While the rest of the country baked, broiled and sweated all summer, we kind of moaned that it never got warm enough for beaching it.  Well, that’s about to change as the end of August and September bring our usual late summer heat.  But you’ve maxed out on ice creams and popsicles and need a new way to stay cool.  Well, we’ve got the “scoop” on the latest buzz in frozen dessert heaven. Rita’s Italian Ice has opened up shop to rock our beach bum palettes with refreshing ice creations.  It’s finally our turn to start a love affair with the smooth, creamy, custard topped Italian ice that East Coasters have excitedly and patiently waited for in infamously long lines.  So, we’ve established that you’re going.  The only question that remains is ice, custard or both?

 Ritas Italian Ice

Fuhgeddabbout the snow cones, this Italian ice is different
You thought you’ve had the best icy treat – snow cone or snow ice.  Don’t hand that crown out until you and the kids taste this Italian delight.  You might want to plan on spending a good amount of time here because you’ll want to sample your way through an Italian Ice education.  The kids will love the cool flavors such as Starburst, Juicy Pear, Mango, and Cotton Candy.  After acquainting yourself with the classic Italian Ice, you and the kids need to try the Cream Ice (yup, it’s Ice Cream backwards) that’s smoother and creamier.  You’ll also be pleasantly surprised to find a couple of sugar-free options served daily as well.  Can’t decide?  Try the Gelati: your favorite ice with a dollop of frozen custard on top.

Ritas Italian Ice

A combo made in heaven: ice + custard
Their fresh frozen custard is rich and creamy without overly stimulating your sweet tastebuds.  If you’re not feeling the ice on a particular day, you can always get the frozen custard that is reminiscent of soft serve ice cream (but better).  The custard flavors change daily to mix it up the mundane.  On any given day, custard flavors to delight your little ones’ palettes might include vanilla, strawberry, orange cream, or chocolate.  For parents watching waistlines, a low fat version of the custard is also available, and it tastes just as good.  Get it as a sundae or simply in a cup or cone.   Milk shakes are also on offer in various flavors, including chocolate dipped strawberry.  Kids who love a little of everything go for the Blendini, a fun mix-up of Italian ice, custard, and toppings.

 Ritas Italian Ice

You can eat your ice and drink it too…
If you’ve got to quench your thirst on a sunny afternoon, order the Misto, which is a drinkable blend of Italian ice and frozen custard.  Alex’s Frozen Lemonade is also available for slurping and it just might be the perfect addition to your picnic at the beach with the kids.  (Lemonades come in a few different flavors so be sure to check daily.)

 Ritas Italian Ice

Did you say cakes and ice cream sandwiches?
Got a birthday party or gathering? Be the bearer of good dessert news.  Pop in and grab a frozen custard cake that is ready and set to go in the freezers.  Your guests, especially the little ones, will be thrilled to try something new.  Three flavors are await you:  Signature Gelati that boasts swirls of chocolate Italian ice and vanilla custard, Cookies n’ Cream made with OREO, and the Chocolate Fudge Brownie Frozen Custard Cake.  While you’re at it, pick up some OREO frozen custard sandwiches for yourself, er, the kids.

 Ritas Italian Ice

And because free is a very good price…
You can download the latest Rita’s mobile app to earn loyalty points, aka free ice, as well as a free treat on your birthday via the birthday club.  The first reward punch is free when you download app and sign up via Facebook.

 Ritas Italian ice

Rita’s Italian Ice
2307 Main Street
Santa Monica, Ca
Phone: (310) 450-5042
Online: facebook.com/RitasofSM

What’s your favorite way to keep cool? Ice cream, gelato, shave ice, bread pudding, fro-yo, popsicles, or now, Italian Ices?
-by Sommy Rhee

Photos credit: Alicia Cho Photography and Sommy Rhee