First Bite: Sweet Chow Ice Cream Shop
I think North Loopers will find it’s worth the wait, because as of two days ago, Sweet Chow suddenly has a pastry chef-driven ice cream scoop shop opened in the space adjacent to the restaurant.
That pastry chef is Kirsten Poppenhagen, and she and Krattenmaker met while both were working at Sea Change under homegrown star Jamie Malone. They discovered a mutual love for ice cream, and an impatience for cutting corners, which is why they’ve got a scratch small-batch ice cream maker in the corner of the 12-bin scoop case, so Poppenhagen can make her ice-cream from cream, sugar, and eggs, not pre-made base. I tasted through some flavors, and they are special. The vegan toasted coconut lime was creamy and had a nice fresh lime edge winding through the toasty coconut, and a Vietnamese coffee ice cream made with Café du Monde chicory coffee was wonderfully powerful—I longed to add it to a cold brew, which Poppenhagen told me customers will be able to do, soon. I was most impressed with the vanilla, however, it had the lush texture and wonderful eggy flavor of a simple creme anglaise. Poppenhagen says the plan is to serve both simple scoops and more complicated ice cream concoctions, like sundaes, but also boozy floats and malts.
I bravely sallied forth. Poppenhagen made me an Asian-inspired sundae with the lime coconut vegan ice cream, a Thai tea ice cream, toasted coconut and toasted peanuts along with a just-made whipped cream and hot fudge sauce. Lots of big flavors, well made—it was excellent. Then I got to try an Amaro float, and that thing was delicious. The beautiful custard of the vanilla slid in between the bitter notes of the amaro and split out the herbal aromas. That’s some next-level after dinner drink. Poppenhagen told me they have big plans for malts, floats, and more ice cream dreams going forward. And if you’re an amateur mixologist with a sweet tooth and lots of good ideas, you’ll probably want to start drinking at the Sweet Chow bar and running over to the ice cream case for scoops.
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