This is definitely the coolest place in St. Louis…(well, that I know of so far). Adam and I went here the first time I visited St. Louis, so naturally, we had to go back here for a second visit. We made it a big family event and Adam’s parents (future in-laws), sister, brother, brother’s wife and their dog (Stitch), took Adam and I before our flight home.
Ices Plain & Fancy is an ice cream shop that incorporates local and seasonal ingredients with liquid nitrogen! The bright blue and pink building cannot be missed in Tower Grove Park, in historic Shaw Neighborhood. The inside is filled with colorful tables and chairs, an eye catching chalkboard menu, and oldies music playing in the background. In addition to a small selection of sorbet, the liquid nitrogen ice cream flavors are made with either milk, coconut milk, or alcohol 🙂 Customers place their order at the register, behind which there is a countertop with several Kitchen Aid mixers. As orders are placed, customers can watch the employees through a glass divider as they pour the ice cream base and liquid nitrogen into the mixers. This is a nice touch as it allows customers to be a part of the experience! As I am sure you can tell by now, the fun details of this ice cream shop make it THE place to be! Admittedly, I am pretty sure I enjoyed watching the ice cream production more than the kids.
The liquid nitrogen gives the ice cream a distinct texture similar to Dippin’ Dots (which is also made with liquid nitrogen). The ingredients for the specific ice cream flavor are placed into the mixer, followed by the liquid nitrogen poured into the ice cream base using a coffee thermos. Next, the base is mixed on high speed and the “smoke” from the liquid nitrogen performs its magic and freezes the ice cream. After the ice cream is fully incorporated they use a torch on the outside of the bowl in order to loosen up the ice cream – yes, it is that cold! Eventually when the ice cream becomes pliable, they remove it and place it in a serving bowl for the customers. Finally, guests eat their wonderful ice cream in awe of the magical and delicious creation made right before their eyes. Now I realize that all ice creams melt in your mouth, obviously; but, liquid nitrogen ice cream initially “warms up” in your mouth and and then melts away, which makes the flavors even more profound. Ultimately, every ice cream is very smooth, creamy, and packed with flavor!
Campfire S’mores: 11/10
As you could probably tell by the description above, I watched my ice cream being made very closely! They start it like everything else – an ice cream base with its specified ingredients followed by liquid nitrogen. For this flavor they use a smoke machine to infuse flavored wood chips into the ice cream. Once the smoke is infused into the mixer, they quickly put the ice cream into the serving bowl and then cover the bowl so that the smoke is captured (see picture below). Once I took the lid off, a wave of smoke seeped out, making this experience all worth the while! The smoke literally made the ice cream taste like it was made over a campfire as the smoky taste lingers until the very last bite. Folded into the ice cream are small bites of mini marshmallows, chocolate chunks and ground graham crackers. Finally, there are graham cracker halves placed on top and then drizzled with hot fudge. As you may have guessed by the rate I gave this cream, it was AMAZING!!!! Hands down the best. It will be hard to pick a new type of flavor to try when I go back because I could eat this one for the rest of my life and be satisfied.
Mint Chip: 10/10
This was Adams choice of ice cream. This classic ice cream flavor is a crowd pleaser that is refreshing and delicious. The natural taste of the mint was accompanied by the sweetness of the chocolate, which created a taste similar to Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies. The base is mint ice cream with chocolate shavings on top. Simple and perfect!