My first job was at a walk-up Dairy Queen on the strip in my hometown in Illinois. I served dipped DQs, blizzards, and Mr. Misty’s from what was essentially an air-conditioned, cement shack. In my first week, I learned how to make the layered bumps and the little swirl on the top of the ice cream cones, I learned how to use the machine to blend candy into ice cream (kind of dangerous!), AND I received my “bottomless” employee cup: a plastic mug with one of those vinyl, sticky labels that comes out of the hand-held printing wheel-thingy. My label read S I G N E. That’s my name, I used to work with Jen and now we’re pals.
Thus began my love affair with soft serve…and soft serve related mad science. I always wonder if giving one’s employees free rein to combine different flavors is really a secret strategy to have one of them discover the next sensational flavor combination and then claim the intellectual property rights. More likely, bosses just figure, “These people are going to steal from me anyway, why not just give them free ice cream and call it a day. How much ice cream can a 17 year old girl eat anyway?” To this I laugh maniacally.
So, naturally, with such a rich history of soft serve adventures, I feel it’s necessary to begin my GastrOregon blog-sitting by writing about Scotties Drive-In in Forest Grove. Scotties is a soft serve induced flashback. Sitting over a little hill and just before Pacific Avenue turns into Hwy 8, is a cute, drive up cafe with a blue and red marquis that says things like, “Congrats Donna and Jeb” or “Way to go Vikings.”
I think the term “drive-in” might be a bit of a misnomer because, as far as I can tell, there’s no car-door service. That’s okay though because you have the option to either enter the cafe, order at the counter, and sit in one of the yellow booths, OR walk up to the window (staffed by plucky high school students) to place your order. I recommend the window option because it’s near and dear to my heart. Don’t be offended when they close the sliding window after you order – they’re just trying to keep the AC in!
Now, I’ve been to Scotties several times and I have to say it’s fantastic. Not only do they have every make and model of ice cream treats in every flavor of the rainbow, they also have burgers, fries, and other heart-stopping goodies you would expect from a drive in. AND, they often make their ice cream flavors with fresh ingredients. The last time I was there, my companion ordered a marionberry shake made with real berries! It was tart, sweet, and purple; it tasted like summer. I’ve also sampled their french fries which are of the thick cut variety; crispy on the outside and soft on the inside – quite yummy.
As a bonus, Forest Grove is only about 45 minutes away from Portland on Hwy 26 West and it’s a lovely drive. If you’re headed to the coast for the weekend, antiquing, or just going for a spin to make sure that replacement master cylinder is working, I encourage you to stop at Scotties for a cone. You will not be disappointed.