Friday, August 14, 2015

NYC EATS: THE ICE CREAM I SCREAM FOR

Ice cream is basically a chilled cloud of milky heaven atop a crunchy cone (or cup --hey, whatever floats your boat!) and in my books, an essential part of surviving the sweltering heat of summer. So naturally when I knew I'd be spending the summer in NYC (aka foodie heaven) I ended up going on a serious hunt seeking the best of the beloved cool treat in the city. As a result, I've gotten to know a fair share of ice cream hot spots in the city.

Behold, my two cents on the top ice creameries I've given a go so far in NYC.

Ample Hills Creamery ice cream. Left: "Salted Crack Caramel" & "Snap Mallow Pop" in a chocolate chip cone, right: "Nonna D's Oatmeal Lace" & "Bourbon St" in a pretzel cone

AMPLE HILLS CREAMERY - If I were to recommend only a single ice creamery in New York, it would be Ample Hills Creamery. As their website states: "Most ice cream shops either buy a mix of these ingredients already pasteurized, or simply sell pre-made ice cream... Ample Hills was the first to pasteurize on site in New York City and one of the few places that make ice cream this way." (source) The result is super fresh ice cream.

Ample Hills continues to stand out from the ice creamery crowd with their unique, ever-changing range of flavours. Take, for example, "The Munchies": a pretzel-infused ice cream with clusters of Ritz crackers, potato chips, pretzels and mini M&Ms (it is undoubtably one of the best ice creams I have ever had). 

Tip: Give yourself a good while to look over the flavours before ordering. If your experience is anything like mine, making a decision will be very, very difficult (aka I wish there was an option to order them all).

Shoutout to my fellow foodie friend, Lindsay, for introducing me to Ample Hills! 

Caramel sea salt and vanilla burnt honey ice cream from Morgenstern's

MORGENSTERN'S - Though Morgenstern's is a classic-looking spot dawned with tile floors and gleaming white counters, the ice cream flavours Morgenstern's are known for are a few scoops away from classic.

Instead of simply sticking to the flavours we all know, Morgenstern's offers intriguing variations on those traditional flavours. The menu is divided up by vanillas, chocolates, caramels, Counter Culture Coffee flavours and specials. There are five variations of vanilla, four takes on chocolate and three different caramel flavours.

When we went, we ordered two scoops: one of caramel sea salt and another of vanilla burnt honey. Both were delightfully delicious and unlike any other ice cream we had tried before. The ice cream tasted lighter, but the flavour wasn't compromised at all. I later read that Morgenstern's recipe includes lower butterfat and sugar content because, according to the owner, high amounts of butterfat and sugar “completely coat your palate and block the tongue’s ability to detect flavour." (source) Um, I'll take five please. 

Dominique Ansel Kitchen's burrata cheese soft serve ice cream

DOMINIQUE ANSEL KITCHEN - When I read that Dominique Ansel, celebrated pastry chef of cronut fame, had created a burrata cheese soft serve ice cream topped with balsamic caramel and basil in a honey tuile cone,  I was very skeptical. The thought of savoury ice cream set off an eruption of question marks in my mind. After a lot of research and hearing nothing but positive critiques, I decided to give in to the hype (and my curiosity) and gave said ice cream a try. 

To my shock, the set of eyebrow-raising ingredients worked together perfectly. The thin, sweet, and wafter-like crunch of the honey tuile cone; the slight tang of the burrata cheese; the aromatic zing of sweetness thanks to the balsamic caramel; the distinct but subtle hit of basil... just the thought of it is making my mouth water!

 My final verdict: this ice cream deserves every bit of hype it is getting and is an absolute must-try. 


Momofuku Milk Bar's cereal milk soft serve

MOMOFUKU MILK BARAs a cereal lover, I fell head over heels for Milk Bar's cereal milk soft serve ice cream. This treat can be best described as a swankier ice cream version of eating a bowl of Cap'N Crunch cereal (though the cereal is actually cornflakes with brown sugar, it reminds me of Cap'N Crunch). The tartness of the ice cream and the contrasting crunchy sweetness of the crushed brown sugar cornflakes tastes the way I imagine ice cream heaven would. It's definitely one of my favourite ice creams I've had to date. 

There are several Milk Bar locations in NYC, some of which carry soft serve flavours specifically exclusive to the store. I have yet to try the other flavours, but have heard excellent things in my research. 

"American Globs" and "Bea Arthur" from Big Gay Ice Cream

BIG GAY ICE CREAMBig Gay is known for their creative, far-from-traditional toppings served atop traditional fluffy soft serve ice cream. The toppings are pretty much as wild as you can imagine: from cayenne, to pumpkin butter, to spicy hot chocolate, to toasted curried coconut -- this is definitely ice cream for open-minded foodie adventurers looking to experiment. 

During our visit to the East Village location, my boyfriend went for the "Bea Arthur" (vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche, crushed nilla wafters), while I ordered the "American Globs" (vanilla ice cream, pretzels, sea salt, chocolate dip). Both were delicious, though we both ultimately preferred my boyfriend's pick. 

If you're a soft-serve lover who wants to try a different take on the beloved treat, definitely check out Big Gay. 


Mister Softee's vanilla soft serve with rainbow sprinkles

MISTER SOFTEE - I was expecting Mr. Softee to be subpar --because really, how good can ice cream from such a large ice cream truck chain really be? I was completely wrong. The vanilla soft serve with rainbow sprinkles, though simple, was thoroughly satisfying. Though it certainly isn't the best soft serve I had in New York, I still wouldn't shy away from it in a pinch. If you see a Mister Softee ice cream truck while in NYC and are a fan of soft serve ice cream, I'd suggest giving it a go.


To any reading fellow ice cream lovers, which ice cream in this post made you drool the most? And to any New York readers: have I missed out any ice cream gems? Give me the scoop in the comments below. 


May your weekend be filled with plenty of ice cream.
-R

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1 comment

  1. all of these look delicioius! Yum! Xo.

    www.midwesternmamalove.com

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