Big Gay Ice Cream: Possibly Too Delicious?

By Ama Debrah
The truck that started it all.
It’s impossible to talk about New York City’s food scene without mentioning its grand tradition of food trucks. One of the most popular, unique, and downright flamboyant trucks in the city, the Big Gay Ice Cream truck, started in June 2009 by partners Douglas Quint and Bryan Petroff. The truck, which serves ice cream described as “a cross between Mister Softee and Mario Batali, [a famous Italian chef],” quickly acquired a die-hard following with its unique toppings—such as wasabi pea dust, siracha sauce, and Nilla wafers—and its addictively campy flair, from the décor of the truck to the names of the flavors themselves. Earlier this year, fans and casual foodies rejoiced upon hearing that the Big Gay Ice Cream truck would be opening its first permanent shop on September 3rd. But does the Big Gay Ice Cream truck have what it takes to bring its inventive, quirky ice cream from the streets to the shop? I decided to take it upon myself to investigate.

Although the grand opening of the store drew long lines and famous names such as Aziz Ansari and Anthony Bourdain, since I decided to purchase my ice cream on one of the most overcast and rainy days of the summer, the East Village shop was pretty empty. The first thing that caught my eye upon entering the store was the sparkling unicorn mural covering an entire face of the wall (and when I asked if the unicorn had a name, a worker told me that one was still being debated upon). To my surprise, Douglas Quint was actually sitting at one of the tables, overseeing the shop. When I asked what ice cream they recommended for a first-timer, Quint informed me that, contrary to its name, the shop didn’t actually sell ice cream, but that the ice cream was simply a cover to sell drugs; I decided then that Douglas Quint might be the coolest ice cream store/drug haven owner ever.

With the entire menu at my fingertips, I found myself in a quandary. Did I want to be adventurous and choose the Cococone with its toasted curried coconut? Or did I want to give in to my every gluttonous desire and buy the Choinkwich, a sinful blend of chocolate soft serve ice cream and caramelized bacon sandwiched between two chocolate cartwheel cookies? Finally, I decided upon my server’s recommendation and picked the fan favorite Salty Pimp (which, frankly, I probably would’ve gotten based solely on its name), which consists of vanilla ice cream, Dulce de Leche, chocolate dip, and sea salt. With my purchase, I was given a frequent shopper card, which allows the customer to get a free cone after purchasing ten. Although I was at first hesitant about the usage of sea salt, as soon as I took a bite of the vanilla soft serve cone, the tang of the salt perfectly meshing with the sweetness of the Dulce de Leche and chocolate dip, all my fears melted away.

Unfortunately, my fears weren’t the only thing that melted. On my walk back to the train station, while trying to balance the enormous cone and my umbrella, the humid weather caused the entire delicious scoop to dribble down my hand. After being mocked by a few passersby as I tried to gracefully shove the entire ice cream in my mouth, I gave up trying to be a lady and instead sat down on a park bench in an attempt to salvage as much of the mouthwatering melted treat as possible.

Will I be using my frequent shopper card in the near future? Definitely. But I’ll also be bringing some moist toilettes.

Ama is a sophomore at Barnard and Food Editor for The Nine Ways of Knowing.

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