by Mabel Suen
In late July a corner shop of the Shaw neighborhood decked out in a fresh coat of regal pink and blue paint opened its doors to the public. And with it, St. Louis gained a brand new concept utilizing a sweet treat technique developed in the early 19th century: Ices Plain and Fancy (2256 South 39th Street; 314-601-3604). Inside, sweet surprises await -- luscious ice creams made completely to order using liquid nitrogen as well as vanilla soft serve infused and flecked with cold-pressed Sump Coffee (3700 Jefferson Avenue; 917-412-5670).
Inside the colorful space, cold clouds rise up from the bowls of Kitchen-Aid mixers loaded with bases utilizing simple, wholesome ingredients: cream, eggs, sugar as well as enough soy-based options to make lactose-intolerant and vegan patrons squeal with joy. A torch gets applied lightly to the bottom of the bowl as cool air billows out. With hardly a minute of mixing, a richly dense and creamy product with less air than your average ice cream can be scraped out into your choice of cup or cone.
The concept comes from partners Troika Brodsky, Matthew Deustschmann and siblings Darla and Max Crask -- the latter who previously helmed the kitchen at Tripel Brasserie and developed Ices' menu. The liquid-nitrogen ice cream comes in a variety of flavors: vanilla, chocolate, butter pecan, mint chip, salted caramel gelato and seasonal fresh fruit flavors including berries and peach chai.
Alternatively, visitors can opt for a sweet, but not too sweet, soft serve that's lighter in consistency than the nitro ices. Choose from vanilla or the aforementioned coffee. For another way to indulge, get your cone dipped for just fifty cents, or grab a soda or root beer -- plenty of novel flavors available -- to build your own float.
The menu also features one sorbet (currently watermelon) micro-pureed with a Pacojet. It might all seem overwhelmingly gastronomical, but rest assured that there are few things simpler and more delightful in life than a refreshing scoop of cold, delicious ice cream fresh off of the mixer.
Ices Plain and Fancy's hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit the Ices Plain and Fancy website or follow it via Facebook.
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