped, and we got brave enough to take our towels out of the car and find a spot on the beach - where we napped, heavily.

Getting up in time for dinner I wanted to take one of your recommendations, so remembering what a commenter named "Jimmy" wrote, we made our way down to Nicola Pizza just off the main strip.

Like a Pizza Hut if Pizza Hut were, you know, good, Nicola Pizza draws locals and tourists alike - or basically anyone who has kids. Its easy to see why your standard party size is of six or more people - good looking pizzas, fast and friendly service, great prices. But as recommended, I decided to get the Nic-o-boli, a variation of the stromboli, or basically a wonderful concoction of dough, tomato sauce, meat and cheese.

Surprisingly light and not very greasy, I was able to eat the whole thing without a problem, and with the assistance of several gallons of birch beer - the king of all sodas.

Apples also got a variation of the Nic-o-boli, this one with mushrooms, and a couple other kinds of veggies. In all, it was quite tasty, and if I were to spend more than a day at Rehoboth again, I'd find it awfully hard to fight the temptation to make a return trip.

Running (or walking rather slowly) our way through the gauntlet of beach food, we weren't quite satisfied without at least some ice cream in our system. While I contemplated your traditional custard in a cone, the utter simplicity (oh I'm so punny) of a shop called "The Ice Cream Store" just seemed to make sense.

Pretty much right on the corner of the boardwalk and Rehoboth Ave., The Ice Cream store has over seventy flavors, a decent portion of them are special to the store, and it seemed that all were store made.

The selection is overwhelming to say the least, but with Apples craving a mint chocolate chip hot fudge sundae (she's been talking about this for weeks) and me craving something strange, we dove in, and were reminded why we love ice cream.

At its best ice cream is complex, playful, and the kind of treat that just brings you back to a better time. The Ice Cream Store does this, but it does it with a sense of humor, and better than almost any I've ever had. Looking for a reason to have ice cream for breakfast? Try their bacon ice cream (which would be amazing on a waffle with maple syrup) which beautifully balances the sweet of the cream and the salty savoryness of the bacon.

Looking for something season and strange? Try their sweet corn ice cream - yes I know, it's corn, and there are actual bits of corn in it, but good gracious this is good stuff - like a chilled orgy of summer scooped up and placed into a cone, I got it with some African vanilla to mild the corn flavor, but next time I might get it with some bacon, or hamburger flavor if they have it.

Apples of course got her sundae, which was terrific and a half, and was consumed with the vigor of an entire kindergarten class devouring a cookie factory.

The rest of our trip was fairly ordinary - if by ordinary I mean we ended up spending the night at Apples' parents house in Northeast Maryland because we couldn't get across the Bay Bridge in under five hours, and we got back home around ten the next morning.

It is often said that it's the journey, not the destination that really makes a trip; Rehoboth Beach lets you have both. It may not be the most exciting place on the face of the planet, but I could probably live there for a year and never eat at the same place twice, and be perfectly happy doing it. So pack up the car, come hungry, and bring lots of cash, because you're driving away satisfied.

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