Thursday, December 30, 2010

A year to remember

I know that I don't make it around here much anymore. I will be the first to admit that Marissa, the English major of the family, writes a bit more poetically than I. But, I have been thinking. I have been thinking a lot about this past year. A year that I never want to forget. But - I will be the first to admit that more often than not my memory is not the sharpest in the tool box. Still, I have decided that I want to remind you (and remind myself) what I do actually remember of the past year. Year 2010.

We met Larry and Judy Campbell a bit prior to the new year at 419 1/2 Third St. Two of the sweetest and caring landlords two young tenants could ever hope to sign a lease with. The future building of Sweet Peaks was a bit out-dated and not ice cream shop ready. However, Marissa and I had a vision and a small budget to go with it. I started building...I built a counter to hold our ice cream dipping cabinet that would one day house 12 artisan ice creams. I laid kitchen flooring, and built sinks and counters where we would work. We bought a couple freezers, and located a small Taylor C119 ice cream batch freezer from a gal in Greeley, CO. On New Years 2010, with our windows covered in brown paper, Marissa and I spent the night on the floor and woke up in the morning in our blossoming ice cream shop. No chairs, no cash register, no smell of waffle cones, not much more than each other and a dream slowing becoming a reality. We laughed at the idea that we were becoming ice cream entrepreneurs, but somehow knew that we were doing something that was so fun and delicious that it just might go over big in this small mountain town.

From January until late March, we worked around the clock. We finalized our opening 12 ice cream flavor recipes, receivedour kitchen equipment and paper goods, paid our licenses and received our health inspections (A for me thank you!) . We spent late nights working and wondering how we would ever get ready to open. Finally, on a sunny day during the first week in April we did it. We could still think of a hundred things we still wanted to do, but we looked at each other and knew that we were ready.

We opened on April 12th 2010. We did not advertise, or really tell many people, we turned on the open sign and hoped for the best. We had customers! I would not say that we were completely surprised, going into business you anticipate people actually coming in, but I will say that I was relieved. Opening in the shoulder season gave us a chance to meet all the local people and get a grasp on what was going to happen day-to-day at the shop. Marissa was still working at her 8-5, which meant that I was working at the shop every weekday and then we worked together on the weekends. My brother Joey offered his help for the opening and it was great to have him around to help me make waffle cones and open and close the shop each day. Every day grew busier and busier as new people ventured to try us out and the tourist season loomed on the horizon. Charlie, from the Buffalo Cafe, came over one day and asked to start selling our Madagascar Vanilla at his restaurant. We were flattered at his request so early in the game. Marissa found a great ice cream box company and we started our wholesale ice cream business. Midway through May we were caught in the decision of starting a mobile Sweet Peaks. We wanted to participate in the local farmers markets as well as various art fairs that seem to go on every weekend during our short summer. We were not sure if we had the time to put something together for summer, or have the time that summer to actually work it. But - being a creative person, I can't stop my creative mind from inspiring my business decisions. I am constantly trying to set myself, my business, and my life on the road less traveled. One morning, on my drive to Sweet Peaks, I happened to be following a small single horse trailer. Perfect! After a couple days craigslist searching, I found the perfect horse trailer and by the 1st of June (and the first farmers market) The Chocolate Rocket was fully operational.

Our fellow local business owners were a great asset as they told us to start gearing up for the quickly approaching tourist season. Many late nights in June were spent with Marissa discussing whether or not we were ready for summer. I love to throw caution to the wind! I begged Marissa to quit her 9-5 as I knew as soon as summer was in full swing I would not be able to run Sweet Peaks alone. I did not have to beg to hard as it was our goal and intention all along. But Marissa being the cautious one needed to think about it and then (which is why we make such a great team) put in her notice and by July 1st Marissa and I were at Sweet Peaks full time. We lucked out and hired some really great people. Erik, Maggie, Mackenzie, and Michela. The first Sweet Peaks summer crew was official, and to be official you get a official Sweet Peaks name. Sammy Two Scoop, Marissa Milkshakes, Erik Extras, Maggie Mango, MaConzie, and Half Pint. The Whitefish Pilot did a very nice article on us and I thought it an great time to announce our FREE ice cream day. I thought a free ice cream day would be a great way to say thanks to all of our regulars. June 8th was our first free ice cream day, and we gave away 700 cones! I plan on doing this every year and next year I want to give away over 1000!

Marissa and I churned out more ice cream last summer than I thought ever possible. We had lines out the door of Sweet Peaks twenty people long at 9:30 at night. The Tuesday farmers market was a huge hit as I scooped 300 cones in less than two hours. We managed to plan a wedding and get married and spent our "honeymoon" making ice cream for the fans of our business. The year of 2010 is a year that I will never forget. A year of success, love and a lot of ice cream.

We have a couple new great ideas for 2011 that include some really great flavors combinations, some great events that the Chocolate Rocket will be attending, and a NEW Sweet Peaks location in a neighboring town! Can't tell you yet until we work out the details but we'll let you know soon. Signing off for 2010. See you next year!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Baby, It's Cold Outside



Hello Winter! Welcome to Whitefish, Montana! You have arrived in quite the abrupt fashion and there are a whole lot of people who are pretty excited to have you around.

The mountain opened last weekend and we saw quite a few sunburned cheeks. Yes! It was sunny up on that hill. We are keeping the shop open with sweet delights for your post-skiing caloric needs. The conversations this week in the shop have revolved around the jell-o feeling in the legs of our skiing customers after their first big powder weekend. Keep hitting the hill and then come visit us at the shop. We have these really cute decorations hanging in the windows (Martha Stewart would be proud) and the bright red lights on the building can't be ignored. (Nice work Sam!)

It is finally and officially that time of year. The red and white and green sparkly time of year.

The most requested flavor all summer long was...Candy Cane Mint.

We put off going red and minty until the snow started flying and now we have added it to the flavor line-up. Delicious peppermint ice cream with crushed candy canes in a red swirl. This should be enough of a reason to stop in and grab a cone, cup or pint. But - in case you are still hesitating - we also have Egg Nog Ice Cream. Rich, creamy and delicious! Of course, for the chocolate lovers among you - Chocolate Orange ice cream debuted at the Chef's Classic Fundraiser and is also available in the shop. The next holiday flavor to show up will be some delicious Gingerbread. Sam has a few flavor ideas up his sleeve for January. They will - as you could have predicted - involve bold colors and flavors. (A certain Whitefish High School French class should be warned.)

We hope to see you this weekend for the Christmas Stroll (Dec. 10th) downtown Whitefish. and When you are done strolling or getting your pooch's picture with Santa at Tailwaggers right next door - we will have plenty of holiday flavors and some delicious hot cocoa to warm your fingers.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Road Trip - Destination: Seattle

“What is your unrelenting passion?”

I bought a postcard in Seattle that states this in bold red letters. Sam laughed at me but he couldn’t really answer the question in one sentence. I say – ICE CREAM! That may seem a little bold since life is so BIG but for the sake of today and my ode to our vacation to Seattle we shall say in big bold letters: ICE CREAM.

Sam and I recently drove over to Seattle to take a break from lovely little Whitefish and find some much needed inspiration. I know we needed this little trip because my list of places to eat and explore in Seattle had grown to unconquerable lengths before we even got in the car. So much food, so little time. Of course, a lot of those things on my list to eat and do involved sweet treats and especially the frozen variety.

The West Coast’s love for ice cream is nothing compared to the obsession for the frozen treat found on the East Coast. But – Seattle is doing its share to spread ice cream love. They have these ice cream spots - to name a few places:

Molly Moon’s

Blackbird

Husky Ice Cream

Parfait

And the occasional ice cream found on the dessert menu at local restaurants and churned in house, too!

We have visited them all on a variety of occasions and it is nice to feel part of a community of ice cream creators. It is inspiring and we all need inspiration no matter what we do. Our recent trip was filled with stops here and there to check out potential suppliers and to taste other sweet treats.

Poppy, an Indian meets Northwest Cuisine concept restaurant has amazing ice cream. For dessert I told our server that I wanted a scoop of every ice cream they had in house. A fleet of little sundae dishes arrived and the flavors were divine. We may have Lemon Dill but they did amazing things with Rosemary. Their Malt inspired me to learn more about that old fashioned flavor and their grape sorbet... it was creamy and simply delicious. Thank you Poppy! My tastebuds needed that bit of love and inspiration!

We found amazing chocolate at Theo Chocolate in Fremont. We were too late for a tour of their chocolate facility but we did get to taste test a handful of unique flavors and we can’t wait to get our hands on some of their chile sipping chocolate for this winter.

Check them out online: http://www.theochocolate.com/

I ate this delicious Lavender Cupcake at Cupcake Royale and can’t wait to create our own ode to Lavender in some delicious yet-to-be decided upon ice cream flavor. We have a great local lavender supplier that grows the most vibrant lavender I have ever seen in the Rocky Mountains.

Check out Cupcake Royale at this link: http://www.cupcakeroyale.com/index.html

Us Montana kids are delighted to find Made In Montana products when out in the “Big City”. We frequent a popular bar in Seattle not only due to the rustic atmosphere and quality drinks but also for the snack menu. What bar outside of rural Montana would sell M&S Jerky as an appetizer? Actually, jerky made a second appearance on our trip in an unexpected place. At a chic tapas and cocktails joint we couldn’t help but order a small plate of beef jerkey laid delicately across lettuce leaves and drizzled with a cherry chutney/sauce. It was an intriguing combination both difficult to share (How are you supposed to cut jerky using the equivalent of a butter knife and an appetizer fork!!?) and not very thrilling to the tastebuds. Lettuce and jerky – sorry but it sounds like something you would pretend is dinner in college.

Jerky aside, I ate the most amazing Crab Egg Benedict with two of the most wonderful friends in the world at Toulouse Petit. The crab really was that good and of course the mimosas and conversation made the meal unforgettable. Earlier in the trip, one of the said wonderful friends took us to a classic Greek restaurant on Queen Anne. Each dish was rich, garlic laden and drenched in olive oil. It was all delicious but nothing could compare to the OPA! Cheese. It was another appetizer we couldn't pass up. This cheese came flaming to the table so that all diners could yell OPA! upon it's arrival. It soon became clear we were not the only diners to think this was hilarious. As the restaurant grew busier the yells of OPA! and the light from the flaming cheese began to happen more and more frequently. It is a restaurant made for a movie like “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” just without the Windex and the wedding. The décor in the shop included ivy vines, empty wine jugs, plastic grape lights and the usual family photos. It was heavy with décor for a cozy if not kitchy evening with friends.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Souffle!

My friend Laura gave me the Canadian locavore book "From Earth to Table" as a wedding gift. It has beautiful artsy pictures of carrots popping up from the dirt and other earthy images. The book sits on my bedside table along with a few other food related readings. Before I hit the pillow, I try to look through the images and read some of the recipes and profiles in one of my cookbooks. I highly recommend some foodie reading before bed. It keeps your dreams in a positive place. I have yet to experience a dream where I am chased by angry carrots. Instead, I drift on dreams of cooking and creating and best of all tasting. My tastebuds and cravings are turning toward autumn staples and before we are buried in white this winter, I feel they must be indulged. My bedside reading, "From Earth to Table" breaks the locavore movement into the four seasons. In Montana it may feel like we only have three seasons: summer, winter and mud but I am giving the Canadian writers some pre-sleep book time as who would understand the predicament of working in a Northern climate than the Canucks. They are definitely more understanding of our 3 season situation than say a book on seasonal eating based in California. The Canadian chefs of "From Earth to Table" roast, stew and bake in the fall and this October I am focusing on baking. This really means I have to learn to bake. (ps: I have no baking skills. Or, I should say they are very very minimum. Our waffle cones are as close to baking as I have been in quite a while and even that involved countless test batches and a whole lot of swearing and burning.)

But...
I am determined this fall. Seriously, my determination knows no bounds.

I will run farther, faster and longer to burn off the taste testing that I will have to put myself through just to successfully accomplish the one thing that screams baking prowess. French baking prowess. Souffle. Souffle'! (That is an accent - people. How do I make that tilde over the "e" again? Anyone?)

Sweet, molten, fluffy, puffy - Chocolate Souffle.

Then pumpkin souffle , white chocolate souffle, caramel souffle, toffee souffle and maybe something crazy like Guinness souffle. You just watch and wait. Sweet Peaks is getting something warm and gooey and delicious. Consider it a new friend to our creamy scoops of addicting ice cream. Hello friends! Let me present a vehicle for a scoop of chilled loveliness. A partner through which ice cream will float to creme anglaise and delight your wildest fall fancy.

Ahhhh... souffle!

Let's go back to the basics and straight to the internet for my first dive into chocolate souffle. Epicurious.com provided me with a variety of recipes involving toppings, flavors, bells and whistles. I skimmed and scanned and even watched a YouTube video and read transcripts from Alton Brown's molten chocolate cake episode on the food network. I save Bon Appetite magazines in my kitchen and discovered their milk chocolate souffle recipe from last year complete with a prep school section on the correct folding of egg whites into chocolate. Brilliant! I held my first chocolate experiment and Sam cursed me for making him eat mini chocolate delight after chocolate delight. It is all in the name of Sweet Peaks, I tell him. I actually did alright for my first try.

When you first bake something and it works the next step is to try it again and hope for the same results. This would of course be logical but I am always a little cavalier when it comes to baking and all cooking for that matter. I haven't learned my lesson just ask Sam how I make our Ginger Ice Cream. Actually, don't - it's magic! I like to throw caution to the wind. I tend to say if this amount of milk worked then why not more? or more sugar? or how about we add hot sauce! Any true baker will tell you, "Not going to fly honey, or rise, or turn golden brown or win over any cookie lover".

No. Wait! Not this time. Souffle is serious business. I need serious help in my test kitchen.

Julia.

I need Julia.

I just happen to have "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" on my bed stand. What took me so long? I have read the book "My life in France" and I have seen the movie "Julie and Julia". There is a whole section on souffle in Julia Child's cookbook, two if you count the section on savory souffles. Oh, cheese! I now feel armed with the necessary tools for souffle making. Just don't tell Julia that I plan on making these ahead of time and freezing them for customers to take-and-bake. Shhhh... we don't want to tempt her to roll over in her grave!

Off to the kitchen with melting chocolate and whipping egg whites! Sam...you better run an extra mile at the gym today.


Monday, October 4, 2010

The First Kid of Sweet Peaks: Aria



If Aria was an ice cream flavor she would be milk chocolate with bits of pink cotton candy and purple sprinkles.

She is 5.96 years old and she loves chocolate. Occasionally, she will pick a sorbet but she always adds a pile of mini M&M’s as a topping. As she is the first kid of Sweet Peaks, everyone tends to ask her to name her favorite flavor. In pure Aria 5-going-on-13 attitude she throws her eyes to the sky and her hands to her hips to say, “chocolate”. As if there is any other flavor in the world she would like. I have heard her tell our other shorty customers that she just loves Birthday Cake but only when those same shortys are devouring their Birthday Cake cones with glee. She likes to be part of the pack – sometimes. Most of the time it is chocolate pure creamy and messy on your face chocolate. There is no room for vanilla in this kid’s waffle cone! You would think that she would beg to go to Sweet Peaks to hang out with the kids, eat ice cream cone after cone and be resident queen of the ice cream shop. The truth is that she associates Sweet Peaks with work. I guess as an only child used to undivided attention from her parents and grandparents she finds the ice cream shop to be an obstacle to this attention and the reason we can’t run to the park at a moment’s notice, stay in bed watching movies all day, ride bikes for hours and just go home already. “Do I have to go to Sweet Peaks today?” she whines to us on Saturdays. Yes. She does have to go and yes, she does get to talk with our shorty customers and eat ice cream and visit with the dogs at the Tailwagger’s. She just HAS to. Life is rough. I always laugh at her when she whines about going to Whitefish with us. Aria, do you know that all the kids in Whitefish jump up and down with happiness when they get to go to Sweet Peaks? Do you know that some kids throw tantrums from their car seats when their parents drive down third and they don’t stop in for a cone. Yes. Tantrums! I often tell her that she might be the only kid who groans about having to go to Sweet Peaks. She usually frowns groans as I laugh but I really do understand. I grew up in a restaurant. For 12 years I awoke to the smell of slow roasting duck and warm cheesecake. I went to bed to the sound of high heels gliding across the dance floor, the pop of wine corks and the chiming of clean dishes sliding out of the dish machine. It was wonderful but I also wanted my mom to go to the park on Friday at four o’clock instead of answering phones and writing seating charts. I dreamed of the day when my parents could eat dinner with me instead of ushering other people to their dining tables. I even fantasized about TV dinners! Forget about the steamed clams, fresh baked bread, steaks and fresh red trout that I dined on at the tender age of 3. I wanted a meal where every article was contained in a little pocket on my tray. Mac n’ cheese and chicken nuggets and chocolate pudding! Oh, my! I imagined these mysterious items would comprise the most divine meal of my life. Let’s just say my first week of school lunches during first grade taught me otherwise. Mac ‘n cheese? What was that bright orange color stuck to my tray? Chicken nuggets? They tasted like deep fried croutons. Aria will have her moment too. She tries to get her grandparents to take her to Dairy Queen for ice cream when we are not around. This summer she threw a tantrum at a local market where we were selling ice cream all because she wanted another vendor’s ice cream and I wouldn’t give her money. My mom laughed at my pleas for frozen dinners while in the freezer section of the grocery. Exasperated she would say, “We own a restaurant!” I too laugh at Aria when she asks me why we don’t go to Dairy Queen or buy ice cream at the store. “We own an ice cream shop!”

Monday, September 6, 2010

happy labor day!

It happens just like that. Summer comes and then it is gone. I don’t even like saying that out loud but the air is chilly. Once that happens, it doesn’t go back. This summer was a little like a matchbox car that you pull backwards to wind up and then let go for it to shoot forward gain speed, zoom around perilously out of control and then just as quickly wind down until it stops altogether. It is that stopping part that gets me every time. The whirring noise is still in my ears; the cramp still in my fingers from dragging the car as it winds-up but it has stopped. Just like that summer is over. Sweet Peaks was that little matchbox car. We pulled it back in anticipation of what would happen and then before we knew it we had let go. July and August were almost out of control. The ice cream machine whirred and spun and churned out flavor after flavor. Sam and I passed each other in wee hours of the morning. I would come home just before the sunrise and Sam would be whistling his way to work with the sunrise. We were slaves to the Taylor Batch Freezer pumping it full of ice cream base and extracting fluffy ice cream and catching it in pan after pan. The scooping, the sprinkling and the waffle cone making consumed us and everyone in Whitefish consumed our sugary goodness. It was exhausting but it was also so wonderful. Who knew that ice cream could be happiness? It isn’t all fun of course. There are moments when I think working with your romantic partner isn’t so romantic. When we are both tired and there is ice cream to be made and employees to train and sidewalks to sweep it isn’t easy caring about how your partner feels. This summer there are tears over flavors and tears over buying more refrigerators and who got to go home and get some sleep. But, there was also incredible satisfaction. My heart swells when I walk through the store and a small ice cream eater looks at their parents with wide eyes and say, “this is the best ice cream in the world”. Scooping into perfectly chilled pans of ice cream and handing someone a waffle cone that they taste with a blissful smile makes me happy. This makes the late nights in front of the Taylor machine or over a hot pot of melting chocolate completely worth it. Somewhere amidst the hysteria Sam and I managed to plan a wedding and get married in the presence of a lot of really amazing people. Our honeymoon was getting back to Sweet Peaks without the distractions of a wedding. I like to think that this is one incredible honeymoon. I may dream of sitting with Sam in the south of France sipping on wine or lounging on the beach in Bali for our honeymoon but then I remember this is what we always wanted and what we have worked so hard for: Sweet Peaks. France or Bali or wherever we plan to go can wait just a little but longer. This is where we are now and the view is just fine. Summer 2010 treated us well and taught us some hard lessons but most of all it showed us what we have to look forward to: Summer 2011.

But first things first, fall in the Flathead Valley will be grand, as we will still be serving delicious ice cream and wonderful coffee and teas. The late summer harvest is delivering beautiful Dixon Melons and homegrown mint from Creston right to our doorstep. The fall holidays will include pumpkin ice cream pies and spiced Chai. Winter will bring pints to take home, ice cream sandwiches in all flavors and hot coffees topped with scoops of melting flavorful ice cream. Summer was amazing but fall and winter will be just as wonderful too! I can’t wait for you to come and see us all fall and winter long.

Marissa

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Oh how exciting.

Ok.... Much to talk about. Updates, updates, updates. First off Marissa and I have been super (understatement) busy over the past couple months. I know it may not look like it because we're not posting lately, but rest assured we have been taste testing and refining our recipes for what seems to be eternity. Needless to say, a few pounds later around the mid section and some very tasty ice cream we are ready for our starting 12 flavors! During the homemade creations developing in one of the cleanest kitchens in Whitefish, Marissa and I have found the time to put the finishing touches on the store. My day to days have typically gone like this. Drop our child off at daycare, go to both the restaurant supply stores in Kalispell, Home Depot, Costco, Head up to the store. Call FSA, Meadow Gold Dairy, Health Department, Fire Department, Building and Zoning Department, Black Star Brewery (we are carrying their root beer for some pretty world famous floats), Call Marissa about ten times to ask for business direction and help, Work on finishing the build out of the store, Talk to the growing number of people who stop by excited and curious to when we might actually turn on the open sign, Finish up my list at the shop, head home and paint for hours so we have some really awesome art work to hang on the walls, pick Aria up at daycare, wait for Marissa to come home from work, (and for those of you who do not know, Marissa is holding down a 8-5 during all of this to make sure our family has food and a roof on our heads, needles to say she is amazing), Marissa comes home, we hug, throw some dinner fixin's in the car, throw our kid in the car, more often than not a bottle of wine goes in the car, and head back to the shop for ice cream flavor refining. Whew... oh yeah, then we do it all over again the next day. The part that cracks us up, is that we are just getting started. Good thing we are young and full of spunk. This has been our life for the past months, Sweet Peaks is now a "part of the family." That's all the update I have for you at the moment. I am going to try and upload some current pics of the shop, because it is ready to go. Oh yeah, forgot to mention we are having a quiet opening MONDAY!!! What does quiet opening mean you ask? It means we feel we are ready to go so we are turning on the open sign to see what trickles in. Then boom, grand opening, free ice cream, mobile service, cult ice cream followers, summer, greatness. Dreams will be born. Until next time. Sammy Scoops says "have a great day."

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Decorate and Design

New isn't always better and after making quite a few Ikea, Home Depot and the local Hardware store purchases we were able to use our purchasing power in the recycled realm. We stopped by one of our local antique/consignment/everything stores (Redneck Chic!) and purchased 12 fantastic chairs in a variety of styles and with a variety of seat covers. They were pretty darn hideous and some of the seat covers were layered over quite a few times. Armed with a can of spray paint or maybe 10 cans of spray paint and a paint brush, Sam spent his day turning our yard of melting snow and mud into a flurry of black paint. The local fabric store provided some bold print fabrics of the black/white and red/white variety for one more layer on the seat covers. We now have some hip chairs for our front room. They are sure to look great with our recycled wood table-tops and our nifty and inexpensive Ikea table bases. You really have to love that place even if you have to make a special trip during a Seattle rendezvous and battle the crowds and the 4 miles of walking with a cart. I do love it. I really do.

Yet... we make some pretty nifty chairs when given the tools. Even Ikea can't do what we have done this evening.




Monday, March 1, 2010

Beautiful Fluffy Creamy Ice Cream. Finally!

It is heavenly. Homemade ice cream is one of life's simple and delicious pleasures. The moment the fresh frozen ice cream came out of our new ice cream machine it was love at first sight and then taste. I am over the moon for Sweet Peaks Ice Cream and I know you will be too.

But whoa! I have some clean-up and some up-dates to handle first.

First things first. Hello. I am Marissa and I love ice cream. This love is where it all began. That and one specific meal that convinced me something must be done in the Flathead Valley and in my life and it has to involve ice cream.

Three years ago, I was eating dinner with friends and family. I don't remember the actual meal but I do remember the food was homey and delicious and the wine was flowing. We finished our meal with a bowl of vanilla ice cream and homemade orange oatmeal cookies. The caramel addict in me added some caramel sauce to the mix. The combination of these three heavenly entities was nothing short of inspiring. In a moment of melding flavors in our happy mouths the idea of combining these items formally came to be. The mode of delivery would be an ice cream sandwich. The velvety smoothness of vanilla ice cream- the spice of orange and the hearty texture of oatmeal finished with caramel. Even without chocolate - this would be the perfect desert. How could anyone resist the nostalgia of an ice cream sandwich in a range of delicious flavors? It was destined for success. All I need to begin was some serious ice cream education. The first ice cream machine was purchased along with a range of books on the craft of ice cream and it has been a fun and delicious road. After many a batch - we still love ice cream. I love it even more than before. I love it so much that Sam and I think everyone else should love it too and they should really love our ice cream. It’s now good enough for us (and we are some picky people when it comes to the I.C. and I believe for all of you. Out went the home Cuisinart ice cream maker and in came the commercial machine a heap of creativity and some hard work. Now we are bringing homemade ice cream and ice cream sandwiches to Whitefish and beyond.

This was our begining and since then much has happened. We started the work and stopped the work and went to Mexico and talked about ice cream and business while on the beach, riding scooters, eating tacos and swimming. Now we are back from a relaxing an fun vacation and I am once again excited and in love with our little Sweet Peaks.

Our home at 419 ½ Third Street is too perfect. I even like that added little ½ in the address. It reminds me of Harry Potter and the train station platform. (Sorry for those non-Potter fans.) It seems almost fictional and just a little magical. I feel pretty magical about the place lately. We have been working behind papered windows for months now and this past Sunday we decided to take down that paper and let the light shine in. The evening lookers were already curiously peering in our windows. I know we will have more than a few looky-loos this week.

Till next time - the paint is drying and we are tasting and tasting as we work on our menu. It will be delicious!
-marissa

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

In a moment you realize you have not posted in awhile.

Hello everyone.
I realized today that everything has been going smooth and the progress of the build out has been great. Everything is almost ready. Marissa and I are headed to Mexico and I thought that I should post an update before we head out. The Whitefish Winter Carnival was last weekend and I built an awesome replica of a GNP Jammer. We all, being myself, Marissa, Aria, my brother Nick, and our great friends Betsy, CJ and their twin kids Elenor and Brody all dressed up as animals and waved to the thousand kiddos, their parents and the like during the parade. This is was our first promo and I think it went especially well. I have a couple pics of the Jammer, and some more to come from my mom who took a couple of good pics as well. Thanks for all the cheers from the crowd people! It was definitely a success! The shop is coming along nicely. Marissa and I were out in Seattle a couple weeks ago and picked up some nice furnishings for the shop. The ice cream dipping Cabinet is in, and the espresso machine is nearly hooked up! Wahoo. The Ice Cream machine will be here on Tuesday the 23rd. We are both so, SO excited about that. Enjoy the pics and thanks again for following the blog! Be sure to be checking in as we progress to our grand opening as invites to the private opening party will only be offered via the blog. Talk to you all when we get back!






Sunday, January 10, 2010

Welcome to the first pics of inside Sweet Peaks.

(click on the photos to enlarge)

View from the back room (now). Initially there was a wall (which you will see in pics below) where I'm standing to take this pic. As you can see through the photos there was a lot of old barn wood which Marissa and I love, it was just a little much floor to ceiling. It reminded us of a great dinner out at one of the best restaurant/bars



Saturday, January 9, 2010

ahhhhh Whitefish.






I wanted to go ahead and post some photos of Whitefish for those of you do not live here. It truly is one of the most beautiful mountains in America. As you can see in some of the photos, the city goes to great lengths to keep our small town welcoming to all you travelers. A couple days ago as the sun came out for a blue bird day, I grabbed my little point and shoot, got in my car, rolled the window down. I basically took photos of the places that I think make Whitefish, Whitefish. However, I know that I left a good majority of some wonderful places out as well, after half the city honking at me as if i did not know how to drive and the 5 degree temp, I had to retreat to back inside. Enjoy a small window into a brisk sunny January day in Whitefish.

Welcome.

Yes. This is truly what our town looks like in the winter. Right out of a children's book. Please come stroll around on our streets and see what Whitefish has to offer.

What would a town be without its post office? Cut off from the world, no communications, the town would be a colony in the middle of nowhere. Well maybe a hundred years ago, but I have to give thanks to this one. My pops runs it, and with out him...Sweet Peaks would not exist. So next time your in, say hello to Ken. He is always around doing I'm not really sure what.

Quite possibly the best egg benny's in the Flathead County. Who know's of some better?

If i were to choose one bar in town. This is where I would go.

Great Burgers and fries. Don't forget to go to the bathroom while your here.

Come dance with some locals.

I have been to so many sushi bars you would think I have a problem. Washington, California and everywhere from here to there. If you love sushi. Wasabi sushi bar will easily make your top three. Easily.

All of us in downtown Whitefish give thanks to the Big. If it was not for this beautiful little gem of a ski resort our town would not be the wonderful destination that it is. Big Mountain for anyone prior to circa 2007 and currently called Whitefish Mountain Resort. Either way, Thank you Big.



The Whitefish Train Depot. A popular stop for Amtrak, this train depot happily is the starting or ending point for over 70,000 happy train riders a year. If find yourself looking for a quite vaca and have a good book. All aboard!

Great Northern Brewing Company aka Black Star Brewery. Home of some of the best beers in the Northwest. And happened to be where Marissa and I were at the stoke of midnight on new years 2010. Sweet Peaks plans to work with GNBC to have a beer flavored ice cream in the near future. Keep ya posted...



Our new Neighbors

Glacier Cyclery has been renting, selling and repairing bikes in WF for over 27 years! And it just so happens that they are moving in right next door. I envision many o folks renting bikes and after a long sunny summer afternoon of ridding, i see these folks skipping on over for some ice cream. Who knows, maybe we can do a energy ice cream and they can come in beforehand.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Walking past our shop.




We are visioning some little tables on the side walk, a bit of a paint job on the exterior and a nice sign that screams, Come on in and have some fun!

This is it. Future Home of Sweet Peaks Ice Cream

Just wanted to get out a couple photos of our location. 419 1/2 Whitefish Montana. Future home of Sweet Peaks! Note our wonderful neighbors. Tailwaggers. Come on in for ice cream while having your doggy washed next door! They also have a very nice selection of pet supplies and the best doggy biscuits in the northwest.


From across the street.

Up Close


Maybe what it will look like (below).... thoughts? I'm not really sure what the American Flag is all about...It was here when we got here its put up everyday in front of our shop...thoughts? keep it? There is a canadian one on Tailwaggers...I think that neighbors are implying that both Americans and Canadians are welcome. As for Sweet Peaks, of course all you yankees are welcome. As for you fellas from up north... you get extra ice cream from me. Thanks for such a beautiful country to border with!


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Once upon a time...

Hello everyone and welcome to the Sweet Peaks Ice Cream blog. First of all, let us introduce ourselves if you don't already now us. Sweet Peaks is the brain child of two completely different kind of people who just happen to be equally amazing in their own little ways. Oh, and they happen to be engaged at the current moment in time. Hooray! But lets rewind a bit to the development of Sweet Peaks. First, the lovely Marissa Keenan. A wonderful lady I must say, who at the turn of her 20th birthday developed a new found and undying love for ice cream. She started daydreaming of starting an ice cream sandwich business. One where the ice cream was homemade and natural. One where the cookies where unique in flavor with creamy ice cream pressed between them. So what happened you ask? Life happened. Marissa finished college, got an awesome artsy job rubbing elbows with the gift industry elite. Did some traveling, forgot about the ice cream business and went out one evening for a local downtown art walk and met a dashing young man. Yup, you guessed it. Sam. Sam always liked a good ice cream, we all do right? Never thought I would be starting an ice cream business, but I will say, I ALWAYS have cookies around. It's more of a wake up in the middle of the night addiction. Fact of the matter is, I always have a stash in the back of the cupboard, hidden from Aria (my daughter (5 yrs), who I'm sure you'll be seeing around the blog posts in the future). Aside from the cookies... I am... shall I say a handy man. Handy man Sam. Not in the sense that I'm mister fix it. I'm a decent builder and will fix it, or attempt to, but I mean in the sense that I love working with my hands. I can't do the 9-5 for the man, I tried, I really did, for 5 years in the mortgage business. Some people are just made of different flavors I guess. I love to paint and you'll often find me creating new forms of art. I do a good job at selling my art so far and one day hope to have a gallery, maybe. The future is limitless and right now ice cream is on the menu. I'll do anything if it suites my fancy. I make my mom a table runner every year for Christmas. You get the point. Currently I'm having a blast using my creativeness to build Sweet Peaks Ice Cream Shop. After Marissa and Sam met that night strolling around the art walk, they fell in love, bought a house, then freaked out about settling down. So like any ordinary person they shot for the moon and landed in the small mountain town of Whitefish Montana. Taking Marissa's earlier idea and years of making the best damn ice cream out of her home ice cream maker, some financial investment from ma and pa (thank you!), and a lot of belief in ourselves, we found a location. 419 1/2 3rd St. E. Whitefish MT, (hence the current blog header). Marissa... she is the brain, she's organized, she's business, she's a people person, this idea is her baby that I am somewhat adopting with her. Sam...I am the creative direction, marketing, promoting, giving free samples of delicious ice cream to the kiddos etc... We could not do this with out each other. So, without further ado I present, Sweet Peaks Ice Cream. This blog is for all you who aspire to do what you want.