Rainbows, Unicorns, and Ice Cream. Awesome life-changing ice cream. That’s Big Gay Ice Cream Shop for you.
Very few things would drag Upper West Siders down to the heart of the East Village on a Sunday night, with new TV premieres and HBO shows on. But this was not just any type of craving, this was Big Gay.
Formally an ice cream truck, Big Gay parked on 17th and Broadway, with lines down the street and twitter as your only guide for its hours of operations. My sister, Amanda and I waited for at least an hour last summer to taste its unique flavor and deliciousness. We had heard about the Salty Pimp, one of their signature dishes, from Gail Simmons on Best Things I Ever Ate and knew we needed to try. And with one bite, our lives were changed forever. No cone would ever live up to this. We dreamed about its salty-sweet complexity for days to come.
Recently, Big Gay opened a storefront in the East Village, offering extended hours and a permanent location for ice cream lovers far and wide. No longer would twitter dictate our discovery of ice cream or result in sadness when learning they had ventured outside of Manhattan.
We made the hike from 72nd and Broadway on the 2 train to 14th Street, transferred onto the L and resurfaced on 14th and 1st. We walked seven blocks to 7th Street between 1st Ave and Avenue A. With each step, our excitement level rose. Turning the corner onto 7th, we saw tons of people, walking down the street, extreme ice cream cone in hand. We couldn’t wait.
The line was out the door of the small shop. People from all backgrounds seemed to crowd the inside, trying to eye the board and discover all of the wonderful house made, concoctions. Bright colored unicorns decorated the selves and a giant mural of one covered the entire left side of the wall. They truly went all out.
We had a serious conflict of flavor interest. Our favorite had been the salty pimp from last summer. They make their dulche de leche in house which is injected into the swirled vanilla soft serve. Then they covered the vanilla ice cream in coarse sea salt. Finally, its dipped into hard chocolate shell hiding all of the wonderfully complex flavors inside. We even spoke of the cone’s greatness to our new friends on line.
However, when the board came into view, we saw the game changer.
The American Globs. A vanilla swirl, sea salt, chocolate shell and the ultimate, pretzels. However, we were still torn. It felt like we were cheating on our pimp, the salty pimp. The waiter behind the counter, who my sister described as Kid Cudi’s doppleganger, solved all of our problems. He added dulche de leche to the American Globs, turning it into the Salty American Globs Pimp.
We acquired a punch card for our many future trips back and stood to the side, while waiting for our cone to arrive. You can see into the back area, watching the ice cream cone come to life.
We went outside and sat down on the benches in front of Butter Lane Cupcakery. And dug in. The crunch of the salty pretzels were instant, followed by the rich chocolate and creamy vanilla inside. Then the dulche de leche on top, and also injected into the ice cream filled each bite with a creamy, sticky flavor. Everything about this cone screamed decadent perfection. Our new friend in line laughed at us for sharing, but it was the ideal portion. After the top was devoured in smiling silence, we stuck our forks into the cone. Pieces of pretzels stuck together by dulche de leche and chocolate burst with flavor. It seemed like the most perfect candy bar to never have been created.
The cone was so good, we contemplated heading back in for a second, but our conscious got the best of us. We then made a pit stop on St. Marks street for some cheap sunglasses for Amanda and then made the long 3.9 mile hike up Broadway and through virtually every neighborhood, back home, high on ice cream and discussing our plans to return.
Big Gay Ice Cream Shop – 125 East 7th Street – New York, NY
*Amanda and I want to begin a petition to bring Big Gay to the Upper West Side, thoughts?
Big Gay Ice Cream Shop
Location: East Village, NY
Perfect For: Sweet Tooth, Impressing Foodies
Reservations: Not Accepted
Favorite Dishes: Salty Pimp, American Globes