If I could have a dollar for every ice cream cone I’ve ever eaten in New York City, I could retire immediately. But as it would appear, I have spent an aggressive amount of money on ice cream and received nothing for it. Except for pure joy and a continuing desire to test the limits of my mildly increasing lactose intolerance and (potentially ever-slowing) metabolism.
Now times have changed, dietary needs have become more restricted (or so it feels), but one thing will remain the same – I am here to support, recommend, and provide guidance for all of your ice cream needs.
Let’s begin, shall we?
For the record, I was eating this ice cream long before it won ‘Best Ice Cream in the Nation’ by the Food Network. And for GOOD reason. Ample Hills is home to some of the best ice cream that I have ever had (gasp) and I do not take that lightly, as anyone who knows me, knows that I am an ice cream addict.
If you’re expecting to be able to do some pirouettes or light skips after eating your ice cream, then maybe Ample Hills isn’t for you. It’s a rich treat, people. Very creamy, decadent, and most certainly not stingy on mix-ins (think: butter cake chunks, saltines coated in butter, sugar, and chocolate, pretzels, potato chips, caramel…) Ample Hills is a TREAT. For me though, I’m always distracted by how good it is that I forget to feel overwhelmingly heavy afterwards. Maybe that’s just me. But I think a balance like this is hard to strike, as can often be too creamy or too icey (see what I did there?)
What to get: My favorite flavors are the Salted Crack Caramel (salted caramel base with “crack cookies”, also known as saltines coated in butter, sugar, and chocolate…) and the Ooey Gooey Butter Cake. If you’re dairy-free or vegan, they also offer an amazing Fudge flavor that’s made with a coconut milk base.
When to get: The perfect after dinner scoop. Indulgent, but not overly heavy. It’s so good that you’ll definitely finish it, and won’t hate yourself post-consumption even if you had a full meal prior.
Delicious of course, but the flavors didn’t fully hit home for me. I felt that the coffee needed a bit more strength, and the other flavors needed more depth. It was almost like the flavor was inching up to maximum taste but just didn’t quite make it. Because this ice cream felt lighter and less creamy, it was just fine for me. If that’s your jam, then maybe this is for you but when I eat ice cream, I want a bit more indulgence. Go big or go home am I right? I could have had a pint in my bed. But even though it isn’t my favorite, it is definitely a solid scoop of ice cream.
When to get: Pre-lunch or pre-dinner. The scoops are small, not very dense, and pretty light. You could have a scoop and definitely tuck into a nice meal, if that’s your kinda thing. I mean, why wait until after a meal for dessert anyway?
Big Gay Ice Cream
When it’s hot outside and you’re like me (and find sorbet to be a waste of time) then this is IT. I love Big Gay, not just because of the variety in dips and toppings, but just because soft-serve is just so light and fluffy and beautiful (I need to be contained). Soft-serve seems to be the type of dessert that’s good for anytime of the day – whether that be before lunch/after lunch/after dinner. Or for breakfast because that’s cool too.
What to get: The Salty Pimp. Don’t ask questions, just do it.
When to get: When your mood is: “it’s-hot-out-but-I-don’t-want-to-waste-my-efforts-on-a-smoothie” or “I-could-really-go-for-a-dipped-cone-that-is-Dairy-Queen-on-crack.” You know.
Momofuku Milk Bar
THE HYPE. The hype for Momofuku is unreal. The cereal milk soft serve seems to be completely pervasive throughout social media so obviously I was extremely excited to try it. But my first experience was a bit of a hot (or cold?) mess. I’m not complaining about their generous quantity, but the thing is pretty messy to eat. The second I stepped outside of the Midtown shop, the soft-serve started melting everywhere, making it a race against time to actually eat the dessert. As for the flavor, it’s not something I would crave but definitely worth a try to just experience the hype. It’s a bit salty with an aftertaste of sugary sweet. Good, not great. It’s also very rich, but that feeling doesn’t hit you until 5 minutes after you’re done. Eh.
What to get: The cereal milk soft serve is the thing but I much prefer the cookies. I like the Klossies – especially the Perfect 10.
When to get: When you’re craving a salty-sweet dessert. (not sure if this is a common feeling?) Also, sometimes you’re visiting New York and want to experience the hype. It’s a try it for yourself kind of deal.
Emack & Bolio’s
The variety in this tiny little shop is crazy. They have about every indulgent flavor I could think of. The serving was BEYOND generous. One scoop was equivalent to 2.5 anywhere else…I got the Peanut Butter Oreo which was delicious. The quantity was too much for me, but maybe share with someone else and you’ll be good to go. Now let me be clear – I can definitely put down all that ice cream. For SURE. But not as an after dinner or lunch dessert. You need this as a meal.
What to get: Coffee and oreos. It’ll solve any problem you had that day.
When to get: You want to be in a lactose coma. Worth it.
Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream
I felt an air of exclusivity the second I stepped in here. Morgenstern’s has a menu that is simple and absurdly unique, all at the same time. With flavors ranging from Unsalted Caramel to Cardamom Lemon Jam, Morgenstern’s doesn’t dub themselves the “finest” for no reason.
What to get: I, of course being the predictable human I am, got the Vietnamese Coffee, which they make with condensed milk and….wow, game-changer. Smooth, creamy without being heavy, and just the perfect amount of sweetness. The coffee had a richness and depth that many places do not get right. 10/10. Would recommend.
When to get: An amazing after dinner scoop. Also if you want to impress your friends, take ‘em down to the LES for this gem. There’s an artsy wall outside too. For Instagram, you know.