Soaking In The Goodness of a Childhood Favorite

Namely, Fenton’s Creamery.

I come from an ice cream loving family. In fact, the Wells’ are almost fanatical about it. On my dad’s 31st birthday, my mom bought him 31-one gallon tubs of ice cream. And our five person family blew threw it all in three months. Not proud, but damn, that was a fun time.

When our family discovered Fenton’s, it was like we struck gold. It was an old school creamery situated in a developing area of Oakland. The five of us sat around a tiny table that should really only fit three and placed our orders. My dad ordered the banana split and before we knew it, an insane mound of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream, caramel sauce and chocolate sauces, nuts, and fresh whipped cream was delivered to our table with the proverbial cherry on top.

Black and Tan sundae from Fenton's (before)

Then the rest of our orders came to the table and I think we spent the first five minutes giggling with one another. There were five crazy piles of gluttony oozing out of bowls and tall glasses, awaiting to be devoured. And devour we did. I think one of us (*cough* Joy *cough*) might have even licked her bowl.

Oh, and then came the crab sandwiches, which put our family over the edge. We love seafood almost as much as we love ice cream and this, my friends, is a winning combination. Fresh crab. Light slaw. Perfectly toasted bread. ZOMG.

Cracked crab sandwich from Fenton's in Oakland. As good as I remember.

For the next ten years, our family made Fenton’s a monthly excursion, and the boys we chose to date knew we really liked them when they were invited to join us for the trip to the magical ice cream land. One time I remember fondly was when my [then] boyfriend Mike challenged my dad to the banana split eating contest. Needless to say, my dad won – and I think he even helped Mike finish his when it was over. On the ride home that night, we all sat in silence as we reflected on the tasty goodness we had just put into our bodies when all of a sudden, the sounds of pants unzipping and a ‘I should have worn elastic waisted jeans tonight’ comment came from Mike. We all busted out laughing as Mike was a Varsity football player who was used to eating large quantities of food to fuel his time on the field, and one ‘little’ banana split took him out. It was awesome.

While most of my family took to the banana split, I am partial to their Black and Tan sundae. Vanilla ice cream, their ‘crack’ caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, toasted almonds and that amazing whipped cream. I don’t even think I have ever ordered anything else – it is that good.

Fenton’s is one of those rare gems – a company that knows what their market wants, continue to produce an amazing product (50+ years) and supports it with great service.

For various reasons (most likely the ever-growing size of my hips), I had stopped going to Fenton’s. It had been 20+ years and I returned recently, this time, with Heuer in tow. It had the same white walls. The same metal chairs. The same small tables. We ordered a Black and Tan and a crab sandwich, to split. And you know what? It was as good, and as big, as I remembered. Nothing had changed, thankfully.

I doubt we will restart the monthly tradition, but we will make sure we don’t let another 20 years go by either. And as I write this post, I realize I should probably not be writing this as I really don’t want the lines to be any longer than they already are. Whoops.