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Forget #summerbod—‘tis the season of sunshine, vacation days, and sundaes. While folks looking for a cool treat may opt for a conservative lick of soft serve or a solo scoop of ice cream, there are shops and restaurants across the country that challenge diners to expand their minds (and waistlines) when it comes to decadent desserts.
Forget the basic banana split or a simple slice of pie a la mode. Grab a spoon (and a few friends) and stop counting calories ASAP to indulge in these over-the-top ice cream sundaes.
1. Ava Marie's Mt. Monadnock Sundae
New Hampshire is giving Vermont (ahem, Ben & Jerry's) a run for its money. At Ava Marie Handmade Chocolate in Peterborough, NH, chocolate is the shop's specialty, but pastries, ice cream, and ice cream cakes are all the rage, too. Beyond cups and cones, the massive 35-scoop sundae they serve for $38.50 features a choice of five flavors, covered in hot fudge and caramel, granite chocolate rocks, and whipped cream topped with—appropriately for New Hampshire—a chocolate moose.
2. Industry Kitchen's IK Puff
At Industry Kitchen, located in New York City's South Street Seaport, the modern-American on-the-water restaurant serves a $20 dessert inspired by the French profiterole. It's a huge puff pastry with burnt sugar ice cream, whipped cream, toasted almonds, and hot chocolate sauce drizzled on top, totaling 2.2 pounds of sugary goodness. Pro tip: If you're into Instagram, make sure to have your camera ready when the dessert comes out—the chocolate sauce is poured on hot tableside, and you'll want to get that all-important shot.
3. Barton G.'s Sabrina Sundae
Los Angeles and Miami may be known for healthy eating and beach bodies, but there's always an exception to the rule. At the two cities' Barton G. locations, a 4- to 5-pound sundae is served in a giant stainless steel martini glass. There are two versions available: The first entails seven giant scoops of vanilla custard, strawberry jam, and milk chocolate, all piled high onto a fudge brownie. The ice cream is then topped with whipped Chantilly cream, hot fudge, chocolate bark, Belgian chocolate sticks, white chocolate shavings, cherries, and sprinkles. The second option includes vanilla custard, strawberry jam, and milk chocolate, in addition to bourbon-buttered almond and cotija cheesecake ice cream, all served atop brown butter blondies. The five flavors of ice cream and blondies are topped with miso butterscotch, marshmallow cream, chocolate crunch pearls, freeze dried raspberries, cherries, caramel corn, and—because all of that just isn't enough—finished with blowtorched meringue and bottle sparklers shooting out of the sundae. The $49 sundae is named after the owner's deceased pet monkey, Sabrina.
4. Sushi Roxx's Sumo Roxx Sundae
At Sushi Roxx in NYC, the wait staff dances through dinner—which is probably the best strategy for diners, too, if they’re going to order this ridiculous $58 dessert and stay in shape. The sundae includes chocolate brownies, bananas, rainbow sprinkles, lollipops, whipped cream, chocolate drizzle, marshmallows, gummy candies, and vanilla and chocolate gelato. Disclaimer: it’s best to bring friends for sharing, along with stretchy pants.
5. Bagatelle NYC’s $1,000 Ice Cream Sundae
NYC's Meatpacking District is known for being a bit excessive, so it’s only fitting that the neighborhood’s nightlife is on par with Pastry Chef David Zaquine's confectionary creation at Bagatelle NYC. For $1,000, you can pay your monthly rent or embark on a massive sugar high. The sundae includes oversized scoops of vanilla ice cream and Dom Perignon Rosé sorbet topped with chocolate truffles, macarons, whipped cream, chocolate vodka sauce, and "gilded brownies," plus a sprinkling of gold leaf. If you’re looking for a party favor, look no further: it also comes with a Carolina Bucci Lucky Bracelet in 18k gold. The special item is usually ordered at least once a month, but the kitchen needs advance notice to prepare it, so plan ahead.
6. Speedy Romeo's SR Banana Split
Bananas are fruit, so banana splits are healthy, right? After consuming a whole pie (pizza, that is) at Speedy Romeo on NYC's Lower East Side, the after-dinner treat to order is a large-format, shareable sundae with brûléed bananas, whipped cream, Neapolitan ice cream, chocolate and olive oil cake, seasonal fruit, rose sugar, honey roasted peanuts, bourbon cherries, and a tableside-branded marshmallow on top. Bring buddies—this one is made to feed parties of 4 to 6—and at $15, that tab wont be a hefty one for all those involved.
7. Allora's Candy Land Wacky Sundae
Bayside Queens, New York, may be the new destination for wacky desserts—at least when it comes to sundaes. At Allora Italian Kitchen & Bar, there are six elaborate options available. The Candy Land variety involves strawberry ice cream topped with cotton candy, Pixy Stix, gummy poppers, Nerds, and a rainbow marshmallow pop. The family-friendly restaurant is known for its Italian dishes like pizza, pasta and sausages, but the $15-foot tall dessert is making the venue a top destination for sugar fiends.
8. Carmine's Titanic Ice Cream Sundae
If a restaurant names its dessert after an enormous cruise ship, it’s probably not considered light fare. The gigantic banana split is made with two caramelized bananas topped with six heaping scoops of vanilla or chocolate ice cream, hot fudge, candied pineapple, sliced strawberries, fresh whipped cream, roasted hazelnuts, and rolled wafer cookies, all on top of a chocolate torta base. The $24.50 boat, feeding up to 10 people, is available at Carmine’s in Atlantic City, NJ, and Washington D.C. We might have to jog from one city to the next after consuming one.
9. Dylan's Candy Bar's I Bet You Can’t Sundae
In Chicago, deep-dish pizza is king. But a massive ice cream offering might just reign queen (besides Oprah, of course). Case in point: Dylan’s Candy Bar’s insane bowl of sweets: 10 scoops of ice cream and 10 toppings (eater’s choice), plus hot fudge, hot caramel, cherry, whipped cream, and sprinkles. You can choose from an assortment of ice cream flavors, including Cotton Candy, Oreo Cheesecake, Birthday Cake, and Salted Caramel. And $40 later, you may be purchasing a size-larger sweater from the store’s retail section.
10. Omni Mount Washington's Presidential Peaks Sundae
Hotels might be best known for their spas, their super swank lobbies, and maybe their soft sheets and comfy beds. Omni Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, NH has an ice cream offering that tops (pun intended) them all. With two scoops each of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice creams, along with pineapples, strawberries, bananas, starfruit, cherries, graham crackers, brownies, chocolate chip cookies and caramel brittle, the sugar-filled mountain is topped with chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, strawberry sauce, mixed berry compote, whipped cream, cherries, walnuts, chocolate shavings, chocolate straws, and edible flowers. The $100 specialty is only offered during the month of July, so put it on your calendar before it melts away.
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