Summer Guide 2016
Make Me Melt
There’s nothing better than ice cream in the summer
My name is Renée and I have a problem: I have an ice cream addiction. “Well,” you say, “everyone likes it.” No, no—I loooove ice cream; I'm pretty sure I've eaten a whole quart in one sitting at some point in my life. (Don't give me that disgusted look; I have absolutely no shame.) So what do I love even more than regular ice cream? Homemade ice cream—you can taste the love in every sweet, creamy, frozen bite. So just in time for summer's blazing heat, here are my favorite sweet spots in Burque to get a taste of homemade heaven.
Chill'N Organic Ice Creams
3600 Cutler NE, Unit #6
If you like science and sweets, this is the place for you. Nestled in the food hall shipping container of Green Jeans Farmery, Chill'N uses the freezing powers of nitrogen to make the creamiest ice cream you've ever tasted. Seriously, the nitrogen freezes the cream in a way that makes smaller crystals so it is literally creamier than your average pint o' Bluebell. You can try unique flavors like rum-cherry-pecan, almond-amaretto and matcha green tea-pistachio. If you aren't one to scream for ice cream, you can have sorbet, a root beer float or even an affogato—espresso poured over vanilla ice cream. Are you drooling yet? I especially recommend the spiced dark chocolate ice cream, flavored with cinnamon, cacao nibs and red chile, drizzled with a dark chocolate sauce, and accented with a shard of a house-made wafflecone. The foodgasm that results from eating this particular flavor will make the other customers blush.
ChocGlitz and Cream
10660 Unser NW
These folks showed up on my radar when I saw their vendor booth at the Southwest Chocolate and Coffee Fest earlier this spring. I must admit that what actually caught my twitching eye (there was a lot of strong coffee there) was a Millennium Falcon spaceship made out of chocolate, but once I approached I was offered a sample of their Mexican coffee ice cream. OMG. Totes magotes delish. I spoke with the owner and she told me that her shop was worth the trip out to the west side of town. In the name of journalism, I made the drive and found everything from gelato to frozen bananas to chocolate-dipped cheesecake to chocolate-covered strawberries. I know Burque is one of those small cities where no one goes farther than 10 miles from there home—admit it, you've never visited that friend in the South Valley—but these frozen delights are even better than your friend so you need to get off your butt and head over to ChocGlitz. It doesn't get much better than chocolate and ice cream.
Michoacana de Paquime
6500 Zuni SE
¡Ay, Dios mio! El helado aqui es muy, muy delicioso! Not only is the ice cream delicious, but the servers are wonderfully friendly. Mine graciously put up with me asking for a taste of almost every flavor. There were a variety ranging from fresas con crema (strawberries 'n' crème) to limon (lemon) to chamoy (that fascinating Mexican flavor of salty, sweet, sour and chile). My favorite was the tres leches which actually had crumbles of cake in it. The flavor was spot on, and it wasn't too sweet. Pilgrims in search of summer consumables can also find aguas frescas, hot snacks, esquimales (ice cream sandwiches) and a spectrum of wild-looking concoctions like bombazos, frutilokas and tres marias. Vamos mi amigos!
Farm and Table
8917 Fourth Street NW
My first question in approaching this fancy schmancy place: Do I need reservations to go get a bowl of ice cream? The answer: It would be best. Who knows? You might end up ordering a glass of red wine and a cheese assortment to, uh, you know, compliment the flavors of your ice cream. Riiiight. Anyway, Farm and Table's frozen flavors come in a flight so you get to try all three of whatever they are featuring at the moment. When I made the leisurely drive down Fourth Street, they had butter-pecan, blackberry-cheesecake and mint-chocolate awaiting me. The first was rich and salty; the second had a lovely pastel purple color and was heavy and not particularly sweet (not in a bad way); and the last was hands-down the emperor of all other mint-chocolate ice creams. It was like chewing on a mint plant, the herbal flavor was so strong. My tongue had a daydream I was laying in an herb garden with the warm sun shining down on me, and I was in love with a handsome fella named Mint Chocolate. Go make those reservations and gitcha some!
Van Rixel Bros. Gelato & Sorbet
315 Juan Tabo NE
This tiny sweet shop is easy to miss, but worth the U-turn. It shares a space with Chocolate Cartel, and as soon as you mosey through the doors, the scent of chocolate kisses you on the nose, as intense and wonderful as Cupid's arrow. If you can peel yourself away from the bevy of chocolate truffles and squares of various flavors, you'll see a selection of local, hand-crafted gelatos and sorbets. The peach-champagne sorbet is perfect for summer—refreshing, light and peachy (not in a fake syrup sort of way). The Sri Lanka cinnamon is highly favored among Burqueños—it reminds me of horchata. Yum. My favorite, however, is the smoked sea salt and honey caramel. It's rich and luscious with a smokiness that you can really taste, but that doesn't overpower the more nectarous flavors.