>> Tuesday, October 18, 2016
72-24 Austin Street
Forest Hills, NY 11375
Let's get something straight right off the bat. New Yorkers stand on line. We often stand on line while listening to our Pandora playlist online. We do not stand in line. Standing in line is what people from other states do. Being "in line" is defeat and subordination. "So and so is falling in line with what their party leadership wants" etc. If you are in line then you have lost and you have succumbed. We do not succumb. We are at this place, wherever that place is, because we have chosen to be, not because we were told to be. This single-file row of humanity is the very representation of our willingness as New Yorkers to act in a polite and orderly manner; our dismissal of the the scrum. Should the urge hit us, should the line be too long relative to our desire to acquire the goods we seek and/or the penalty for not having them, we could choose to go take our business elsewhere. This happens at Trader Joe's more often than I care to admit, and it was in that vein of taking my business elsewhere that I wound up never going to Snowdays until recently. The line was too long and I, dear readers, refused to get on it.
However, once the novelty did wear off and summer did not, I decided to go. I mean, what better time to go for ice cream than in the summer month of mid-October?
Snowdays is a mini-chain of "shaved cream" ice cream shops with about a half dozen locations, mostly in Manhattan. Shaving cream, they say, is an adaptation of the the Asian shaved ice dessert but this time using cream, leaving us with an ice cream-like dessert. Snowdays offers a variety of flavors like green tea, sesame, coconut, and cheesecake; not flavors you might be more used to like coffee, butter pecan, chocolate, or strawberry. Then you can toss on a variety of toppings and syrups.
Ice cream, gelato, frozen yogurt. These are all very similar. Yes, there's bound to be some schnook who bangs their fists on the table and screams "NO!" before launching into a five minute long speech about how different they are that no one is actually paying attention to, but they are. To prove my point, the following exchange has never happened: "Honey, I feel like getting some ice cream before heading home." "That sounds fun! There's a great gelato place around the corner." "Oh. Nevermind." Shaved cream, on the other hand, is quite different, at least from a texture point of view. Shaved cream is so much lighter, has so much air in it, that it feels sharper. The texture isn't creamy until you have a spoonful of it in your mouth and you've let it melt. You aren't going to be repulsed. You'll just notice that it's different for about three seconds until it becomes the same.
The interior of Snowdays is small, but trendy the way a Greenpoint coffee bar would be (if they replaced the cartoon character with local art). All of the tables seat two people, but the wall is one huge bench, so coming with a handful of cohorts shouldn't be a problem so long as there's a table available to crowd around.
When I walked in I spent most of the time staring at the menu trying to figure out exactly what to do. Given the variety of toppings, you have thousands of possible end results. Add to it the obscure shaved cream flavors and you can understand my dilemma. In the end, I tried two of their own combinations: The Original (first pic) and The New Yorka (second pic). The Original is a sweet milk shaved cream with Cap'n Crunch cereal, blueberries, and a peanut butter sauce. I'll be honest, this did not look appetizing in the slightest. But hey, I didn't come to give points on plating. In the end, it was very good. Sweet cream is a mild flavor and does a great job of highlighting the flavors it's joined by. So if you like blueberries and peanut butter (and who doesn't) and enjoy having a little crunchy texture in there, too then I recommend getting this. The New Yorka uses a cheesecake-flavored shaved cream with vanilla wafer, strawberry slices, and whipped cream. Much like the sweet milk, cheesecake was extremely mild. There was a hint of cheesecake, to be sure, but only a hint. The strongest flavor was the strawberry and the whipped cream. In the end, I doubt I'd get this one again because while I like strawberries and whipped cream, that wasn't really what I was ordering. Next time I'll get something with sesame shaved cream.
If getting a soft-serve cone at McDonald's for a buck is your budget, then consider Snowdays well beyond your price range. My two "small" cups were just a hair under $8 each.