Pesso’s Italian Ices
20320 35th Ave., at 203rd St.
You can spend a day trying to eat your way through Pesso’s extensive selection of ices, ice creams and gelatos, easily worth a day trip out to Queens. If you’re dining in the neighborhood, it’s a great last stop. On a recent visit I had the dulce de leche and the zabaione gelato, both of which were super dense and true to their names. A lighter menu item is the “miscela,” an authentic Italian blend of ices and frozen yogurt.
49-07 104th St., at 49th Ave.
Timmty O practically lives at his warm, vibrant frozen custard shop where he spins his wonderfully fresh custards daily. He’s more than happy to give you a sample of vanilla, chocolate, and the special of the day (blueberry, peanut butter, coconut, dulce de leche…) Don’t overlook the wonderful list of toppings. Try a kid scoop of the vanilla for a buck, and throw on some peanut butter and brownie chunks.
Fine and Raw
Brooklyn Flea Market
Whebn I think of ice cream, I think milk and sugar. Apparently, the two aren’t always necessary as is the case at Fine and Raw, where they make raw dairy and sugar-free chocolate ice cream. It’s made with agave, coconut, and plenty of chocolate, and has the consistency of thick, rich frozen pudding.
Brooklyn Flea Market
Though not technically ice cream, People’s Pops deserves to be among the best of New York frozen treats. Try the strawberry buttermilk popsicle, a sweet and creamy ode to summer on a hand-stamped stick. If you’re craving something a little more refreshing, flavored ices are also served – licorice, lemon mint, and ginger rhubarb are among the ever-changing options.
Blue Marble Ice Cream Cart
Brooklyn Flea Market
Located smack in the middle of the action at the Brooklyn Flea Market, this ice cream cart-cum -bicycle is loaded with to-go containers of Blue Marble’s signature flavors. Each one is $3.50 and packs in a lot of ice cream for one person. I like the pistachio ice cream, which reminds of old-fashioned pistachio — snow white, with a distinct almond and plenty of crunch from all the fresh-roasted pistachios.
Ray’s Candy Store
113 Ave. A , btwn. E 7th St. & St. Mark’s Pl.
It may have a giant photo of fries on the storefront, but don’t dismiss Ray’s Candy Store as another pommes frites spot. They make some wonderful, homemade egg creams, milkshakes, frozen yogurt and soft serve ice cream. $3.50 will get you a small serving of flavors ranging from pistachio to peanut butter, but beware. “Small” means a giant coffee cup filled with the stuff, so bring someone to share.
Roma’s Ice Cream Store
103-04 Roosevelt Ave., nr. 103rd St.
The unusual variety of flavors is absolutely worth the ride on the 7 train to Queens. There’s the usual suspects, like chocolate, vanilla, and pistachio, but why order one of those when you can taste eggnog or purple plum. My favorite is the mamey, an apple-like fruit flavor from the Caribbean and Central America. The ice cream is bright red, with a taste reminiscent of almonds, pumpkin and vanilla. If you’re looking for something lighter, try one of the popsicles in the freezer – mango chili is amazing.
Pecas y Mas
44-20 Greenpoint Ave. (off 45th St.)
If you’ve never tried a cholado, this Colombian snack shop is the place to do it. Imagine an oversized cup of shaved ice topped with a variety of fruit juices and chopped apples, melon, pineapple and mango. It’s then covered with sweetened condensed milk, toasted coconut, and finished off with a cherry. A cholado comes with a spoon and straw, so start off sipping the juice from the bottom, and spoon all the goodies on top.
Emack & Bolio’s
73 W Houston St. (nr. Mercer St.)
What started in Boston has spread across the country, but is often neglected in New York. I can’t understand why, especially considering how funky the flavors are. I love the raspberry truffle – it’s vanilla ice cream with a raspberry swirl and raspberry truffles. The Deep Purple Cow is another great flavor – black raspberry ice cream with white and dark chocolate chips and blueberries. Egg creams and shakes are also available, as are house made chocolates like glazed ginger and Swiss fudge.
1053 2nd Ave. (btwn. 55th & 56th Sts.)
This tastes like dense Italian gelato in American flavors. There are some Italian standards, like stracciatella and tiramisu, but the American classics are what stand out here, like butter pecan, key lime pie, mint chip, and strawberry cheesecake. I love the banana caramel praline – a smooth banana ice cream with caramelized praline chunks throughout. The sorbets also go beyond the traditional – the mojito flavor has tons of fresh mint and lime and fresh mango tastes like the frozen fresh fruit itself. Melt also serves sweet and savory crepes, but stick with the gelato.