When Mario Batali told us about his long-lasting love of Creamsicles, we found ourselves feeling a similar twinge of nostalgia. (What can we say? We've always been suckers for a chocolate-dipped cone from Mister Softee.) And it made us wonder: Are there other chefs out there who secretly pine for the ice-cream-truck treats of their youth? Of course there are! With all the ice-cream madness going on over at New York this week, it seemed like the perfect occasion to ask those chefs what those treats are and, of course, if they served as inspiration on the chefs' menus, now that these guys and gals are all grown up.
Christina Tosi; Momofuku Milk Bar
"The Flintstones Push Up Pops in the orange flavor!"
Thomas Keller; Bouchon Bakery, Per Se
"Creamsicles! Clearly my love for Creamsicles has inspired a slew of French Laundry and Per Se desserts through the years. From just Per Se, there's [the] Creamsicle (orange-scented vanilla ice cream with Valrhona chocolate crunch), Grape Creamsicle (oat crumble, concord grape soda, and vanilla ice cream), Tangerine Creamsicle (vanilla custard, tangerine soda, and pink Champagne granité), and Grapefruit Creamsicle (candied cocoa nibs, pink grapefruit soda, and grapefruit sherbet)."
David Burke; David Burke Townhouse, David Burke Kitchen
"My favorite ice cream treat has always been — and still is — the ice-cream sandwich. They're simple to eat and usually don't melt all over your hands like other frozen treats do. They're the inspiration behind my Sweet Treats tower at David Burke Kitchen, which features three different ice-cream sandwiches with flavors like olive oil, berry and sweet corn."
Stephen Collucci; pastry chef, Colicchio & Sons
"I was partial to Snow Cones. It always seemed to be the perfect choice on really hot days. The trick was to let it melt just enough so that you drink all of the syrup and get a good sugar buzz going."
Josh Capon; Lure Fishbar, Burger & Barrel
"Chipwiches! Definitely my weakness my whole life! I actually went through a year of my life where I ate a Chipwich every night on my way home from work when I was a line cook. I met Mr. Chipwich before he passed away, at Lure Fishbar. We serve assorted ice-cream sandwiches, one of course being the classic Chipwich. He said, 'They better be good if you are calling it a "Chipwich."' Till this day, when my wife and I are out to dinner, if nothing on the dessert menu appeals to us, we will just grab a Chipwich on the way home."
Ken Friedman; Owner, the Spotted Pig, the Breslin
"When I was a little boy in Los Angeles, we chased the Good Humor truck up and down Nichols Canyon Road for these nutty, ice-cream things in a cone. I can’t remember the name though. Oh yeah, Drumsticks!"
Michael Laiskonis; Pastry Chef, Le Bernardin
"I was a Bomb Pop kid, all the way. First of all, it was the biggest item in total volume and the most colorful, both in name and its red-white-blue layers. Funny thing is, there always seemed to be some level of disappointment attached to it — either all the flavor got sucked out of it to soon, or because of its size and shape the bulk simply fell of the stick halfway through. But kids are eternal optimists, or at the very least, have short memories, I guess."
Tony Liu; Pulino's
"The warm balmy afternoons in Hawaii would always require some shaved ice, which is a Hawaiian-style snow cone with various tropical-flavored syrups and condiments. Nothing is more refreshing than a rainbow shaved ice with ice cream while sitting at the beach with salty, sandy, sun-baked skin."
Mario Carbone; Torrisi Italian Specialties
"My favorite treat was the frog face, a.k.a. the Fat Frog. This was comprised of green-tinted vanilla ice cream with M&M eyes. Maybe we’ll do an ice-cream cake with those flavors someday!"
Scott Conant; Scarpetta
"Toasted Almond Bars were my thing … loved them. Haven't had one in years. I remember the creaminess in texture and the exterior shavings that were flavorful and an added textural contrast. And the flavor of the almond as well was just good. I don't have anything similar, but maybe I should get started on that."
Anita Lo; Annisa
"When I was very little, I always wanted what they called a Bomb Pop. It was a red, white, and blue, rocket-shaped Popsicle and I loved them. Of course, my parents being pacifists wouldn't let me have them. I guess I agree with them now."
Wylie Dufresne; wd~50
"When I was a kid in Rhode Island I loved Strawberry Shortcakes. Not sure why ... I was 5. Why does my 2-year-old like cookies? I just liked them."
Erin McKenna; Babycakes NYC
"When I scored money for the ice-cream truck from my mom I would always order the Choco Taco. Maybe I preferred the Mexican-themed ice cream because I grew up on the border of Mexico, but they were irresistible. And when you crunch into the chocolate- and nut-covered shell there's this vanilla ice cream with a hard chocolate swirl inside. Texture mania! Still working on my own version of it at BabyCakes."
Daniel Holzman; The Meatball Shop
"The Fudgsicle! I would go to Main Beach in East Hampton with my boogie board, my tomato sandwich, and a dollar for a Fudgsicle every day and it was so delicious. I’m bringing my love for the Fudgsicle to the Meatball Shop menu by creating a Fudgesicle-frozen-yogurt special."
Marc Murphy; Landmarc, Ditch Plains
"I’m a longtime lover of ice-cream sandwiches, and it’s directly reflected in my dessert menu. Growing up as the son of a diplomat traveling Europe, when I came to the States I was fascinated by classic American ice-cream desserts. The simplicity of the ice-cream sandwich captivated my attention. I loved the sweet vanilla ice cream nestled between soft chocolate cookies. The surf-style menu at Ditch Plains offers this ice-cream-sandwich staple, aptly named the Ditch’wich."
Eduard Frauneder; Edi & and the Wolf
"Hands down the best ice cream in Vienna was Tichy — always a special treat for us as kids. Tichy is what we know in the States as simple vanilla ice cream Dixie cups. My parents would always buy me and my brother these takeaway cups of ice cream with wooden sticks standing straight up in a mound of creamy vanilla. When I came to America, I was overwhelmed by all the flavors and shapes, so I always opted for a vanilla cup eaten with an old-fashioned wooden stick."
Jennifer McCoy; Pastry Chef, Craft
"Chicago ice-cream trucks used to offer mint-chocolate-chip ice-cream sandwiches — a huge favorite of mine! Last summer, and soon to be on this year's dessert menu, I created a mint-cacao-nib ice cream in honor of the treat. For staff meal, we often sandwich a scoop between cocoa shortbread cookies to beat the heat in the kitchen!"
Bill Telepan; Telepan
"I always got Candy Crunch Center bars! I'd also get it in the park when my daughter was little."
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