Ice cream: the only dessert we literally chase down the street.
It doesn’t just taste good, it feels good. It helps us cool off on hot days. It soothes our sore throats and hurt feelings. It’s a pillar of childhood worth fighting for and enjoying gleefully into adulthood.
And ice cream is wonderful even in its simplest form, sure, but that doesn’t stop us from getting crazy with it. Below are seven Denver ice cream — or ice cream-adjacent — treats from shops that are doing just that.
Pop-Tart ice cream sandwiches
Ice Cream Riot, 1238 E. Colfax Ave.
Sandwiching ice cream between cookies is so played out. Ice Cream Riot is changing the game by squashing scoops between two Pop-Tarts. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for the featured sandwiches.
Ice cream tacos
Nuggs Ice Cream, 5135 E. Colfax Ave.
This is what you’ve been seeing all over Instagram. Nuggs ice cream tacos have waffle cone shells (gluten free!) and one scoop of ice cream each, with unlimited toppings. They’re only served on Taco Tuesdays, and you get one for $3.99 or three for $9.99.
Speakeasy ice cream
Frozen Matter, 530 E. 19th Ave.
There’s no specific treat to try here, but rather a wealth of boozy options. The “cow-to-cone” shop with its own little dairy plant also has a bar behind its freezer door, and the team does things like show up at Ratio Beerworks to make beer floats.
And a bonus for the adventurous ice-cream eater: Frozen Matter has some of the most unusual flavors in town.
Rolled ice cream
For a little taste of Thailand, track down the Chaos & Cream ice cream cart. They use two 18-inch compressor-powered surfaces cooled to -10 degrees Fahrenheit to create pretty rolls of ice cream, and it’s really fun to watch them do it. Plus, they top their ice cream rolls with all kinds of deliciousness, including popcorn, Lucky Charms and apple pie.
Peanut butter mousse with grape jelly cotton candy
Inventing Room, 2020 Lawrence St.
The Inventing Room is a strange place. One of the menu items is “really, really cold Cheetos.” So of course you can get the high-sugar dessert version of PB&J. There’s not much more we can say about this treat that the name doesn’t tell you itself, so just buck up and try it. And be sure to check that they’re open before you go.
Ice cream bombes
High Point Creamery, 215 S. Holly St.
An ice cream bombe is, at its most basic, a domed ice cream cake. It’s made by letting the first layer of ice cream harden, then adding another layer and letting that harden, then adding one more layer on top of that. At High Point Creamery, they let this French Victorian treat set in an authentic copper mold from the 1960s. Finally, it’s sliced up and served drizzled with sauce and nuts.
The Gooey Cooie
Sweet Cooie’s, 3506 E. 12th Ave.
Among the signature or unusual items on the menu at Sweet Cooie’s, sister shop to Little Man Ice Cream, are Scottish caramels, waffle cones trimmed with cotton candy and the Gooey Cooie, an ice cream sandwich made with a brioche bun.
They put the little sandwich in a panini press for just a moment — long enough to warm the bun but not melt the ice cream.
Snowlab, 4360 E. Evans Ave.
Did you know there was a dessert occupying the middle-ground between snow cones and ice cream? It’s called shaved snow, and it’s exactly what it sounds like, except it tastes way better than snow. It’s light and fluffy, and it melts in your mouth.
Right now, Snowlab has a variety of flavors from simple chocolate to black sesame. They also regularly offer “secret” flavors in small batches, so check their Facebook page for updates.
And if you’ve got dietary restrictions, you’re in luck. Snowlab’s shaved snow is dairy-free and vegan.