Foodie: Northside Dairy Haven

In a region where frozen custard is king, there are still a few places to get good old-fashioned ice cream in bizarre combinations, and Northside Dairy Haven has a long tradition of serving it up.

At the north end of Edwardsville’s Main Street – thus the name – you can find the roadside food stand that goes back to 1961 with a snarky comment on the message board and a lot of cars lined up for the small drive-through. While the diner-type charco-burgers and pulled pork get a lot of attention, the ice cream is what makes it special.

Northside Dairy Haven makes its ice cream fresh every day, including the orange sherbet that made them famous. Concretes, shakes, sundaes and twisted cones are just part of the offerings, and they have a wide variety of combinations for the weirdest tastes. 

While I’m always partial to the turtle sundae with extra hot fudge and pecans, for the purposes of Metro-East Eats I opted for their newest experiment: the Cherry Bomb, a twisted ice cream cone dipped in chocolate shell and then in cherry shell. 

As posted on Facebook, Northside suddenly declared that cherry dip is superior to chocolate dip and threatened to ban anyone who said otherwise. A customer then challenged them to do both, and the Cherry Bomb was born. Naturally I had to try one, and as a confirmed chocolate fan I opted for chocolate ice cream inside the double shell.

A word to the wise: order small. My husband’s large cone is close to the size of his head. I ordered the small and it still took me a while to scarf it down. The chocolate-cherry dip mix worked well, but the chocolate kind of overpowers the cherry, more than you might expect. For a cherry aficionado, you might order it alone, or perhaps get the more bland vanilla ice cream instead of my preferred chocolate.

Be aware that Northside is an outdoor venue and bench seating is limited, so you might end up eating your ice cream in your car. They also charge a 50-cent fee for using a credit card, so try to remember to bring cash and tip your workers. 

The prices make them very college-student friendly: my small cone was a grand $1.95 plus 60 cents for the dip. The large is $2.95 and the concretes are $4.45, so you won’t need to break the bank here. 

Food is made to order, so don’t mistake it for fast food; it was a good 25 minutes from order to eating when we were there on a Friday. It was absolutely worth it.

Note: This review was originally published by the SIUE Alestle.

A few quick photos from Paris…

Coming soon to the website! In the meantime, here’s a selection of shots from my recent adventures in Paris. The group included my mother, Patrice Stribling Nelson; stepfather Curtis Nelson; and sister Melanie Caputo. We stayed in an 1830s apartment building within sight of the Eiffel Tower, ate at street cafes and visited Notre Dame Cathedral and the Musee d’Orsay, among many other places.

I enjoyed the French atmosphere and lifestyle, with fresh baguettes and ripe strawberries at street stands within walking distance, experiencing the metro tunnel system and riding a cruise boat along the Seine, and exploring the cultural history of Paris from the opulent Opera de Paris to Shakespeare & Co., bookstore hangout of Ernest Hemingway and the Lost Generation (and later, Allan Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs of the Beat Generation). My favorite spot was Notre Dame, which unfortunately is still sequestered for renovation from the great fire of 2019. They are on track for reopening the great cathedral in time for the 2024 Olympics. 

The view from my garret window.

Chess players outside the famous Shakespeare & Co. bookstore.

The famous chandelier of the Opera de Paris, featured in novel, movie and stage play The Phantom of the Opera. Looks pretty secure…

Notre Dame Cathedral, behind construction walls.

One of the many gargoyles, some of which were damaged in the fire.

The rose window of Notre Dame. 

June 2023 Linkspam

We were prepared for some time that there would be what the bigwigs call a “gap in employment” once I graduated. May was the first month of my hiatus. Yet somehow I ended up almost as busy as I was in grad school!

Of course, the month kicked off with the graduation and celebrations, all of which was detailed in last month’s newsletter. We had more than 50 people at the big graduation barbecue, and I didn’t think I knew that many people, much less could fit them in my house! 

Then came figuring out this whole don’t-have-a-job thing. Which isn’t really true: I have my freelancing work, and as I’ve always found, you get out of freelancing what you put into it. To be honest, I didn’t put in as much as I anticipated, because I’ve been kind of in recovery mode. I’ve been sorting out my house, doing my physical therapy, cleaning out my inboxes, covering my meetings and so on. I’ve been reading books – for fun! I remember what that was like – and crunching on some long-delayed deadlines for fiction work. I caught up on the nonprofit/volunteer work – sorta – so that Eville Writers, St. Louis Society of Professional Journalists, Relay for Life, AWP adjunct caucus (proposed), and the St. Andrew’s Book Sale all got some attention.

We also had a long-awaited visit from the Awesome Stepkids, and so I was wrangling the most energetic twentysomethings in the Central Time Zone last week. 


No public appearances in May – like I said, recovery mode – but June is kicking off with ConCarolinas! As I write this, my plane is delayed, but I’ll be in Charlotte sooner or later to run my mouth about various topics and hobnob with my fellow wizards. 

Unfortunately this means I’ll miss Relay for Life this Saturday, which was rescheduled from April due to an unplanned tornado. The Awesome Husband will be running the show in my absence, and my team has already raised more than $3,000 for the American Cancer Society (some of which is not showing, but it exists). If you’d like to kick in a last-minute donation, you can find us here.

Then it’s off to Paris! This is a family trip, a very kind gift from my mom and stepdad, who will be meeting me in the City of Lights next week. I’ll be tweeting as possible @edonald and @edonaldmedia, and full travelogues and photo essays will be on the Patreon. Subscribe now for the whole thing and all my backlist, starting at $1 a month! 

In other news, the TechWrite STL grammar chat has been set for July 11, and there’s a possible trip back to the old homestead in Tennessee in September. Stay tuned…

2023 calendar:
• ConCarolinas, Charlotte, N.C. June 2-4 (guest author)
• TechWrite STL, St. Louis. July, 11. (presenter)
• Imaginarium, Louisville, Ky. July 14-16 (guest author)
• Dragoncon, Atlanta, Ga. Aug. 31-Sept. 4 (guest author)
• SPJ Conference, Las Vegas. Sept. 28-Oct. 1 (presenter)
• Archon, Collinsville, Ill. Sept. 21-Oct. 1 (LitUnd only)
• ContraKC, Kansas City, Date TBA. (guest author)


• Cafe Birdie’s menu evokes the casual, coastal feel of a beach cafe (Feast Magazine)
• Child pedestrian injuries surge in summer, Highland police warn (Highland News Leader and Yahoo Sports Canada)
• Paramedics get a raise, new contract in Highland (Highland News Leader)
• Renovation of Highland City Hall delayed by higher-than-expected bids (Highland News Leader and Yahoo Sports Canada)
• Ceremony honors fallen workers in Madison County Federation (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Highland’s oldest structure, a bell tower, donated back to city (Highland News Leader)
• Illinois launches pre-apprenticeship program for climate-related fields (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Highland student disciplined for airsoft gun on campus (Highland News-Leader)

Note: Not all articles are available online, and some may be behind paywalls. 


• Infinity, Pt. 1 (Patreon)
• Infinity, Pt. 2 (Patreon)


Coming soon: this is the Summer of Bond, as I received a boxed set of all the Bond movies for Mother’s Day and I’ll be unpacking the action, awesomeness, misogny and racism with bonus snark all summer long. Watch for that on Patreon! 

• Be water: Neil Gaiman on comics, craft and a cup of tea (Medium and Patreon)
• Traveling Woman (Patreon)
• Review: A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline (Patreon)

Note: Recently I indexed all the entries I’ve posted on the Patreon going back to launch in 2018. I wanted new Patrons to be able to easily find the work that they’ve missed, and hopefully seeing how much work is on the Patreon might encourage some good folks to subscribe. (Hint, hint.) Seriously, subscriptions start at $1 a month, and I truly believe some of the best work I’ve ever done is on the Patreon. Check out the index here.


Not much to report, but I expect that will be significantly different when I get back from the June travels! There is a pair of cardinals nesting right outside our dining room window, and it is the great frustration of my life as a photographer that I simply cannot get a good angle to see into the nest without going outside and therefore disturbing them. Other than that – and a whole bunch of silly candids from the Awesome Stepkids Weekend – it’s been mostly taking pictures of food for my culinary writing exploits and some spot news photography.