TGI-Fry Day: Fried Ice Cream from Los Nopales
Although its origins are somewhat disputed—Chinese, Japanese, Polynesian, and Mexican restaurants are all given credit—I'd like to imagine that fried ice cream was born out of good old-fashioned American ingenuity. You know the kind I'm talking about. The kind where if you work hard enough and scrimp and save, anything, and I mean anything, can one day be deep fried. Battered rings of onion or batons of potato? No problem. Twinkies, Oreos, Snickers, and any number of candy bars? Le sigh. Butter and root beer? You'd better pack a lunch. Any way you batter or bread them, foods of all kinds are pulling themselves up by their bootstraps every day. To deep fry is to truly realize the American Dream.
From some accounts, ice cream was being deep fried as early as the 1890s, which would make the treat the original Horatio Alger-esque rags-to-riches novelty fried food. The version served at Lincoln Square's Los Nopales is as classic as the dish comes. A cue ball sized scoop of vanilla ice cream dons a cinnamon laced coat of corn flakes before a quick dip in hot oil. Emerging crisp and still frozenly-intact, it is placed in a Sundae cup and is simply dressed with chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and a cherry. Now the requisite hardness of the ice cream pre-fry does make the treat slightly difficult to eat. And I'd be lying if I described the flavors as anything besides... ice cream covered in cinnamon flavored corn flakes. But as one of my friends pointed out, the main point of this dessert is fun. The melting fry-pot harmonizes ice cream and cone, making the two one. The sum is truly greater than its parts.