It will be a few months yet before Valley temperatures regularly dip below 100 degrees. That means plenty of time to try any and all strategies to keep cool.
For those with a sweet tooth, the East Valley offers no shortage of shops to pick up ice cream and other cold desserts. A few bites and you can imagine you’re in the frozen arctic.
While basic ice cream might be the go-to frozen treat for most people – and for good reason – there are plenty of other options if you want to try something new. Some of these you possibly didn’t even know existed.
Also, did you know that National Ice Cream Day is July 16? As if you need another reason to eat ice cream.
Italian gelato makes a nice alternative to ice cream. There are similarities in ingredients, but gelato uses less butterfat and ups the density for a silkier texture.
Frost Gelato makes authentic Italian-style gelato and boasts more than 60 flavors. These range from various chocolates and other standard flavors to more adventurous options like Bailey’s Irish Creme, honey lavender, root beer, fig and Guinness. Frost Gelato also serves up more than two dozen flavors of fruit sorbet.
The treats come in a range of sizes and styles, including in a cone, milkshake, by the quart or as a 30-person bucket. Frost Gelato also offers catering services.
Location: San Tan Village, 2150 E. Williams Field Road, Suite 120, Gilbert
Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Bing soo, also called patbingsu if it includes red beans, is a popular Korean shaved ice dessert. You can mix in fruit, fruit syrup, condensed milk and other ingredients to create a wide range of treats. Many people like bing soo for its texture and consistency.
If you want to give it a try, Ice Lab is one of the few places in the Valley to get it. The range of stock flavors include things like mango, strawberry, chocolate, green tea and – for the adventurous – cheese. The shop also offers shakes and an espresso bar.
Location: 1911 W. Main St., Suite 3D, Mesa
Hours: Daily, noon-9 p.m.
Just Roll With It
Speaking of treats from Southeast Asia, Just Roll With It offers Thai-style rolled ice cream. Select your desired flavor mix, such as Mango Tango, Stranana, Choco Mania, Berry Blast or Sunset. Then cream and fresh ingredients get poured onto a freezing tray as you watch. The preparer then uses a scraper to create several tall, thin rolls, which get put in a cup with the appropriate toppings.
Chandler: 3111 W. Chandler Blvd., Suite 2324
Tempe: 940 E. University Drive, Suite 104
Chandler: Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Tempe: Monday-Thursday, noon-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, noon-11 p.m.; Sunday, noon-9 p.m.
Forget an ice cream cone, paletas are traditional Mexican frozen pops made from fruit and cream. Paletas Betty makes them using fresh seasonal fruits and ground spices.
The menu changes regularly, but you will find pops that include standards like pecans, strawberries and cream, raspberries, chocolate, and vanilla. There are also some odder flavor combinations like cantaloupe with basil or blackberry with lavender.
You can buy in the store, order in advance from the website, or get pops delivered to your door. You can even get them shipped elsewhere in the U.S., or contract a pushcart for an event.
Chandler: 96 W. Boston St., Suite 100
Tempe: 425 S. Mill Ave., Suite 109
Hours: Daily, 11 a.m.-9 p.m., open late Friday-Saturday
Slickables makes a specialty out of ice cream sandwiches. Imagine a scoop of delicious ice cream between two fresh-baked cookies. It’s a nice alternative to a cone or bowl.
There are 10 cookie types and 11 ice cream flavors, so you can get interesting combinations like red velvet, Funfetti and rocky road. There are even gluten-free options.
However, what really makes this shop shine is that you can get your dessert delivered through Grubhub and Uber Eats. That’s right; you don’t even need to brave the outdoor heat for your cool treat.
Mesa: 142 W. Main Street
Tempe: 699 S. Mill Ave., Suite 117
Mesa: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday
Tempe: 11 a.m.-midnight daily
Sub Zero Nitrogen Ice Cream
Ice cream meets science at this create-your-own-ice-cream shop. Select your base cream type, which ranges from custard to lactose-free. Then create a unique combo of flavors and mix-in ingredients. Finally, watch the concoction get hit with a blast of minus 321-degree liquid nitrogen to flash freeze it into a scrumptious treat.
With multiple base creams, 36 flavors and nearly 30 mix-in options, your options are virtually endless. If you want a low-fat concoction of cinnamon and watermelon flavor mixed with Gummy Bears, brownies and rainbow sprinkles, go right ahead. It’s your stomach.
Of course, if you find the options overwhelming, Sub Zero offers some suggested “Sensation” recipes like Tropical Turbine, Peanut Butter Bonds and Chocolate Conduction. For July, the special is The Big Blast, which combines cotton candy ice cream, marshmallows, sprinkles and Pop Rocks.
For International Ice Cream Day on July 16 from 2-6 p.m., Subzero offers a buy-one-get-one-free deal.
Location: 884 Warner Road, Suite B9, Gilbert
Hours: Daily, noon-10 p.m.
Take snow cones to the next level at this New Orleans style shaved ice shop. It offers large cups of fresh shaved ice packed with flavored syrup created daily. Add in a range of toppings from Gummy Bears to cookies and you can create a cool yummy treat. They even offer Thrifty ice cream to top off your concoction.
Sugar-free and artificial-flavor-free syrups are available upon request.
Location: 980 E. Pecos Road, Suite C4, Chandler
Hours: Tuesday-Friday and Sunday, 1-9 p.m.; Saturday, 1-10 p.m.; closed Monday