The Sweet Taste of Success, by Steve Hamilton


ice cream quote

I knew from the outset this would be a big challenge for me. Success would have required much more planning, dedication, and sacrifice. When friends offered to help, I should have graciously accepted. I tried to go it alone, and I went in without much of a plan. In the beginning, things were OK. But then I stumbled a few times and finally, I crashed and burned. It was more than my body, my psyche, my soul, could handle. The worst part: I had announced my goal publicly, and I even gave myself a time goal for this thing. Rookie mistakes. Big ones.

But I can learn from my mistakes. Next time, if I want to eat ice cream for 31 straight days, at 31 different establishments, then I will follow a schedule, and make all the necessary sacrifices.

IRONMAN? You were asking about IRONMAN? Oh. Well, that (i.e. Ironman Zurich) went great. Planning, sacrifice, T-shirt, medal, Anything is Possible!!!!… yadda yadda yadda. Actually, I can’t be too cavalier about it. I am enamored with anyone who takes on a big challenge like this, and we all owe lots of thanks to our family and friends who support us along the way. The training and the event were the toughest things I’ve ever done, but nearly anyone else could reach that finish line, if they’re willing to make sacrifices, and if they’re lucky enough to have only a few setbacks on race day.

steve1  Happy runner, just days before the ice cream challenge began.

But back to the all-important ice cream summary:

I sampled 10 different ice cream venues in Philadelphia.  I arrived at the conclusion that that if you’re going out for a treat, you must consider three factors:

  1. service,
  2. quality and variety of products,
  3. dining experience.


Philly Flavors Banana Split

If you find a place that delivers 2 out of 3, you’re doing pretty well. My top two favorite parlors were Custard & Cakes Creamery (Ridge Ave in Manayunk) and Philly Flavors (Fairmount Ave). Both places have counter service, and then you “eat on the street”. Both places kept the line moving, served quality homemade ice cream, with a smile, at a decent price.

A few other thoughts…

  • Think outside the box: A few burger joints offered some dee-lish dessert options: Bobby’s Burger Palace (Walnut Street near Penn); and Shake Shack (20th & Sansom, Philly).


Shake Shack “Center City Pretzel” Concrete Double: homemade frozen custard, chunks of banana, Philly soft pretzel, caramel, marshmallow sauce.

  • LOVE the truck! Mr. Softee gets an honorable mention. Our driver, Ali, parks at the end of our street, always remembers us, greets us with a smile, and his prices cannot be beat.
  • Beware self-serve and the weekly fro-yo trend. While I had a decent experience at Yogorino on the Drexel U campus, Whirled Peace (Main Street, Manayunk) is on my do-not-return list.
  • Ice cream at home, from the grocery store, can be a wonderfully fulfilling experience.

The most important lesson I learned:  ice cream is best when shared with family or friends.

I still have a list of 21 ice cream places to visit! Will I ever finish the task? Or… will I ever do IRONMAN again? One of these is more likely than the other, but I ain’t sayin’ which.

-Steve Hamilton, TMT Guest Blogger


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