The Fourth of July is usually one heckuva hot holiday, which offers the perfect excuse for ingesting lots of icy, sweet goodness.
Wichita is full of delicious frozen concoctions and becomes more so with the arrival of every new gelato, custard, ice cream and yogurt shop, not to mention coffee shops, paleterias and snow cone stands.
Following is a list of 10 Wichita frozen treats you'll want to sample, if not this weekend then at least before the sun stops blazing for the season.
10. The turtle at Freddy's Frozen Custard: People love Freddy's custard (though it's amazing they ever have room for it after ingesting those out-of-this-world steak burgers). Its best cold invention has to be its signature turtle sundae, made with vanilla frozen custard and topped with hot caramel, hot fudge, toasted pecans, whipped cream and a cherry on top. Also recommended: the strawberry shortcake concretes at Freddy's, which are available only in the summertime. Wichita has three Freddy's — at 8621 W. 21st St., 310 N. Rock Road and 11525 E. 13th St.
9. Shaved ice at Heavenly Sno: If you've never had Heavenly Sno-style shaved ice, the kind sold only in the summer out of portable trailers around town, you might assume that they're the same as the too-sweet, too-frozen snow cones you ate as a child. But you'd be so wrong. Heavenly Sno shaves the ice in a magical way that gives it the texture of ice cream, then it offers customers a choice of gazillions of flavors, from birthday cake to root beer to tiger blood. Heavenly Sno has booths at Douglas and Hillside, Central and Hillside and K-96 and Woodlawn.
8. The ice cream bars at Paleteria La Reyna , 2925 N. Arkansas: This cafe is one of the most popular purveyors of Mexican ice cream bars, which are made with real fruit and achieve some sort of other-worldy creaminess and flavor. Be sure to try the strawberry, mango, banana, pina colada or one of the other 20-plus flavors. Be warned: It's closed on Wednesdays.
7. Peanut butter gelato at Caffe Moderne, 300 N. Mead: Wichita has a lot of gelato purveyors, and Caffe Moderne has a lot of gelato flavors, but none is better than the amazing peanut butter gelato, studded with shavings of melt-in-your-mouth chocolate.
6. Sonic's strawberry slush: One of Sonic's best drive-in-and-get-it cold treats is the strawberry slush, made with blended up strawberries that are so fresh and chunky, they sometimes cause a traffic jam in the straw.
5. Tumbleweeds at Chester's Chophouse: Not all frozen treats are kid-friendly, including this decadent drink/dessert made expertly at Chester's Chophouse and other local bars from a magical mixture of vanilla ice cream, Kahlua and other liquory stuff.
4. Starbuck's Frappuccino: You just can't go wrong with a frozen, blended coffee drink, and Starbucks offers the granddaddy of them all — the Frappuccino, a sugar and calorie bomb that's the ultimate in summertime decadence, especially if you order it drizzled with caramel and piled high with whipped cream. Also good: lattes dumped over ice from any local coffee shop.
3. Cold Stone Creamery's birthday cake remix: There's a reason the marble slabberies in Wichita — both Cold Stone and Marble Slab — are always overrun with customers. They're set up to provide the ultimate in sweet, frozen sinfulness by offering various flavors of ice creams and a long list of candies, cakes, fruits and more for mixing in. One of the most delicious inventions is at Cold Stone and is called the birthday cake remix, made with cake batter ice cream, rainbow sprinkles, brownie and fudge.
2. Original tart at Froz: The new frozen yogurt places in town, including Froz at 3242 N. Rock Road and Mix it Up at 630 E. Douglas, offer a not-sweet-tart original flavor that plays nicely off the many available toppings, from Cap'n Crunch cereal to shaved coconut.
1. Chocolate-dipped ice cream cone at Dairy Queen: Sure, the Blizzard is flashier, but nothing can replace the old-school DQ treats — Dilly Bars, Peanut Buster Parfaits, and the always perfect chocolate-dipped soft-serve cone, hard and chocolately on the outside, sweet and creamy on the inside.
Did we miss one?
Nominate your favorite sweet treat by visiting Dining With Denise at blogs.kansas.com/dining and searching for "frozen treats."