Written on 06/06/2019

It’s easy to let memories fade if you don’t refresh them. I hadn’t had Sub Zero ice cream in nearly two years. It had been a big part of my dating years, so once my husband and I got married, we just didn’t go to many of our old favorite date spots. Even so, it’s like an old friend. Our relationship doesn’t change just because life got in the way and we haven’t seen each other in a while. The anticipation of seeing each other again made it that much better, I’m sure.

Tasting it again.
Every. Single. Bite. So good.
Savored like an old friend.

Yep, it made me write a spontaneous haiku. Oh, it’s still going.

So creamy. So dense.
That texture. So smooth, yet hard.
Nitrogen ice cream.

Yep, it evokes something in me. But these aren’t just poetic exaggerations. I remember when I first went to Sub Zero, I thought, “This is spectacular! They must have the most amazing recipe!” Then they explained, it’s not the recipe, it’s the science. Flash freezing with liquid nitrogen is what does all of this. The amazing texture comes from so little air in it. The creaminess because the ice crystals are so tiny. A good recipe might help a little, but no other freezing technique can get these results.

It really tastes creamier than any ice cream I’ve ever had. I originally thought they must be using butter or something to get that texture, but no, it’s their flash freezing process that makes it that smooth. The faster ice cream is frozen, the smaller the ice crystals, and the smaller the ice crystals, the creamier the taste and texture, but those crystals grow over time spent in a freezer. So super fresh, flash frozen ice cream will always taste the creamiest, and that’s what Sub Zero is.

I sigh with pleasure. It feels like you get three spoonfuls for every half so I naturally take smaller bites and savor it longer. Now this is satisfaction. What makes it so dense? When they first told me their ice cream is stirred not churned, (an ice cream take on the classic Bond quote) I questioned why ice cream is churned in the first place. Until then, I had assumed that’s just how you make it. True, churning helps ice cream to freeze uniformly, but it also has a dark side. Churning whips air into ice cream making it appear like more. Ice creams are allowed to have up to 50% air (overrun) whipped in and still be called ice cream. That means that half of what you’re paying for is air! They explained that nitrogen frozen ice cream doesn’t get churned at all, so there’s only a tiny amount of air in it, what occurs naturally. That’s what makes it so dense, and therefore so satisfying, plus, you actually get everything you pay for–8 oz of ice cream in an 8 oz cup. No tricks, no guessing, no overrun, and that’s satisfying too.

I love ice cream, but I never realized how frustrating other ice creams are. I notice that air whipped in every time, and it never makes me feel quite satisfied. Instead I just hit a point where I can’t have any more because I’m starting to feel bloated, l like I drank a ton of soda and I need to burp. Plus, if you let regular ice cream melt, it becomes a mass of spongey foam. Gross.

As I finish the cup, I’m amazed again that even though I savor it longer and eat it slower, it doesn’t melt before I’m done. They get it that cold. Plus, they’ll happily refreeze it on your way out if it’s starting to melt. What other ice cream place can do that? Even if you do let it melt, it’s still delicious. You can drink the ice cream mix and it’ll taste just as fresh. There’s no hiding anything funky with the low temperature, just pure, fresh ingredients that they mix up right in front of you.

That’s why Sub Zero is an old friend to me. Fresh, quality, customization that feels good in my belly. Even if I spend a little time here or there with other ice creams, Sub Zero will always feel like coming home.