BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO
July is National Ice Cream Month, so forgo the basic soft serve and embark on a self-guided culinary tour of exotic, uniquely flavored frozen treats here in Queens.
The first stop on the journey is Max and Mina’s (71-26 Main St., Kew Gardens Hills), first opened nearly 18 years ago by brothers Bruce and Mark Becker. The Flushing confectionery features an extensive, ever-changing roster of bold, unexpected ice cream flavors such as “beer,” “merlot” and “grass,” inspired by Triple Crown winner American Pharaoh.
Unique flavors like “toasted marshmallow,” “coconut s’mores” and “corn on the cob” made with real kernels are like a campfire cookout in a cup.
Pop culture-inspired flavors like the SweetTart candy-infused “Tart Bart Simpson” and the “SpongeBob,” a decadent mix of sponge cake, batter and sprinkles, reflect the fun and colorful cereal box collages covering the walls.
The “Cookie Monster,” a blue mix of Chips Ahoy and Oreos, is popular among children. Adults may want to try the “Roker-licious,” a spicy blend of red chili flakes and caramel cream created by Al Roker himself on a visit to the shop.
Upcoming flavors include date, fig, Fruity Pebbles cereal and Minions-inspired banana.
Single scoops are $3.25, doubles are $5.70 and pints run $7.50.
Skip on over to Elmhurst and stop by the aptly named Sugar Club (81-18 Broadway) for a truly sweet experience. The Thai confectionary features the “emerald mango” ($9), a tropical mix of homemade mango ice cream topped with whipped cream and warm green sticky rice.
Not to be outdone, nearby Plant Love House (86-06 Whitney Ave.) is busy keeping Elmhurst cool with scoops of Thai coconut ice cream served in up in terracotta flower pots topped with red bean, fresh coconut and frozen egg yolk.
For a taste of the Philippines, visit House of Inasal (65-14 Roosevelt Ave., Woodside) for a unique ice cream sandwich featuring purple yam or “ube” ice cream, coconut and crisp rice served on a warm “pan de sal” egg roll.
For more experimental flavor combinations, head over to Astoria Coffee (30-04 30th Ave.) for offerings from Manhattan-based confectioner Ice and Vice. Rotating selections may include “9 a.m.”, a mix of coffee, chicory, Saigon cinnamon and doughnut truffle, “3 Little Pigs,” with salted caramel, bacon butter and bacon praline, or the popcorn, raisin and chocolate-infused “movie night.”
Wrap up your tour in Glendale at Dan’s Sweet Shop (70-03 Myrtle Ave.), where daredevils can attempt to devour “#ascoopofeverything,” a monstrous bowl of 32 scoops loaded with brownies, candy, three sauces, cones, whipped cream and cherries ($73).
Average folks can indulge in scoops of “Superman,” a brightly colored blend of strawberry, banana and blue moon, or “cotton candy,” a pink and blue candy blend.