I Scream for Ice Cream (and other cold stuff)

Despite the mostly rather chilly or even freezing temperatures in Finland, Finnish people eat 13,7 liters of ice cream a year. In New York, with temperatures rising to 30’s Celcius (100 F), it is not hard to believe that ice cream (and shaved ice, italian ice,¬†gelato and frozen yogurt) is everywhere to be found.

I have not tried all of the following, since I seem to be most fond of the most dangerous places for a person with bottomless cravings and a limited budget: self serve frozen yogurt stores. My favorite place to get my fix in New York was 16 Handles. Perfection depends on the daily flavors and the combination you create with the toppings, though, but the possibilities of combination are endless!

In Merrick I heard a lot of different ice cream truck tunes, so I wanted to see how many different trucks there are. In Finland, we just have one blue truck that plays the same jingle everywhere.

Mr. Softee is probably the biggest ice cream truck chain. Selection includes ices, cones and soft serve ice cream
YoGo is also popular, serving frozen plain or vanilla yogurt with optional toppings
This truck I have only seen once. The price is over half less than in some other places – wonder why?

Some interesting non-trucks:

Old fashioned ice creams and popsicles for refreshment in Central Park
Coolhaus ice cream sandwiches are upper scale offspring of two traditional treat combinations
People’s pop’s shaved ice with syrup
Big Gay Ice Cream shop had a line of few dozen people, when I visited

In Finland the ice cream market is dominated by two big companies, Valio and Arla Ingman, both offering mainly the basic cream based ice cream in ridiculously high prices. There are some smaller companies, like the ice cream factories of Tampere and Helsinki, but the prices are even higher. If you can buy 4 liters of ice cream from the shop for the price of one scoop, what’s the point? Helsinki is lucky to have I guess 2 frozen yogurt places, but they are the only places in this country, and I haven’t visited either of them. Soft serve ice cream, with three optional flavors (vanilla, strawberry and chocolate, who would have guessed), is available all over.

Couldn’t be happier, even though the homeless guy next to us claimed that we were on his turf

Wonder what kind of delicacies Japan will offer – in New York, Japadog offered ice cream inside hot dog buns and called that Japanese. I know there is green tea ice cream, and I hope froyo is also available!

Street food, fast food, good food?

Bagels, pretzels, hot dogs and pizza may have defined New York’s fast food scheme in the past, but nowadays there is so much more to choose from. If you get hungry while running from one meeting to another, there is no need of stepping into a crowded, air-con freezing Mc Donald’s (Or Wendy’s, or Dunkin’ Donuts, which seems to be all over the place)¬†to get re-fueled.

Cheap hot dogs, kebabs, and so much more – everything halal (and/or kosher)

Some of the street food stalls are not the healthiest of the bunch, but there are also some alternatives to the pieces of who knows what meat.

People with food restrictions are not left to die of hunger in the streets

Not really that hungry? Have some munchkins, then.

Nuts for nuts

Craving for something sweet instead?

Belgian wafels and dingels (whatever that means).
Cupcakes in different sized and flavors, always topped with different sorts of frosting.

If the mind and body can be satisfied with something else than solid food, solutions can be found on the streets.

Juices, smoothies, shakes – add protein for extra health boost!

If juice is not enough to relieve you from the heat, there is a better ailment. The following are not stalls, but trucks.

Yogo is supposedly healthier than ice cream, unless you go nuts with the toppings!
One of the many different ice cream trucks that drive around. Mr. Softee is probably the most common truck (not pictured).

In addition to these more traditional choices, the New York streets are roamed by food trucks selling bit more upscale, or at least exotic, dishes.

Phil flips his steaks right in front of you.
Peruvian fusion – no grilled guinea pigs on the menu?
Japanese tacos, whose logo is a samurai bean? Works for me!

By the way, all these pictures were taken during one walk in one afternoon! I can hardly imagine how many different options there are in total. I’ve heard rumors about food truck get-togethers, that sound interesting.

I did forget to take a picture of one of the many newspaper/magazine kiosks that sell snacks, and one of the fresh fruit stalls. This weekend I was also treated to an original “ices”, shaved ice with syrup on a cup. The thing melted within minutes, even though I am pretty fast when it comes down to that. Coming up: short introduction to all the ice cream stalls that are everywhere!