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Food Critics: The best frozen eats and treats in Kansas City for summer 2022

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High Hopes ice cream shop, on Troost Avenue in Kansas City, Missouri, serves up scoops and pints of nearly 20 flavors of ice cream.

As temperatures climb, so do cravings for anything cold. From sweet to savory, and everything in between, Kansas City's food scene has almost all palates covered.

Summertime in the Midwest is prime frozen treat season, but you don't have to make do with mass-produced popsicles pulled from the depths of an industrial freezer.

Food writer Liz Cook prefers to explore the options at Baba's Pantry, on 63rd Street in Kansas City, Missouri.

"They've always got something kind of interesting in the case right inside the door," she says. "They do a couple different savory pops, they've got a jalapeno mint as well."

And don't forget dinner before satisfying that sweet tooth! A cold, raw gazpacho soup is always an option during hot summer days.

"It's tomato, usually with sherry vinegar, red pepper, cucumber, little olive oil, salt, pepper — that sort of thing," says Carlton Logan, a former chef and admin for the Facebook Group Kansas City Eats. "It just gives you those fresh flavors."

Logan says Best Regards Bakery & Cafe in Overland Park has just started offering the seasonal soup. He also recommends Unforked's version, which includes corn and mango, and La Bodega Tapas & Lounge on Southwest Boulevard.

Below, Cook and Logan share eight of their favorite places to fill up while cooling off.

Liz Cook:

  • Earl's Premier — Frozen Gin & Tonic. This super refreshing slushy tastes a little less like a gin and tonic and more like a limeade, but that's not a bad thing. It's tart but well balanced, and makes a really great summer patio drink.
  • Yoli Tortilleria — Taco Stand Paleta. Looking for a spicy, savory frozen treat? Chef Marissa Gencarelli's is good on its own or dunked in a cold Mexican lager, and made using the same serrano, jalapeno and tomatillo flavors in their Taco Stand salsa.
  • Miami Ice's titular treat, like a standard snow cone, is topped with shaved ice but features a swirl of frozen custard at the bottom — perfect for the dessert lover with commitment issues. The dozens of flavors of syrup means endless combinations for those long summer days.
  • Fairway Creamery — Soft Serve ice cream. Soft serve may get less love these days than the fancy mix-ins with hard ice cream, but good luck finding a lighter, creamier summertime treat. Fairway Creamery offers a classic vanilla bean option, and a rotating flavor.

Carlton Logan, Kansas City Eats:

  • High Hopes — Joy of Almonds. The candy bar-inspired flavor features more than clever wordplay: It's vegan, too. The addition of coconut pastry cream makes the mix more dense, and creates the richness and texture expected from a really good ice cream.
  • The Golden Scoop's method of serving pre-scooped ice cream started as a way to keep the long lines moving. More importantly, the nonprofit ice cream and coffee shop creates jobs for people with developmental disabilities.
  • Paleterias Tropicana's Mexican-style popsicles are packed with real ingredients, and their flavors range from super-sweet, like bubble gum or Mexican Twinkie, to subtle, a la rice pudding or avocado. Besides the original store on Southwest Boulevard, there are locations in Independence, Olathe and Kansas City, Kansas.
  • Summer Salt Ice Cream Co. — Ooey Gooey Buttercake. With locations in Overland Park and Prairie Village, Summer Salt features a menu full of inventive flavors, and the rich buttercake variety is a dead-ringer for its namesake. Look for their vegan flavors, too.

Listener recommendations:

  • Foggi Ice Cream's nitrogen-infused fare might be the smoothest ice cream in town, and it's made fresh every time. They also offer coffee drinks, and vintage video games in the store.
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As culture editor, I oversee KCUR’s coverage of race, culture, the arts, food and sports. I work with reporters to make sure our stories reflect the fullest view of the place we call home, so listeners and readers feel primed to explore the places, projects and people who make up a vibrant Kansas City. Email me at luke@kcur.org.
As senior producer of Up To Date, I want our listeners to hear familiar and new voices that shine light on the issues and challenges facing the myriad communities KCUR serves, and to expose our audiences to the wonderful and the creative in the Kansas City area. Just as important to me is an obligation to mentor the next generation of producers to ensure that the important conversations continue. Reach me at alexanderdk@kcur.org.