Black cherry is the only choice when you want to cool down with Italian ice layered with vanilla custard.
I respect other people's tastes enough that I can't even claim to pick the Top 10 restaurants. But I eat a lot of Rita's, and they're offering an ever-expanding list of flavors -- several teetering off into the childish craziness of cotton candy and green-tinted key lime. I have sampled my way off the straight-and-narrow, so I am the prodigal son who urges you never to stray.
Black cherry. Strong cherry flavor. Small cherry chunks throughout the cup. I'm not saying that gellati is ever an all-natural dessert. I'm just saying that black cherry goes perfectly with the vanilla custard. (That is the other part of the Rita's orthodoxy. Me: "Maybe I should try the chocolate custard." Mrs. HowChow: "Chocolate?") Guaranteed delicious is what you need on a warm evening when you cool off at the Rita's at Harpers Farm or Kings Contrivance.
Harpers Farm has Maiwand Kabob, so it's the perfect place for dinner and dessert. But Kings Contrivance has a peaceful seating area inside the shopping center. You get tables, trees, and a landscaped fountain. People going to Michael's Pub or eating pizza from Trattario E Pizzeria de Enrico keep the center lively, and we tend to go there when we just want a treat.
If you like the Italian ice at Rita's, check out the shaved ice at the Snowballs stand in Clarksville or KyKy's Hawaiian Ice in Elkridge.
Rita's -- Harpers Choice
5485 Harpers Farm Road
Columbia, MD 21044
NEAR: This is in central Columbia. Harpers Farm Village Center is on Harpers Farm Road east of Rte 108 and west of Cedar Lane. There is a gas station and a McDonalds right on the road, and the shopping center is behind. Maiwand Kabob is on left with a cleaner. Rita's is on the right in the main shopping area.
Rita's -- King's Contrivance
8640 Guilford Road Ste B10
Columbia, MD 21046
NEAR: This is south of Rte 32 and east of Rte 29. King's Contrivance has the new Harris Teeter, a Bagel Bin, and a CVS. Take the Eden Brook Drive / Shaker Drive exit from Rte 32. Follow the signs south to Eden Brook Drive, which goes right past King's Contrivance.