I think every family has their own version of an ice cream date. When I was a little kid growing up on Maui, we'd go to the flea market and get brightly-colored shaved ice, topped with a BIG scoop of ice cream that would quickly get all melty from the heat. The colors and cream swirled together, forming a rainbowy-cloud-looking concoction that's stuck in my childhood memories as rigorously as the saccharine syrup that clung to my little cheeks.

Rita's Italian Ice in San Diego

After moving to the mainland, I found that the way most places do ice cream is quite a bit more cream as opposed to the ice I came to know during those impressionable years. In Seattle and now in San Diego where we currently live, people run around with cones and mix-ins and sprinkles. There's a certain indulgent delight in that, but I've missed the fresher texture options I grew up with.

Until now.

Rita's Italian Ice

Over the last couple years, we've noticed a bunch of Rita's locations popping up all over our beloved county so we decided to reach out and see if we could work with them on a sponsored post. I think they started in Old Town, and the buzz quickly reached my ears through the mom-to-mom chain of gossip.

Rita's Italian Ice

The sweet treats here are reminiscent of my old favorites, and yet they have all the options that my family has come to love. Italian ice is the central focus: a unique, silky smooth creation that's thankfully made with real fruit as opposed to whatever was in the bright syrupy bottles of my childhood.

Rita's Italian Ice Gelato

We add a big dollop of creamy frozen custard to perfectly recreate that rich melty-delicious flavor I've missed.

Rita's Italian Ice

Rita's has a TON of wacky flavors ranging from Root Beer Float to Swedish Fish. They also offer ice cream sandwiches and cones and all sorts of fun concoctions, in addition to blends and shakes and sundaes.

Rita's Italian Ice in San Diego

Being the purists that they are, of course, my family opts for traditional gelati. Italian ice + frozen custard = the best of both worlds.

Toddler looking excited for ice cream

Sidekick doesn't particularly care what we get him, as long as it's sweet and spoonable.

Super-drooly baby

Minion drools up a storm over whatever is placed before him…

Dad and baby sharing a bite

…but he especially likes sharing daddy's favorite flavors.

Rita's Italian Ice in San Diego

My favorite, since I KNOW you're curious, is mango Italian ice topped with vanilla custard.