Ice & Vice Churns Innovative Ice Cream Strewn with Bacon, Popcorn, and Spice
The Lower East Side has another cutting-edge ice cream shop: Ice & Vice (221 East Broadway) is bringing another brand of experimental ice cream to the neighborhood. Joining Morgenstern's, Luca & Bosco, and Il Laboratorio del Gelato, the new shop is churning unique innovations on the traditional frozen dessert. You won't find a nostalgic ice cream parlor feel here; it's more urban and cool, and the flavors are playfully inventive.
The Basic B is the closest thing to a simple flavor you'll find; it combines Mexican vanilla and Hawaiian black lava salt for deep flavor with smoky-salty notes. Most of the other flavors are out-of-the-box, drawn from owners Paul Kim and Ken Lo's memory bank of experiences.
The Movie Night was inspired by Kim and Lo's favorite theater snacks from childhood, blending popcorn ice cream with a mix-in of toasted raisins and chocolate flakes. The Tico Time (debuting soon), guava ice cream strewn with chile-lime plantain chips, was conceived after a trip to Costa Rica. The Happy Panda, a black rice and coconut milk blend with Ceylon and Saigon cinnamon, combines the owners' Asian backgrounds with one of their L.A. hometown's favorite beverages, horchata. "We draw from all sorts of inspiration," says Lo. "We keep up with food news and trends, but we like to be experimental and get ahead of the trends."
The Three Little Pigs plays with what seem to be national obsessions — pork and sugar. It's made with sea-salt caramel ice cream, infused with brown-bacon butter and bits of bacon praline. The American Beauty, a take on the Greek-yogurt craze, is made with tangy crème fraîche and swirled with house-made rose petal jam. The Mahjong, a rich sorbet, is an alcohol-infused creation of white peaches, jasmine tea, and peach lambic.
Kim and Lo have been selling their ice cream at markets (like Brooklyn Night Bazaar and Artists & Fleas) since 2013, but many of the current flavors are new to the shop. The duo netted Vendy Awards for past flavors like the Tea Dance (nilgiri leaf tea, lemon charcoal, and salted caramel), Farmer Boy (blackcurrant ice cream with buckwheat streusel and goat milk panna cotta), and the fan-favorite Milk Money (toasted milk, sea salt, and chocolate ganache). "Our original concept was to open a shop," says Lo. "We couldn't afford it at the time; it was easier to start in markets, and we've been able to establish a fan base."
The shop is just serving scoops for now, but Kim and Lo plan to roll out a larger menu eventually. Floats are up next, made with flavored sodas seasoned with syrups from Renegade Lemonade and Drink More Good; expect to taste strawberry-basil soda combined with Basic B ice cream for a riff on classic strawberries 'n' cream, and chai-spiced soda with Tea Dance ice cream. Sundaes will debut, with possible collaborations with Jam Jar Bakery and Daly Pie, along with ice cream sandwiches and a selection of cold brews and affogato-style drinks. "The benefit of working in the markets is that we worked around people who are equally passionate about their own craft," says Lo.
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.
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