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News / Life / Clark County Life

7 stellar spots to get ice cream this summer around Clark County

From Salt & Straw at the Waterfront Vancouver to Eight Cow Creamery in Ridgefield, we can all scream for ice cream

By Rachel Pinsky, Columbian freelance food writer, and
The Columbian
Published: June 14, 2024, 6:05am
13 Photos
Small Eats stations at the Vancouver Farmers Market where it serves Honeysuckle Ice Cream.
Small Eats stations at the Vancouver Farmers Market where it serves Honeysuckle Ice Cream. (Rachel Pinsky) Photo Gallery

Salt & Straw’s arrival at the Vancouver waterfront was cool, but competition for the best ice cream in Clark County is just beginning to heat up as new spots open for tasty licks.

Treat

210 W. Evergreen Blvd., Vancouver; 360-750-0811; open noon to 9 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 2 to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 2 to 10 p.m. Friday, noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.

Treat opened as a bakery in downtown Vancouver 15 years ago. In 2018, Stephanie McNees and Mitchell Flies upped the ice cream game here by folding their small batch baked goods into the ice cream spun twice a day on site. All of the toppings and waffle cones are also made at the shop.

Over the years, Treat has established relationships with Pacific Northwest fruit growers. Weekly and sometimes daily visits are made to Clark County’s Bi-Zi Farms for berries, especially boysenberries. Farm fresh fruit mixed into Treat’s stellar baked goods then swirled into housemade ice cream bases results in a delectable trifecta.

A new summer menu available starting Thursday features Rachel’s Ginger Beer floats, Bi-Zi Farms Boysenberry Bramble, and Maryhill Peach Crumble. Care, hard work and attention to detail continue to make this downtown Vancouver spot the best ice cream shop on either side of the Columbia River.

Softea

808 Main St., Vancouver; 360-507-8083; open noon to 8 p.m. daily.

Long lines of boba-tea and soft-serve lovers snaked around Main Street when Softea opened downtown on April 20. This capybara-themed cafe offers a full menu of milk teas and fruit teas with toppings like boba, jellies and bits ($6.45) as well as soft-serve ice cream (vanilla, ube, matcha and Dole Whip, $5.45). For those who can’t decide whether they want tea or ice cream, there’s softea (soft serve ice cream and tea, $9.95). This mashup of icy drinks and creamy swirls comes in combinations like Pineapple Express, strawberry jasmine tea with strawberry bits and poppers topped with Dole Whip, or Purple Rain with taro milk tea and lychee jelly topped with ube soft serve and Fruity Pebbles.

Small Eats

Vancouver Farmers Market, 605 Esther St.; 360-440-0652; open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Small Eats Taiwanese street-food booth at the Vancouver Farmers Market serves its own soft serve ice cream with flavors including honeysuckle, milk tea, black sesame and taro ($7-$8). I recently tried honeysuckle, a creamy pale yellow confection that tasted like a honeybee’s daydream of wildflowers dabbled in honey.

Sorridi Gelato

9228 N.E. Highway 99, Suite 111, Vancouver; 360-907-1838; open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

If you’re fantasizing about a trip to Italy but the closest you’ll get to Florence is the town by that name on the Oregon Coast, a visit to Sorridi Gelato will satisfy your craving for gelato and sorbetto ($5.52 for one flavor, $6.50 for two, $8 for three). Kelly Mick began selling her frozen Italian treats at the Vancouver Farmers Market (where she still has a stall) but recently opened a brick-and-mortar shop in Hazel Dell featuring her gelato, sorbetto (made with ice, fruit and sugar) and luscious yogurt.

Mick couldn’t find gelato on this side of the river so she decided to make her own. The recipe for her gelato base required extensive trial and error to get the right consistency. It includes whole milk, cream, sugar, milk powder and tapioca syrup. Her vegan offerings are fresh sorbettos or gelatos made with an oat-milk base. Get a scoop of stracciatella (chocolate chip and vanilla) and strawberry (with the tart sweetness of early summer fruit), close your eyes, and you can almost feel the spray of the Fountain of Neptune on your face.

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Salt & Straw

740 Waterfront Way, Vancouver; 425-429-4778; open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

Ice cream aficionados no longer need to drive to Portland to try fascinating flavors like Pear & Blue Cheese or Honey Lavender from Salt & Straw ($5.95 for one scoop, $7.95 for two). The Portland based ice cream powerhouse recently set up a scoop shop on The Waterfront Vancouver. The June selection features a brewers’ series that includes Russian River’s Supplication Ale (aged for a year with dried cherries in Pinot Noir barrels) mixed with manchego cheese and swirled with marmalade made tart cherries. In typical Salt & Straw fashion, this combination sounds crazy but tastes delicious. I recently enjoyed it with a scoop of Strawberry Honey Balsamic w/ Black Pepper. Salt & Straw also makes a stellar selection of vegan ice cream like peanut brittle caramel fudge with a coconut cream base.

Eight Cow Creamery

4327 S. Settler Drive, Suite 140, Ridgefield; 360-771-6962; hours vary.

Eight Cow Creamery is a Ridgefield-based small batch ice cream company currently operating out of a mobile truck. The owners expect to open their brick and mortar at Pioneer Village in August ($5 single scoop, $7 for a double scoop). Alisa and David Neil started their business to provide something missing in their community: scratch-made ice cream. In addition to providing sweet treats, the Neils help local youth develop job skills such as creating a resume, serving customers and balancing a checkbook. Eight Cow makes ice cream with an Alpenrose base mixed with locally sourced items, including berries from Jones Farm and Munoz Berry Farm, as well as carrot cake and peach cobbler from Sadie and Josie’s in La Center. The truck operates on weekends. Location updates are posted on Wednesday to Instagram and Facebook.

Upstream Ice Cream

254 N. Hendrickson Drive, Kalama; open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

Upstream Ice Cream at Mountain Timber Marketplace in Kalama serves Tillamook ice cream along with small batch makers like Eight Cow Creamery and Sweetlee’s in Olympia that can be found along the Columbia River (thus, the name Upstream). The owners envision it as a taproom but instead of offering rotating taps of craft beer they have a fluctuating scoop list of carefully selected small businesses ($6 for one scoop, $9 for two scoops). They also sell made-to-order ice cream sandwiches with cookies from Sadie and Josie’s in La Center (chocolate chip or M&M) and choice of ice cream ($9).

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Columbian freelance food writer