It may not be Sunday yet, but you can get the jump on it by celebrating with a sundae! It’s National Strawberry Sundae Day, one in a string of sundae-related food holidays (not that I’m complaining! lol!) Sundaes really were named after the day of the week: early last century, ice cream became hugely popular among the young crowd during a time when ice cream was subject to many “blue laws” against consumption on Sundays. To counter this, ice cream parlors started serving ice cream treats with toppings on Sundays–because the toppings obscured the fact that the dish was all about the ice cream! So ice cream with fudge, cherries, nuts, and all sorts of other toppings became the popular dish on Sundays, and thus the sundae was born!
Typically, sundaes employ canned or bottled sauces to pour on top of the ice cream, and are served in tall glasses that look like vases. So, the rudimentary strawberry sundae is ice cream and strawberry-flavored syrup, like the ones you can get in the grocery store by Hershey (or, Bosco, if it so strikes your fancy!) But the excellent strawberry sundaes, the ones that deserve a little attention in this blog? Have real strawberries mixed into the sundae and use homemade strawberry syrup. I like a little imagination and ingenuity in my sundae!
And ingenuity and imagination are in abundance at Serendipity 3, in the shadow of the Queensborough Bridge. Everyone knows the famous dessert parlor, from their delicious bricks of high-quality chocolate to their frozen hot chocolates. They’ve made quite a name for themselves as the dessert parlor to the stars, and although it’s become clogged with tourist reservations as of late, the charm and the quality of their desserts still reigns supreme. Which is why you absolutely must try their take on the strawberry sundae, Strawberry Fields. Named after the area in Central Park (and the famous Beatles song, and every association that goes along with it), this sundae is more than just vanilla ice cream and strawberry syrup: first of all, you start it at the bottom with a slice of New York cheesecake. Holy hell, cheesecake in a sundae, you have already gotten me hooked. Then add strawberry ice cream and homemade strawberry syrup with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. How amazing does that sound? I think I might get a cavity just writing this description down! It’s a pricey sundae at $15.00, but you’re basically getting two desserts in one–the cheesecake and the strawberry sundae. Plus you get the tourist street cred of dining at Serendipity–all of your out of town friends will be so jealous.
225 E 60th St (between 2nd Ave & 3rd Ave)
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“OK…so now moving onto the DESSERTS! They’re most famous for their frozen hot chocolate so that is a must try for first timers. My absolute favorite there is the Strawberry Fields Sundae which comes with this delicious cheesecake in the sundae bowl. I know some reviewers mentioned that they didn’t like the service here but I’ve been here many times & always had good service.”–Alice L.
“So I know most people probably come here for the frozen hot chocolate, while it is good it is not the reason I keep coming back. I come here for the STRAWBERRY FIELDS SUNDAE! Oh and let me mention that I don’t eat ice cream and I am lactose intolerant. That still does not dissuade me from ordering it though. There’s just something about the strawberry ice cream with the cheesecake that’s like kismet in my mouth. I’ve tried other stuff but thats always my favorite.”–Melissa B.
But if you want to try a completely different flavor experience for National Strawberry Sundae Day, you’ve got to get yourself to a pizza joint. Yep, I said it. 😛 But Otto Enoteca isn’t just any pizza joint: created by those Italian restaurant powerhouses Joe Bastianich and Mario Batali, Otto puts an artisan spin on the old pizza place, offering a huge assortment of antipasti, homemade pasta, and, of course, excellent gourmet pizzas. But they also offer desserts here unlike any you’ve seen at a pizza place before: Louie G’s Italian Ice this is not! A wide selection of gelati flavors includes seasonal favorites like sweet corn and dark chocolate Guinness stout. But something to really crow about is their olive oil coppetta. Did you ever imagine, olive oil gelato! It’s got a refreshing taste to it, surprisingly, and isn’t cloyingly sweet. The coppetta makes up for it with generous portions of passionfruit granita, basil syrup, and seasonal fruits like strawberries sprinkled on top. It’s definitely not your mother’s strawberry sundae! Knowing this is a Batali & Bastianich joint, you can be assured that all of the ingredients are fresh and top-notch, so those strawberries will taste absolutely amazing–even moreso with the gelato. It’ll set you back less dough than the sundae at Serendipity, and since most tourists will flock to Babbo when they want to knock a Batali joint off their list, you can enjoy this Italian sundae free of the visiting masses.
Otto Enoteca Pizzeria
1 5th Ave (between Washington Mews & 8th St)
“The ingredient list sounds a little daunting: olive oil gelato topped with passion-fruit granita, strawberries, lime curd and basil syrup. But the result is a beautifully orchestrated, mouth-buzzing blend. The lime curd wakes you up with its intense acidity, the strawberries deliver summery sweetness, the pungent crunchy granita adds much-needed texture, and the salty basil syrup offers an herbal tang. The delicately flavored olive-oil gelato expertly unites all of these disparate flavors—it doesn’t do battle with the fruits, it balances them.”–Time Out New York
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“And finally dessert: I have found heaven. and it exists in the OLIVE OIL COPPETTA, a mix of PASSIONFRUIT GRANITA, BASIL SYRUP, STRAWBERRIES, CANDIED KUMQUATS, OLIVE OIL GELATO. While most people would balk at the sweetness, this stuff has you questioning the contents like a child would but, innocently devouring each discovery with little regard for the outside world.”–Christian R.
“The dessert menu is also a highlight since it changes frequently to flavors of the season. I always get to try something new and that’s a plus. The gelato flavors are amazing. If you’re adventurous go for the olive oil coppetta. The name is much more intimidating than the actual dish. If you can get past the olive oil part you’ll be in a wondrous dessert experience. It is really light and something new for the palette.”–Alicia C.
Make sure you check out the updated NYC Food Holidays Map to find this most recent holiday!