Summer in New York City means baseball games, the Hamptons, rooftops and sweltering heat. Summer means air conditioning, peep toes and iced coffee. Summer means ice cream. In lieu of eating this summer (it’s too hot anyway), replace all your meals with ice cream. With about a million fabulous, trendy, vegan, all-natural, dairy-free, organic options available, there is absolutely something for everyone. Grab a summer crush and shuffle your sandaled feet to your nearest ice cream shop. It’s not truly summer until you have butter pecan running down your chin and melting all over your latest French Connection frock. Grab a cone, cup or sundae at any of the following Joonbug recommended creameries:
Lula’s Sweet Apothecary located on the cusp of Alphabet City and the East Village could be considered a hipster-vegan paradise. Upon walking into this warped world of entirely vegan, dairy-free ice “cream” you’ll realize you’re not in Kansas anymore. All flavors are either soy or cashew milk based, making some gluten free as well! Try the cake batter soft-serve, which mimics its namesake precisely, and top with gelatin free gummy bears or chopped banana. Push those thick rimmed glasses up your nose and lick away. Be sure to wipe your hands before heading back to Brooklyn on your fixie.
Chinatown Ice Cream Factory is not your average Baskin Robbins style parlor. A small storefront in the heart of Chinatown houses a bizarre but delicious array of flavors. Favorites include Lychee, Almond Cookie and Red Bean. If you’re daring, treat your taste buds to Zen Butter- a combination of toasted sesame seeds and peanut butter. Warning, don’t expect stellar customer service. Most of the employees scooping the frozen goodness are surly at best.
Sundaes and Cones: A Brooklyn import relocated to the East Village, S & C boasts some of the best homemade creations on the island. Want some Wasabi ice cream after that bowl of ramen? Look no further. Haven’t had your daily doses of corn derivatives? Try Corn ice cream. Need a weird ice cream cake for your friend complete with sugary feces and fake candy flies? Sundaes and Cones is an eccentric but cozy shop known for friendly service. Feel free to sample the Black Sesame before you commit.
Blue Marble in Cobble Hill and Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, is the brainchild of two women with no culinary background whatsoever. But their little ice cream shop is adored by mommies and kiddies alike who flock here for their simple, straightforward flavors. Depending on the season, Blue Marble makes a killer blackberry ice cream as well as a pumpkin and peach variety. Parents will be happy to know there is never any corn syrup used in the making of the ice cream.
The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck is usually parked on the corner of Broadway and 17th streets in lower Manhattan. But it would be easy to spot this rainbow splashed vehicle anywhere, just take note of the atrocious lines. People from all over wait patiently for their turn to order a “Bea Arthur”- vanilla soft serve with dulce de leche and dusted in crushed Nilla wafer cookies, or a “Salty Pimp”- the same vanilla soft-serve with sea-salt but dipped in chocolate. These cones are worth the wait. But beware- the draw here is the toppings, not the ice cream itself. Don’t expect green tea or pistachio cherry ice cream. Simple flavors like vanilla and chocolate are jazzed up with Sriracha, key lime curd, pumpkin butter or curried coconut. The Big Gay Ice Cream truck is all about accessorizing the plain and morphing it into something totally wild. Go ahead and order that chocolate soft-serve but top it with wasabi pea dust; thank us later.
Weather it's full fat or non-dairy, cashew milk based or gluten free, covered in hot sauce or sprinkles, ice cream aims to please. It's hard to stay grouchy while slurping up a banana split or a sloppy sundae. So escape the high temperatures and hide out in the shade with a sugar cone piled high. Vegetables will still be there tomorrow.