It's summer in Las Vegas, so, of course, it's like living in a blast furnace. The desert will do that. So we recommend you do this: Cool down with a big ice cream cone or a dish of frozen deliciousness. If your taste buds are acute enough, one concoction can be yours for free. Another, however, will set you back a grand. Here's a guide to the big chill in Sin City.
's newest ice cream parlor is unique because the customer chooses every ingredient.
Owner Ginger Corbett says a bad day of shopping was the impetus for the concept. She and some friends, having indulged in some retail therapy, needed some ice cream therapy. But one of the shoppers was lactose intolerant, so they scrapped that idea. But then a new idea was born.
Beginning with a choice of seven bases — from nondairy rice milk to a traditional cream mix — customers handpick what they want, and don't want, in their ice cream. There are options to satisfy folks on
, gluten-free, lactose-intolerant and
Once the ingredients are selected, they're thoroughly blended. Then liquid nitrogen — at 321 degrees below zero — is added to solidify the mix.
"It takes a minute and seven seconds, to be exact," Corbett says.
The shop, which has been open since late May, is delighting those for whom ice cream was previously taboo.
The owner points with pride to a 6-year-old girl with severe food
who, until visiting Atomic #7, had never before tasted ice cream.
"Her smile as the cool creaminess reached her
," Corbett recalls, "made everything worthwhile."
Atomic #7, 605 Mall Ring Circle, Henderson, Nev.; (702) 458-4777,
There's no need to sing for your supper at Chef Rick Moonen's namesake restaurant, but adventurous guests can test their sense of taste in an attempt to get a free dessert.
Moonen calls his mélange of 16 small scoops "Rick's Tasting Game." Guess the correct flavors of all 16, and the $18 charge is deducted from the bill.
"It's really meant to be shared by two people," Moonen says. And that's exactly what a companion and I did.
Together, we managed to correctly identify nine. Familiar flavors such as chocolate and coffee ice cream and banana sorbet were easy. But when it came to the curveballs in Rick's game, we floundered. Only when our server brought the answer sheet did we realize that one ramekin contained corn ice cream. It wasn't exactly a palate-pleaser, but the Thai tea ice cream was refreshing.
The flavors and the order in which they're presented change regularly. Don't be surprised to find garlic ice cream alongside Bing cherry sorbet.
Moonen says customers seldom correctly identify all 16 flavors. Still, the blind taste-testing provided a flavorful escape from the heat outdoors.
RM Seafood, Mandalay Bay Resort, Las Vegas; (702) 632-9300,
Luv-it Frozen Custard
It's easy to drive past this tiny stand a few blocks north of the Stratosphere. Those in search of down-home goodness should program Luv-it's address into a GPS.
For 37 years, Luv-it Frozen Custard has been a favorite with locals who crave the creamy richness that comes from adding eggs and extra butterfat to the recipe for ordinary ice cream.
Summer nights often mean a line. Owner Greg Tiedemann makes a point of greeting each customer at the lone walk-up window.
Besides vanilla and chocolate, two more flavors are offered each day. They include standbys such as butter pecan and mint chocolate chip and lesser-known delights such as fresh banana nut and rum rainbow. Most flavors are available prepacked in pints, quarts and half-gallons.
Luv-it Frozen Custard, 505 E. Oakey Blvd., Las Vegas; (702) 384-6452,
This relatively new addition to the Strip's dining scene features a variety of cool treats, such as its signature Frrrozen Hot Chocolate. But for those seeking something decadent when money's no object, the Golden Opulence Sundae is the winning choice.
Rising one foot from the base of a Baccarat crystal goblet, the sundae contains Tahitian vanilla ice cream, exotic fruits and chocolates made from beans grown only in Venezuela. Topping it off are edible flakes of 24-karat gold leaf.
Given the $1,000 price tag, manager Jerri Rose Sessoms says Serendipity prepares about one a month, usually for special occasions.
"It can be anything from a couple getting married to someone who's just won a bunch of money in the casino," she says of customers who have ordered the sundae, a Guinness World Record winner for "most expensive dessert."
Serendipity 3, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas; (877) 346-4642,