Five treats to keep you cool this summer
Last November, I made a $40 bet with my boyfriend that it wouldn’t snow all winter — and I came dangerously close to winning. I got my first mosquito bite of the year doing yoga in the park on a sunny February afternoon. I wore my heaviest coat, a vintage faux-fur number from Donna’s Dress Shop, once — and even then, I got sweaty walking down the sunny street.
As the calendar creeps toward summer, all evidence indicates the season is going to be a hot one. So, while we still need sweaters in the morning and socks at night, it seems like the right time to talk ice cream. Here are five cool flavors to explore as the days heat up.
Ice cream parfait
Beignet (307 Main)
Much like the feelings you’re trying to eat away, Beignet’s ice cream parfait has layers. First comes your choice of chocolate or vanilla ice cream, which is topped with candied pecans, sea-salt caramel, whipped cream and a sugar cone that sticks out the top of the cup like the dessert is wearing a damn party hat. The parfait is finished off with your choice of toppings, a list that includes favorites such as chocolate and Nutella, caramelized peaches or cinnamon apples.
I opted for even more warm, gooey caramel sauce, which nicely complemented the crunchy pralines and vanilla base. But a different topping might have been a better choice, because the double dose of caramel stuck to the sides of the cup, clinging to the plastic like sticky condensation. At first, I was unsure how to tackle the caramel-drenched cone on top, so I smashed it apart with my spoon. Problem solved.
Root beer float
Q39 (1000 West 39th Street)
Depending on your mood — or whether you need to do something silly like go back to work after lunch — the root beer floats at Q39 come with or without booze. The alcohol-free version is made with Abita Root Beer and several heaping scoops of vanilla ice cream. I tried this version, and the resulting concoction was perfectly fizzy and sweet, with strong hints of vanilla. I needed a spoon to attack the remaining ice cream mountain once the root beer was gone.
If you have a case of the fuck-its, the alcoholic version is made with Row Hard Root Beer from Kansas City’s Root Sellers. Might as well order some sliders to go with your multifaceted sugar-booze buzz.
Berry white gelato
Paciugo (5260 W 116th Place, Leawood)
When you have a gelato named after a classic American crooner like Barry White, that frozen treat had better be romantic. In this case, berry white is indeed a dreamy blend of white-chocolate gelato, white-chocolate chips and a raspberry swirl. The name may be lighthearted, but the ice cream is serious business, with all of the ingredients imported from Italy and the fruit sourced from a farmers market in Dallas, where Paciugo is based.
I enjoyed the pleasantly sweet, fruity treat sitting on the lawn at Leawood’s Park Place, which appeared to be magically free of insects. I didn’t even feel the need to walk a lap around the shopping center to burn off what I’d just eaten, because gelato contains way less fat than ice cream. Turns out it’s easy to fall in love with berry white.
Little Freshie (811 West 17th Street)
Located along a sunny strip on the Westside, Little Freshie is still the best place in town to grab a snow cone. With locally grown ingredients and house-made flavors such as blackberry lavender, raspberry rose, and green-tea pear, this trendy little shop is where you’ll find a guilt-free sweet treat that will make you feel like a responsible adult. Each of the flavors is also available as a soda or a float.
I stopped by on a recent morning to grab a tart and refreshing mango-ginger soda. Paired with one of Little Freshie’s honeybee cookies — a chewy, bite-sized snack similar to an energy bar, with two almond slices on the back in lieu of “wings” — it made a perfect second breakfast (you know, the small meal that comes before brunch).
Nondairy chocolate ice cream
Betty Rae’s Ice Cream (7140 Wornall)
One of the main reasons I’ve never successfully transitioned to a vegan diet for more than, like, an afternoon is that I refuse to stop eating ice cream. Betty Rae’s, a charming ice cream shop that opened in Waldo this spring, blasts apart that excuse with delicious coconut-milk-based chocolate ice cream, which is just as rich and luscious as its dairy-laden counterpart.
I paired a scoop of chocolate with a pineapple-pear-honey sorbet for a sweet, tangy treat. As I walked to the car, a woman came out of the neighboring shop to ask what I’d gotten to eat. “That sounds good,” she said when I told her. She’s got that right — and we have all summer to enjoy it.