Whatever happened to sprinkles and chocolate ice cream? Baileys and vanilla bean? Sorbet and any fruit imaginable? Basic ice cream combinations that come complete with the familiarity of childhood have now become overshadowed by culinary experimentation that are not just bizarre, but verge on middle-school-boy’s-lunchtime-concoction weird. Of course, this makes sense since we live in the age of the culinary mash-up (what’s up Cronuts), but we had to ask ourselves: Are these odd combinations any good or are they just novelties? What we found was that although most of these mashups will not be dethroning vanilla from its rightful place on top of apple pie (and our hearts), they are oddly delectable and a great way to satisfy your warm-weather sweet tooth.
Malt Maitake Peanut: Oddfellows
Mushroom + Vanilla Ice Cream
With archived flavors like edamame and caramelized onion, it is safe to say that Oddfellows pushes the boundaries of what is deemed a “traditional” ice cream flavor. In fact, Oddfellows takes that boundary, splits it in two, and plays double dutch with it. So putting maitake mushrooms in with the ice cream batter is quite frankly the most logical move for the company. Though I could have lived without the peanuts, the chewy, cinnamon bun-like taste of the maitake was a win for the vegetable world. And since there is a vegetable in it, it is technically healthy for you. Right?
175 Kent Avenue, Williamsburg
Chocolate Peanut Butter: Uncle Louie G
Chocolate + peanut butter + Italian ice
Though chocolate and peanut butter are common ingredient toppers for ice cream, it is a bit sketchy when paired with ice. Shouldn’t this be a creamy treat, not a watery one? Granted I’m a diehard vanilla fan, so I came in with a lot of bias and smack talking, but the chunks of peanut butter complemented the chocolate icy surprisingly well.
Various locations, unclelouiegee.com
Hierba Buena: Branch Ofc.
Tabasco + Snowcone
With a blend of Monte Alban Mezcal tequila, lime, and Tabasco, Branch Ofc rendition of the snow cone takes the sting out of being an adult and replaces it with what getting a hug from a childhood friend at 3am feels like: warm, familiar, and a tad bit boozy. What’s impressive with this mashup is its ability to not be so overwhelming, but still stick with you an hour later.
225 Rogers Avenue, Crown Heights
Black Sesame Seaweed: SkyIce Sweet & Savory
Seaweed + Vanilla Ice Cream
To borrow a phrase from Gloria Gaynor, when I first found out about this ice cream, at first I was afraid, I was petrified. But after the smallest sample taste humanly possible, SkyIce Sweet & Savory easily came out as the winner—that is, if these were being ranked. I was taken back to pubescent ditch days on the beach, where the ocean air had a salty, yet overwhelmingly refreshing taste to it. I regret letting my prejudice keep me from double scooping this classic underdog story concoction.
63 5th Avenue, Park Slope
Avocado Cayenne: SkyIce Sweet & Savory
Avocado + Cayenne + Vanilla Ice Cream
SkyIce tapped into the insatiable avocado-mania thirst by giving the people what they wanted, more avocados (taking bets it will be dubbed #1 baby name of 2015). The sweet and buttery texture of the ice cream mimics that of the fruit, but with the hint of cayenne flakes that are almost undetectable until a subtle kick in the throat sensation awakens your taste buds.
Pro tip: Combine with the black sesame seaweed. The sea salt helps soothe the peppery burn of the cayenne and the crippling awareness that you’re probably contributing to California’s drought.
63 5th Avenue, Park Slope