Books and Adventures: The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street

The tastiest book adventure to date: ice cream party!

My sweet friend Tami and I have similar literary tastes. She recently recommended The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman, because of its historical-fiction genre and also because it would make for a tasty adventure.

But first, about the book:

Spanning 70+ years, The Ice Cream Queen is the life story of a young Russian immigrant girl, Malka Treynovsky, who arrives in New York with her family in 1913. A Goodreads review stated this novel suffers from “Chick Lit Cover Syndrome.” And I have to agree. This 501-pager is most certainly not chick lit.

Malka’s life and rise to ice cream tycoon is linked to historical events: Ellis Island, child labor laws, prohibition, World War II, the polio epidemic, to name a few…

Malka eventually becomes Lillian Dunkle, and as she discovers her successful business model, eventually the ice cream queen. At times, it is difficult to love her because of her brash personality, but as you learn more of her story you start to sympathize.

Now, for the adventure:

Ice Cream Social in Tacoma serves handcrafted ice cream made from natural and local ingredients.

Tami discovered Ice Cream Social, located on Tacoma’s eclectic 6th Ave. Sharing a block with a tattoo parlor and a hot dog joint/bar, Ice Cream Social had a steady stream of people in and out during our visit for their handcrafted ice cream made from natural and locally-sourced ingredients.

On the menu were unique flavors like peanut butter + jelly, lavender, ginger and pancake porter. With Tami’s family and me and my husband, we were able to sample a wide-range of the menu.

On our way to Ice Cream Social we drove through Tacoma’s Orchard Street, which was the ice cream on the cake for this adventure (see what I did there?).

Thank you Tami for sharing this adventure with me!


In the mood

photo 1As we drove to downtown Tacoma for date night Saturday, my husband asked me, “Are you excited, old soul?

Indeed I was. Extremely! For that date night would be like no other date night. It would be a night right out of history.

When I heard the “In the Mood” 1940s musical revue was making a tour stop in Tacoma, I immediately sent the ticket link to Trevor with the words: “This sounds AMAZING!!!!!!!

My music-appreciating husband gladly agreed and we bought two tickets for the show at the Temple Theatre.

I can’t remember when my love of jazz music was born. I started playing the clarinet as many elementary-aged budding musicians did and continued on in junior high (and then high school). I really wanted to play jazz music but was dejected when my band teacher said clarinets couldn’t play in the school’s jazz band.

Wphoto 2At the conclusion of my eighth grade year, while looking forward to a summer vacation of being lazy, my teacher asked if I would be interested in learning to play the tenor saxophone over the summer for the jazz band. Finally, my big break!

I spent the next three months learning my new instrument and enjoyed being part of a group of jazz musicians my freshman year of high school. Fun fact: The first known photo of me and Trevor was our 1998-1999 jazz band photo.

I appreciate many different types of jazz, but nothing tops the sound of big band — the swingin’ era of 1940s horns gets me every time. When I heard of the “In the Mood” show, I felt it was created just for my old soul!

With lips and nails painted red, my husband and I enjoyed a night on the town! Upon entering the theatre we quickly learned we were one of the youngest couples in attendance, by about 30 years. Surrounded by baby boomers and military veterans, we enjoyed the popular sounds of the 1940s for two hours.

Along with the music was narration, dancing and singing — a scene right out of a USO dance circa-1944.

But the real star of the night was my husband’s zoot suit shoes, which he inherited from a friend’s grandfather. Only one of the eight who gave compliments noticed my shoes matched, too!

photo 3
Our vintage kicks.