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New York's Finest Ice Creams


New Yorkers take everything edible seriously.  We're just as passionate about ice cream as we are about burgers and French fries.  Ice cream shops come up with inventive, new flavors and combinations every year.   With all the ice cream-ologists on wheels, Mister Softee's got competition. 

Chickalicious - Best Gourmet Soft Serve
Address: 203 East 10th St., btwn 1st & 2nd Aves.
Phone: (212)995-9511

Vanilla soft serve is one of life's simplest & most gratifying pleasures.  Mister Softee has lots of competition these days, but the one we'd watch out for is Chickalicious.  This is a whole new level of vanilla soft serve, specked & with vanilla bean.   I haven't even gotten to the unique toppings.  Forget sprinkles and peanuts.  Chickalicious has homemade hot fudge, shredded kataifi, pistachios, & dark chocolate pearls.


Chinatown Ice Cream Factory - Best Exotic Flavors

Address: 65 Bayard Street

Phone: (212) 608-4170

This is one of the oldest ice creams institutions in the city.  Open since 1978, this family-owned shop keeps coming up creative flavors.   You don't often find an ice cream parlor with two different menus.   Our favorites on the "Regular” menu include Black Sesame, a funky-smelling Durian (an Asian fruit) that tastes like pineapple custard,) and Zen Butter (peanut butter ice cream with toasted sesame seeds.)  On the “Exotic” menu, there's Coffee Brandy, Coconut Fudge and Wasabi.  The flavors change as the seasonal ingredients do, but the signature flavors stick around.  


Van Leeuwen Ice Cream - Best Simple Flavors

Address: 632 Manhattan Ave. (Greenpoint, Brooklyn)

It all started in a yellow postal truck.  Van Leeuwen has quickly grown into a mini empire with three trucks and a flagship in Greenpoint.  What's all the fuss about?  Organic, all-natural ice cream with the finest ingredients.  The pistachios from Puglia, red currants from the Hudson Valley, and local milk from Lewis County, New York.   None of this would matter if the ice cream weren't so creamy and fresh.  They keep the flavors simple to let ingredients, like Red Currant, Ginger, Pistachio and Strawberry shine.   It might be a little too good.   Some flavors sell out before the end of the day, so you might consider making it your lunch.


The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck - Best Toppings

Address: Truck on 17th, & Broadway

How can you not love a truck with this name?  The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck roams the streets of Chelsea, but you can easily track it down from the Twitter page.  The soft serve is good, but the toppings are the clencher.    There's crumbled ginger snaps, wasabi pea dust, large-flake coconut and even cayenne pepper.   They also offer traditional toppings like sprinkles if the spicy stuff isn’t your thing.   If you're feeling adventurous, try the “Choinkwich” with two chocolate pinwheel cookies, soft-serve of your choice and strips of bacon.  Yes, bacon.  You never know until you try.  (It's actually pretty good.)


Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory - Best Ice Cream with a View

Address: Fulton Ferry Landing Pier (Brooklyn)

Phone: (718)246- 3693

This is a New York rite of passage in summertime.  With its view of the Brooklyn Bridge and benches along the pier, it’s hard to find a more picturesque spot to have a cone on a hot day.  The Brooklyn Ice cream factory has only a few flavors and they do them damn well.   The menu features Chocolate Chunk, Strawberry, Peaches & Cream, Butter Pecan, Coffee and a crazy creamy, Vanilla Maple.   You can't beat a double scoop of chocolate dunk and a stroll on the Brooklyn Bridge.  Sure, there's a line, but at least its not as bad as the line at Grimaldi’s.


Cones on Bleecker - Best Flavor Combination

Address: 272 Bleecker St., nr. Sixth Ave.

Phone: (212)414-1795

This is proof you should try everything once.  Corn and cinnamon sound like an unlikely match, but it turns out to be an ingenious combination of frozen cream, real kernels, and sweet spice.  There's lots more innovation at this West Villageshop owned and run by two Argentinian brothers.   Argentina happens to be more than 60% Italian and they take the craft of gelato seriously.   Raul & Oscar  D’Aloisio have come up with intensely flavored tiramisu, zabayone, dulce de leche, and almond cream. 


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