A Super Surprise

May 10th, 2010

This whole idea came about because Superman Ice Cream is an essential artifact of my youth. I know I’m not alone.

My Google Alerts on the subject are full of family blogs where kids are having their first tastes of the stuff. YouTube yields a bunch of kiddos experiencing Superman Ice Cream from their highchairs.

Meanings, like tastes, change over the years. Some people say they grew out of Superman Ice Cream. I never did.

My girlfriend asked me what I wanted for my birthday. While all along she had planned to get me a Roku video player, my raving about the exceptional Netflix instant viewing on the Nintendo Wii pushed her to tearfully rescind the plot. I’ve been told since that I’m a “surprise ruiner”.

Ana (that’s her name) knows about my secret identity as a Superman Ice Cream blogger, but it was only at that time that I realized the need for her to join me as my super-sidekick in the fight against Superman Ice Cream-lessness.

So, I decided to reply to her no-win birthday present question with a more evasive answer: “Find me Superman Ice Cream here in California”, I said. You see, we’ve heard conflicting reports about the flavor’s history in the state.

She gave her all. She followed up on the lead that told us about how Kmart used to serve Superman Ice Cream at their snack bars. She called the local Baskin Robbins, who angrily hung up on her thinking it to be a prank. I’m proud to report that she called back and gave the petulant server hell. Wisely, she didn’t slip in the part about checking out SupermanIceCream.com as I’ve started to do in my inquiries. I wouldn’t want to see that hate mail!

Ultimately, we still haven’t found it out here, but it wasn’t for any lack of trying on her part. And it gets better. After a long day working in L.A. on Thursday, I came home to discover the finest surprise I could ask for:

Ana had shipped in a half gallon of Superman Ice Cream from Ray’s Ice Cream in Royal Oak, Michigan, A.K.A. just one more ice cream-related group who thought she was crazy to be seeking the Ice Cream of Steel from across the country.

But at least they knew what Superman Ice Cream was…and this was the Real McCoy! I dug right into the tub and tried to discern the different flavors in the mixture, reminding myself why I got involved in writing about this intriguing treat in the first place.

I could not spare her my embrace for a moment that night. Maybe it will seem silly to some, but I consider the search for this gift to be a true act of devotion.

It’s been about a year since I had last tasted Superman Ice Cream, and while my affection for the flavor has not waned a bit, I can tell you for sure that there is a new meaning to this whole adventure. For me, Superman Ice Cream will now be forever intertwined with memories of love.

Hitching My Wagon to Superman Ice Cream

April 30th, 2010

Oregon! Growing up, the very concept of Oregon would have been completely foreign to me but for one special computer-based experience almost as nostalgic as Superman Ice Cream itself. The state and the game are so interconnected in my mind, I actually referred to a list of wagon-related idioms to craft the title of this post.

Honestly, I couldn’t even pronounce the word Oregon correctly for most of my life – I had never met anyone from there. Kids tend to say things the way their parents say things. So it was Or-a-gon. Ending like polygon, paragon, or loosely rhyming with pteranadon.

I was only made aware of this lead a few days ago, when a staff writer at a paper in North Dakota made a thoughtful mention to the Ice Cream of Steel in a piece about the on-set of spring time. Following up on that Google Alert (the lifeblood of this publication other than you, dear reader), I wrote him and he reported to me that, in fact, North Dakotans don’t know no Superman Ice Cream. But he fondly recalled it from living in other places.

He said he first tried Superman Ice Cream in West Virginia. That made sense to me. Since this is a blog about obscure subject matter, it might be appropriate to mention that West Virginia–for those of you who have never heard of it–is a suburb of Pittsburgh and also a place people from Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, and North Carolina tend to drive through.

I’ve seen Superman Ice Cream in many of these places, so it would be logical to conclude it is also in West Virginia somewhere (maybe at a slot house or a gas station next to the deer jerky).

But then he wrote that he had also seen it in his last home state of Oregon. Ladies and gentlemen, that is a revelation that strikes at one of the cardinal premises of the Superman Ice Cream legend. It might even be a heretical statement to some, since nobody outside of a certain part of the country is supposed to know about Superman Ice Cream.

But this gentleman was correct, and I have the first of what I hope will be many pieces of evidence to prove it.

Who would have thought that at the end of the Oregon Trail, after all those rivers forded, broken axles and bouts of typhoid, we would find Superman Ice Cream? Truly, it was worth the struggle.

So here’s the catch. There’s a donut shop called Sesame Donuts in Southwest Portland. A reviewer on Yelp said they also sold ice cream, and even had Superman Ice Cream under the moniker “Sooper Hero”.

A quick search yields that Perry’s Ice Cream of New York has their own flavor called “Super Hero” which promises to “rescue your taste buds from the dull and boring with cherry bubblegum, lemon and blue raspberry ice cream.” So, as much as this sounds awful familiar, this all presents questions about what is and isn’t legitimately part of the Superman Ice Cream canon. But we’ll handle that another day.

After a call to the store, we know this much:

Sesame Donuts does sell ice cream. They do have an ice cream flavor called “Sooper Hero”. It is blue…and yellowand red.

It may not be a smoking gun, but it’s darn close. The only way to prove the true nature of Sooper Hero is for one of you or one of me (meaning me) to go there. And that’s what I’m gonna do!

It won’t happen today or tomorrow, but I am responsible for traveling to this place called Portland for this thing called work. And when I do it, I am going to Sesame Donuts (which is open 24/7) and I will try this alleged Superman Ice Cream for all on the web to see.

This is not a joke. This is a mission. Over and out.

Yinz Guys Got Superman Ice Cream N’at?

April 29th, 2010

More proof that Superman Ice Cream is a magical concoction, courtesy of this article in the Point Park Globe:

Hinz, who was born and raised in Brookline, has garnered a collection of stories about the customers she has seen walk in and out of the [ice cream parlor] for the past two decades she has worked there.

“You see the kids’ faces, and they get really excited when they come into the store,” Hinz said. “There are customers here that came as children, and now they’re coming with their own children, thrilled that we still offer Superman ice cream.”

I was pleased to see that this story about an ice cream parlor opening (our second in a row)  came out of the campus paper of a college I once attended.

As a former resident, I can’t really say Pittsburgh has anything in common with those pioneering Michiganders except for Superman Ice Cream and the overwhelming tendency to say “pop”, but here’s to the good people of “Da’ Burgh” for racking up one more reason to keep their daily lives functioning.

Especially while the Steelers are in the off-season, they always seemed to be in need of those.

Wichita Falls, Texas – Welcome to the Supermap!

April 27th, 2010

I have the deepest affection for any municipality in which among the local paper’s top stories there appears a headline: new ice cream parlor opens.

Some might say it’s because the medium-sized to small towns of this country have nothing better to do, that they fill the news hole with accounts related to Superman Ice Cream, but I would chalk it up to these folks having their priorities straight!

Photo by the Times Record News

Wichita Falls, Texas- welcome to the Supermap and please enjoy your Superman Ice Cream at Addisons Ice Cream Parlor. It just opened on Monday and they serve Superman Ice Cream, as shown to the side. It’s so darned new that the Supermap might still refer to the address as the location of the Comet Cleaners!

If you’re a local and food service is your gig, you might want to check in to see if these folks are still hiring. Props to Ronnie Blanchard for expanding his business in a time when folks are still shy on taking the plunge.

Folks, this map will expand and I will continue to serve the next generation of Superman Ice Cream Lovers. I’ve been starting to hear about Superman Ice Cream from sources coast to coast. New mentions I’ve heard include locations in Florida and Colorado; one person even told me he used to have Superman Ice Cream as far away as Oregon!

The scoop is out there, people!

Another Story Begins…

April 16th, 2010

Awwww.

Not too much time to write today, but you know what they say about pictures. This is from the Herald Bulletin newspaper in Anderson, Indiana, also the home to Madewell’s Ice Cream, which has been added to The Supermap.

Why don’t you send me a shoutout about where you eat your Superman Ice Cream, or where you’d like to be eating some but don’t know where to find it? By developing The Supermap, you help people all around the country share in the Superman Ice Cream experience!

The Michigan Angle To Our Stories

April 14th, 2010

I thought of this project well before these folks went out and made this video, but I still think it’s great and I will gladly exploit their hard work. Props to Serious Eats and The Mitten Blog.

Superman Ice Cream: A Michigan Specialty from John McCarthy on Vimeo.

I’m going to part ways at the claim that Superman Ice Cream “tastes like Michigan“. Michigan tastes pretty bad right about now.

But aside from that, through my investigations, it’s been truly impossible to avoid the predominance of the claim that Superman Ice Cream is “a Michigan thing”. Even I first tasted Superman Ice Cream as a youngin’ in the suburbs of Detroit.

Nonetheless, a strong contingent of Superman Ice Cream lovers reside outside the Great Lake State, and not just as a consequence of moving out of Michigan (another popular thing for Michiganders to do, in addition to eating Superman Ice Cream) .

I have a hunch we will find Superman Ice Cream in many more states than we are aware of at this point. Hopefully in yours, if you’re living without it for the moment!

Ten Days Later…

April 13th, 2010

I knew it! You’re out there! You’re really out there!

…Maybe my enthusiasm has you folks thinking I’m really out there myself.

But that’s fine! I’m downright excited that there are Superman Ice Cream lovers out there who have decided to put in their two cents. I know because I read it on the internet…or Facebook more specifically.

Here’s a few quick developments that might prove the utility of this little page here. Thing is, we need more potential readers to fill in the pieces as we go:

Lori in Maine grew up in Michigan and hasn’t tasted that amazing Superman flavor in 25 years. Can anyone out there please help her find a place to get her hands on some in her neck of the woods?

Diego and Victoria in San Antonio are feasting on a three gallon tub of Superman Ice Cream!

There’s one shop in their neighborhood that sells it. I’m hoping to get it up on the Supermap soon for folks Deep in the Heart of Texas!

Imagine, a nation in which no Superman Ice Cream lover ever has to go a day without affordable access to Superman Ice Cream. That’s my mission.

The Adventure Begins

April 3rd, 2010

This is Superman Ice Cream.

I can’t imagine I’m the only one for whom the very mention of this treat, and the sight of its unique swirl of color, leads to so much fond reminiscence.

I know from my searching on the web over the years that we’re out there – Superman Ice Cream fans and enthusiasts who often crave to return to the taste and times that we recall and associate with this flavor. Some might say we are even evangelists for this little known variety of dessert.

Does that mean Superman Ice Cream brings up the same kind of feelings, memories, and emotions for me as it will for you? Of course not.

That’s why I want you to get in touch with me. I really would like to know how far this story will go. To put it all on the table, I would like to make a movie about you. You intrigue me.

Comment or send an email: adam@supermanicecream.com. Follow on Twitter @SupermanScooped

This is our story. Let’s tell it.