5/11/2020 0 Comments
Always and forever in the search of the best dessert on the planet - today, I’m bringing you two more ice cream adventures:
Rita’s vs. Whit’s
In a battle of wits… for Bean’s Best @ The Beaches 2020 ~ Ice Cream Edition ~
For the purposes of today’s competition, I went to both Rita’s and Whit’s, almost back-to-back. Two ice cream outings in less than one week’s time. I might at well become a formal dessert critic - because my tummy knows a good dessert when it meets one, that’s for sure.
We started out at Rita’s. And by we, I mean hubby and I. We planned our visit for directly after he picked me up at work back on Monday, April 18.
Keeping in mind, this challenge took place during the worst of the worst of the economic shut down. So as you may be able to tell, we were in desperate search of a food outing. With a whole ton of businesses and restaurants completely shut at that time, I was determined to patronize as many local businesses as possible that were still open. And I’m happy to report that both Rita’s and Whit’s made it through, intact. And both are still open today. The only offering not available to us at that time back in April, was not being able to dine inside - but - Florida - we don’t really need dining inside here in The Sunshine State. Plus, Rita’s is strictly outdoor grab-and-go counter service anyway - no dine-in option available - with a drive-thru around the side of the building.
Also, note that if you are interested in drive-thu at Rita’s, you’ll want to make note that the transaction window is on the passenger side of the car.
We opted to skip the drive-thru, parked and walked up for the counter service option, for purposes of my review. I ordered one large soft-serve chocolate/vanilla swirl with extra sprinkles for myself, and one large cherry Italian ice for the hubby. He is a huge fan of Italian ice, in any flavor, and I am a big fan of chocolate - anything.
Both of our treats were delicious. Our total came to $11.64, plus tip. My large was not “large” - to me - I would say more like a size medium at the biggest. But for the Italian ice, Bryan received a huge, generous cup of cherry flavored ice. Either way though, I was simply happy to have something cold, because is there anything better than something cold after a long and sweaty shift?
We love Rita’s and go there semi-frequently. Sometimes we are fortunate enough to find the $2.00 off coupons in the monthly coupon mailer, but we haven’t had any lately.
Always extra creamy, and always delicious. Rita’s remains a fabulous and inexpensive dessert outing, and the location can’t be beat. Three blocks from the beach, and directly on A1A, Rita’s location is directly in the heart of Jax Beach. You can easily grab a cone, and head straight out onto the sandy shores a few minutes later.
Moving onward to Whit’s, we ventured over there, on Beach Boulevard, on the evening of April 20th. Once again, after hubby picked me up from work. Our second ice cream location of the week. And after another long, hot shift at work.
Whit’s also usually has $2.00 off coupons in the Jax monthly mailers, but, of course I am always without my coupon clippings and am forever ill-prepared to save a buck. Yet, always prepared to spend... Why is that, by the way?
And while Whit’s does not have a drive-thru, or window service, their dining room remained open for to-go service. So, there we were at Whit’s, for our second ice cream adventure of the week. We ordered a large chocolate Whitsper (their version of a Blizzard) for $7.00, and a medium Butterfinger Whitsper for $6.00, for a total of $13.91, plus tip.
While both of these outings took place smack in the middle of the Presidential Guidelines of 30 Days To Stop The Spread of the Coronavirus, in my opinion, it was fabulous that so many dining establishments remained open and available for take-out. Especially for everybody still working… long, hard hours outside the home. Restaurants and coffee shops and treats have been imperative and a literal lifeline to making it through an extra-long, extra-stressful shift.
I love Rita’s and always have. We continue to go there on a regular basis. But, in my dessert foodie opinion, Whit’s win’s the award here. Their portions remain solidly larger than Rita’s. Large - to - Large comparison, you get way, way more ice cream at Whit’s than at Rita’s. Even if you ask for more at Rita’s, their largest does not compare to Whit’s. And when I go out for ice cream, give me the largest size please.
Whit’s is also very pet-friendly, and even has a doggie menu. My furry baby has had their ice cream/dog bone sundae, and she very much approves.
And now that the 30 Days to slow the spread are complete, and businesses are resuming operations, here in Florida we are at 25% dine-in occupancy. And outdoor dining feels fairly normal. Meaning, if you grab ice cream at either of these locations, right now, you can once again grab a bench, grab a chair, pull open the umbrella, and eat under the sun. Or inside - if you need the air conditioning. Ahh the little things in life… 25% occupancy.
Overall, Whit’s definitely wins the day for me, simply on their sizing. I love ice cream, maybe as much as donuts… and coffee, oh jeaz. I think I just love a lot of things. But when I pay for a large, and then get a really generous helping, they win. Hands down. Plus - doggie menu. Any place that keeps some dog bones on hand, is a winner in my book.
So, congratulations to Whit’s Jax Beach for being the very Official Winner of Bean’s Battle For Best @ The Beaches - Ice Cream Edition ~ 2020.
And an amazing and huge and heartfelt thank you to both locations, for being open during the worst of days, and feeding us good and conforming treats to brighten our saddest of very sad days. ~
*Have you been to Rita’s or Whit’s? Which do you like better? Are you more of an Italian ice person, or an ice cream swirl sorta person? I’d love to know. Drop me a comment down below:
Also, for more dueling dessert/debates around Jacksonville, check out some more of my flavorful Floridian adventures, below:
70] Peterbrooke Chocolatier ~ Bean’s Battle for Best @ The Beaches
*Bean’s Best Award Winner! ~ Chocolate ~ 2020
39] The Very Official & Quite Serious Donut Debate Of 2020
And, if you’re searching for a fabulous diner while in town, you can check out a variety of my local Jacksonville area diner reviews, right here:
57] First Watch on the First Coast
54] Um, Open @ Angie’s Subs
50] Sundays Are For Diners ~ Super Diners
40] Visiting The Florida Cracker Kitchen ~ Jacksonville
19] Another Broken Egg Cafe ~ A Taste Of NOLA @ The Beach
16] Beach Diner ~ If You Feed Them They Will Come
Remember when it was somebody’s birthday? Ohhhh, so very, very long ago…
Candles would be lit. A song would be sung. And the birthday boy, or birthday girl, would take in a big breath - with their lungs - and blow out all the candles.
And then everybody would clap.
The cake would be sliced. Every piece passed around - a plate of deliciousness for all at the party. Everybody sharing, in an act of celebration. Another person a year older - another piece of cake to commemorate the occasion.
A fork in one hand. A plate of frosted, sugary goodness in the other.
And without giving it a second thought, everyone would bite into their slice of dessert, even though somebody had just previously breathed upon said cake?
Those moments are now gone.
But a girl can dream - right?
No one will look at a birthday cake the same way again now.
Because, while we all still may eat the cake, the sentiment just isn’t the same. And while we all still may sing a song… and candles can still be blown out… the world has once again changed.
And I miss that corresponding sentiment.
I miss a whole lot more than just that though.
I miss it all...
I miss coffee shops.
I miss restaurants.
I miss saying, “Table for two.” - Instead of “Two dinners to go, please.”
I miss smiles on unhidden faces.
I miss laughter.
I miss jokes.
I miss friends.
I miss family.
I miss parties.
I miss the library.
I miss fairs, carnivals, rides, cotton candy, and sno cones.
I miss Art Shows, Art Walks, Art Festivals, craft shows, and concerts.
And I still don’t miss nfl football.
I miss my once a year and very boring visit to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle Department. Otherwise known as the FLHSMV. In fact, I miss that a whole heck of a lot more than football.
And I missed out on the opportunity to see Hamilton - right here in Jacksonville, back in March. My tickets - sadly, refunded to my credit card.
I miss the smell of a book, just picked up from the library, as I crack open the spine.
I miss handshakes.
I miss milk shakes.
I miss hugs.
I miss kisses on the cheek.
I miss the darn dentist.
I miss joy and good cheer.
I miss good will to all people.
I miss Christmas.
I miss Walt Disney World.
I miss All-You-Can-Eat Buffets.
I miss unlimited scoops of ice cream, from large tubs, on the dessert line of the above-mentioned buffet. Where I can pick up my own cup, take the cold steel scoop, push it with my own hands into the milky cream, releasing chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry into my own cup. My very own ice cream mountain - as high as I want to make it.
I miss simple get togethers - large and small. I miss people’s faces when I communicate with them. I miss the act of meeting up with those fellow humans - in person. In real life.
I miss being able to hear that fellow human being, clearly, when they speak to me - their unmuffled voice carrying into my ears, and the sound of it not being blocked by a cloth mask.
I miss people treating one another as fellow human beings - and not treating others as the walking plague.
I miss closeness.
I miss happiness all around us.
I miss people leaving their house like it was just another day.
I miss life… I miss seeing other people living their lives.
I miss faith over fear.
But just because I miss all these very simple things, doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing them, and living them, myself.
In fact, I’ve been the busiest in my entire life - during the long and drawn out and quite dramatic duration of this entire, never-ending plague.
Regardless of life outside my own front door. I am breathing. I am communicating. I am celebrating. I am being responsible for myself. I am making my own life decisions. I am sucking it up. I am dealing. I am not only surviving. I am proud and happy to be fully alive. I am living.
I am reading. I am planning. I am dreaming. I am pursuing. I am working hard. I am exercising. I am writing. I am painting. I am utilizing this time to become stronger. To learn. To grow. To try new things.
And most importantly, I am persevering.
And I am coming home from work - and I’m stepping right in the shower, washing the invisible and mysterious and confusing plague off me each night.
And, I’ve learned a lot. And I’ve learned what I already always knew - how imperative each breath we take really is.
So let’s all inhale.
Breathe in - In the face of fear.
Exhale - and keep going, my friends. Exhale and continue onward. Exhale and push forward. Exhale and persevere.
And if it happens to be your birthday, go ahead and exhale a big breath straight onto your very own birthday cake candles...
Yes, I know that’s exactly what we will be doing this weekend.
As we celebrate my hubby’s birthday, we will dine out, along the water’s edge, for our First Supper since the plague began. We will sit at tables, amongst other human beings. All partaking in the common and essential act of breathing, and eating.
And I will pick up the special cupcake creations I ordered from Cinotti’s Bakery. And I will slap some candles on top of the frosted red velvety goodness. I will light the flame.
And I will sing “Happy Birthday!”
And my furry baby will probably sing a lot louder than me.
And most importantly, my hubby will then inhale with his own set of two lungs, and exhale hard on top of all the frosting, extinguishing that flame. And then we will eat all the darn sugar. ~
*How have you been living through this plague? Are you persevering? Are you experimenting with new ideas? Are you at home brewing up new talents? Are you getting fresh air? I’d so love to know. Drop me a comment down below:
Also, if you’re enjoying my Floridian daydreams, then check out some of my others, right here:
71] My 69 Week Break From Social Media ~ Why I Left & Why I Came Back
68] A Sunday Stroll
65] The Sea Life ~ Happy Easter
64] Stay-At-Home Sunday ~ Palm Sunday
63] Mercy & Comfort
62] PERSPECTIVE @ Seaside Sculpture Park
61] Bean’s Idea List ~ 15 Daily Activities For Well Beyond 15 Days
59] REACTION ~ To World War 19
55] The Shamrock
51] Life Is Full Of Pasta-Bilities ~ Bean’s Red Sauce Recipe
49] A Picture Worth A Thousand Words ~ Happy Valentine’s Day, World
44] Nothing Finer Than Coffee In The Keys ~ The Coffee Plantation Cafe
42] Where Does The Chicken Cross The Road?
39] The Very Official & Quite Serious Donut Debate Of 2020
18] Sea & Sky Jax Weekend ~ Fun In The Florida Sun, Sea, Sky & Sand
*Part of - Bean’s Baking - series
Attention Bakers: You will get TWO completely different desserts out of this recipe!
I absolutely LOVE making my very own peanut butter balls. They are such a quick and easy no-bake dessert - perfect to go along with a large family gathering. Or a fabulous dish to bring along to a party, a holiday cookie exchange, as well as simply a little treat at home, that may, or may not, last all week long.
And as y’all know what kind of crazy time period we have been living throughout the global pandemic. Plus the 24 hour news cycle endlessly discussing all things coronavirus… being in the kitchen, and making a homemade dessert, can be a thoroughly needed and recommended distraction with the current state of affairs throughout the globe. Honestly, I can’t remember enjoying the entire process of making homemade food as much I did with this dish. These peanut butter bubbles were a sincere and absolute joy to make.
But, there’s one more thing that I enjoyed even more than making them. And that was giving them all away. For the past few years of baking, I’ve tended to follow an informal rule that I imposed upon myself when making homemade desserts. And that is if I am going to bake, I am also going to share. So every time I now create a doughy and delicious treat, I make a point of passing along to neighbors, friends, co-workers, and lots of others who I am connected with in some way. For this batch of delicious treats, I brought them to work with me.
I made the treats at home on Holy Thursday, and they came to work with me on Good Friday. They were my Easter Goodies to share with everyone. And I think they went over well… At the end of my shift I went to grab my Tupperware to take home with me and every last Bubble was gone. Sooo happy indeed.
The highest compliment any baker can receive is a completely empty serving platter.
I also brought along to work the painting I’ve attached below, as a gift to a coworker. A few days prior she had brought in little Easter goodie bags for every employee, complete with the traditional green grass, candy, and plastic egg. It immediately inspired me to paint this for her in return.
I hope you enjoy making your very own batch of peanut butter bubbles. If you have little ones around the house, get them involved in the process. They can easily become dough rollers, chocolate dippers, or sprinkle spreaders. And in return, they’ll learn to love and appreciate the process of making homemade goodies.
As for me, I don’t have little ones in the house, but my little baker’s assistant diligently managed the entire process for me from the sidelines.
So next time you are looking to turn off the news, and turn up the sweet fun, go ahead and position yourself in the kitchen. Open your pantry and pull out your jar of peanut butter, turn off the news - and turn on a podcast, and get baking. And don’t forget to share! ~
2 sticks of butter - your choice - salted or unsalted.
6 cups of confectioners sugar - powdered sugar.
I full jar of peanut butter - we mostly use Peter Pan Creamy.
1 large bag of Nestle Tollhouse semi-sweet chocolate chips. For me, the chips melt quicker, easier and more thoroughly than full bars of chocolate.
1 tsp canola oil - or a bit more if needed, to help melt the chocolate.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
1/4 tsp salt.
Sprinkles - the miniature dot sprinkles work well here since the finished product is pretty small.
1 bag of pretzels - any shape - we used stick pretzels.
Mix the peanut butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt in a large mixing bowl. I mix by hand. The dough will take a while to get the stickier consistency. Add ingredients in slowly.
Add butter - melt in the microwave if needed for roughly 20 seconds.
Place a large sheet of parchment paper onto a large baking tray.
Rolls into balls by hand.
Place peanut butter balls on the covered baking tray.
Keep balls separated.
After all balls are rolled, go ahead and slide the tray into the refrigerator. Cover with another sheet of parchment paper. Cool for roughly an hour or so.
Once dough is cooled, proceed with the final chocolate dipping stage of the process.
-Dipping In Chocolate-
Put 2 cups of chocolate chips in the microwave - for 20 seconds.
Remove and stir.
Add canola oil to the chocolate.
Microwave again for 20 seconds.
Remove and stir.
Potentially microwave again for another 20 seconds - a third time repeating the process. Stir again. Until you get a liquidy, chocolate consistency.
Wait a few minutes for the chocolate to cool ever so slightly.
Start dipping each peanut butter ball into chocolate. Use a fork if necessary. Use a toothpick to slide the chocolate covered ball off the fork and back onto the parchment paper lined tray.
Sprinkle each ball immediately after coating in chocolate so that the sprinkles glue themselves on.
Place the completed Peanut Butter Bubbles back in the refrigerator for about an hour to cool off and solidify.
Share and enjoy!
Chocolate Covered Pretzels:
You will most likely have leftover melted chocolate after you are finished with the above process. While all the ingredients are still out, and all the dishes are already dirty, now’s the time to pull out that bag of pretzels sitting in your pantry. Dip each pretzel into the chocolate - sprinkle if you want - and line up each dipped pretzel on a piece of parchment paper, same process as above.
Cool and enjoy this easy sweet and savory treat!
Share with the world - and enjoy. ~
*Do you have a favorite go-to, quick dessert recipe that you use to bring along and share at parties? I’d love to know. Also, let me know if you make this recipe? Drop me a comment down below:
Plus - Here’s a few of my other dessert recipes to go ahead and check out:
30] Bean’s Sugar Cookie Recipe ~
25] Don’t Google It, Just Do It ~ Christine’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
And if you’re a big fan of spending time at home, and cooking homemade meals from scratch in the kitchen - I’ve got some fabulously delicious recipes for at-home dinners, right here:
58] Bean’s Corona Kickin’ Chicken
51] Life Is Full Of Pasta-Bilities ~ Bean’s Red Sauce Recipe
47] Bean’s Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnut Recipe ~ A Super Food For A Super Sunday
43] Bean’s Bold Beef Stew Recipe ~
38] The Year Of The Sweater ~ Bean’s Minestrone Soup Recipe
10] Bean’s Soulful Southern Chili
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