Get The Scoop on National Ice Cream Month
There's valid reasons why people scream for ice cream. And it's not only because that alliteration sounds smooth. In the heat of summer, there is nothing more sweetly satisfying than a cooling scoop of ice cream. And with July being National Ice Cream Month, there's no better time to start screaming for summer's signature dessert. Here's where to do so:
Cochon Volant: Innovative ice creams take the plate on a trifecta of desserts at the Loop's new Cochon Volant. Courtesy of pastry chef Patty Hanley, the desserts were designed with National Ice Cream Month in mind, infused with French-inspired finesse via tuiles, gateaus, and pate a choux pastry. The tuile dessert features a bowl-shaped wafer cookie heaped with honey-thyme ice cream and candied thyme; the gateau is a nutty tart laced with almonds and a scoop of raspberry ice cream; and the pate a choux plate features a cream puff-shaped pastry immersed in chocolate sauce, brandied cherries, candied pistachios, and whipped cream, all topped off with vanilla ice cream.
Ruth & Phil's Gourmet Ice Cream: A popular local ice cream purveyor for years has finally set up shop with an ice cream parlor all its own. Ruth & Phil's Gourmet Ice Cream has been selling their seasonally inspired, offbeat ice cream wares to local artisan markets for a while now, but their new Ukrainian Village scoop shop marks their first foray into brick and mortar territory, providing a solid and consistent outlet for some gourmet, uncommon flavors. These include caramelized ginger, sour cream cinnamon, and Chicago coffee, along with sorbets and sundaes topped off with the likes of passion fruit caramel sauce and strawberry rhubarb sauce.
RPM Italian: This glitzy River North staple embraces its Euro roots with an impressive array of gelato. The regular menu standbys are pretty noteworthy and decadent both by themselves and as part of composed desserts. Like vanilla gelato with rice pudding, olive oil gelato with a pine nut tart, and coffee gelato with the reimagined tiramisu.
The Office: Likely Chicago's most notorious ice cream creation can be found at The Office, the invite-only speakeasy tucked beneath The Aviary. Here, the focus is on classic cocktails and elegant Americana food. Case in point: a behemoth sundae for upwards of $30. The dessert is designed to feed two, heaped with massive portions of ice cream and nostalgic toppings such as gummies, cookies, whipped cream, and cherries.
Ten Mile House: Sometimes you just can't beat the classics. Vanilla ice cream, in all its humble simplicity, is sort of like the salt of the ice cream world. It is a base flavor that forms the foundation for so many other creations, acting as the perfect compliment to any number of desserts. Vanilla ice cream gets its due desserts at Ten Mile House, an Evanston restaurant featuring a slew of sweet new summer dishes. Vanilla ice cream can be had a la mode with apple crisp, with a pecan- and raisin-studded brioche bread pudding, or with a warm 'n' gooey chocolate cake, the ideal example of chocolate and vanilla harmony.
THE dec: Looking to satiate your ice cream cravings in style? Head up to THE dec Rooftop Lounge + Bar at The Ritz-Carlton Chicago to find a dizzying array of ice-cold sweet options, each crafted by pastry chef Eric Estrella. This includes Italian ice with preserved lemon rind, frozen fruit pops made with seasonal market fruits, and a decadent donut sundae featuring brioche donuts, vanilla ice cream, rum caramel, blueberry compote, and whipped cream. For something a little daintier, there's the Bucket of BonBons, a smatteing of mini chocolate-covered ice creams.
Margie's Candies: The most classic ice cream parlor in Chicago remains a time-tested staple in local ice cream lore. Margie's Candies has been scooping up treacly Americana for the better part of a century at its original Western Ave. location, and the shoppe remains as rustic and homey as day one. Here, it's all about old fashioned banana splits, sundaes, shakes, and any other combo of ice cream whimsy. Portions are huge, the hot fudge is rich and thick, and service is adorably sassy. This is what ice cream dreams are made for.
- Matt Kirouac