Summertime Sweet Treats

Every summer the kids and I eat copious amounts of ice cream and Italian ices. I consider our vast consumption hard-earned since we suffer in a house with temperamental air-conditioning and lack the funds to fix it. I suppose a sensible person could argue that if we saved all the money earmarked for our summertime sweet treats then we could probably afford central air, but I would then quickly turn around and accuse that person of being a wet blanket. But I digress...

This summer my kids and I have travelled through a few of New York City's boroughs for some urban exploring. In addition to a museum or park, we've had the pleasure of experiencing the local food scene. And guess what that includes? Yup, ice cream and Italian ices. Even though the summer isn't over--and neither is our adventure!--I thought it would be nice to report on the places we've been to already.

I'll begin with the Lemon Ice King of Corona in Corona, Queens. We wrapped up a trip to the New York Hall of Science with a visit to this Italian ice landmark which is only a few blocks away.  The flavors range from the eponymous lemon to fruit cocktail. I am happy to report that there are pits and pieces of fruit in the ices, which means that they are made with REAL ingredients. We tried the vanilla, watermelon, and fruit cocktail.

We explored a few different areas in the Bronx.  The first place was City Island, and, yes, it is actually an island that is accessible via bridge. Out of sheer curiosity my kids and I drove there to look around. It's small, which meant that the only ice cream shop in town would be really popular with not only the locals (affectionately known as clam diggers) but the visitors (not-so affectionately known as mussel suckers). The ice cream shop Lickety Split looked quaint from the outside, which added to the small fisherman vibe of the island. We were excited to check it out, but once inside we realized that they did not make their own stuff. It was disappointing. But they did have a nice selection of ice creams, frozen yogurts, and Italian ices, so we didn't leave in a negative mood.  

I somehow tied in a trip to the Bronx Zoo with a visit to Teresa's Italian Ices & Cafe and Loretta's Pizza in the Schuylerville neighborhood of the Bronx. It's nowhere near the Bronx Zoo, but I was interested in comparing two different Italian ices in the same neighborhood. Both these places make their own Italian ice. Teresa's was our first stop and I made the mistake of getting the honeydew flavor. It wasn't so good. But my kids liked their choices of cherry and watermelon.

Loretta's Pizza is known for many things other than their cold sweet treats. And when we walked in the smell of their marinara sauce made my mouth water. But guess what? Their Italian ices are superb. Masana tried the lemon, Mack had the rainbow, and I bravely tried the birthday cake remix. The flavors were rich with the right amount of sweetness and the texture was creamy. 


Rockaway Beach in the southern most part of Queens has been our beach home for the past several weeks, and we've eaten our way up and down the boardwalk and boulevard. (I will write a post dedicated to the food here soon.) DiCosmo's, which is originally from Elizabeth, New Jersey, makes our favorite Italian ices. The flavors change daily, and they are ALL incredibly delicious. So far I (we?) have tasted star grapefruit, coconut, avocado, lemon, mango orange, and pear.


Okay, I've saved the best for last. Steve's Ice Cream has a special place in my heart for different reasons. First, they make a strawberry ice cream that completely reinvents the flavor for me. It's actually strawberry ricotta and it's absolutely addicting. Strawberry happens to be my favorite flavor and I use it as a barometer for the quality of an ice cream joint. If they can make a good strawberry ice cream then they can make good ice cream period.

The second reason I love Steve's is the BKLYN Blackout. I am one of those people that love chocolate but HATE chocolate flavor ice cream. I actually get angry if someone tries to serve me chocolate ice cream. BUT Steve's BKLYN Blackout has me swooning with every lick (why does that sentence sound wrong?).

And the last but most important reason why I love Steve's Ice Cream is the list of flavors. It's short (8 signature flavors and 3 flavors of the day) and every one of them is delicious. But out of this selection there are dairy-free options (3 signature and 1 flavor of the day) that don't look or taste like the crappy soy or rice milk substitutions I've encountered. (They are coconut milk based.) Which means that my dairy-allergic son can eat an ice cream cone with the rest of his family and not feel different. He is having his first true boardwalk ice cream experience and if you have a child with severe food allergies then you know how priceless that is.

Thank you, Steve's Ice Cream!

Walter Winslow eating a strawberry ricotta ice cream sandwich. He loves Steve's Ice Cream, too.