Friday, September 9, 2011

Sierra's Sweet Treats

Location: Lee Vining, CA
Date: Aug. 23, 2011

It's such a shame that my favorite place to get soft serve ice cream is about a 6 to 7 hour long, grueling drive from home. OK, maybe the drive isn't so grueling, provided the air conditioning in your vehicle works the entire way, and you never give the numerous CHP officers continuously patrolling Highway 395 any just reason to pull you over, and slap you with a fine steep enough to make even the richest fellow wince, but it is a long drive. If you're now wondering: Why make this drive for a simple ice cream cone when there's a DQ dishing out soft serve right down the street? Well, for one, the delectably creamy concoctions are better than Dairy Queen's main stream treats. And, for reason B, the sweet cream haven wasn't my trip's only destination.

A sign of very good things to come
Located in Lee Vining, a petite California settlement in the perpetually picturesque Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, Mono Cone has turned into a must visit during my family's annual June Lake (another petite mountain settlement) summer vacation. The place is named after the extremely salty Mono Lake, but delivers amazingly sweet eats that'll have you craving seconds immediately.

The predecessor of Mono Cone's moniker
It's hard to beat the views of the vast wilderness surrounding Mono Cone, but, at times when my sweet tooth is screaming, there is one view I'd take over the seemingly endless scenery.

Mono Cone's facade
Mono Cone is open and, yes, you can take my order!

The ice cream I wait an entire year for
No, I did not order two ice cream cones (the one on the right with the Halloween colors is my dad's), but, if I did, who are you to judge, anyway? Everybody's entitled to a little indulgence. The chocolate dipped cones (although quite good in their own right) at Dairy Queen have absolutely nothing on the Flavor Burst Combo Cones found at Mono Cone. It's the long list of sweet and delicious flavors available to swirl around a vanilla cone that sets the soft serve at Mono Cone way apart from all other ice cream establishments. Flavors can only be swirled around vanilla (sorry chocolate lovers), but, if you've been keeping up with your reading, I know you know that I know you know I have no problem with that. - If you caught the Dodgeball reference I just threw out there, I'm proud of you. If you didn't, I'm sorry for suddenly throwing such horrible diction in your face, but I strongly urge you to watch the movie so you're better prepared next time. If you don't laugh at least 17 times, you should have your sense of humor checked out. It might be broken. - Now, back to the ice cream...

Orange and chocolate are the two flavors gracefully swirling around my dad's cone. I can't speak of the flavor bursts firsthand, but, if you like chocolate covered oranges (as I do), I'm sure you'd have no problem enjoying the cone. I chose three flavor bursts: butter pecan, cheesecake and banana. Believe me, if I could've had more, I would have, but a small cone can apparently only handle three flavor bursts at once. The sugary variety of flavors yielded a delectable surprise each time my tongue touched the cool, creamy mid-afternoon dessert. One lick would lead me to a mouthful of butter pecan, one of my favorite ice cream flavors, and provide me with instant gratification. The next sampling took me to a plateful of cheesecake that I never have trouble cherishing. I could taste the crusts of some of the best cheesecakes I've had without any type of "crust" flavor on the cone. Bananas and desserts get along very well, so, when banana burst onto the flavor scene, my taste buds went up to a whole new level of sweet tooth bliss. It's safe to say I enjoyed my Flavor Burst Combo Cone a whole lot more than any sweet-addict kid could ever enjoy camping out in a candy store.

Also sampled were an Oreo peanut butter shake and a peanut butter cup shake, ordered by my sister and mom, respectively. Both shakes were incredibly thick and topped with a mammoth mound of light, fluffy whipped cream. Oh yes, they were both as good as they sound.

Ice cream isn't the only thing you get if you go to Mono Cone, however. Sure, you can order burgers and other food, but take a short stroll down the street and you get to knock on the door of an upside-down house.

Inverted living quarters
If you'd like to learn more about it, read the sign.

Inverted sign
The sign was oriented in this manner on the house, so I chose not to rotate my picture in order to give you the full experience.


  1. I am thoroughly convinced that I could read your posts all day. I'll be honest, I missed the Dodgeball reference, but I have seen the movie. Do I get points for that?

    That ice cream looks spectacular. I'm thinking that's enough of an incentive for Mono Cone to become my only destination. Although, I don't think I can pass up the upside down house. I'll be making the trip soon. Thank you for opening my eyes to the delicious treats around me.

  2. That ice cream looks amazing. Along with the view overlooking it, and well, I'm loving the idea of an upside down house. Where are my moon boots?