The hot summer sun creates the perfect conditions for playing with food. Rapidly licking scoops of ice cream or spooning shaved pieces of flavored ice before they melt are fun ways to beat the heat. You can find various flavors and textures of frozen treats throughout Vancouver, some in unexpected places.
210 W. Evergreen Blvd.; 360-750-0811
Stephanie McNees and Mitchell Flies at Treat in downtown Vancouver have spent the long winter honing their ice cream recipes.
“For ice cream, you need a formula,” McNees said. “It’s like an algebra equation to get the perfect concoction. You need just the right balance of cream and milk or coconut cream and coconut milk, sugar, eggs or egg substitute, and stabilizers.”
Treat’s super-premium 17 percent milk fat ice cream is made with high-quality ingredients and natural stabilizers combined with scratch-made mix-ins and toppings served in freshly baked waffle cones.
Treat’s website lists current flavors. Ooey Gooey Butter Cake (a vanilla cream cheese ice cream layered with crumbles of butter cake) and Chocolate Brownie (Valrhona chocolate ice cream with house-made fudgy brownies) are two of the more popular flavors. Fruity Pebble Cereal Milk comes in pints with candied Fruity Pebbles separated from the ice cream to keep them crispy for layering over scoops at home. Treat also offers soft-serve ice cream with a variety of toppings like sprinkles, hot fudge and sea salt honeycomb crunch.
1925 Main St.; 360-694-3892
In Vancouver’s Uptown Village, Ice Cream Renaissance churns out a variety of creamy concoctions. Honey Vanilla, Old Fashioned Milk Chocolate and Cookies ’n Cream are joined by such seasonal flavors as Marionberry, Coconut Luau and vegan Minted Cookie Crunch.
For those seeking something a bit extra, the menu includes large and small sundaes, floats, milkshakes and ice cream-filled coffee drinks. Ice Cream Renaissance’s take on a root beer float, called Your Dark Side, with scoops of honey vanilla ice cream in A&W or Henry Weinhard’s root beer, makes for the perfect hot-weather sipper.
110 W. Sixth St.; 360-843-9696
At Nonavo Pizza in downtown Vancouver, Joey Chmiko makes his ice cream, like his pizza, with the best locally sourced ingredients available, including Botany Bay Farm eggs and Sithean Acres honey. Core flavors include vanilla, chocolate, coffee (from Relevant Coffee) and farro (from Bluebird Farms). On a recent visit, basil was the seasonal herb flavor and cherry was the seasonal fruit sorbet.
A variety of other flavors — olive oil, burnt honey, popcorn, dulce de leche, saffron — come and go. I recently sampled a scoop of burnt honey and a scoop of olive oil. Both arrived as creamy, rich flax-colored scoops served in small white ceramic coffee cups. The flavors were well balanced to suit the smoky honey and grassy olive oil.
8070 E. Mill Plain Blvd.; 360-524-9000
In central Vancouver, Rally Pizza offers vanilla bean soft-serve frozen custard plain or with such quality mix-ins as Valrhona chocolate pearls and honeycomb. Rally Pizza’s concretes come with frozen custard blended with housemade desserts like chocolate cake and frosting (for the Devil’s Food) or lemon curd and gingersnaps (for the Lemon Snap).
For sundaes, toppings are layered in frozen custard and then finished with whipped cream and a cherry. Flavors include Campfire Sundae (graham cookie crumbles, fudge sauce and burnt marshmallow) and Very Berry Crumble (raspberry curd, blackberry sauce and sugar almond crumble).
8650 N.E. Highway 99; 360-726-5405
In Hazel Dell, Boba Factory serves bingsu. This mix of shaved ice, vanilla ice cream, mochi pieces, soy bean powder and sweetened condensed milk comes in various forms — the traditional with a scoop of red beans, as well as mango with diced mango, or milk tea with brown sugar crumbles and boba pearls.
Mixing the shaved ice with ice cream and sweetened condensed milk balances the textures and flavors. The ice cream and sweetened condensed milk add creaminess to the fluffy ice snow, while the ice tempers the sweetness of the ice cream and milk.
13215 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd.
This shaved-ice pop-up shop outside Seize the Bagel in east Vancouver is open noon to 4 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays all summer. Syrups include blue raspberry, passionfruit, pineapple, coconut and cotton candy. The shop offers dye-free versions of cherry and pina colada.
2009 N.E. 117th St.; 360-921-1393
This stand near Salmon Creek Regional Park serves shaved ice mounded into large domes and flavored with popular combinations — for example, Ocean Pacific with blue raspberry, lemon and vanilla. Customers can build their own mixes from a long list of flavors including blue raspberry, guava, pink lemonade, coconut and lemon, and add such toppings as coconut cream, pop rocks and gummy worms.