"So, umm... I hear there's a really good ice cream place a few doors down." I say casually as I take a large bite of my thick-crust slice of BBQ chicken pizza at Gina's Pizza in Irvine.
My mom raises an eyebrow. "Where?"
I nod my head to the right. "Just over there."
My mom turns back to her pizza. She doesn't seem particularly interested in filling her stomach beyond capacity.
Typical, I think. She always has to stop eating when she's full. Soooo anti-American.
"It's homemade -- they make it fresh everyday." I continue, hoping my words will lure in my dad instead.
"They are thinking of opening a new location." He interjects.
"What?" I ask, popping a stray bite of chicken into my mouth.
"Gina's. They're expanding. He may be the new manager." He says, referrring to the handsome UCI student who is always manning the counter when my parents and I come in for one of our ritualistic pizza nights.
"Oh, right." I respond noncommitedly.
At the moment, I don't really care much about the expansion of my favorite OC pizzeria. I care about ice cream -- specifically the ice cream sold at Strickland's, the independently owned shop near Gina's that is rumored to have some of the best ice cream in Southern California. I've been dying to try it, and am not about to miss out on another opportunity to taste the frozen deliciousness that has received an average of 4 stars on Yelp.
As I polish off the thick wedge of crust on my second piece of pizza, I set my jaw in determination.
I don't care what they do, I will have the ice cream tonight.
Ten minutes later, as my dad scours the restaurant to further harass the aforementioned assistant manager, I sneak out the front door with my eyes fixated on the ice cream parlour just down the walkway of the strip mall. My mom follows. She knows what I'm doing.
"I just want to have a peek..." I say, feigning indifference.
I don't just want a peek, and she knows it.
"Do you want me to get you one?" She asks playing the role of the good mother -- just like she always does.
I nod my head shyly. "If you don't mind..." I say as though it doesn't really matter, and then immediately turn toward the list of daily flavors that rotate everyday.
"Can I try a couple of the flavors?" I ask the pleasant-faced middle-aged man behind the counter.
He gives an enthusiastic affirmative response and rushes off to fetch me a taste of both the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup and the Mint Oreo.
"I think I would get the Mint Oreo." My mom whispers.
I ignore her, my mouth suddenly enraptured by the sea of creamy bliss that is descending over my tongue.
In a daze, I select the Peanut Butter Cup, and spend the car ride home mooning over the soft-serve consistency ice cream that truly tastes as though it is fresh from the maker. Mid-way through my generous serving, I start to tire of the dessert, but finish it anyway. I've waited far too long for this ice cream to let even a tiny portion go to waste. And unlike my mom, I subscribe to a full-fledged "Big Fat American" policy when I'm treating myself. No cup nor plate will enter the trash with food still on it.
The delicately flavored peanut butter ice cream is the perfect cool treat to begin the long Memorial Day weekend, and the perfect way to end another successful Gina's pizza night witih my parents. I will repeat this experience again. Only next time, I'm bringing my parents down with me.