Desert Companion

The Latest Scoop

opener_cream_me-4812_muted_pop.jpg

Cream Me's Mint to Be, Rocky Road, and honey lavender ice cream flavors
Christopher Smith

Cream Me's Mint to Be, Rocky Road, and honey lavender ice cream flavors

It’s hot out there! But it’s cool in this magazine spread about chilly treats. We recently scoured the valley to find our new favorite spots for cold, creamy goodness


ICE CREAM
Vanilla? So vanilla. Try the Guinness stout

When it comes to cups and cones, Las Vegas has both fine franchises and homegrown flavors. Bringing the Ohio old school is Handel’s (handelsicecream.com), where flavors include banana cream pie with chunks of graham cracker, and peanut butter parfait studded with peanut butter cups. In Downtown Summerlin, Mora Iced Creamery (moraicecream.com, right) keeps its flavors more focused, with a Mexican chocolate spiked with spicy cinnamon, and a swirly dulce de leche. Vegas’ own Cream Me (icecreamlv.com) is a kitschy pastel parlor where flavors range from circus animal cookie to Guinness stout; the honey lavender has a Willy Wonka color but an elegant Downton Abbey flavor. My top pick: Secret Creamery (secretcreamery.com), which uses GPS coordinates instead of an address. The flavors are high-concept comfort food, like toasted marshmallow boasting a melted-cloud texture and an ube brownie, with blue sweet potatoes as a base for brownie chunks baked by Carl’s Donuts. — LTR

Support comes from

GELATO
A creamy punch in your mouth

Concentrated flavor is the trademark of gelato. Churned slowly and thus less airy than ice cream, gelato packs a punch on your palate. I started in Lake Las Vegas at Bellalinda Gelateria (lakelasvegasgelato.com), where the lake and lavender flowers floating above you make for a romantic setting. Loved the cotton candy gelato because being here is as girly as it gets. Next stop: Il Gelato at Eataly in Park MGM (eataly.com). From the flat scooper to the traditional flavors such as stracciatella, this gelato reminded me of frozen treats in Rome. Gelato Bar in Chinatown (gelatobarlasvegas.com) boasts a cornucopia of cone possibilities. Sampling the caramel popcorn and the piña colada felt like eating Cracker  Jacks on a tropical island. My top pick: Solo Qui on Lake Mead and Buffalo (702-749-3904). A local couple owns the spot, offering a taste of Grandma’s gelato recipes from northern Italy. Every bite from the rotating selection is sublime. (Right, Solo Qui's pistachio gelato.) And a bonus for animal lovers: a scoop for pets made with almond milk and peanut butter. Dogs and gelato, my perfect pairing! — LBM

FROZEN YOGURT/CUSTARD
Simple classics with some tasty twists

The self-serve options at Island Frozen Yogurt (islandfrozenyogurt.net) are standard — think cake batter to peanut butter to Euro tart — and you’re in luck if you’re craving some old-school Dole Whip. Next, I tried SomiSomi (somisomi.com), which serves ah-boong, a goldfish-shaped waffle cone stuffed with a choice of filling (get the custard!) and soft serve. Is it custard? Is it ice cream? I don’t know, but it was tasty! Nielsen’s Frozen Custard (nielsensfrozencustard.net, right), a facsimile ’50s soda fountain, boasts a menu of simple classics (vanilla to apple pie), whereas Luv-it Frozen Custard’s list of treats (luvitfrozencustard.com) nearly covers the facade of its small building. For its broad menu and no-frills, neighborhood feel, Luv-it comes out on top as my fave frozen custard joint in the valley. Frozen with indecision over Luv-it options? Can’t go wrong with the fudgey, caramel-drenched, pecan-sprinkled Western. — NB

PLANT-BASED
It's all about the "milk"

The thing longtime vegans pay close attention to in ice cream is its base — the “milk” makes a huge difference in taste and texture. This was evident at my first stop, Emack & Bolio’s in Area 15 (emackandbolios.com), where my friend Angela chose her coconut-lemon combo wisely, given it blended well with the coconut milk base. My chocolate-mint freckle? Not so much. While luxuriously creamy, it had a funny aftertaste. On to Scoop LV (scooplv.com), with its huge almond milk-based selection, whose textures ranged from grainy to rock hard. Still, my husband found the chocolate to be damn near Breyers’ cow-based version. Two places that have dialed in both texture and flavor are Almond Milk and Paradise City Creameries. Hanging around the walk-up window, tourist Connie Fulkerson told me she’ll make a point of coming back to Almond Milk (702-912-9092) for the smooth-as-silk white chocolate peanut butter shake when she’s in town. (Right, Almond Milk's Almond Vanilla.) But Paradise City (paradisecitycreamery.com) wins top pick, because of its in-house oat-cashew milk blend and inventive flavors, like the pistachio-rose-date, my overall favorite. — HK

 

If you’ve enjoyed this read, wait until you get your hands on a bunch of these reads from contemporary voices mining the good stuff from Las Vegas — all laid out in a gorgeous design experience. Subscribe. It comes to your house. For real!

KNPR and NPR Thank-You Gifts including t-shirts hoodies and cap

More Stories

Desert Companion
Dining
Snow ice
Desert Companion
Dining
Desert Companion
Feature