“You’ve gotta try this place,” my friend told me excitedly. “My boys just love it! It’s called Ices Plain & Fancy and it’s located near Tower Grove Park over in the Shaw neighborhood.” So one evening, after having dinner with my grandson, Andrew, and his girlfriend, we stopped by Ices. To my surprise the line extended out the door and into the street. But the time passed quickly as we watched the entertaining “Ice Show” that transforms simple cream into a divine dessert. The billowing haze of liquid nitro looked like the prelude to a rocket launch or something Miracle Max would be brewing in his forest hut. Actually, using nitro to quickly freeze cream is a “trick” high school chemistry teachers have been performing for years to the delight of their students.
What Is Liquid Nitrogen?
The air we breath is about 78% nitrogen, 20% oxygen, and the rest a gumbo of gases. Because the temperature of liquid nitrogen is -320°F, it’s great for freezing foods. And it’s odorless, tasteless, and colorless. The danger is that liquid nitro can cause severe burns to the skin if handled incorrectly. But with the proper precautions, it can even be used to easily make ice cream at home.
How Does Liquid Nitro Make Ice Cream?
It’s the rapid freeze that does the trick. The addition of liquid nitrogen causes the fat and the water particles to stay very small, giving the ice cream its creamy consistency. Touching the bowl with a small blow torch helps release the frozen chunks clinging to the sides.
Ices Plain & Fancy, 2256 S. 39th Street. Open: Mon-Tue: Closed. Wed-Thu. 2p-10p; Fri. 2p-11p; Sat. noon-11p; Sun. noon-6p. (You might want to commit that to memory.)