The employees at Sub Zero are ice cream sorcerers. At the command of their wide-eyed customers, they gradually stir items into their cauldron: a splash of milk, a squirt of flavoring, a couple of heaps of candy bits. Then comes the magic--the soupy potion is placed under a wand of liquid nitrogen. As a tuft of cool smoke creeps like horror movie fog over the edge of the counter, the cauldron's contents begin to solidify.

Sub Zero, a franchise started in Utah, recently opened in a shopping center on Fairview and Milwaukee. Combining two childhood obsessions--science experiments and sweet things--Sub Zero has a built-in rug-rat audience. But it is not a place for the indecisive; every single ice cream is made to order and customers have to choose everything from the type of milk--premium, low-fat, frozen yogurt, soy or rice--to flavoring--white chocolate, amaretto, egg nog, dutch honey, pumpkin, cake batter--and toppings--Almond Joy, cheesecake bits, Snickers, Oreos, walnuts, coconut.

And while the soy and rice milk are awesome options for the vegan/lactose-intolerant among us--they even offer agave syrup as an added sweetener--the milkless flash-frozen results are sadly not as creamy in texture as their store-bought counterparts. On the other hand, the premium--a cream blend thicker than half-and-half--is delightfully indulgent.

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