Yeah, yeah, it's hot outside, but we're not complaining. We're putting on our rose-colored glasses and looking at the brighter side of summer: eating as much ice cream as we want.
Okay, maybe we can't (or shouldn't) eat ice cream everyday, but we can try to cool off this summer with cold and delicious foods from around town. Wanna know what our favorites are? Here are 10 ways we cool off, in a culinary way. (Warning -- food porn ahead!)
10. Every Flavor from Paletas Betty -- Better than your average popsicle, these handmade gourmet cold treats made from fresh seasonal fruit and hand-ground spices are a must for the summer months. We're partial to the exotic flavors of the Sandia with icy watermelon and earthy basil and the creamy chocolate with a slight spicy kick, but you really can't go wrong with any of the cool flavors.
9. The Standard Banana Split from Mary Coyle -- One ripe banana, three scoops of housemade ice cream covered with pineapple, fudge, and strawberries, a mountain of whipped cream, chopped nuts, all topped off with the essential cherry equals the perfect summer throwback treat. Mary Coyle's has been a Phoenix ice cream institution since 1951 and when we're looking to cool down with a giant bowl of ol' fashion ice cream, this is our go-to spot.
8. The Caribbean Salad from Pita Jungle -- This is not your mama's fruit salad. It's more like a fruit salad on steroids. Pita Jungle piles up big chunks of pineapple, watermelon, strawberries, bananas, grapes, and whatever fruit may be in season and finishes the colorful mix off with a dusting of shredded coconut and a light and tangy strawberry vinaigrette. This pretty salad is giant, so bring a friend to help you enjoy the cool fruit flavors.
7. Shochu Cocktails from Roka Akor -- Yes, Roka Akor makes some of the best sushi in the United States, but it also makes a mean shochu-infusion cocktail. The Japanese spirit is made from a variety of starches, has a low alcohol percentage, and an almost odd grainy taste. The upscale Scottsdale restaurant infuses its shochu with the exotic flavors of honeycomb, pineapple, and Fuji apples and then serves it over ice that has been hand-chipped from the beautifully clear block of frozen water that sits on the bar. It's one of the most memorable cocktail experiences in the Valley and can turn a 115-degree day into a great one.
6. Agua Fresca from Pro's Ranch Market -- Once you make it past the mariachis and the bakery at this giant grocery store, you'll spot a rainbow of agua fresca buckets filled with flavors that might sound a little strange. Go to them. You want what's inside. Quite possibly the most refreshing beverage on a scorching hot summer Phoenix day, Ranch Market's fresh fruit waters come in flavors ranging from sweet watermelon to tangy cantaloupe and sour lime. Pick one up next time you're trolling the aisles for handmade tortillas and plaster donkey lawn ornaments.
5. Arizona Peach Ale from Four Peaks Brewing Company -- Sure, we love our hoppy IPAs and smoky porters, but during the summer months, we'll risk our craft beer street cred for a pint of Four Peaks' summery peach ale. Light and refreshing with just a hint of peach, we crave this beer come summer. Part of the Tempe brewery's original lineup, the fruit beer is far from being their bestseller, but if they ever took the fragrant ale off their list, we would throw a huge fit. (So don't even think about it, guys, or we'll hunt you down and force you to brew us a batch against your will!)
4. Handmade Ice Pops from Frufrupops -- If you can hunt down this traveling popsicle stand, you're in for a treat. The all-natural handmade ice pops, made with fresh, seasonal ingredients, organic and/or local honey, and fresh cream from local dairies are available in a variety of ever changing flavors. Thai Iced tea, margarita, and even date shake -- you never know what you're going to find. The newest summer flavors are Summer Berry Mint and Just Peachy. Yum!
3. The Portlander from Next Coffee Co. -- Driving to the West Valley doesn't seem that bad when you know that there is a frosty coffee beverage filled with magic waiting for when you get there. Next Coffee Co.'s specialty coffee drink The Portlander is filled with rich espresso, chestnut praline syrup, chocolate and caramel sauces, and ice cold milk, then topped off with a dusting of spicy cinnamon and nutmeg. If you're into sweet-as-can-be coffee drinks that'll immediately cool you off, then you should take a tiny road trip to 59th Avenue and Union Hills, stat.
2. Boozy Ice Cream from Lee's Cream Liqueur -- Think ice cream is just for kids? You may want to reconsider that thought after you try Lee's booze filled ice cream. Rich, creamy, and blended with real whiskey, vodka, rum, and tequila, this stuff is what adult dreams are made of. Don't worry, Lee's offers non-booze filled ice cream if you don't feel like catching a dessert buzz.
1. Ceviche from Gallo Blanco -- Is there a more refreshing summertime meal then a big plate of citrus-marinated shrimp? No -- although, a traditional Mexican shrimp cocktail comes in as a close second. Gallo Blanco makes an excellent rendition of the Mexican dish that is filled with wild Mexican shrimp, fresh pico de gallo, and hearty chunks of bright green avocado. Scoop up this vivid dish with their house made tortilla chips and wash it down with a watermelon agua fresca.
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And check out our other lists: 10 Favorite Summer Foods 7 Favorite Soul Food Places 10 Favorite Sangrias 7 Favorite Paleteria 10 Favorite Breakfast Places 10 Favorite International Markets 10 Favorite Spots for Crepes in Greater Phoenix 11 Favorite Phoenix Beers 10 Favorite Spots for Seafood in Greater Phoenix 10 Favorite Gelato Spots 10 Favorite Burrito Joints in Metro Phoenix 10 Favorite Spots for Wings in Metro Phoenix 11 Things to Eat and Drink Before You Leave Phoenix Ten Favorite Phoenix Hot Sauces and Salsas Top Ten Spots for Mac 'n' Cheese in the Valley Three Favorite Espresso Shots in Metro Phoenix Ten Favorite Metro Phoenix Farmers' Markets Ten Favorite Metro Phoenix Grilled Cheese Sandwiches Eleven Favorite Favorite Places for Sushi in the Valley Ten Favorite Metro Phoenix Cupcakes Eleven Favorite Barbecue Joints in Greater Phoenix Ten Favorite Metro Phoenix Wine Bars Ten Favorite Phoenix Irish Restaurant & Pubs Six Favorite Specialty Cocktails in Phoenix Ten Favorite Metro Phoenix Craft Beer Bars Ten Favorite Gourmet Pizza Shops in the Valley Five Favorite Japanese Restaurants in Phoenix Ten Favorite Margaritas in Metro Phoenix Ten Favorite Coffee Shops in Phoenix Five Favorite Thai Restaurants in Metro Phoenix Eleven Favorite Ice Cream Shops in Greater Phoenix Ten Favorite Phoenix Happy Hours Five Favorite Sonoran Dogs in the Valley Ten Favorite Hot Dogs in Greater Phoenix Ten Favorite Desserts in Phoenix Ten Favorite First Date Restaurants Ten Favorite Burgers in Greater Phoenix Ten Favorite Downtown Phoenix Restaurants for Late Night Dining Ten Favorite Vegetarian Entrees in Metro Phoenix Ten Favorite Chinese Restaurants in Greater Phoenix