Science has brought society wonderful things. Computers, airplanes, artificial hearts. But one of mankind’s greatest inventions was ice cream, and now this grand science has been made even better with the invention of the nitro-ice: ice cream made with liquid nitrogen. The end result is a much smoother and creamier experience that lets your tastebuds focus more on the amazing flavors than a grainy, icy texture. Ices Plain & Fancy was created to bring this wonderful new technology to St. Louis.
This is Darla. She is the heart and soul of Ices Plain & Fancy, working herself and her team to the bone to bring something new to St. Louis. The nitro-ice making process is quite a feat to watch. The ingredients are mixed together and simultaneously frozen with liquid nitrogen and kept above completely freezing with a blow torch. The end result is an ice cream with smaller than normal ice-crystals, giving it a far smoother and silkier texture than most ice cream.
Agnes Marshal is the patron saint of Ices Plain & Fancy. For those who do not know the history, she was a famous culinary genius during the Victorian age who first proposed using “liquid air” to create ice cream. I do not know enough of her history to know if she made boozy ice creams or even imbibed alcohol, but this wonderful confection bears her name and is called “Mrs. Marshall’s Old Fashioned”. This is an incredible boozy treat that not only tastes just like an old fashioned cocktail, but also has the same amount of liquor as one. Seriously, this will get you drunk. Still, even with all the booze in the ice cream it still has that silky smooth texture that all of Darla’s creations have. The luxardo cherries on top were a perfect final touch as well.
Banana ice cream, chocolate chips, the newly released 4-Hands Peanut Butter Chocolate Stout, and a giant piece of candied bacon. Not only is this treat delicious but the collaboration with 4-Hands, a rising star of the local brewing scene, makes it a perfect promotional piece for the growing food scene in St. Louis. Christine wasn’t so big about it as she isn’t so much into beer, but I thought it was a perfect update to the classic stout float.
S’mores are a classic treat and seeing them turned into ice cream is nothing new, but Darla noticed none of the s’more ice creams out there had that special flavor you get from real s’mores made around a real roaring campfire. So she decided to correct that issue by getting a woodchip smoker and serving this dish under a dome of campfire smoke.
The end result without a doubt tastes like real s’mores made with a real campfire. It’s also really, really delicious with the rich smokey flavor, plus the roasted marshmallow ice cream and the rich hot fudge. Really good stuff.
We also tried the Dreamsicle, which has Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao, Liquor 43, and pieces of candied orange on the top. Again, like everything else at Ices Plain & Fancy, this was incredibly creamy and smooth. This was a great treat with some serious orange flavor. We did not quite like this one as much as Mrs. Marshall’s Old Fashioned, but it still packed some serious alcohol and we’d gladly eat one of these if offered. We also tried the German Chocolate (pictured in the header), which not only has rich chocolate flavor but is also completely vegan.
Our absolute favorite of the day was the Sump Pump which features Sump coffee, a huge up-and-coming name amongst local coffee lovers. Just like the Elvis Plain & Fancy, this is another example of an excellent collaboration between two places in the St. Louis food scene. This ice cream has an amazing flavor that showcases what Sump has to offer in a way that doesn’t cheapen it with too much sweetness. The full, roasty flavor you’d expect from Sump is here and pairs perfectly with Darla’s incredibly creamy and delicious ice cream. So incredibly good, but don’t eat it before bedtime or you’ll be up all night. It’s real coffee.
Darla and and her team work hard. There is no denying that. When Ices Plain & Fancy gets busy, it gets busy. The line will wrap around multiple times through the store and quite a distance out the door. You can often expect a wait as every item is made to order so you know it is super fresh and good. The wait time and the crowdedness might be the only negative aspect to the place, and they have even recently purchased a food truck and plan to increase their staff to keep up with the constant business. Even so, we think the place is worth the wait and makes for the kind of spot that makes a city a true city.
- Style: Ice Cream
- Pros: Amazingly creamy, delicious, and inventive ice creams. Great local collaborations.
- Cons: Can get seriously slammed with business.
- Charlie’s Favorites: Elvis Plain & Fancy, Mrs. Marshall’s Old Fashioned, Sump Pump
- Christine’s Favorites: Mrs. Marshall’s Old Fashioned, Campfire S’mores, Sump Pump