The other night I realized that among the few groceries that I had stocked up for my home away from home stay, ice cream was not among them. And other than frozen yogurt spots, I wasn't aware of any spots to buy tasty frozen desserts within hobbling distance of the apartment and, let's face it, frozen yogurt never cuts it. Seriously, no matter how many fresh fruit toppings you put on it it's still just really cold yogurt. With the help of the internet I was able to locate three locations for ice cream within crutching distance of the apartment. Yesterday before the rain came, I mustered up the courage to venture out on my own in search of these three ice cream locations. But the first two locations seem to be secretive speakeasy types or nonexistent because I could not find them... and trust me, it's not like I'm moving so fast that I would have gone right past them; I notice absolutely everything because I move so slowly these days.
Thankfully, the third spot was right where it was supposed to be and after a bit of difficulty with the door and step at the entrance, I made it inside. I was a little nervous about this spot because it definitely wasn't really ice cream but looked more like an ice cream gelato hybrid. Then I tasted my first sample spoon and my fears were instantly quelled because this is neither ice cream nor gelato - it's Stellina and it is amazeballs! Serving up what they refer to as a "cross breed of funky chunky American ice cream and traditional Italian gelato" in a pretty wide variety of flavors plus sorbets, baked goods and espresso, this Lower East Side sweet spot is a welcome chilly breeze in an ice cream-less desert.
After pondering with the lovely young man at the counter over what flavor to walk out with, sampling a few and changing my mind nearly half a dozen times, I settled on two flavors. First I chose the La Strada, a milk chocolate gelato with chopped peanuts, brownie bits and homemade marshmallows. It's kind of like a fancier, grownup version of Rocky Road ice cream, like the road is still rocky but you don't notice it so much because your luxury car has brand new shocks and your driver is really great (and probably British) so the ride is always smooth. This one definitely had a more ice cream texture and taste and was out of control delicious. Plus, it inspired me to learn how to make my own marshmallows (more on that to come!) Okay, so the second flavor I got was right up my alley being that it's sweet and salty, love it! As soon as the scooper guy told me what was in it, I was sold - it's a salted caramel gelato with a chocolate fudge swirl and chunks of crushed chocolate covered pretzels. This one definitely had a smoother texture like a traditional gelato but the chunks of chocolate covered pretzels were for sure all-American. Though these two containers are definitely a bit more costly than your typical bodega pints of ice cream they're certainly worth the splurge when you desire a special treat, or some supplemental calcium. And since it's right around the corner from my temporary digs, I might just have to go back for some more... after what I've been through I think I deserve it and since their flavor of the month is Chocolate Covered Cherry (dark chocolate gelato with fresh market cherries) I might have to swing in for a cup and a shot of espresso. This might just be one of the best discoveries I've made in awhile. Go there and be amazed.