A place that specializes in extraordinary soft-serve ice cream concoctions? Sign me up. The magic words were “soft serve.” Although “big gay” is pretty enticing as well.
I may have acquired some high brow and expensive tastes over the years, but I’ll never forget where I cam from: a home that was walking distance from a McDonald’s and a Dairy Queen. My love of ice cream started with that which is extruded and swirled into a cone, chemicals and all. I love it and will always turn my head towards a doorway selling the stuff. So, I knew that I would quickly be making a visit to the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop in the East Village. Once only a summertime ice cream truck, the Big Gays added a 365 days/year bricks and mortar storefront so that we would always know where to find our Salty Pimps, Bea Arthurs and Cococones. Just look for the rainbow.
The repetition that is rampant on the Food Network means that I’ve seen the Salty Pimp (dulce de leche, chocolate dip, salt) cone episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate about 17 times. Gail Simmons sings its praises. Everyone sings its praises. I mean, you can’t really go wrong with that line up, but being someone who would NEVER order a chocolate dip and who doesn’t like to always jump on the bandwagon, I went in other directions on my two visits. Olive oil and sea salt? Hello! Curried coconut dip? Why not?
The oil and salt was the better of the two. Although they do you a good turn by putting some coconut at the bottom of the cone to prolong the fun. But, within the span of five licks, you’ve pretty much cleaned the cone of coconut. And the curry flavour wasn’t as strong as it could be. The richness of the olive oil was perfect against the creaminess of the ice cream. The only quibble is that this topping requires a dish. Cones and cups are not meant to intersect.
And to be clear, the ice cream itself is not all that different from what you’d get at any Mister Softee across the city. This is honest-to-goodness average soft serve. It’s probably all natural, but who cares. I’ve been eating the chemical-laden good stuff my whole life and look where it’s got me: New York City.
Big Gay Ice Cream Shop
125 East 7th St, New York