On September 11, 2013, Creamistry, a new ice cream parlor located on Barranca Parkway in Irvine, opened as Orange County’s first liquid nitrogen ice cream shop. This new addition to Irvine attracted over a hundred customers on opening day with the promise of delivering fresh, handcrafted ice cream made with liquid nitrogen. Creamistry takes a creative spin on traditional ice cream by making the tasty cold dessert right before your eyes.
Liquid nitrogen, at the temperature of -321degrees Fahrenheit, is combined with an ice cream mix into a large mixing bowl, releasing clouds of nitrogen gas, right in front of the customers ordering. The ice cream is frozen and ready for eating within minutes, unlike traditional ice cream, which takes nearly an hour to make.
After choosing the size of the ice cream (small, medium or large), the customers are able to choose which base they desire: premium, organic, soy or sorbet. Next, the store offers over fifty flavors to choose from–the flavor categories include cream, fruit and nut flavors. The list of toppings also includes candy, nuts, cookies, cakes, fresh fruits and syrups.
To my disappointment, Creamistry does not offer cones, which is a small letdown for a major ice cream fan like myself. However, there are several positive aspects to the menu. For example, consumers that are lactose intolerant can now get any flavor they desire with a soy base.
Located near the cashier register is the “favorites” list, informing customers of the current favorite flavor and topping before they place their order. This week’s favorite combination is the Cookie Butter ice cream with Marshmallow Creme. I personally enjoyed the Salted Caramel ice cream with a premium base and roasted almonds as my toppings. Compared to regular ice cream that is made without liquid nitrogen, Creamistry’s ice cream’s texture is silky soft. The ice cream, rather than sitting in a freezer, is made on the spot, giving a fresh feel to it.
Creamistry attracts kids dragging their parents along as well as high-school students. These customers wait for over an hour in line during peak hours just to order and receive their ice cream, and the rather long wait time seemed to deter most customers from wanting to revisit the new attraction anytime soon. Ami Sheth (Jr.) said, “While I liked how the ice cream was creamy and had a silky texture, I didn’t think it was worth the long line.”
Creamistry charges $4.75 for six ounces. When asked about the pricing of the ice cream, Sheth said, “I was disappointed that the ice cream did not have a stronger flavor, especially because the ice cream was expensive.” Kayti Luu (Jr.) said, “I do not believe the actual ice cream is superior to other companies’ ice cream.”
On opening day, Creamistry went through five tanks of liquid nitrogen and temporarily ran out due to the overwhelming number of customers. But this drawback did not stop Creamistry from staying positive and continuing to serve their customers. Other than the actual ice cream, Creamistry offers a unique and original experience complete with ingredients in beakers and test tubes to add to its chemistry-inspired atmosphere.
Story and photos by Kruthi Renduchintala