I can think of only one thing that sparks as much enthusiasm among the LEO Weekly staff as ice-cold beer — and that’s ice cream. Turns out we’re also quite fond of frivolous debate, which is what led to our latest taste-testing field trip in which we all hopped on the LEO Bus and headed toward Germantown to sate our sweet-teeth. You see, some of us are partial to the popular Dairy Kastle, others to the slightly grittier Dairy Del. After a gluttonous tasting session, however, we concurred that both seasonal culinary landmarks are worth the caloric indulgence. Below are a few of our favorite menu items from each. —Sarah Kelley
The Brown Cow: A root beer float whipped together with creamy vanilla soft-serve, resulting in frothy milkshake goodness. We’ll call it float-shake. Cost: $2.35 for a small.
Chocolate Malt: So thick it was tough to suck through the straw (though we managed). Our only complaint was that it could have used a touch more malt flavor — next time, we’ll make it a point to ask. Cost: $2.35 for a small.
Frozen Banana: Not in the mood for ice cream? Try this frozen banana covered in petrified milk chocolate and chopped peanuts. Just be prepared for your friends to laugh as you enjoy this phallic dessert. Cost: $1.25.
Oreo Flurry: By far the most decadent treat we tried, probably because we insisted they use a chocolate ice cream base. Once whipped, the treat had a creamy custard texture, with loads of Oreo chunks cranking up the choco factor even more. Cost: $2.75 for an 18-ounce cup.
Chocolate Soda: Made with vanilla soft-serve ice cream, chocolate syrup and soda water, this creamy yet refreshing amalgamation was not too sweet, which was just what we needed to avoid the sugar shakes too early in the game. Cost: $2.15 for a small.
Oreo Flurry: Similar to the previously mentioned Kastle version, this Flurry took the chocolate soft-serve and Oreo mixture to a whole new level of sweet with the addition of marshmallow topping. Excessive? Yes. Delicious? Absolutely. Cost: $3.50 for a 16-ounce cup.
Dipped Derby Cone: Creamy vanilla ice cream served in a simple cake cone, then dipped in a chocolate concoction that hardens — just like the Magic Shell of your youth, but better. The only downside is you have to eat fast to avoid a mess … not a problem. Cost: $1.80.
Sherbert Swirl: We chose tangy soft-serve orange sherbert (though there were an array of other fruity options) to mix with vanilla ice cream in a cup, a delectable combination at a bargain price. Cost: $1.55.
Cotton Candy Soft-Serve: Though most of the taste-testers scoffed at this colorful swirl of blue and white atop a cake cone, it was surprisingly good. But as the name suggests, it’s super sweet — not necessarily a bad thing. Cost: $1.80.
Root Beer Float: Bubbly root beer drowns a hefty mound of vanilla soft-serve, resulting in a delicious foam on top. This treat gets better with age (relatively speaking), as it turns into a creamy soda mixture in minutes. Cost: $2.25 for a small.
1516 S. Shelby St.
Monday-Friday, noon-10p.m. Saturday-Sunday
Pros: cheap, plenty of parking, rarely a line, large portions
Cons: cash only, limited seating, off the beaten path, no phone or website
575 Eastern Pkwy.
dairykastle.com | 634-8990
11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-10 p.m. Sunday
Pros: cheap, vast menu, large portions, low-fat options, vegetarian food
Cons: cash only, often crowded, limited parking