Ice cream truck bucket list: The treats worth chasing down the block

Jul 30, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. ET
Image: Creative RF/Getty Images

This past week, I repeatedly ate from not one but two ice cream trucks just for you guys to find out, once and for all, what the best treats are.

When faced with close to 100 options at the ice cream truck, it's easy to panic and blurt out the name of the first thing you see without careful consideration. I have done this far too many times, and the pain you feel as the truck drives away and you sit there on a hot bench, regretting not seizing your opportunity to have something better than the underwhelming $5 ice pop in your hand... It's simply excruciating. Like having your shorts ride up a bit as you're sitting on a hot bench and burning your tender, pasty thighs painful.

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This is why I made this cheat sheet — so you will know who the winners are on the ice cream truck. You can order without fear of regret, as there should never be any regrets when it comes to ice cream.

Giant vanilla sandwich

There were so many things I was tempted to put on this list: the Girl Scout Thin Mint discs, Dippin' Dots, that thing that looks like SpongeBob but no one is sure what flavor it is (ham?). When I sat down to write this piece and thought about what I truly want above all the things, I knew instantaneously: a classic ice cream sandwich. It’s a succulent roast chicken, a perfectly poached egg — its brilliant simplicity makes it my absolute favorite. I could never, ever give these things up. Ice cream novelties come, and ice cream novelties go, but this summertime classic will never, ever let you down.

More: 18 ingenious ice cream sandwich hacks that will keep you chill all summer

Toasted Almond and Chocolate Eclair and Strawberry Shortcake

The OG Good Humor trifecta. I will not pick a favorite, because they deserve better. Feel free to fight about it in the comments, though. I know you Strawberry Shortcake enthusiasts are rowdy sons of bitches.

FrozFruit Chunky Mango Pop

When I was a kid, these were the “healthy” thing your mom got instead of the good stuff, like Fudgsicles. As an adult, they’re incredible. FrozFruit is, surprisingly, made with real fruit purée — something I no longer believed possible, as every frozen novelty is made out of things like “tetrosodium pyrophosphate” and “malk.” By being mostly fruit and less sugar water, these don’t become a total melted mess in three minutes and get you sticky. That's my issue with 99 percent of ice pops. It drips all over you, then you get attacked by bees. This weekend I had a wasp on my leg that tried to climb into my shorts, and I almost lost my lady parts. My friend saved me by smacking me hard in said lady parts with a flip-flop. This would not have happened if I hadn’t made the decision to eat a Rocket Pop in shorts. Lesson learned.

Snickers Ice Cream Bar

The best part of getting these off the truck is that you can buy only one at a time. Normally I buy a box at the supermarket, and I eat the entire box and get a tummyache, because I’m pretty much a professional at poor decision-making.

Vanilla cone with rainbow sprinkles

There is no difference between chocolate and rainbow sprinkles. Both are made out of the same stuff, except one is dyed brown and one is dyed magic! Always go with magic when you have the opportunity.

More: 21 ice cream sandwiches to gobble down before they melt

Chocolate malted

The chocolate malted is the undisputed king of all milkshakes. Always ask for extra malt, because they never add enough to make it sufficiently malty yet still tack on a dollar upcharge. In fact, make sure they’re putting the malt in there in the first place. There are many shady people running ice cream trucks, if you can believe it. Did you know that "Mister Softee" isn't even a real guy?

Sunkist float

You’ve likely tried root beer floats. You may also be familiar with Coke floats. Shockingly, almost nobody orders Sunkist floats on the regular, which is the greatest of all soft drink-ice cream combination. Orange soda + vanilla ice cream = a liquid creamsicle that won’t drip all over your legs to draw wasps to your lady bits.

Crystal meth

Seriously, 99 percent positive my neighborhood Mister Softee guy is dealing drugs. No one needs a chocolate shake at 2 a.m.