When Long Island starts to swelter, it's not enough to cool off with something cold. Something cold and sweet is called for. If it's creamy and delicious, made with first-rate ice cream or fresh-fruit sorbet -- or both of them together -- so much the better. In preparation for the dog days to come, here are 10 of our favorite frozen treats.
This year-old ice-cream parlor aims to be a bit of a throwback. The name derives from an old Danny Kaye movie, the egg creams are made with Fox's U-Bet and seltzer from old-fashioned siphons that owner Dan Levine gets from Brooklyn. Levine also alludes to old-time Brooklyn with his creation, the cyclone, named for Coney Island's storied roller coaster. The cyclone consists of two interwoven swirls of frozen custard and Italian ice, both made on the premises. The custard is always vanilla, but the ice varies -- strawberry, mango and Bing cherry are customer favorites. Small, $3.50; large, $4.50.
You can keep your McDonald's McCafé Mocha Frappé, your Dunkin' Donuts Coffee Coolatta. (The less said about Dunkin' Donuts' artificial-tasting Frozen Hot Chocolate the better.) We'll stick with the Frappuccino, the original milk-shake-masquerading-as-a-frozen-coffee drink. Since it was introduced nationally in 1995, the Frappuccino has morphed into a sort of frozen free-for-all wherein you can get any kind of milk (including soy), any caffeine level (or no coffee at all), any of about a dozen flavors (regular or sugar free) and a welter of toppings and drizzles. We like it coffee-flavored and plain. A medium Frappuccino ranges from $3.85 to $4.45.
At Popztarz, Henry Alletto and Aline Strobl take very good gelato and fruit sorbetto and craft them into more than 50 delicious (and strikingly beautiful) pops. Among the gelato pops: lemon cream pie, almond crunch and, for coffee aficionados, an eye-opening macchiato. The cantaloupe sorbetto pop tastes more like cantaloupe than most melons. New this year: s'mores, vanilla-salted-caramel and, for the abstemious, nonfat Greek yogurt pop with fresh fruit. Pops range from $2.99 to $3.49.
FRUIT CREAM BLAST
Port Jefferson Frigate does it all: ice cream, yogurt, candy, chocolates, gelato, popcorn, fudge, smoothies, cookies, chocolate-covered pretzels. For those seeking a slightly more restrained confection, there's the fruit cream blast. Manager Roger Rutherford explained that this combination of soft-serve vanilla ice cream and fruit sorbet is blended, but not all the way "so that you don't just taste one flavor -- it's a little bit of the vanilla, a little bit of the sorbet." Sorbet flavors include orange, raspberry, lemon and mango. $6.50
ICE CREAM SODA
Seltzer is the soul of an ice-cream soda, and that's what makes it the most refreshing of ice-cream creations and, perhaps, my favorite. However, I rarely order an ice-cream soda because I can't stand the stress of watching it made incorrectly. That doesn't happen at Coyle's, because Marty Coyle posts clear instructions behind the counter at his two ice-cream parlors so that even new hires can create a textbook specimen. I like a chocolate-chocolate soda, but Coyle said that the classic black and white -- chocolate soda with vanilla ice cream -- is the bestseller. Not surprisingly, Coyle's also makes a perfect egg cream. Ice-cream soda, $4.50; egg cream, $2.50.
Lemon sorbetto is commonplace, but lemon gelato is worth traveling to Huntington for. Maybe it's the ultra-lemon flavor that owner-confectioner Gerard Fioravanti achieves through juice, zest and extract. Maybe it's the interplay of the fruit's biting tartness with the gelato's mellow creaminess. Whatever, it's the perfect summer cooler. If you want to gild the lily, try it inside a sandwich made with Fiorello Dolce's fine brioche. Scoop, $2.95; pint, $6.75; brioche sandwich, $3.75.
POMEGRANATE ICE CREAM
Ana Mocete will make you a sundae or a shake, but ice-cream purists make the trip to this out-of-the-way shop to enjoy her superlative ice cream au naturel. Mocete's refined, mature palate is reflected in her flavors -- a lush and elegant coconut-almond ice cream, an unusually restrained rocky road and two great coffee flavors: espresso chunk, made with bits of good chocolate, and coffee break, chunkless, but with a strong coffee undertone. New this year is pomegranate, whose demure pink color belies its tangy-sweet punch. Small, $3.45; large, $4.69.
SAND PAIL SUNDAE
Here's one for the kids. McNulty's is among the family-friendliest of ice-cream parlors; on a summer evening much of Miller Place seems to be gathered either inside or outside the free-standing building. The little ones really "dig" the sand pail sundae, a nice-sized scoop of homemade ice cream with one topping, whipped cream and a cherry served in a plastic pail. Also included: rake, shovel, scoop and, for eating the sundae, a spoon. $4.75.
Don't confuse the snowball with the snow cone. The latter is made with coarse, granulated ice; the former with finely shaved ice that has the fluffy consistency of freshly fallen snow. At least that's how it is at Get Baked, Port Washington's new cupcake-plus emporium. Choose from among 50 flavorings, from vivid (Blue Hawaii) to subtle (Champagne). Even more to love: the snowball comes in a charming Chinese-takeout container. Cup, $2.50; pint, $3.50.
At Ice Cream Cottage, owner John Pastore has given new life to tartufo, the old-school Italian restaurant dessert. Pastore's strawberry tartufo consists of one ball of homemade strawberry ice cream atop a ball of vanilla that has been cleverly filled with strawberry puree and ground almonds. The whole shebang is enrobed in French chocolate. The chocolate version features chocolate ice cream instead of the strawberry, and a filling of black-raspberry puree and almonds. The tartufi are sold halved to better appreciate their beauty. $5.95 for two tartufi (4 halves).