Chicago, Illinois


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iCream cafe is a really neat ice cream parlor in Wicker Park. They make the ice cream from scratch in front of you with liquid nitrogen. It's a cool experience for the first time (get it? cool?). They carry soy ice cream base and a variety of vegan toppings to choose from. On Friday and Saturday nights, they're open pretty late, so it's a cute place to get some ice cream after dinner.

You begin by choosing a base (soy ice cream), then a flavor, and lastly toppings. They have candy, fresh fruit, and other toppings like nuts. You can chose to dye the ice cream too (say pink or blue). For a medium ice cream with all the works, expect to pay about $6-7.

iCream also has coffees and teas to chose from as well on their menu.

For a complete review, please see my blog here: http://veganmiss.blogspot.com/2012/11/vegan-chicago-restaurant-review-of.html

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They make the ice cream with dry ice, which is cool, but in terms of taste I'd rather go out and buy a pint of Coconut Bliss or So Delicious.

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You're pretty much just paying them to do a really cool science experiment with your dessert here. If you want great ice cream, this isn't the place to go, but that's not the point anyway. It's not just anywhere that you can get a nondairy ice cream with this many flavor options, and then have it colored to match your outfit.

Image for conde.kedar

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This is a pretty cool, futuristic ice cream shop. It looks and feels very much like Stogo in New York City, and even has the same pod-style bar stools.

However, unlike Stogo, and unlike any other ice cream shop I've been to, iCream doesn't have any tubs full of flavors to choose from.

Instead, you choose what flavor(s) you want and the staff then makes the ice cream on the spot, with fancy machines (which you can watch through glass) and sophisticated computer touch-screens. It was like something out of Star Trek.

They have vegan soy varieties of every flavor (except for white chocolate). I asked them to produce a mixture of chocolate and hazelnut which came out tasting pretty good, though not great (iCream is definitely not of the quality of Lula's or Stogo, both in NYC): the texture was a little bit icy, and the flavors didn't gel quite properly. This was especially true of my friend's combination of "burnt sugar" flavor and hazelnut, which had an overpowering after-taste of the hazelnut.

That said, I like the concept of the place. Single scoops cost $4 (there's an extra charge for soy), and we waited at least 10 or 15 minutes for our order (it was sort of busy, but not packed by any means).

Like most things veg-related in Chicago, iCream is a compromise: it still serves dairy ice cream and isn't 100% vegan. Similarly, the "upscale" (mostly) veg. place in Chicago (Green Zebra) is heavily lacto-ovo and even serves fish; and the flagship veg. restaurant, The Chicago Diner, is still happy to serve dairy and eggs. I guess I can't expect more out of a city built on slaughterhouses, but it always disappoints me that my hometown can't do anything properly when it comes to vegan dining.

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