- Alex Springer
I always like to put together a roundup of places serving up the coolest of cool treats sometime in July of every year, but this record-breaking heatwave that continues to scorch our streets as of press time calls for early action. I'll always be an ardent supporter of Leatherby's (multiple locations, leatherbys.com) for bonkers sundaes and Monkeywrench (53 E. Gallivan Avenue, monkeywrench.square.site) for its plant-based approach, but I'm adding a few more to my list of go-to's to get me—and hopefully you, dear reader—through what's looking to be a long and searing summer.
La Crepe OG (2411 Kiesel Avenue, Ogden, 385-240-7222, lacrepeog.square.site): Though this Ogden eatery is known for its sweet and savory crepes—which are delicious no matter how hot it is—they've also taken a cue from Willy Wonka with their list of aptly named Freak Shakes. From churros to banana splits to s'mores, the team at La Crepe OG has incorporated several beloved desserts and sweets into gravity-defying dessert sculptures.
For example, the banana split shake ($12.75) has an entire banana split complete with scoops of chocolate, strawberry and vanilla ice cream built on the rim of the mason jar that holds the milkshake itself. You're not just getting the flavors of a banana split blended up into a frothy mix, you're getting a complete conceptual dessert on top of the dessert you just ordered.
La Crepe doesn't stop there, either. Visitors can expect to see towers of toasted marshmallows sandwiched between graham crackers on the Smoremania Shake ($12.50), and the strawberry cheesecake shake ($12.50) comes with artfully shattered Pop Tarts, a strawberry cheesecake ice cream bar and a full slice of cheesecake complete with strawberry drizzle. La Crepe OG takes their shake concepts to ridiculous new heights, and getting your mind blown by these Freak Shakes is definitely worth a trip north.
Stun Cube (2732 S. State Street, 801-419-0082, stun-cube.business.site): In addition to tasty Korean mainstays like bibimbap and tteokbokki, Stun Cube has been whipping up snowy desserts known as bingsu topped with fresh fruit, red bean paste or mochi. I'm discovering a heretofore unknown affection toward the snowflake shaved ice desserts of Korean and Taiwan, and Stun Cube is making some of the best you can get locally. As I'm already fond of shaved ice as a frozen dessert, there's something deceptively simple about Stun Cube's strawberry and mango options. The fresh fruit adds just the right amount of sweetness, plus it makes you feel good to know that your sugar rush is coming from a more natural origin.
I favor the mango over the strawberry just a tad—nothing complements the rich flavors of Stun Cube's bulgogi like cubes of soft, fresh mango chilled by a bed of silky shaved ice. It's an excellent dessert alternative for those looking to cut down on sugar and fat; I know you're out there somewhere.
Penguin Brothers (multiple locations, thepenguinbrothers.com): Ice cream on its own is great and all, but when you can smush it between two soft, homemade cookies, you've got something truly special. This is the concept behind Penguin Brothers, a local dessert shop that operates stores in Provo (111 E. Cougar Boulevard) and Sugar House (2040 S. 1000 East). While you're welcome to craft your dream cookie and ice cream combo, I like to stick to their menu of secret combinations—a cheeky Book of Mormon reference that'll get a chuckle out of those in the know.
At the top of my list is a cookie and ice cream mash up known as Inception ($5). It's perfect for those who aren't quite sure what to get because it's got a little bit of everything—one chocolate chip cookie, one double fudge cookie and some cookie monster ice cream. Those who dig the caramelly and butter pecan flavor profiles of ice cream will no doubt dig the Golden Snitch ($5) which places buttery honeycomb ice cream between two brown sugar-forward oatmeal cookies.
If you're after an unconventional catering service for whatever get-together you've got on the horizon, Penguin Brothers is ready to bring their unique brand and cookie concoctions to you. Whichever way you prefer to enjoy these local treats, you're sure to have a satiated sweet tooth and a noticeably chilled disposition.
Sweet Rolled Tacos (157 S. Rio Grande Street, 801-702-8610, sweetrolledtacos.com): Any variation on a taco is going to rate pretty high in my book, but the dessert tacos at Sweet Rolled Tacos are in a league of their own. Successfully combining the collective charms of rolled ice cream, waffle cones and tacos themselves, the team at this Gateway eatery is whipping up some colorful ways to fight the heat.
I'm a fan of their ube taco ($7)—it's not overpoweringly sweet, and frankly there just aren't enough purple ice creams in circulation. When overpoweringly sweet is what I'm after, I'll go for the vibrant Rainbow Road ($6.50) with its sour rainbow gummy garnish and cotton candy. Regrettably, dessert tacos aren't as easy to pick up and eat by hand—but it's always a little fun to try.