Pigging Out (at The Blue Pig)

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If you’ve never been to The Blue Pig in Croton, RUN, don’t walk. This little gem isn’t much larger than a shack but it serves up some amazing grub. It’s traditionally an ice cream stop, but over the years they’ve added lots of other options. In the fall you can get some mouth-watering homemade soups here. And any season, the homemade mac and cheese is a favorite. I tend to go for more of their unique dishes–the quiches that change daily or the Thai-inspired noodle dishes that have become a staple. There are always at least 10-15 ice cream flavors to choose from. And we’re not talking chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, or other run-of-the-mill flavors (although they’ve perfected those too!). Some of the flavors I’ve had over the past few years are basil, ginger, lavender, local maple, shaved coconut, maple bacon, mojito, espresso (made with locally roasted coffee from the shop literally around the corner), local honey vanilla, and roasted banana. But there really are so many flavors and they change frequently. Their sundaes and shakes are super yummy. You can also grab a chocolate-covered frozen banana, a root beer float, a pint of ice cream to go, or some locally made treats–caramels, brownies, cookies…whatever was made for the counter that day or week. Everything changes frequently. Have a birthday coming up? They do ice cream cakes–YUM! And they now offer T-shirts and some other branded fare if you fall in love with the place like many of the locals have.

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You will always be greeted with a smile here. There is a definite “family” feel when you step into this place. Laid-back music playing, easy conversation happening between staff members, smiles and laughter…it’s a nice feel. They are kind and they get it. I walk in with three toddlers…and they get it. They’ve helped me when I’ve had to leave sleeping kid(s) in the car. They are patient when a little one can’t decide between the million-and-a-half options on the board. I get the feel that the staff members have actual friendships. I’ve even seen off-the-clock workers and “alumni” workers stop in to say hello to co-workers and the owner. And one time I went in, the owner was holding a presumably new baby (her grandchild, perhaps??) while working the busy lunch crowd…it’s very lovely.

One of the things I love about the owner is her quest to use local, fresh ingredients–and everything is homemade. When you walk up (they only have three parking spaces right next to the shack…difficult parking is a pet peeve of the food snob, BUT there are usually plenty of street spots available with a 3 minute or less walk….usually) you’ll notice pots and troughs and buckets full of herbs and veggies growing all around the little plot. Big pots of fresh mint–for their mint chip ice cream (no green dye here!). Parsley and basil peeking out of any little place they’ll fit. I’ve seen tomatoes, strawberries, greens, all kinds of herbs. They even grow stuff on the rooftop and have their own compost station on the side of the building–they get an A+ from me for all of this! If they don’t grow the ingredient, they do their best to source it locally. The Blue Pig also is conscious of its environmental impact. When they set up shop at local events, they do not offer cups. Only cones. No spoons either. It’s bold but I like it because it makes a statement (you can get cups and environmentally friendly utensils in the shop, of course 😉 ).

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If it’s dusk when you’re at The Blue Pig, eat your ice cream under the pergola, for sure, surrounded by fairy lights, sweet music, and (most likely) many locals. This little pergola paradise is also great during the day, but since there are lots of awesome flowers, plants, and ice cream around, there can be a fair share of bees hanging out. Not to worry–you can sit on the benches out front, take your ice cream and walk through town, or sit inside while you enjoy your treat.

So…let’s get down to the food. The ice cream is to die for. I’ve literally never had a flavor I didn’t like. Seeing the flavor offerings is half the fun of going. You can try as many flavors as you’d like until you find the one that suits your fancy (hint: it won’t take you too many tastes!) and, as mentioned, they change often. So even if you are a local, you can frequent this place and never be disappointed. I recommend trying one of the more exotic flavors but if you just aren’t that adventurous, you will not be disappointed with a less daring choice. The lunch options are usually very tasty. One of my favorite things to order for lunch is a Thai-inspired noodle dishes. The exact “flavors” change from time-to-time but the essence of this dish is pretty consistent. One thing I’ll say….I wish the portions were a TAD larger on the savory dishes (ice cream portions are perfect!). I’m not saying you don’t get enough to eat. But each time I’ve ordered anything to go in the cardboard to-go-containers, I’ve found myself wishing for a few more bites. And if I’m getting lunch for myself and the kiddos (four people total), I do have to purchase several separate dishes to feed us all. Please hear me–this is NOT a comment on the pricing. The food snob is willing to pay more for local, delicious food! That’s my whole jam 😉 I just feel like these portions could be a little more generous. Having said that, you will find LOTS of tasty morsels at this joint. Another thing I absolutely love to order is the quiche and my. kids. love it!!! She has a different type of quiche every day or two so it never gets old ordering it. My kids do, of course, love the homemade mac and cheese here so we get that once in a while, too. I’ve enjoyed their salads (again, pretty small portions on the salads), soups, and many other choices from the ever-changing menu. We’re always very happy.

This place gets 4 thumbs up on food quality and variety (if those portions felt right, I’d easily give it five!). It gets 5 thumbs up on kid-friendliness. It gets 3 thumbs up on parking. I give it a 5 on service and atmosphere, cleanliness and comfort, and dessert options (they have a head start on that category!). I give it a 4 on cost.

All in all, this is a favorite stop of ours and we are here often. The total rating on Croton’s The Blue Pig is 4.5 out of 5…which is not too shabby at all! 😉 The Blue Pig is closed Mondays but open every other day of the week. Check out this link to get to their website. Happy eating, friends!

 

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