Fancy French-Style Ice Cream Sandwiches
The macaron ice cream sandwiches at Pho 43 Express (also known as 43rd Express) in Phoenix are assembled and sold at the back of the restaurant. The sandwiches are available in various configurations of mix-and-match flavors, including popular Eastern flavors like panang, taro, and Thai tea. You'll also find options like dulce de leche, strawberry, cookies and cream, and red velvet. The sandwiches are assembled to order, and they are generous in size, featuring an extra-thick slab of ice cream cemented between two oversize caps of very fresh, chewy, nutty macaron cookies. It should be noted that the macaron ice cream sandwiches (plus, fresh macaron cookies, sans the ice cream) at Pho 43 Express are more or less available only on the weekends.
A Pimped-Out Ice Cream Sunday
The Toffee Banofi Sundae at Sweet Republic is a nod to the classic, teeth-achingly sweet, '70s-era British dessert called Banoffee pie. In its original incarnation, the sweet treat is essentially a cream, banana, and toffee pie. The name is a portmanteau of the words "banana" and "toffee." The ice cream sundae version made at Sweet Republic is ingeniously well-composed. It all starts with the shop's house-made Madagascar vanilla ice cream, which is intensely smooth and subtly infused with the flavor of true vanilla. Two spears of halved bananas are wedged around two ice cream scoops, and then the treat is drizzled with caramel sauce, decorated with puffs of whipped cream, and sprinkled with chunks of homemade almond toffee. The almond toffee brittle, also made in-house, is good enough to eat all on its own: salty-sweet, extra-crunchy, nutty, and intensely addictive. The whole thing comes together in a lovely balance of sweet, salty pleasure. Take a picture of it, if you must — it will definitely last longer that way.
Korean Milk Snow
Ice Lab is the first (and to our knowledge, the only) place in Phoenix to exclusively offer Bing Soo, a Korean dessert that is kind of like shaved ice and kind of like milky snowflakes. According to the owner, Sean Shin, his is the only machine in Arizona that makes this particular type of Bing Soo. Usually, the shaved-ice desert is made with water, resulting in a powdery texture similar to that of fresh snow. Shin’s particular machine uses condensed milk, which results in ice flakes that melt into a creamy consistency in your mouth. Tasty enough by itself, Ice Lab takes it to another level with several different flavor combinations available to add to your bowl of frosty flakes.
Old School Ice Cream Sodas
What makes a MacAlpine's Soda Fountain ice cream soda such a delight is the staggering number of choices of soda flavors. Standing there on MacAlpine's back counter is a Technicolor wonderland of almost 100 different flavors. You name it, they have it. Cherry? No problem, there are three kinds, six if you count combination flavors like cherry-coconut Tiger's Blood. Seven flavors are based on libations like Mai Tais and Piña Coladas. Or, if you're in an oddball mood, there's dill pickle flavor. No word on how often that last one gets ordered. A crowd pleaser is the Breakfast at Tiffany's soda, which is a resplendent blue, combining blue raspberry and cake flavors.
Ice Creamed Espresso
King Coffee in Tempe uses beans from Tempe-based Cortez Coffee Roasters to make the espresso so lovingly poured over creamy ice cream for the house Affogato. To be fair, it's hard to write anything bad about an affogato — even the most sinister espresso aficionado can't say no to a scoop of ice cream. And their's is not your grandma's affogato. A hefty scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and two shots of espresso are topped with fresh-made whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup. We ain't mad at that.