I’m one of the few people who eats ice cream all year long, even if it’s freezing. We need to start a club. We’ll call it: “I scream for ice cream errday.” ISFICE. So cool, amiright?
Anyway, this is my first foray into discovering vegan ice cream parlors in QUEENS. They do exist! Granted, Sweet Jane’s is not fully vegan, but they do have an impressive selection of vegan flavors. That’s enough of an excuse to trek out to Astoria for me!
Sweet Jane has a sort of home-grown, small-business/neighborhood local vibe. They aren’t heavy on décor, but it certainly feels like a friendly, unpretentious spot to be. They could work on their décor a bit more, since it feels a bit haphazard at the moment: a tangle of holiday string lights dangles from the sheet-tile ceiling, a painting-less photo frame messily displays a few taped dollar bills, and the benches could do with a few throw pillows for comfort. Spicing things up couldn’t hurt!
There was one young “parlor warden” on call at the time we visited SJ’s, and she was quite friendly and pleasant to talk to. I’m that typical annoying difficult customer, asking all kinds of questions about where the ice cream was made (all the vegan flavors are created onsite!), whether the cookies were vegan (she was “98%” sure they were, and they definitely tasted vegan to me.
They’re made offsite by a local baker) and which ones were made with cashew milk (I’m a newly minted cashew-milk-ice-cream devotee). She was nice throughout the whole process.
Originally, I wanted to put my ice cream in one of SJ’s waffle/speciality cones, but our server didn’t know whether they were vegan. That’s cool, but it would be nice for a business to be mindful about its vegan customers in all aspects of the products it offers, not just one sector, so just a suggestion for next time.
Blueberry Lavender –
This coconut-based flavor kind of tastes like a mix of fruity sorbet and a bit of creamy coconut. I was able to detect the lavender notes, which could easily cause the dessert to taste more “herbal” but somehow, the combination of fruity blueberry flavor and floral lavender touches worked. It was a unique mélange that ended up making my mouth think.
I also appreciated that there were sizable chunks of blueberry in my scoop. So really, I’m getting a serving of fruit in there as well! Yay for multitasking junk food!
Pineapple Coconut –
Pineapple coconut is basically one of the best classic flavor combinations out there, so it’s tough to mess this one up. I enjoyed SJ’s take on this mainstay, though. Although I’ve found SJ’s ice cream to be less on the creamy side than most coconut milk ice cream’s I’ve had (they must use a more watery type of coconut milk base vs. the thick, canned one), it has plenty of flavor in every icy bite.
Chocolate Chip Cookie –
I probably could have been more brave and made a cookie-wich out of my ice cream scoops, but I just ate it old school, alternating bite by bite.
The cookie was tasty, but it didn’t knock me out of the ballpark. It tasted like a cookie I could have made at home: simple, hearty, satisfying. And it “tasted vegan,” according to Juan… not sure if that’s the best attribute, but there it is. I wouldn’t buy it again, just on the basis that it doesn’t offer me a flavor palette I could create on my own.
I’m happy to support local businesses that offer vegan options, especially if it involves ice cream. Even if it’s snowing outside, a visit to SJ’s will most definitely still be in my future!