Street Food: Kelvin Natural Slush Co.
I sincerely hope that Kelvin Natural Slush Co. is the harbinger of a slush craze to come. A new take on the classed-up childhood foods trend (see: cupcakes, popsicles, mac-and-cheese...), Kelvin slushies are made with all-natural ingredients and "grown-up" flavors, like ginger, basil, and blood orange.
"We really liked slushies as kids, but then we turned twenty," Alex Rein, the owner and a former lawyer, explained. "I mean, you can't just go out and buy a Slurpee anymore, and then show up to work with a blue tongue. You have to be a little more adult about it."
Kelvin Slush Truck is a good-looking vehicle, with clean lines and a sophisticated logo—quite precocious, as it's only three weeks old. They've been experimenting with locations, so right now, you've got to check the Twitter feed (@KelvinSlush) while you wait for the Slush Truck to roll into your 'hood. When I finally gave up and came to them, the trek was well worth it.
I decided to let these self-proclaimed "slushy ninjas" work their magic, instead of making my own decisions, and I was not disappointed. The first, and my favorite, was an unexpected combination: a ginger base with pink guava and mint mixed in. (In the interest of full disclosure, I am a ginger fanatic. A Dark and Stormy is my drink of choice, and I once threw a dinner party in which every dish featured ginger.) That said, this slushy exceeded my expectations. It's a looker, first of all: milky white broken up by an uneven strip of burnt orange and dark green flecks. The ginger base was delicately sweet while maintaining ginger's signature kick, which the mint matched in intensity. The guava, sadly, was lost in the fray. Next time I would go for a stronger fruit puree, or maybe none at all. Still, though, the best of the bunch.
The second, a take on an "Arnold Palmer," was all you could ask for on a hot summer day. Iced tea and citrus swirled together as the base, with white peach as the mix-in. Basically, imagine an Arnold Palmer, already refreshing in its own right, made with fresh fruit and then frozen. It wasn't quite as exciting as the first, but definitely worth an order.
Finally, the third was a wonderful surprise: vanilla bean ice cream on top of a citrus base with strawberry puree mixed in. The "float" was apparently a matter of much debate before it debuted on the menu, and I understand why—it's a weird concept, after all. But I was a fan. Don't think about it too hard, because the textures are strange together—and even stranger when it all melts together into one icy-creamy mess. It's more of a dessert, which is part of its appeal, but mainly it's just that you're combining two delicious things. A little wacky, but enjoyable nonetheless.
In the end, the best part of the whole experience was that you're getting what you come for: a slushy. Though older and supposedly wiser than I was in my earlier frozen-drink days, I still drank them far too fast and I still got a brain freeze—even if the ingredients were a little more refined.
"People kind of grow out of slushies," Alex told me, "but there's really nothing wrong with them." Hear, hear.