Editor's note: It's still August, height of the season for frozen treats. We asked our Queens expert Sara Markel-Gonzalez to track down one great frozen sweet for every day this week.
The boardwalk on Rockaway Beach is a little different then when I visited last summer. There are more dining options closer to the beach, so now you can actually see the water as you bite into a tostada, an arepa, or some fried shrimp. But the most exciting advance in boardwalk eatery is that now DiCosmo's Italian Ices are sold not just from their stand on 96th Street, but also from a cart on the beach. The flavors change daily, but I was lucky enough to go on a pistachio day. I tried other flavors too—lemon and pineapplem&mdashand they were great. But the pistachio blew me away.
The biggest problem with pistachio-flavored things is that they almost never taste like pistachios. Understandably, as they are an expensive nut; many pistachio desserts use almond paste as a base and then add green food coloring. So I wasn't expecting much when I ordered the ice—but when I got the scoop, it was a gorgeous, natural-looking pale green, just full of chopped pistachios, the ice smooth and almost creamy. I should have known better from a place that makes all of their ices by hand, and for nearly a century.
The pineapple ice, below the pistachio in the cup ($4.00 for two flavors), was just as simple and very refreshing. I uncovered a few pineapple pieces in my ice excavations.
The small ($2.00) lemon ice was bright, tart, and fresh-tasting. And there's no better proof that they use real lemon juice than finding lemon seeds in the cup. Lemon, an Italian ice classic, and the only flavor that DiCosmo's sold when they first opened, seldom tastes like real lemons, but they do things the old-fashioned way and I hope they never change.
(Read about the original Elizabeth, NJ location here.)
The cart, closed for the day.
DiCosmo's Homemade Italian Ices
95-19 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Far Rockaway, Queens NY 11693 (map)