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iCream Comes to Life

By Anthony Todd in Food on Mar 18, 2009 3:00PM

Ice cream fans rejoice - iCream, the liquid-nitrogen-based “designer ice cream” shop in Wicker Park is finally open. iCream originally opened last year to great fanfare, but quickly closed a few days later - our attempts to visit were unsuccessful. Whatever difficulties they had encountered have apparently been resolved, as they have been open for over a week and were filled to capacity this past Sunday.

What makes iCream’s products “designer?” You choose everything about the ice cream yourself. A customer begins by choosing a base (Organic or Low Fat Ice Cream, Yogurt, Pudding or a Shake) and then picks a flavor from their extensive list. Apricot, Burnt Sugar, Pear, Chai, Cream Soda, Green Tea, Peanut Butter… the list is huge and tempting. If you like, you can also choose a color for your ice cream. After all of the choosing is done, the ice cream is made right in front of you, using commercial KitchenAid Mixers and liquid nitrogen for instant freezing. In addition the tasty treat, you get the entertainment of watching your ice cream being made - a dramatic show, filled with billowing smoke. 5 minutes later, you have a dish of ice cream designed to your exact specifications. Thousands of combinations are possible.

We decided to try the traditional full-fat ice cream in a few different flavors. Right now, iCream has several seasonal flavors including Ginger Snap and Molasses. Ginger Snap was amazing, with the bite of fresh ginger and tiny chunks of brown sugar. Pomegranate was a refreshing choice - though it’s a bit disconcerting to have un-colored Pomegranate ice cream (Ed. Note: That's the main reason we aren't running shots of the finished product — Sudo.)! The flavors are slightly more subtle than in packaged ice cream, but much deeper and more complex. The ice cream itself is smoother, due to the liquid Nitrogen freezing process - the water crystals are much smaller because the ice cream is frozen so fast.

We’ll certainly be heading back all summer. Despite complaints we had heard, the ice cream isn’t that expensive - we ordered mediums, which were the equivalent of about 2 scoops at a normal ice cream shop. The price hovered around $5 each, including tax.

iCream is located at 1537 N. Milwaukee Avenue.