A Hipster's Guide to Phoenix Frozen Treats

A Hipster's Guide to Phoenix Frozen Treats
Sarah Hurwitz

Excuse us, did you just scream for ice cream — or was that the sound of your bare legs hitting the car seat? Either way, it's time to cool it, and we've got some suggestions on how.

You're in luck, because Phoenix does ice cream well.  Head over to Roosevelt Row's Melt for classics as well as unusual flavors like Thai Tea, served in a Chinese takeout container and topped with a fortune cookie. Or go to Novel Ice Cream on Grand Avenue and try crazy flavors like cookie monster. (It is blue.)

Don’t want to watch your ice cream melt? We suggest a milkshake. Shake Shack is a chain with solid milkshake choices, and we would be remiss to leave it off the list (to be honest, the milkshakes are better than the burgers and fries, so consider yourself warned). Sweet Republic changes up the flavor lineup all the time, so you won't be bored. Sweet Republic shakes come with any three scoops you want, topped with whipped cream. MacAlpine’s Diner and Soda Fountain makes their shakes with Thrifty's ice cream, and they also have hard-to-find items like the classic egg cream.

Sorbet is a lighter option and dairy-free. We've spotted elderflower and coconut on the rotating menu at Churn, and peach lavender or chocolate at Doc's Artisan Ice Cream.

How about a gourmet ice pop? Best post-pool snack ever. AZ Pops has so many flavors, from nectarine to blue cheese and honey. Each of Paletas Betty's pops has a small signature bite "removed," and are based on traditional Mexican recipes from Betty’s home state of Michoacán; most contain chunks of fruit or nuts.

click to enlarge SARAH HURWITZ
Sarah Hurwitz
Speaking of border-inspired treats, how about a raspado? Usually made with crushed ice, flavored syrup, and chunks of fruit, this is an unusual and refreshing treat. Oasis Raspados has lots of flavors to choose from and even a simple strawberry raspado can be topped with with mango, or ice cream, or condensed milk — the combinations are endless. At Realeza Michoacana you can get equally complicated ices and they also serve ice cream, juice, and frozen pops. 

Craving a frozen yogurt? Twirl has a laid-back hipster vibe and more than 50 different toppings to choose from, but don't miss the original tart. If you work downtown, A Touch of Yogurt is best for midday treats (they aren’t open on weekends). They change flavors daily, they put toppings in the middle and the top — and they deliver.

Fancy a frozen mochi (a Japanese treat of rice paste wrapped around ice cream)? Head to the grocery store. Sounds crazy, but Trader Joe's has great frozen mochi in the frozen food aisle, and Whole Foods has a whole case of self-serve mochi, which you can then eat in the cool recirculated air of the fanciest food shop in town.

To continue the Asian vibe, head to Snoh, where the offering is something between shaved ice and ice cream, brought to Phoenix from China via Los Angeles. We recommend the matcha flavor, then go wild with toppings.

On the other end of the spectrum, Water Connection is pretty un-glamorous, but has been at the same location for two decades. WC sells regular old shaved ice, with regular old syrup. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Speaking of the classics, there really isn't anything quite like a 7-11 Slurpee.

Or you can just get a paper cup, fill it with orange juice and stick it in your freezer. Peel and enjoy. It’s too hot to leave the house anyway.
Sarah Hurwitz

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Sarah Hurwitz