Rita’s Tour – The 2010 Edition

This past Saturday was the first day of Spring. So, as they do every year, Rita’s gave out free 10oz servings of their famed ice all day. Being a bunch of gluttonous children, my fiancé (you can read his tour round-up here) and a group of friends and I decided upon the ultimate task – 10 Rita’s in one day, a new flavor at each location.

Last year, the group made it to about five locations in only a few hours (it was a Friday so needed to be done after work). Knowing that this year it fell on a Saturday with a gorgeous forecast, we got cocky. About a week prior to the event, a few different e-mails were exchanged with maps of potential stops. It included a trip to Stuff Yer Face in New Brunswick for ‘bolis, and a detour to look at a potential wedding venue. We also stumbled upon a Cupcake joint, Sugar Mommy’s Cupcakes, that I’ll detail in a separate blog entry.

After starting our trip at about 12:30pm and devouring our ices at about 1, we then spent the next 8 hours driving to various Rita’s Ice locations in New Jersey. We made stops in Bridgewater, Somerville, Flanders, Denville, Berkeley Heights, Westfield, Plainfield, and finally Edison. We searched for a Rita’s in Morristown that no longer exists, and ran out of time before heading to Milltown. But at any rate, I sampled eight different ice flavors, preparing me for the season ahead. They included Alex’s Lemonade, Green Apple, Florida Orange, Sugar Free Cherry, Wild Black Cherry, Coconut, Pistachio, and their newest edition – Peeps. Oh yes, you read correctly – Peeps flavored ice! As in the little bird shaped marshmallows that are covered in sugar, usually found in Easter baskets. It tasted nothing like Peeps, but more like birthday cake, which I was more than okay with. It’s neon yellow color was another selling point.

I really liked all of the flavors. But, I think Alex’s Lemonade and the Coconut were my favorites. I think the only ice I wouldn’t order again would have been the Wild Black Cherry. That was definitely sub-par, and had more of a grape flavor than anything else. The Peeps was also super-sweet, so that would have to be consumed sparingly.

By about stop 5, we were all looking for food. The mere thought of devouring ‘bolis at Stuff Yer Face is what I think kept us going. So, we decided to head there after our 7th stop. When we finally got to the restaurant, we made no qualms about our purpose. We didn’t get drink wristbands, and ordered water and an appetizer almost as soon as we sat. After surviving on water ice for almost 7 hours, we needed solid food, quickly. We all dug in to our hot wings and onion rings as soon as they were brought out, and anxiously awaited the arrival of our stromboli. The restaurant has a lot to offer; there are pre-suggested combinations, and also a “create your own.” My fiancé always orders the same create your own, and after trying it, follow suit. It has mozzarella cheese, chicken, buffalo sauce, onions, and broccoli. It is absolutely amazing.

After realizing the time, we knew we’d only have time for one more Rita’s, since they close at 9pm. We headed to the one nearest to where we live, and waited in one last line. By the time we got our ice it was 9:15, and the line showed no chance of stopping.

I woke up today feeling great. Sure, I might have been a little sugar hungover, but I managed to run 7.5 miles (longest single run logged yet!) and I could absolutely eat another Rita’s Ice right now, preferably a Gelati. I’m so excited that ice and ice cream season is finally here. I’m looking forward to more outdoors frozen treat devouring, and saying goodbye to eating it while hiding under a blanket indoors.

All in all, our group (4 people) went to 8 locations, and sampled 20 flavors. Pretty impressive, if I do say so myself! I hope Rita’s is ready for next year, because we’ll be back – bigger and badder than ever!

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