Tag Archives: blythe ann’s

Fun Things That Happened in Ice Cream This Week

Happy Saturday! We’re one week out from National Ice Cream Month, but my ice cream Google Alerts haven’t stopped buzzing, not even a little bit. Here are just a few fun things that happened this week:

OddFellows supplied boozy ice cream at Bon Appetit’s Thirsty Thursday, definitively proving that being a magazine editor in New York City is as glamorous as movies/TV make it seem. A braggy Bon Appetit employee Instagram’d the goods, which included “Frosé,” a float made from rosé sorbet and rosé, and White Russian, vodka milk sorbet topped with Kahlua crispies.

 

Food Baby NY aka Matthew Chau fully leveraged his Instagram celebrity status by celebrating his second birthday at Mikey Likes It. Fans showed up to coo over Chau and “Sesame Street,” the special flavor created for the occasion. Sesame Street was black sesame ice cream (a rather grown-up flavor—perfect for the adults behind Food Baby NY, i.e. Chau’s parents) with birthday cake and dulce de leche.

A photo posted by Food Baby (@foodbabyny) on

 

August 6 was National Root Beer Float Day, and ice cream shops wielded the obligatory hashtag, #NationalRootBeerFloatDay. Premium ice cream must float in premium root beer—Ample Hills used Sprecher, Blue Marble used Virgil’s. MilkMade went the distance and made an available-this-weekend-only root beer flavored ice cream. Made-up food holidays aside, floats and affogatos are really trending in this summer.

 

The Williamsburg location of Davey’s opened on Friday, and promotions included free ice cream, an exclusive flavor, and—this escalated quickly—a chance to win an ice cream tattoo.  It’s located in the old Williamsburg Creamery space, on Bedford Avenue between N. 6th and N. 7th streets. This is the second Davey’s location; the original shop is in the East Village.

 

And… I tried vegan ice cream at Blythe Ann’s, the East Village shop formerly known as Lula’s Sweet Apothecary, and I didn’t hate it.

Have a great weekend and eat some ice cream!

Secret Vegan Ice Cream in the East Village

A couple of days ago I had an afternoon meeting with a new friend, who doesn’t eat dairy but knows I’m obsessed with ice cream. Our worlds were reconciled when she suggested we meet at a vegan ice cream shop in the East Village. “Lula’s Sweet Apothecary/Blythe Ann’s” was what her email said.

I got there early because googling the name of the place returned some shady results, and I wanted to make sure I could find it. After squinting around East 6th Street, I espied a dark storefront with a restaurant inspection grade in the window.

You wouldn't know it by looking at it, but ice cream lies within.
You wouldn’t know it by looking at it, but ice cream lies within.

No signage on the outside, and no signage on the inside! Peering through the window won’t help you unless you can read the menu board on the back wall. Plus it opens late—I walked up at 2:55 p.m. and the steel security gate was pulled down. You really have to know what you’re looking for to find this place. Good thing they built up a loyal customer base before going nameless. It probably helps that vegan ice cream is a very niche product, something that people actively search out. But why so incognito?

Because in 2012, the shop got caught in a nasty custody battle when its owners, Derek Hackett and Blythe Boyd, went through a nasty divorce. Word on the street is that an agreement has since been reached where Boyd could keep the shop, but not the name. Re-branding is arduous work, and so is rebuilding a post-divorce life (that’s its own kind of re-branding). I’m guessing that Boyd hasn’t had a chance to get the store’s second life in order yet. In the meantime, the shop is unofficially called Blythe Ann’s.

Fortunately, it seems that the drama has not affected the ice cream. I had never visited the shop when it was Lula’s, but my friend had been a fan for years. I’m pretty skeptical of any kind of ice cream made from “alternative” ingredients—dairy and eggs are largely responsible for the rich flavor and texture of the best ice creams—but a well-rounded aficionado needs to stay on top of the increasing number of vegan options.

The ice cream at Blythe Ann’s is made from cashew milk, which tastes strongly of cashews and has a smooth, rich texture despite relatively low levels of fat. Like other nut milks, this is achieved in part by the addition of stabilizers such as guar gum and carrageenan (some dairy-based ice creams also contain these ingredients). The available flavors were conventional, with root beer being the most unusual one. I opted for a scoop of almond butter fudge, which was served in a little glass cup since I got it to stay.

I tried, I really did, to get a shot without the glare.
I tried, I really did, to get a shot without the glare.

 

A dainty scoop.
A dainty scoop.

It definitely tasted like almond butter, but it mostly tasted like cashews. This is not a bad thing because I like cashews, but it does seem like a limitation to making ice cream out of cashew milk. It was lightly sweet, which let the cashew and almond flavors stand out. The texture was perfectly smooth and fluffy for a vegan ice cream— creamy, but light on the tongue and gone within a second or two.

Overall, a positive introduction to dairy-less, egg-less ice cream.  I can’t say that it rivals dairy-based ice cream. But I think it’s not meant to. It can stand alone for what it is, as a similar but different product. At the very least, I can file away Blythe Ann’s as the top option for when I’m with vegan friends (or if I suddenly develop a lactose sensitivity).

Blythe Ann’s
516 E. 6th Street
New York, NY 10009