You’ve got your National Waffle Day (March 25), Pigs-in-a-Blanket Day (April 24), Potato Day (Aug. 19) and even Candied Orange Peel Day (May 4), which is quite an achievement for a garnish. But none of these comes close to ice cream, which merits an entire celebratory month: July.
Perhaps this news has caught you by surprise. Perhaps you haven’t begun to consume the 23.2 quarts of frozen deliciousness each and every American accepts as their annual birthright. Fear not. There’s still time and, more importantly, plenty of places nearby to supply your ice cream fix.
Though technically not ice cream, gelato still counts in our book: it’s cold, it’s sweet, it’s yummy. It’s also insanely pretty; picture a collaboration between Monet and Willy Wonka. Paciugo, 2324 W. Giddings, is worth a visit just to stare at the dozens of bins of pastel-colored fluff. As added incentive, kids eat free on Tuesdays through August 30, 4 – 9 p.m., with adult purchase. You’ll also find gelato on the menu at The Perfect Cup, 4700 N. Damen.
If you felt silly ordering a “piccolo” (aka, small) at Paciugo, that’s just the warm-up act for Cold Stone Creamery, 4709 N. Lincoln, where the “like it,” “love it” and “gotta have it” sizing seems, frankly, slightly intrusive. Why do I have to put a label on my relationship with Cake Batter and announce it to the world? Less nosy purveyors of hand-scooped ice cream range from the newly-opened Amy’s Candy Bar, 4704 N. Damen, to longtime Chicago legend Margie’s Candies, 1813 W. Montrose. Amy’s serves up a variety of rotating flavors from Wisconsin-based Chocolate Shoppe, while Margie’s half-gallon World’s Largest Sundae and 25-scoop Royal George are a glutton’s dream. All that lactose making you nauseous? Drew’s Eatery, 2207 W. Montrose, has the non-dairy antidote: soy flavors from Chicago Soy Dairy.
The comeback story of the year isn’t NKOTBSB, it’s frozen yogurt. While we all wait for the mystery fro-yo shop at Lincoln and Leland to open (and if its “coming soon” is anything like Flatbread’s, wait and wait and wait), Red Eyes Chicago, 4164 N. Lincoln, is your yogurt connection.
Remember when you were a kid and would stir your ice cream until it melted into a slurpable goo? Save yourself the trouble and just order a milkshake at Potbelly, 4709 N. Lincoln, or Crepes a Latte, 1840 W. Irving Park. Crepes a Latte also offers a frozen hot chocolate, popularized by Serendipity in New York and endorsed by Oprah, so you know it’s the Best Thing Ever.
Though it’s hard to imagine anyone thought ice cream needed improving, darned if the ice cream sandwich isn’t two kinds of awesome. Ruth & Phils Gourmet Ice Cream sells its sandwiches, along with pints of flavors like chocolate caramel, at the Thursday night Lincoln Square Farmers Market.
We leave you with a little gem of a joint that solves the age old question of chocolate or vanilla? Duh, both. Shelly’s Freez, 5119 N. Lincoln, is a homegrown version of Dairy Queen, where the soft serve chocolate-vanilla twist in a cone will take you back to your childhood and the perfect summer night. For that, ice cream deserves more than a month. Let’s carry this party over until August.
So tell us, where’s your favorite place to get your chill on?