Summer’s Sweetest Ice Creams
We’re not gonna lie. We tend to eat ice cream all year round. And the long, hot days and balmy nights of a New York summer give us even more of a reason to indulge in the city’s phenomenal selection of soft serve, gelato and old school ice cream.
We’re not just talking traditional vanilla soft serve, ice cream sandwiches or strawberry on a sugar cone. Oh no. There are all sorts of ways to get your dairy fix this summer, from Cornbread Ice Cream at sam Mason’s brand new Oddfellows Ice Cream Shop to the unusual black sesame seaweed ice cream at SkyIce in Brooklyn and sticky sundaes at Eddie’s Sweet Shop in Queens!
OddFellows Ice Cream Shop
The name says it all. Signature scoops at this brand new Williamsburg shop include Cornbread, Maple-Bacon Pecan and Chorizo Caramel (yes, really). Then again, what else would you expect from wd-50 alum Sam Mason, who’s most recent venture was a tiny Brooklyn store committed entirely to the sale of artisanal mayonnaise? But the sweet and savory concoctions at OddFellows are a whole lot more approachable — and delicious — than they sound. OddFellows pasteurizes the mix for their small-batch ice cream in-house, using sugar, cream, and locally-sourced milk from Battenkill Valley Creamery. Still can’t get into the idea of Spanish sausage-infused ice cream? You can always play it safe with Chocolate Chunk, Tahitian Vanilla, or Blueberry Buttermilk Ice Cream, or even Mango or Lychee Sorbet.
Je and Jo
This new Hell’s Kitchen sweet shop is seriously devoted to Cookie Dough. We’re not just talking about chocolate chip dough either. Over 30 fun ice creams showcase different cookie flavors — from Fresh Mint Ice Cream with Lemon Lavender Shortbread to Roasted Banana with Peanut Butter Cookie and even Honey Grapefruit with gooey chunks of Pecan Sandie Dough. They all come conveniently packaged in 4 oz. compostable sugarcane fiber cups with old-school pull tab lids and a small wooden stick for a spoon, so they’re easily portable. That makes them perfect for eating on the go, whether you’ve purchased them at Je and Jo’s store or off the back of their very own, adorable Ice Cream Tricycle that regularly traverses the city!
Big Gay Ice Cream Shop
There’s a lot more to soft serve than Mr. Softee. Besides, do you think a shop with a name like this — and a giant unicorn mural on one wall, bedazzled with 6,000 Swarovski crystals — would serve ho-hum anything? Granted, owners Doug Quint and Bryan Petroff start with the basics (soft-serve ice cream and junky wafer cones). But then things get funky. There’s the Salty Pimp (dipped in a chocolate shell and sprinkled with sea salt), the Mexican Affo’Gay’to (mixed with cayenne and spicy hot chocolate), and the Cococone (coated with curried toasted coconut). You can find them at both the East and West village locations, or flag down the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck… the only mobile vendor in the city with a customized theme song from Go-Go’s guitarist Jane Wiedlin!
Sky Ice Sweet and Savory
Although this Thai eatery offers some excellent, healthy lunch options (we love the No-Carb Pad Thai with papaya noodles and Spicy Chicken Laap), they excel at artfully presented frozen treats in dare-you-to-try it flavors. Think Black Sesame Seaweed, Avocado and Yam, and yes, even Durian, the intensely odorous South-Asian fruit. You can order 12 mini scoops as part of a SKYICE Palette (don’t worry, there are plenty of other less adventurous ice creams to choose from, like Thai Iced Coffee, Lychee Rose or Mangosteen Sorbet). But best of all is the Sushi Platter, which includes Coconut Ice Cream topped with rambutan and strawberries, served with green tea-chocolate dipping sauce, candied ginger, and chocolate chopsticks.
Freya Estreller and Natasha Case turned their love of “Farchitecture” (food+architecture) into COOLHAUS, a fleet of trucks selling cookie “roofs and floor slab” held together with deliciously creamy ice cream “walls.” Okay, they’re actually just ice cream sandwiches. But it’s fun to keep the conceit going by ordering architect-inspired creations, like the Mies Vanilla Rohe (Vanilla ice cream + Chocolate Chip cookie), the Frank Berry (Strawberry ice cream + Snickerdoodle cookie), and the Richard Meyer Lemon (Meyer Lemon ice cream +Ginger Molasses cookie).
This European gelato franchise with outposts in France, Italy, England, and Spain opened their first stateside shop in 2011, right her in New York City. And in addition to their unimpeachable gelato made from organic, all-natural ingredients (we love the Cioccolato, Amarena, Stracciatella and Biscotto), they’ve quickly become known for their show-stopping presentation. Order as many flavors as you please sculpted into their signature, flower shaped cone, accented with candied cherries or toasted pistachio nuts.
Il Labaratorio del Gelato
Ever been to an ice cream lab? This Lower East Side shop was our first. Owned by the founder of Ciao Bella, this stand-out spot is improbably positioned on a scruffy stretch of Orchard Street, right next to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. The chic and spacious walk-up café offers a full view of the lab where over 100 different flavors of gelato — think Fior di Latte, Pink Peppercorn and Amaretto Crunch — and up to 50 varieties of sorbet, like Blood Orange, Concord Grape or Braeburn Apple, are made by hand in small batches. Think of it as a summer school.
Eddie’s Sweet Shop
We can’t help but take a particular childlike pleasure in sinfully sloppy ice cream sundaes. And Eddie’s Sweet Shop, a 100-year-old soda fountain in Queens, makes some of the best (not to mention messiest!) flavors, like Coffee Chip and Pistachio Pineapple, which are crowned with towering swirls of extra-thick whipped cream, rivers of butterscotch, and impossibly dense lashings of rich hot fudge. They’re balanced on pewter saucers to catch the inevitable drippings and no one will stare if you finish them off with your fingers. Just saying.