Ice cream is always a good idea — especially in New York City. Whether it’s a humid summer day or in the midst of a winter storm, travelers and city dwellers alike are enticed by a scoop (or two) of frozen delight. And how could we blame them?
New York City is one of the most culturally diverse places in the world. The variety of beautiful people naturally yields a diversity in culinary flavor. The result? Boroughs full of piquancies fit for everyone’s palate! Whether you’re looking for the best vanilla in town or something that we may have a little difficulty pronouncing, it is here.
After taking notes on anything from word of mouth recommendations to exploring top Instagrammers feeds, we’ve come up with a master list for some of the best spots in the city.
Ample Hills Creamery is a whimsical fairy tale brought to life. Through frozen canvas mixed with sweet mediums, playful flavors come alive. Their pride in craftsmanship is exemplified in that they are equal parts creamery and bakery. They were the first in New York City to pasteurize hormone-free milk and cream in-house, making them a registered dairy plant.
Not to mention, they bake nearly all their mix-in ingredients from scratch. Their Salted Crack Caramel flavor will have you thinking, “Ah, so this is what caramel should taste like!” For those who want to learn the craft, the parlour offers ice cream making classes using an old fashion hand churn.
In a city constantly making strides toward the next best phenomenon, Ice and Vice’s presence is well rooted in confidence that they belong. Unusual flavors in both ice cream and cone options speak highly about their creativity and culinary expertise. Expect to encounter kind staff willing to offer endless samples.
The flavor, No Whey, is an eye catcher for those familiar with the middle eastern palate. It consists of labneh, burnt honey and preserved lemon. Curiously, labneh is yogurt that’s been strained removing its whey (Get it? No whey!) resulting in thicker, more velvety consistency. Traditionally, labneh is spread on toasted pita bread topped with lemon and cayenne pepper, similar to bagels and cream cheese. Labneh in ice cream was enticing. It made me nostalgic for being with family in Cairo.
Their chai waffle cone had similar flavor notes to Dona Chai, which reminded me of times I’ve enjoyed the same drink with my soon-to-be-husband. Together these tastes brought forth memories from very separate seasons of life, let alone different continents — and somehow managed to intertwine them.
Sneaker-heads and ice cream enthusiasts, this is your holy grail! Kith Treats, a nook hidden within Kith Clothing, is a collaborative force here to delight all of your senses. They’re a streetwear staple, meanwhile producing the best cereal infused ice cream you will experience.
Each shop is visual eye candy, filled with vibrant fabrics and art installations. Every scoop is made to order with a high speed drill to blend any cereal you can imagine into their flavorful vanilla base. Do yourself a favor and try a swirl of fruity pebbles, chocolate chips and toffee. It’s especially impressive when you take a bite and the cereal is still crunchy!
Taiyaki is a fish-shaped cake that originated in Japan. Tai literally translates to sea-bream (a type of fish) and yaki can mean fried, baked or grilled. Before taiyaki took the silhouette of a fish-shaped ice cream cone, it was first imagawayaki, a circular cake traditionally filled with red bean paste.
Taiyaki NYC freshly bakes their taiyaki and fills them with your choice of custard or red bean paste, soft serve and a variety of toppings.
Big Gay Ice Cream is served at a temperature slightly warmer than your standard ice cream. That way it takes less time for your tongue to defrost and embrace the flavors, allowing more time to enjoy with your tastebuds. The Rocky Roadhouse is a must try. It is filled with chocolate soft serve, toasted almonds, chocolate morsels, mini marshmallows and slightly salted to give you that harmonious, sweet and salty combination.
BGI’s cofounder Douglas Quint put it best, “I feel like ice cream is a universal food. You don’t need teeth to eat ice cream. You can be eight months old … you can be one hundred eight.”
Have you tried any of these places? Where’s your favorite spot to get ice cream in the city?
Images via Steph Sidaros