You guessed it!
While there are countless places in and around NYC to get your ice cream on, there are those that – well, stand out.
And while this is by NO MEANS a definitive list, these are my faves – some old, some brand spanking new.
So how did these shops make the cut?
For some, it’s the truly unique flavors. For others, it’s an unusual presentation. And still others for blazing a trail – and doing it well.
Ready? Let’s do this! (all photos from Instagram)
The Deal: Thai-inspired technique of pouring a liquid cream base onto a sub-freezing plate, chopping and folding in the mix-ins, spreading the mixture out thin, chopping and folding again, and then scraping it all into five “rolls”. Rolls are then garnished with unlimited toppings.
The Love: Obviously the IG-ability. But – super long lines aside – it’s a fun, different experience, the workers are chill, and anyplace that torches the marshmallows for serving is tops in my book. (Facebook/Twitter/Instagram).
Ample Hills Creamery
The Deal: Insane mix-ins. Seriously, it took me way longer than usual here, having to decide between “The Munchies”, “Salted Crack Caramel” and “Snap Mallow Pop”.
The Love : “The Munchies” totally delivered – pretzel-infused ice cream LOADED with kettle chips, M&M’s, more pretzels and (wait for it) Ritz crackers. Game changer? A pretzel cone. (Facebook/Twitter/Instagram).
Big Gay Ice Cream
The Deal: the guys from BGIC broke new ground in 2009 with their rehabbed Mister Softee truck, serving up basic soft serve with a twist – and some awesome names to go with (i.e., “Salty Pimp” and “Bea Arthur”).
Davey’s Ice Cream
The Deal: ALL about the infusions and mix-ins, a fierce commitment to local-sourced and freshest ingredients (each batch requires a four-day-long production schedule), and collaborations with local businesses.
The Love: these guys have read my mind, clearly. Case in point, what was in my cup on a recent visit – “Whopcorn” (salted butter popcorn-infused ice cream with malt balls) and Speculoos Chocolate Chip, where the speculoos cookie: ice cream ratio was the perfect 1:1. (Facebook/Twitter/Instagram).
The Deal: an ice cream shop that is heaven-sent for vegans. Here, all of the ice cream is not only vegan, but gluten-free too (including the cones). The “non-dairy” option is no lone afterthought – it’s the WHOLE deal.
The Love: since Chels has gone vegan I’ve immersed myself in the art of making really good non-dairy/non-egg treats. As such I have immense respect for places that raise the bar, and create a product that doesn’t make you end your review with, “it’s good – you know, for a vegan dessert”. (Facebook/Twitter/Instagram)
Ice and Vice
The Deal: super-small-batch ice cream, edgy, cool, highly unusual flavors. Your “urban” ice cream, right here.
The Love: as a die-hard root-beer-flavored-anything girl (see here and here), I was stoked to see “Love & Hate” – a root beer-flavored ice cream studded with ginger cookies and molasses. One of the best I’ve ever had. (Facebook/Twitter/Instagram).
The Deal: Formerly subscription-only, MilkMade recently opened a tiny-adorable “tasting room” in Brooklyn. I’ve been following owner-chef Diana Hardeman since reading about MilkMade’s small-batch, locally sourced ice cream years ago, and have been patiently waiting for delivery service to make its way up to the burbs.
Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream
The Deal: the “deal” is Nick Morgenstern, who is “focused on serving texture-driven small-batch ice creams with a renewed attention to flavor and palate….The integrity of his ingredients are never compromised with additives or processed stabilizing”.
The Love: aside from the gorgeous, pristine parlor (I’m a sucker for a good interior. And font.), I have to say, that having sampled MUCH coffee ice cream in my day, this was the best. And there are five – FIVE – different kinds of vanilla. Take a look at the gorgeous gallery of flavors on the web site, and read this great review from New York Magazine to learn more. (Facebook, Instagram)
Play J Ice Cream
The Deal: Another import, this time from Korea. The Play J truck drives around Soho and the Lower East Side, piping soft-serve (vanilla, chocolate or “twist”) into – you guessed it – “J” shaped cones made of puffed corn.
The Love: The ice cream is pleasant enough, the cone is thick and retains its crunch to the last bite, and the you-will-get-strange-looks cone shape actually serves to reduce drips. But honestly? It’s all about the photo-op – but for $4, it’s worth it just for that. (Facebook/Twitter/Instagram)
The Deal: Taiwanese and Korean shaved ice meets ice cream – a concept that’s been big for a few years on the West Coast and has finally landed in NYC. It’s like what you remember eating snow as a kid was like. But with toppings.
Have you hit up any of these places? What would be on your “top ten”?