Any time of year is a good time for ice cream, but in summer, it just feels more right. Eating a frozen treat in autumn simply can’t compare to scooping some gelato out of a paper cup on a breezy summer afternoon.
As we wind down these final summer weekends, we realized we were running out of time to hit all the spots on our sweets bucket list. What? You don’t have a sweets bucket list?
Well, we won’t mind if you copy ours. Make sure you hit each of these six local ice cream and gelato stops in Astoria and LIC before your carriage turns back into a pumpkin spiced latte come September.
#1 Sweet Janes
27-17 24th Ave., Astoria
While you’re squeezing in a few more afternoons of day drinking at the Bohemian Beer Garden this August, make sure to swing by Sweet Janes just a block up 24th Avenue for a treat sure to please anyone of any dietary persuasion: the FudgeStickle.
Nut-free, non-dairy, non-GMO, gluten-free and without a drop of corn syrup in sight, the FudgeStickle is a throwback to owner Jane McGill’s childhood summers full of icy, fudgy deliciousness. Grab a stick of guilt-free goodness (they’re only 141 calories!) in fudge, mint, chocolate or chocolate stout.
Try some of their non-dairy vegan ice creams, like the coconut-based blueberry lavender, almond-based carrot cake or cashew-based peanut butter chocolate swirl. The sorbets come in unique flavors like raspberry red wine and pear ginger riesling. If you’ve just got to have that lactose, dig into traditional ice cream in untraditional flavors like rosewater cardamom or salted caramel pretzel.
3004 30th St., Astoria
Aside from its mind-blowing redeyes and ultimate chill-vibe interior, Astoria Coffee on 30th Street also scoops a pretty chill game. Grab an ice cream sandwich by Lower East Side’s very own Melt, made out of freshly baked cookies.
If you’re in the mood for a well-caffeinated drink with just a hint of sweetness, try an affogato using local vanilla ice cream from Sweet Janes. It’s hard to beat — and what’s wrong with a little dessert for breakfast?
3704 30th Ave., Astoria
Think you’ve tried everything at Gossip Coffee’s 30th Avenue storefront? Think again — they’ve replaced their rice pudding with a far more heat-friendly alternative through the end of summer: gelato.
Stop by their houndstooth hangout for a delightful scoop of creamy deliciousness, pair it with some doughnuts handcrafted by Scottish Francis of “MasterChef” fame, and take in the air (and a bit of juicy gossip) in their lovely backyard area.
25-11 Broadway, Astoria
Dig the freeze, hate the frills? Stop by European Ice Cream on Broadway for a neighborhood scoop fresh from the back room. That’s right — all gelato is hand-made by the owner. The end result is delicious and a bit lighter than regular gelato fare but still does the trick.
Don’t show up expecting the traditional hipster experience, though. What European Ice Cream lacks in frills, it puts right back into its gelato. Grab a scoop or two and head down to Socrates Sculpture Park — there’s a Pokémon GO gym there that can’t seem to stay one color for more than an hour.
4635 Vernon Blvd., Long Island City
Next time you’re waiting for the East River Ferry at Hunter’s Point South Park, take a 10-minute walk up Vernon Boulevard to Manducatis Rustica. Not only can you get some of the finest pizza in LIC, but in the summer months you can feast upon the Mama Bomb, an ice cream sandwich that kicks everything up a notch.
Pick out your favorite gelato (Mama herself, Gianna Cerbone-Teoli, recommends melon, avocado or pear chocolate) and have it scooped onto a halved Italian doughnut. Most of their gelato is made with agave syrup, and they usually have three milk-free options daily.
Don’t worry — calories consumed on the East River Ferry don’t count. And gelato is half-price during the week from 2 to 4 p.m.
10-16 50th Ave., Long Island City
Love frozen treats, but hate that you can’t feel like you’re in the future while you eat them? Sugarcube’s super-modern interior and mind-blowing gelato, chocolates and desserts are right up your alley.
Everything is as fresh and authentic as it can get — even the pistachios are shipped in from the family-owned orchard on the island of Aegina in Greece. Sugarcube’s Grecian-inspired flavors rotate from day to day, and if you catch owner Peter Zaharatos, he’ll whip up a brand-new batch for you on the spot (no wonder his name means “the guy with the sugar” in Greek).
Stop by for the pair special: $10 for a pastry dessert and a small gelato.