The mercury is on the rise and temperatures will continue to be in the 90s for the rest of the week. If you can't get to the beach or the pool, the next best way to cool off is with an ice cold confection. There's nothing like cradling a chilly cup or cone in your hand and taking the first sweet, icy taste. The chill that lingers in your mouth and slowly spreads helps please your body and spirit - until the dreaded brain freeze sets in of course. But, it's worth every cold, delicious minute of enjoyment on a hot summer day. It's not about if you should have an ice cold sweet treat, but what to get in our fair city. And, lucky for you, I've got you covered with the best cold global-inspired sweet delights across Chicago
Here are my top choices for ice cold sweet global treats to help bring some relief from the heat:
1. Italian Ice
Italian ice is a sweetened frozen dessert often made with fruit and usually doesn't contain any dairy or egg. As you can guess, the dessert traces it origins back to Italy.
Tom & Wendee's Italian Ice:
My family's first choice for Italian ice is Tom & Wendee's Italian Ice at 1136 W. Armitage in Lincoln Park. We love it so much that Tom & Wendee's made my list of the top 10 things to do with your family in Chicago this summer.
Tom & Wendee's scoops up homemade, natural fruit and chocolate Italian ices. They're fat free and low in calories - so feel free to order one size up! While I enjoy all of their fruit flavors (especially the Banana and Dark Raspberry), I tend to order their more unusual flavors - Vanilla, Chocolate Toffee Crunch and Cappuccino Crunch. I definitely recommended sampling the best of both worlds - a cup with Banana and Chocolate Toffee Crunch side by side.
Mario's Italian Lemonade:
I didn't always head to Lincoln Park when I wanted an ice cold Italian dessert. When I was growing up in suburban Oak Park, my dad always steered our family to Mario's Italian Lemonade at 1068 W. Taylor St. in Little Italy. At the walk-up Italian lemonade storefront you can choose from a wide range of mostly fruit-based flavors - with something to please everyone.
The lemon flavor has to be the hands-down crowd favorite. But, I have to admit, that I'm partial to watermelon. No matter what, you can't go wrong. Each fruity flavor is chock full of real frozen fruit pieces, helping to add extra flavor and coldness to your hot summer day. My kids shrieked with delight whenever they found a frozen piece of lemon on their cups - and someone how seemed to eat all of my watermelon pieces too...
Anthony's Homemade Italian Ice:
Our friends, the Doblins, introduced us to Anthony's Homemade Italian Ice at 3442 N. Southport Ave along the Southport Corridor a few summers ago - and we've been hooked ever since. My husband especially likes their coconut Italian ice. It's the only thing that keeps him from going to Tom & Wendee's all the time!
Anthony's is a kid-friendly shop with indoor and outdoor seating. They also have other fun flavors that will especially appeal to kids - including its Superman ice cream.
2. Bubble Tea
Bubble tea, also referred to as boba milk tea or pearl milk tea, is a Taiwanese drink, which usually contain a tea base mixed with fruit or milk. My family enjoys the ice-blended versions, which are usually mixed with fruit or syrup and have more of a smoothie-like consistency. Most bubble teas come with small, dark-colored, chewy tapioca balls (or pearls), which seem to anxiously wait at the bottom hoping to to make their way up through the over-size straw one by one.
Joy Yee Plus:
We seem to always get bubble tea with our meals at Joy Yee Plus at 2159 S. China Place in Chinatown. And, we highly recommend the mango version. These days, you can find Joy Yee locations across the city - and in Evanston and Naperville too At most locations, you can stop in to get a bubble tea to go - or stay and enjoy it with lunch or dinner.
Nhu Lan's Bakery:
I'm sure my sons would also suggest that you try the bubble teas at Nhu Lan's Bakery at 2612 W. Lawrence Ave. in Lincoln Square. And, while you're there, be sure to try one of their bahn mi sandwiches - it's on my list of one of the top global sandwiches in Chicago. It's a small bakery, but there are three tables ready to welcome you for your meal.
My sons would also give two chilled thumbs up to the bubble teas at Jockey Express at Mitsuwa Marketplace at 100 E. Algonquin Road in suburban Arlington Heights. The air-conditioned "mall" with a Japanese market, food court and more would be another fantastic place to spend a delightful summer day - when you need to seek shelter from the blazing heat.
3. Pat Bingsoo
Pat Bingsoo is a shaved ice dessert that's popular in Korea. Originally, the dessert included two main ingredients - ice shavings and sweetened azuki beans (red beans). Today, you'll often find it also topped with sweetended condensed milk, fruit syrups, fresh fruits and even ice cream or frozen yogurt.
I first sampled a Pat Bingsoo at the Bini Bakery inside of the incredible Super HMart at 801 Civic Center Drive in suburban Niles. It was an amazing delicious and refreshing treat - and one I'd happily enjoy again and again. Of course, I'd suggest getting one each time you stop in to browse, shop or eat at Super HMart.
4. Mochi Ice Cream
Mochi ice cream is a japanese dessert made from mochi (pounded sticky rice) and filled with ice cream. They are often small, round balls, dusted with corn starch, and come in flavors such as green tea (matcha), red bean (azuki), vanilla, chocolate and strawberry.
Recently, this confection has been made with gelato instead of ice cream. The "mochilato" is said to be richer and creamier than its cousin - mochi ice cream. I haven't tried it yet - but I hope to soon!
Mikawaya Mochi Ice Cream:
You can find packages of Mikawaya Mochi Ice Cream at Treasure Island locations across the city. It's a super easy way to make sure you alway have mochi ice cream stocked in your freezer for those especially hot days.
I love shopping and eating at Mitsuwa Marketplace at 100 E. Algonquin Road in suburban Arlington Heights - and the fact that they also sell mochi ice cream just makes it all the sweeter!
5. Rainbow Ice Cream Cone
Okay. This isn't really global, but I just couldn't resist. There's just something perfectly poetic about enjoying an ice cream cone, piled high with different colors, flavors and textures. It seems a bit daunting at first, but is nothing short of delicious. There's just something about how the differences come together to form one, incredible dessert. To me, it's the perfect way to think about how all of the cultures behind every global ice cream confection come together to make an amazingly diverse and incredible world.
Original Rainbow Cone Ice Cream:
In Chicago, you can find the rainbow ice cream of your dreams at Original Rainbow Cone Ice Cream at 9233 S. Western Ave. The ice cream shop is a Taste of Chicago mainstay, and served up 30,000 ice cream portions at this year's five-day festival.
Their rainbow ice cream cone features five flavors: Chocolate, Strawberry, Palmer House (New York Vanilla with cherries and walnuts), Pistachio and Orange Sherbet. As a kid, I always stared in amazement at anyone who was lucky enough to eat one at the Taste of Chicago. Now, as an adult, it seems less formidable, and much more delicious - and metaphorically perfect too.
If you liked this post, you also should check out my list of great global sandwiches in Chicago.
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