In the dog days of summer, cold treats become a pretty big deal. If I heard the ice cream man right now, pretty sure I would run him down for an Astro Pop or those orange and red swirl popsicles (the internet is telling me those are called Firecrackers and Big Sticks but that just can’t be right). And I’m a girl who loves a Chaco Taco too but really when you get right down to it, if there’s an IT’S-IT in play it’s pretty much over for me.
Now, for those of you who didn’t grow up in California, I’ll need to explain just exactly what an IT’S-IT is. The original version is a scoop of ice cream between two oatmeal cookies covered in dark chocolate. And when I say oatmeal cookies, I don’t mean those terrible oatmeal and raisin cookies like you find at Safeway, these are much closer to graham cracker crust in cookie form. What really make them great is that they are so dense they can stand up to the moisture of the ice cream even as it melts.
Biting into one is the perfect mix of chocolate, ice cream and crunchy cookie. They also come in mint (the thought is overwhelming), chocolate and cappuccino. But I have never seen these flavors in the wild.
They were invited in San Francisco, sold at the Playland by the Beach. When it was torn down in the 1970s they build a factory out near the San Francisco airport (which is in Burlingame, not too far from where JP grew up but he doesn’t like IT’S-IT. Yeah, I don’t know either). If you are driving up from the south you can see it from the freeway.
I had never seen one outside of California until recently. I few weeks back I spotted a box on the top shelf in the freezer section at Safeway. At first I thought it was a mirage and kept on shopping. Then the other day at Target, there they were again so the box of three came home with me.
Who puts three ice cream sandwiches in a box? IT’S-IT does. Because they have been making these delicious treats since the 1920s and, frankly, you take what you can get.
I remembered back when JP and I went to hear Anthony Bourdain and Mario Batali speak. An audience member asked the chefs what did they eat at their wedding? Batali said, man we kept it simple, a taco truck and a cooler full of IT’S-IT. Sounds perfect to me.