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THE BEST: Ice Cream in NYC


AppleBrownBetty
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Am I the only one who finds the Chinatowm Ice Cream Factory ice creams chewy or gummy? In spite of that, I enjoyed the flavor of their black sesame seed ice cream the other day. They have a Nolita branch uptown on Kenmare Street conveniently located to L'Esquina taqueria.

I also find it gummy., although I wouldn't have used that word beofre you suggested it. I keep waiting to be impressed by the Factory, just as I wait to enjoy Doughnut Plant doughnuts. So far, I can't even pretend to like them.

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Philadining makes a valid point about the Capogiro flavors. Sometimes they're like a sledgehammer (the Cilantro-Lime), and sometimes they build to a lovely crescendo after a few bites (Yellow Plum). Depends what you like. Certainly they're made with the best ingredients, hence the price tag, but worth it if you get something that is to your own taste.

I still say Capogiro's Pistachio gelato tastes more like pistachio than the actual nut does! And it isn't food coloring faux green. Good stuff. Try that if you have the chance.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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I still say Capogiro's Pistachio gelato tastes more like pistachio than the actual nut does!

I find that's true of a lot of their berry flavors, as well. I'm incredibly impressed by it.

I want pancakes! God, do you people understand every language except English? Yo quiero pancakes! Donnez moi pancakes! Click click bloody click pancakes!

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Am I the only one who finds the Chinatowm Ice Cream Factory ice creams chewy or gummy? In spite of that, I enjoyed the flavor of their black sesame seed ice cream the other day. They have a Nolita branch uptown on Kenmare Street conveniently located to L'Esquina taqueria.

I also find it gummy., although I wouldn't have used that word beofre you suggested it. I keep waiting to be impressed by the Factory, just as I wait to enjoy Doughnut Plant doughnuts. So far, I can't even pretend to like them.

Okay. We're finding a symdrome here. I didn't dislike my donut, but I didn't understand the raves. There is just so much better in NY if one is making a destination run for pastry or dessert. By the way, I don't get Krispy Kreme either. I find them as cloying as their name.

As for "gummy," I don't actually know if it's gum that produces that mouth feel, but it doesn't come from milk, cream or sugar. There are stabilizers which keep an ice cream from melting too quickly and which inhibit ice crystals from forming. Some of these are gums which are not only natural products, but have lots of healthy fiber and are good for you, but which I generally don't find improve my enjoyment of ice cream.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I've mostly had problems with sorbets getting rubbery due to too much Guar-based stabilizer. It's never happened with ice cream though, and I'm sure at first I was using way too much. Actually, I don't use stabilizers for ice cream at all anymore. I think its totally unecesary (although that might not be the case with large-scale production).

Anyways, I do like the gelato at Otto alot, as well as pretty much all of Sam Mason's ice creams at WD-50.

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I've mostly had problems with sorbets getting rubbery due to too much Guar-based stabilizer. It's never happened with ice cream though, and I'm sure at first I was using way too much. Actually, I don't use stabilizers for ice cream at all anymore. I think its totally unecesary (although that might not be the case with large-scale production).

Anyways, I do like the gelato at Otto alot, as well as pretty much all of Sam Mason's ice creams at WD-50.

Making ice creams in small batches and not having to ship it to stores would seem to offer a great advantage. Whenever I know a restaurant is making its own ice creams, I want a dessert with ice cream.

Sam Mason's panna cotta is pretty amazing as well. It seemed as if there was almost no gelatin in it last night.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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NYC's ice cream scene doesn't impress me as much as in Boston or New England, where wonderful fresh homemade ice cream shops are a dime a dozen. That being said, my personal fave is Emack and Bolio's (funny since it is a Boston chain). I also find Chinatown Ice Cream Factory overrated (the ice cream just isn't rich enough/is kind of icy-runny). I also like Ciao Bella for some incredible flavors (hazelnut and blackberry cabernet are GREAT) although it's overpriced. There was a small Moroccan-owned cafe I went to once around 3 years ago on Thompson Street that served amazing herb and fruit flavored homemade sorbets and ice creams but I don't know if it is around anymore or what the name was. I also get tasty Italian gelato off Mulberry Street in Little Italy at the street stands. I've enjoyed Cones and Australian homemade (although the texture is always kind of runny). I haven't tried il laboratorio or sant ambroeus yet.

And for the record I think Cold Stone is the worst thing to happen to ice cream ever. Prefrozen slabs of boring flavors with candy like ingredients bashed into them on the same unhygienic marble slab just grosses me out for some reason. :blink:

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NYC's ice cream scene doesn't impress me as much as in Boston or New England, where wonderful fresh homemade ice cream shops are a dime a dozen. That being said, my personal fave is Emack and Bolio's (funny since it is a Boston chain).

It's better here than it used to be; when I first moved here from Boston I despaired of ever having good ice cream again. My New York friends couldn't understand what I was complaining about until I got a few of them to go to Christina's in Cambridge. Then they got it.

There used to be a pretty good ice cream shop on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn called Peter's, but they closed a few years ago.

"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

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REPORT ON A RECENT TRIP OUT TO BROOKLYN ICE CREAM FACTORY/MAX N MINAS

Recently went on an ice cream fact-finding tour to both locales - and have to report the following:

1) Brooklyn Ice Cream - Really rich, thick high quality ice cream. Over priced, however, with only so-so toppings (that cost extra!)

2) Max N Minas - Well...it was okay. Indifferent service, and interesting flavor combinations, but nothing that wowed.

So, that leaves me with my personal picks....a Cold Stone in Randolph New Jersey, Mary's Dairy in the Village, and the Taipan Bakery Ice Cream Platters on Canal Street. Okay- and Twix Breyers' ice cream in the Bronx. But that's just cause its local and tasty. :)

Mochi, Foi Thong and Rojak - what more can a girl want from life?

http://www.frombruneiandbeyond.com

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Price is a bit iffy on Brooklyn Ice Cream factory, but it is good can't deny that. Cones on bleecker has some great flavors and picks. Problem is that everytime I go there, a wretched smell hangs in the air...I say hold your breath while getting your ice cream and eat it while exploring the beautiful neighborhood :raz: .

"do it nice...or do it twice" -picked up from the kitchen at Annisa

"if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen"

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Oh how could I forget my other NYC fave, Ronnybrook Dairy! They only have a store in Chelsea Market now but prepacked pints are around the city and the Union Square Greenmarket. Simple but very fresh and clean tasting.

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When I was in Philadelphia in May, the staff at Capogiro told me they were hoping to open in NY soon - probably in the Union Square area. This place will give Il Lab a run for it's money. Not only because of their quality and flavor selection but location and hours.

As for traditional ice cream - I vote for Emack and Bolio's. Both Cold Stone and Maggie Moo's turned me off and the last time I was at Mary's Dairy, the ice cream had all crystallized - it must've melted and been refrozen. It certainly never should have been served! I've also had problems at Cones with the consistency of their quality.

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And for the record I think Cold Stone is the worst thing to happen to ice cream ever. Prefrozen slabs of boring flavors with candy like ingredients bashed into them on the same unhygienic marble slab just grosses me out for some reason. :blink:

I agree about Cold Stone, but then I'm not much for tons of add-ins.

This one isn't in NYC, but I saw Applegate Farms in Montclair, NJ in the thread, so I'll just go one town over, and mention Holsten's in Bloomfield. (Broad and Watchung). This place is the Real McCoy, an honest-to-goodness, old-fashioned ice cream parlor complete with lunch counter, a chocolate candy counter (as far as I know they still make their own candy and ice cream.) Nothing fancy, but good ice cream, sundaes, shakes and sodas, with whipped cream so thick your spoon stands up in it. Not a low cal meal at all, but a grilled cheese and Taylor Ham, side of very good fries and an ice cream treat of some sort on the way out the door and I'm good to go.

Just a short bus ride from mid-town.

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Another thread reminded me that I should mention here that the ice cream at the The Chocolate Room in Brooklyn is very good. Only a few flavors, but made fresh on premises with top-quality ingredients.

"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

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  • 4 weeks later...

Scoops 2 - New York City Entry #7

The ice cream trust must have called in heavy favors for mid-September to boil the souls of New Yorkers. The Brooklyn Heights Promenade had the aspect of Marsailles in July.

Under the Brooklyn Bridge at the Fulton Ferry Landing Pier (a stone's throw from the River Café) sits the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, a highly regarded establishment (with a few indoor tables and a plaza with a spectacular view of lower Manhattan and that magnificent monster of a bridge.

After waiting on a substantial line (far longer than at Grimaldi's Pizza), I selected scoops of Peaches and Cream and Vanilla Chocolate Chunk. BICF serves a mere eight flavors (Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry, and Butter Pecan, among others). These folks are purists.

Their ice cream base is as good as I can recall. It is creamy and sweet without being obese. It is super-premium ice cream, but without that excess that sometimes characterizes ice creams that feel the need to flaunt their luxury. Like great ice cream, the flavor profile should rely on a taste of half-and-half, rather than whipped butterfat.

With this base, one wishes that they added brave flavors to their suave cream. Both ice creams lacked powerful tastes. Although small bits of peach were present - and unlike many peach ice creams they were not half-frozen - they did not produce the child's peach memories that such a late-summer delight demanded. This was no Madeleine de la Pêche. If only the makers took "Peaches" as seriously as they took "And Cream."

One can say the same of Vanilla Chocolate Chunk. I couldn't find the vanilla in a selection more precisely labeled "Chocolate Chunk and Cream."

Some home-made ice cream artisans offer an option that they modestly describe as "Plain." I cannot think of a more pleasant setting to sample ice cream plain and simple.

Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory

Fulton Ferry Landing Pier

Old Fulton Street (and Water Street)

Brooklyn

718-246-3963

My Webpage: Vealcheeks

Edited by gaf (log)
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Scoops 3 - New York City Entry #9

Ask a stupid question department:

In my ice cream travels throughout the boroughs, I have puzzled how New Yorkers managed to bring pints of their favorite desserts home without finding a soupy mess. In Chicagoland we pop in the car and the pint is still chilled, at least if we choose our commutes well.

Today I returned to Park Slope for the gelato at Tempo Presto in Park Slope, and had answered what New Yorkers surely will surely label a foolish query.

On my recent tour of pizzerias, I hoped to detour to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, but perhaps my companions considered the potted herbs we spied a sufficient bout with nature. But I decided to make a Trifecta Sunday (the Brooklyn Museum, the garden, and another round of Brooklyn ice cream).

The advice was noble. Several of the flavors at Tempo Presto were inspired. TP specializes in gelato (and sorbetti), which, if made properly, will be more creamy in texture and more intense in flavor than American ice creams. Among the flavors offered are Nutella Swirl, Pistachio, Café du Monde, Cinnamon, Chocolate Sticks and Stones (peanuts and pretzels) (all milk based), and Mixed Berries (a sorbetti).

I selected Orange Cardamon, Caramel Swirl, Banana Bourbon Pecan, Tangerine Melon, and a taste of Concord Grape (the latter two, sorbetti).

The texture of all five were exemplary - smooth, not swollen; lustrous without being fatty. Although I typically prefer big bold flavors, I confess that the subtle Orange Cardamon was one of the most delightfully flavored ice cream I have tasted. One doesn't need much cardamon to make a point, and, as I enjoy ice creams that are not sticky sweet, the marriage of orange and cardamon was as inspiring as it was surprising. More traditional was the Caramel Swirl, a big flavor with intense caramel (and a ribbon of caramel) throughout. The third striking scoop was a Tangerine-Melon sorbetti. The mix of citrus with the sweet tartness of Cantaloupe was melodious - two fruits that belong together.

Less successful was an under-flavored Banana-Bourbon-Pecan. Like much rum raisin, BBP is designed for kids. I couldn't taste the bourbon, and, as is often the case, the taste of banana is readily hidden by the cream. Had I more than a taste, the Concord Grape Sorbetti might have appealed, but it lacked the puckery punch that I expect of Concord Grapes.

I anticipate revisiting Tempo Presto next spring when Prospect Parks's cherry trees is in bloom; perhaps cherry sorbetti will await.

To take my pint, I was provided a sturdy styroform tub (better living through chemistry!), able to hold my ice cream for two hours. Perhaps other parlors stock such marvels, but I am taking no chances. It will travel with me until the winter winds blow.

Tempo Presto

254 Fifth Avenue (between Carroll St. and Garfield Place)

Brooklyn (Park Slope)

718-636-8899

My Webpage: Veal Cheeks

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  • 4 weeks later...

Scoops 4 New York City Entry #26

One quick entry about New York ice creams before winter hits. What I have learned in my explorations of the best frozen desserts in New York is that no ice cream parlor does everything well - there are gaps and pleasures throughout.

I recently tried two well-known establishments in lower Manhattan: Chinatown Ice Cream Factory and Il Laboratorio del Gelato. In each I had a superior scoop, and in each some disappointment.

In Chinatown I tried Ginger, Black Sesame, and Taro. I endorse Ginger Ice Cream. This ice cream is both creamy and filled with a rich ginger taste. Not too sweet, but pungent. It is a delightful treat after a Chinese banquet. The black sesame was pleasant. It lacked a rich flavor, but the sesame was satisfying, and the visual appeal was novel. Taro was bland, perhaps like taro itself, and was unmemorable.

On the Lower East Side, Il Laboratorio is known for the quality of its gelato and sorbetto. Their Black Plum Sorbetto was plummy deep. A truly superb scoop, and one that justifies the laboratory's experiments. Their chocolate and marscapone were both worthy for the attention of connoisseurs, and I endorse them. Less successful was a pistachio that, although filled with nut meats, lacked a distinctive taste and had a disappointing mouth feel. Not bad, but not a choice that I will make when I return next spring. The pear sorbetto seemed thin and did not reflect the essence of pear.

In thinking back of all the ice cream parlors I have visited one scoop disappointed, but at least there was always another to salve my wounds.

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory

65 Bayard Street

Manhattan (Chinatown)

212-608-4170

Il Laboratorio del Gelato

95 Orchard Street

Manhattan (Lower East Side)

212-343-9922

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I endorse Ginger Ice Cream. This ice cream is both creamy and filled with a rich ginger taste. Not too sweet, but pungent.

Really? I tried the ginger ice cream there once and it struck me that it might pass as an okay vanilla.

"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

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Moopheus, I think they've decreased the amount of crystallized ginger in their ginger ice cream, or at least that was my reaction the last time I got some, within the past two or three weeks. Could this be a consistency problem?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Scoops 2 - New York City Entry #7

The ice cream trust must have called in heavy favors for mid-September to boil the souls of New Yorkers. The Brooklyn Heights Promenade had the aspect of Marsailles in July.

Under the Brooklyn Bridge at the Fulton Ferry Landing Pier (a stone's throw from the River Café) sits the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, a highly regarded establishment (with a few indoor tables and a plaza with a spectacular view of lower Manhattan and that magnificent monster of a bridge.

After waiting on a substantial line (far longer than at Grimaldi's Pizza), I selected scoops of Peaches and Cream and Vanilla Chocolate Chunk. BICF serves a mere eight flavors (Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry, and Butter Pecan, among others). These folks are purists.

Their ice cream base is as good as I can recall. It is creamy and sweet without being obese. It is super-premium ice cream, but without that excess that sometimes characterizes ice creams that feel the need to flaunt their luxury. Like great ice cream, the flavor profile should rely on a taste of half-and-half, rather than whipped butterfat.

With this base, one wishes that they added brave flavors to their suave cream. Both ice creams lacked powerful tastes. Although small bits of peach were present - and unlike many peach ice creams they were not half-frozen - they did not produce the child's peach memories that such a late-summer delight demanded. This was no Madeleine de la Pêche. If only the makers took "Peaches" as seriously as they took "And Cream."

One can say the same of Vanilla Chocolate Chunk. I couldn't find the vanilla in a selection more precisely labeled "Chocolate Chunk and Cream."

Some home-made ice cream artisans offer an option that they modestly describe as "Plain." I cannot think of a more pleasant setting to sample ice cream plain and simple.

Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory

Fulton Ferry Landing Pier

Old Fulton Street (and Water Street)

Brooklyn

718-246-3963

My Webpage: Vealcheeks

i definitely like the ice cream, but beyond that.....

i ordered a hot fudge sundae (i am from boston, and there's no better sundae than herrell's). the late-teen aged boy behind the counter gave me two scoops of vanilla ice cream and then asked if i wanted hot fudge on that.

"ummm, yes, please?"

i got a squirt of CANNED whipped cream. and i was charged $5.00! i was not impressed.

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i definitely like the ice cream, but beyond that.....

i ordered a hot fudge sundae (i am from boston, and there's no better sundae than herrell's).

Unfortunately, we can't get that in New York. We have to make do with what we can get. So no Herrell's. No Tosci's or Christina's for that matter. No Bart's. So while we are in exile from good ice cream, mainly I make my own.

There used to be a shop in Brooklyn called Peter's that made good sundaes--all homemade toppings, though occasionally the ice cream would be a tad icy--which sadly closed a few years ago.

"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

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  • 3 weeks later...

Scoops 5 New York City Entry #33

Although I imagined that my previous entry on New York ice cream until the spring, I found myself in Hilltop (aka Upper Washington Heights or Hudson Heights), visiting the Cloisters and getting a gasp of autumn leaves in Fort Tryon Park, the acre-for-acre the most beautiful park in Manhattan.

On West 187th Street is a cute little ice cream parlor (an "Ice Cream and Treatery"), cutely named YumLicious, run by two young women (Millie and Ana). They make their own super-premium ice cream, and it is comparable in consistency with such downtown stars as Cones or Ottos. Some flavors specifically appeal to a Latin audience: Bizcocho (ice cream with bits of cake), dulce de leche, cake batter, almond, guava, and passion fruit. Among their gelatos are blanco and nero, and strawberry variegata. Sorbets include tropical fruit and grapefruit.

The bizcocho was extravagantly delicious, rich, smooth, and like a cool, creamed sponge cake. The cake batter was fine, but was not as dramatic as the bizcocho. Guava was an excellent melding of fruit and cream, but the fruit flavors were muted, unlike the deeply pungent tropical fruit sorbet.

Washington Heights has much to recommend it as a culinary destination (Gideon's Bakery across the street with quite good Rugalach), and then Dominican neighborhoods to the north (207th Street in Inwood) and to the south (175th Street in Washington Heights). I headed north, just down the hill from the Cloisters, located by Inwood Park, the closest that Manhattan has to a forest (filled with caves).

For lunch I selected El Lina where I ordered a sublime shrimp asopao: a rice and shrimp soup with garlic and cilantro (and where one portion will provide me with three meals). A suggestion from Robert Sietsema's Food Lover's Guide to the Best Ethnic Eating in New York City. Delicious.

YumLicious

803 West 187th Street at Fort Washington Avenue

Manhattan (Hilltop)

212-927-1400

Note: YumLicious will close for the winter in the middle of November, opening again in March 2006.

Gideon's Bakery

810 West 187th Street at Fort Washington Avenue

Manhattan (Hilltop)

212-927-9262

El Lina

500 West 207th Street at 10th Avenue

Manhattan (Inwood)

no phone

My Webpage: Vealcheeks

Edited by gaf (log)
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  • 7 months later...

Scoops 6: Italian Ice Edition New York City Entry #105

With summer fully in place, I have been scurrying through the boroughs, tracking down the premier Italian ices: specifically Staten Island's Ralph's (with two outlets in Queens), Brooklyn's L&B Spumoni Gardens, and Queens' Lemon Ice King of Corona. Although it would be nice to report a race to the finish, in fact the outcome was never in doubt.

It is said that Frank Sinatra used to have his driver trek to Corona for Lemon Ice. Ol' Blue Eyes sure knew his ices. LIKC makes the Italian Ice of one's dreams. The ice is finely pulverized, leaving no chunks. The only texture comes from tiny bits of fruit, not so large as to become frozen. Whether one is consuming lemon, melon, peach, vanilla chip, cherry, or strawberry, the flavor is intense and pure. On any day, there are likely to be two dozen choices. As LIKC is about ten blocks from the nearest subway line (the 7), one works up a sweat that only a LIKC ice can satisfy. Famously the Lemon Ice King does not permit mixing of flavors, so it has become my habit (and it is becoming a habit) to purchase three small cups.

If getting to LIKC is a hike, Ralph's requires a car, taxi, or a Staten Island bus. Like LIKC, ices are served through the front window. And like LIKC, Ralph's has some two dozen (some water-based - the one's I tried - and some milk-based). I was impressed by the depth of flavor - I ordered Sour Cherry and Cantaloupe. The intensity of the cherry was remarkable. However, small chunks of ice remained in each. Should one prefer an ice that edges toward a snow cone, Ralph's will surely suit.

Most disappointing was the watermelon ice that I had at Brooklyn's L&B Spumoni Gardens (the spumoni ice cream was just fine, although the Sicilian square pizza slice was a bit salty for my taste. L&B is more a restaurant than an icery - but they, too have a front window to make one's purchases). Neither the flavor or texture made my trip to Gravesend worth repeating. When one describes the flavor of an Italian ice as "subtle," one knows trouble is afoot. I give L&B credit for providing something cool on a hot day, but I'll stick with spumoni.

Lemon Ice King of Corona

52-02 108th Street (at Corona Avenue)

Queens (Corona)

718-699-5133

L&B Spumoni Gardens

2725 86th Street (at West 10th Street and Avenue V)

Brooklyn (Gravesend)

718-449-6921

Ralph's Famous Italian Ices

501 Port Richmond Avenue (at Catherine Street)

Staten Island (Port Richmond)

718-273-3675

My Webpage: Vealcheeks

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