Chocolate Root Beer Float
Sunday Ice Cream Cruise, $4
Preconditioned by the high-end ice cream parlors springing up all over Seattle, I boarded the Sunday Ice Cream Cruise with unrealistic expectations. I figured on having to choose between, say, salted caramel and blackberry-zinfandel sorbet; in reality, it was a toss-up between an ice cream sandwich and a root beer float.
To be fair, the Ice Cream Cruise is only nominally about ice cream. After launching from Lake Union Park at the south end of the lake, the vintage ferry chugs past some spectacular sights--the Center for Wooden Boats, Gasworks Park, the new high-rise marina, Ivar's, and countless coming-and-going seaplanes. At the helm is Captain Larry, an entertaining old salt whose loudspeaker spiel namedrops luminaries ranging from John Wayne to Dale Chihuly. As the ferry passes the clusters of floating houses on either side of the lake, Larry steers in close for a fantastically voyeuristic view. Among the houses on the east side is a floating shack that then-teenaged Captain Larry had the opportunity to buy for $600; he passed and it's now worth $600,000.
The 50-minute Ice Cream Cruise departs hourly, 11-5, almost every Sunday of the year. Adult fare is $11, with lower rates for seniors and kids. The downstairs galley supplies coffee, soft drinks, and a limited range of ice cream treats--including a "world exclusive" chocolate root beer float.