By Carolina Gillam
Despite the chilly, wintery months that we face here in Kirkland, Wash., everyone gets a craving for a cold and decadent dessert now and then. With that in mind, I set out to review three of the closest options: Molly Moon’s Ice Cream, Sirena Gelato and Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt. My companions and I judged them based off of service, flavor selection, flavor quality, topping choices, location/environment, pricing and whether or not they had a dairy-free or vegan option for all my fellow lactose-intolerant people (vegans, we love you, too). This experience proved to be the ultimate showdown between the three types of frozen treats, so you will have to decide for yourself which one reigns supreme.
Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream
First off was Molly Moon’s. This was my second time eating there and they did not disappoint! Their menu consisted of some very unique flavors, and it was too bad that COVID-19 had shut down the ability to sample them all. I tried their vegan coconut chocolate chunk and completely fell in love with the rich and creamy texture, as well as the bits of 70% Theo dark chocolate. Overall, I’d say there was a flavor for any craving you might be having. The only downside was the price, which is $5.00 for a single scoop plus a dollar for any toppings you add on. However, the ice cream seemed to be well worth the price and seeing as at least 10% of their profits support food banks, equity organizations and women empowerment initiatives, my friends and I didn’t mind spending that much money. As for location, you would definitely have to drive because this venue is in Redmond, Wash.
Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt
Next is the frozen yogurt shop, Menchie’s! I had high hopes for this one because as a child this was my very first self-serve frozen yogurt place. Unfortunately, I wasn’t too impressed with the flavor selection and quality at this location. Since it is winter and business is low from the pandemic, I’ll cut them a little slack – but for now, let’s start with the positives. The building is within walking distance of the school, and the inside of the store is super cute. You also get to keep your spoons (they’re reusable), which is surprisingly nice as a college student. They had a wide variety of toppings, but if you’re dairy-free or vegan the choices are extremely limited – same with their frozen yogurt flavors. You have to settle for a sorbet, which to me tasted overly sweet and oddly artificial, but at least they had two flavor choices. The pricing is per-ounce and my friend and I both spent around $5.00, which is about the same as Molly Moon’s. I think that in the summer and without pandemic restrictions, their products would probably be a lot better and fresher, but during the winter seasons you might be better off spending your $5.00 elsewhere.
Lastly my friend and I visited Sirena Gelato – and in case you’re wondering what the difference is between gelato and ice cream, their website explains it perfectly! This venue is also within walking distance, but if I’m being honest, we regretted walking there because it was freezing and roughly 45 minutes both ways (we got our 10,000 steps in, though). Sirena Gelato is nestled in downtown Kirkland, Wash. amongst lots of cute restaurants and shops, so it earned some major location and environment points. Another cool feature was that for a small (or kids) scoop, you could mix two different flavors. A small scoop isn’t very small, and it felt like a lot of product for the $5.00 price. The only bad part about their flavor selection was the one dairy-free option, but apart from that, their choices were incredible! If you’re a chocolate lover, I highly recommend their black cocoa gelato – the richness and depth of the cocoa flavor reminded me of a really fudgy brownie. Topping choice was limited and added expense, but the gelato by itself was definitely worth the money.
I felt that all three venues had great service and did their best to meet COVID-19 guidelines. There is no way for me to decide which one of these was the best, so you’ll have to make the decision yourself! However, I will say that if you’re looking to treat yourself, Molly Moon’s is the way to go. If you’re looking for a great, romantic date location, you’d probably want to go to Sirena Gelato. And if you’re simply wanting to hang out with friends and maybe get a good walk in as well, go to Menchie’s. So, the next time the Caf’s soft serve machine is down and you’re craving something frozen and sweet, head to any of these three amazing places and satisfy your taste buds!