Let it be known that I am lactose intolerant. I never drank milk growing up and my only exposure to lactose was weekly trips to Cold Stone with my parents, which left me clutching my stomach in pain and moaning as I determinedly finished the last bite of my waffle cone.
At the time, I thought this was normal – after eating copious amounts of cake batter ice cream, who wouldn’t be sick? Later I realized that unfortunately I was slightly allergic to all things dairy.
This wasn’t a problem for most of my life, I preferred almond milk to regular milk, didn’t really like yogurt, and after my adolescence my family rarely made trips to Cold Stone anymore.
When I arrived at Yale, much of this stayed the same. I steered clear of the yogurt bar, frequented the “special” fridge for dairy-free milks in the dining halls, and avoided the toddler-sized bins of ice cream offered at every dinner.
Then, one day, everything changed. My suitemate was craving Ashley’s and begged me to go with her. I knew Ashley’s Ice Cream only as the place next to Blue State, whose neon sign seemed to be perpetually glowing in the window.
It was the end of freshman year and I had yet to set foot in the tiny shop. I thought, “what the heck, it’s been a while I’ll get a cone” and decided to go with her.
Minutes later (because yes, it’s that close by) I heard the chime of the bell as we entered the store, the smell of freshly made cones tickling our noses as we filed in line. My eyes danced along the rows of flavors; my pulse quickened a little at the thought of my first ice cream cone in what had seemed like years.
When it was finally my turn to order I must have tried three different types before settling on what would end up being my go-to (yes, keep reading, I have a go-to now): one scoop Coffee Oreo, one scoop Cookie Batter in a waffle cone. As I was handed my order across the counter I could feel my mouth salivating and I eagerly dug my spoon into the mound of ice cream.
It was so thick that the plastic bent from trying to scoop too much into my mouth, but when I finally did take that first bite, I fell in love. Minutes later, empty handed and drunk on lactose, I marched back in line and ordered a second serving, unable to control myself.
Recognition and confusion flickered behind the eyes of the man working behind the counter but he ignored his intuition to cut me off and fulfilled my request for another round of cookie batter, bless his soul. I will admit I even considered going back a third time and probably would have had I not run out of money.
Ashley’s is everything you want in a scoop of ice cream. It’s light and airy, so much so that after finishing your fourth cone you forgot you even ate anything at all.
Their flavors are rich and creamy, featuring Cookie Batter, Pumpkin, Nutella Chip and even Avocado. And although this is enough to make anyone want to visit every day, Ashley’s also has a little something extra compelling you to walk through their door, something I can’t put my finger on.
At this point we had a month left of school and in that last month I visited Ashley’s on more than five occasions. If you know me, and know that’s not an accurate number, then I will admit I’m rounding down a bit because two of those trips were for charity reasons and therefore I don’t count them as valid. I spent over forty dollars on ice cream in one month and single handedly consumed all of it.
I am now a sophomore: a seasoned veteran of college life, a mature adult capable of self-control and healthy choices. By this I mean that I had to tell my boyfriend not to let me go to Ashley’s more than every two weeks*. Baby steps. So, twice a month, I happily greet the day where I can get my fix: one scoop Coffee Oreo, one scoop Cookie Batter in a freshly pressed waffle cone.
*Authors note: although it has not been two weeks I had to take an obligatory trip back to get photos for this article. This visit has been stricken from the record.