Creative Flavors, Classic Sundaes and Exceptional Soft Serve

Well, folks, it’s miserable out there. The heat, the humidity, the bugs, the wildfire smoke, the impending threat of El Niño.

But at least we have ice cream.

Yes, it’s finally that time of the year for my annual newsletter about the undisputed champion of summer (after mosquitoes). Here’s my new list of frosty options for those days when nothing will cool you down except a frozen treat. Be sure, too, to check out last year’s dispatch, as most of the recommendations still stand.

New York is the land of weird mash-ups. The hot dog shops that also sell papaya juice. A wonderful bakery tucked into an otherwise nondescript office building. And don’t forget the ice cream shop/natural-wine bar.

That last label belongs to Caleta, on the border of the East Village and Alphabet City. Right across the street from Tompkins Square Park, this is an ideal place to drop by for an inspired scoop of Bad Habit ice cream. The flavors change constantly, but are always reliably interesting, whether it’s coconut stracciatella, a not-too-sweet cafe con leche or burnt cheesecake.

You could stop right there, with a cone or a pint to go, of which there are plenty. But if you’re feeling hungry, you can take a seat at the bar and try one or a few glasses of a sparkling red from the Czech Republic or an orange wine from Spain while noshing on warm sourdough bread with salted butter or a heaping plate of smoked prosciutto. In other words, exactly the type of low-lift meal that defines the season.

When the soft-serve wars begin, where will you stand? As a Mister Softee loyalist? With Ray Alvarez and his Candy Store? Upon mountains of boba milk tea soft serve from Xing Fu Tang? Or by the side of Morgenstern’s Bananas and its dairy-free soft serve?

Unlike at the original Morgenstern’s, the list of options at this offshoot is relatively short and (all) sweet. And if you hate bananas, you’ll be happy to know that there are plenty of creative and classic alternatives, including coffee hazelnut, a chocolate option that’s richer than any other chocolate soft serve I’ve ever had, and coconut Thai tea. There’s also a fridge stocked with seltzer and water, a useful antidote for that thirsty feeling you always get after a scoop or three.

If all those newfangled flavors have you in a twist, I always reserve a space in my recommendations for a classic, no-fuss option. This year that honor goes to Eddie’s Sweet Shop in Forest Hills, Queens. For some, this old-school soda fountain’s existence may be old news (it is, after all, the city’s oldest ice cream parlor), but in a city that is constantly in flux, it bears repeating just how amazing this place is.

Eddie’s gets pretty busy on weekends, with families jockeying for a table or a seat at the counter, where they can enjoy vanilla ice cream and sundaes served in delicate sterling silver dishes. If you don’t plan on staying, though, I recommend very, very politely pushing your way to the front of the line and letting the cashier know you’re just here for a cone — there’s no real discernment between those who are dining in or dining out. But then again, you have to be a little pushy to make it here anyway.

  • This week, Pete Wells reviews Hainan Chicken House in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, which serves the comforting dish known as Hainanese chicken rice, as well as an excellent curry laksa and chicken liver mousse seasoned with scallion and ginger.

  • Openings: Rua Thai, a restaurant inspired by the floating markets of Damnoen Saduak, is now open in Cobble Hill; the Hotel Chelsea will open Café Chelsea on Friday (Bastille Day); and, after a legal battle that made its way to the New York State Supreme Court, Delmonico’s will reopen to the public on September 15.

  • Kayla Stewart profiles Maya-Camille Broussard, the pastry chef behind the newly opened Justice of the Pies shop, on Chicago’s South Side. Ms. Broussard, who is hard-of-hearing, has designed the shop to be accessible to others with disabilities.

  • After a devastating winter, only 10 percent of Georgia’s peach crop survived, Kim Severson reports.

  • These are boom times for vegan ice cream, Christina Morales writes, with plant-based ice cream shops popping up across the nation.

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