In some places, summer weekends mean it’s time to fire up the grill for a barbecue, and the Fourth of July is the prime example. But in New Orleans sometimes it’s just too darn hot for all that. Instead, I propose some sweet, frosty, family-friendly salvation in the form of a visit to some of our great ice cream parlors and sno-ball stands. Here are four ideas to get you going.
1823 Metairie Rd., Metairie, 504-666-1823
A Metairie classic since 1960, Sal’s has evolved some unique flavor combinations like “pink squirrel” (cream of nectar with almond) and “sock it to me” (bubble gum and ice cream flavor). Note that Sal’s unusually late closing time (10:30 p.m.) makes it a popular after-dinner stop for adults.
4924 Prytania St., New Orleans, 504-894-8680; 6260 Vicksburg St., New Orleans, 504-482-2924
Between its two locations in Uptown and in Lakeview, Creole Creamy stocks an astronomical list of ice cream flavors, from the classics to some pretty far-out concoctions (lemon poppy seed, anyone?). Chocoholics will find an entire case of flavors devoted strictly to renditions of their favorite flavor. What I love about this place is the way they make sundaes. They understand the inherent fun in their presentation and flair and make true icy feasts out of them. For the ultimate, the entire family can tackle the Tchoupitoulas sundae, an eight-scoop mountain festooned with toppings.
Angelo Brocato Ice Cream & Confections
214 North Carrollton Ave., New Orleans, 504-486-1465
Angelo Brocato’s is a true American classic, an ice cream parlor that might belong in the Smithsonian if it weren’t kept so busy by adoring New Orleanians. Its roots stretch back to the Old Country and the Sicilian gelato parlors where its founder and namesake first learned his craft. It’s been in business since 1905, first in the French Quarter and for the past few generations in Mid-City. Though it says “ice cream” over the door, it turns out that Brocato’s has been making gelato before most people had even heard that term. Look for the seasonal flavors and try a granita for an especially refreshing summer treat.
4801 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, 504-891-9788
It can seem like time stands still inside Hansen’s, yet intriguing new flavors have emerged in recent years, including anise, ginger, limeade and satsuma. Crushed pineapples or marshmallow fluff are among the unique toppings here, while a simple dose of Martinelli’s brand apple juice over the “sno” makes a guilt-free treat. While everyone has their favorite stand, Hansen’s dedication to excellence (the shop motto: “there are no shortcuts to quality”) sets the standard against which all should be measured.