New Yorkers have always been serious about their sandwiches. We’ve got everything from Katz’s legendary pastrami on rye to the turkey sandwich at Torrisi. Come summer, we’re just as serious about our ice cream sandwiches. We’ll always love the classics we grew up on, like the Chipwich, ice cream trucks and shops have upped the ante tenfold. Just this year, pastry chef Dominique Ansel (Daniel) debuted his own bakery, and better yet, two killer ice cream sandwiches. There’s Coolhaus’s crazy good oatmeal raisin & nutter butter sandwich, Melt Bakery’s “Thick Mint”, and even an ice cream-stuffed eclair at Chickalicious. Here are some our favorites for summer 2012…
Lucky for us Coolhaus made its way from the LA streets to New York last summer and stuck around for a second season. It’s nearly impossible to pick between all of the killer ice cream sandwich combinations,so we don’t. Instead we alternate between them. How about nutter butter ice cream (how awesome does that sound!) sandwiched between two oatmeal raisin cookies or root beer ice cream between snicker doodle cookies? If you don’t like those, you can create your own ice cream sandwich with any one of their homemade ice creams and cookies. These are monster-size sandwiches, so prepare to get gloriously messy.
Dominique Ansel Bakery
Address: 189 Spring Street, nr Thompson St.
We have to admit we were worried when Dominique Ansel left his esteemed pastry post at Daniel to venture off on his own. But Ansel’s proven he can succeed on his own with several sweet accomplishments, including the DKA short for Dominique’s Kougin Amman. As he explains it, it’s a “croissant-like roll with a caramelized crunchy crust.” More importantly, it’s to die for. He’s upped the ante on this ingenious pastry by slicing it in half and stuffing it with any homemade ice cream of your choice. (Ice cream flavors change daily.) If that’s not your guy, he’s also serving a “Blanc de Blanc” sandwich made with tahitian vanilla ice cream and ricotta cookies, salted honey and ricotta cookies.
Dessert Club, ChikaLicious
204 E 10th St (between 1st and
Chikalicious has become an East Village destination for classic and modernist sweet tooths alike, who come for the unusual and often sophisticated creations, such as their fromage blanc island cheesecake or chocolate tart with pink peppercorns and a red wine sauce. Just next door is their casual cafe where they are just as talented at frozen treats, like a classic vanilla soft serve sundae or a green tea shaved ice with adzuki beans. The most imaginative offerings are the sandwich sorts, including a chocolate sorbet-stuffed macaron or one-of-a-kind ice cream sandwich eclair (pictured below).
Saturdays at the Hester St. Fair
Hester St. at Essex St.
This stand debuted at the Hester Street fair back in 2010, and will soon have a storefront of its own in the Lower East Side later this month. The main reason for its success are the ice cream sandwiches. What started as pop-up ice cream cart with just three flavors has become a growing business with 30 rotating combinations. Currently these include the to-die-for Thick Mint Sandwich with peppermint ice cream & chocolate cookies, the Elvis with banana ice cream and peanut butter cookies, and the Morticia with malted chocolate rum ice cream and chocolate cookies. If you can’t make it to the street fair, just email them to have your favorite delivered to you (minimum one dozen sandwiches), or reserve a flavor combination for pickup from their kitchen on the LES (no minimum).
191 Fifth Ave (between Union St and Sackett St)
Park Slope, Brooklyn
Husband & wife duo, Richard & Daphne Scholz opened this Brooklyn beer tasting room with an impressive colletion of 600 beers for the tasting. Also on tap are house-made roasted turkey breasts and Wagyu roast beef that can be made into sandwiches. Our favorite sandwich? The pecan blondie filled with Il Laboratorio’s dulce de leche gelato. What really sets Bierkraft’s sandwich apart is that the pecan blondie is flavored with a stout beer called Keegan’s Mother’s Milk. Sandwiches and beer? No brainer. But ice cream sandwiches and beer? That’s genius.
156 10th Ave., at 20th St.
This Chelsea fixture, located right next to the Highline, is well known for its Greenmarket-inspired menu, which features locally caught fish as well as meats from the Hudson Valley. Luckily for ice cream lovers, they’re also selling ice cream sandwiches. (For holiday weekends, there will even be a Cookshop Ice Cream Cart.) There’s a uniquely, crispy graham cracker crust sandwich filled with banana ice cream and brownie with salted caramel ice cream, rolled in pretzel pieces. If you’re a traditionalist, try the chocolate chip cookie rendition with an unusually rich vanilla or red velvet wafers filled with cheesecake ice cream. (That should take you through July.)
François Payard Bakery
116 West Houston St., btwn. Thompson &Sullivan Sts.
Truth be told, we’d walk across the city for the perfect French macaron. (We realize we could have taken a cab, but sometimes it’s good to work for your dessert). We were over the moon to learn that one of the finest French pastry chefs, François Payard, decided to fill his superb macarons with ice cream instead of the traditional butter cream this summer. Like most New Yorkers, we were devastated when the Upper East Side Payard Pâtisserie closed, but the Frenchman has returned with this SoHo bakery. Our recommendation is the berry macaron with strawberry cheesecake ice cream, the toasted coconut macaron with coconut mango sorbet, or the pistachio macaron with pistachio raspberry ice cream. If you can’t pick between them, we suggest you try all three.
One Fifth Avenue, at 8th St.
Mario Batali & Joe Bastianich can do no wrong and that’s especially true at their West Village pizzeria with an olive oil gelato that just may steal the show. Whatever you do, save room for dessert or stop at the cart for a to-go ice cream sandwich, the likes of a sweet brioche bun filled with any flavor gelato you’re craving. Yes, we often opt for the olive oil gelato, but the salty peanut with a little Nutella is divine, too.
60 University Place (at 10th Street)
We’re already crazy about this European import’s rose-shaped cones with gelato petals, but we’ve only recently discovered The Focaccina, a gelato-stuffed brioche. This doozy of an ice cream sandwich is further proof of just how amazing this New York acquisition is. The Focaccina is closer to a real sandwich than your typical ice cream sandwich, which makes it a great, slightly rustic change of pace. You can order the brioche cold or warm, then fill it with any gelato or sorbet on the menu. (We suggest a fruit sorbet, which tastes just like a jelly sandwich, only eons better.)
Milk and Cookies Bakery
19 Commerce St., btwn. Bedford & Barrow Sts.
The staff never stops baking at Milk & Cookies, which means that fresh-from-the-oven cookies are always available. The only thing that could possibly make this scenario more ideal would be to take two warm cookies and put ice cream in between. They’ve come up with some outstanding combinations, like “The Overload”, made with peanut butter chocolate cookies and dark chocolate ice cream, or “The Sweetheart”, made with chocolate chip cookies and strawberry ice cream. They’re all good, but our vote belongs to the nostaglic “Rainbow”, with M&M sugar cookies and vanilla ice cream. Oh, and the sandwiches can be delivered anywhere in the NY metro area, so no one’s gets left out.
Big Gay Ice Cream Truck
The temptation of the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck is one we battle every day (and give into a few too many times a week). Cones, cups, you can’t go wrong. Where ice cream sandwiches are concerned, our favorite is the Belgian Slipwich, ingeniously simple and sensational. They start with two chocolate pinwheel cookies, add vanilla soft serve and a smear of Nutella — creamy, crunchy, and nutty.