They call it a fluke, but we won’t bother calling their bluff. Big Gay Ice Cream (BGIC) began as a truck (it now has a shop located at 125 East 7th Street between 1st Avenue and Avenue A) rolling through the streets of New York in 2009. The BGIC truck is manned by Doug Quint, a bassoon playing, Twitter-tweeter, ice cream creationist. Tired of the travel that he incurred as a classical musician, he opted to borrow an ice cream truck for the summer (or so he thought) for a quick job to keep him in town; luckily for us, it turned out to be so much more.
Unlike traditional ice cream trucks targeting children, BGIC appeals to a diverse mix of clientele. The two founders created the food truck to offer a “fun experience” and to modernize the classic soft-serve truck menu. They enjoy the idea of pairing “plain-old soft serve” with fun, eclectic, and even exotic toppings. Taking conventional vanilla and chocolate flavors and creating unconventional products by adding exquisite toppings (wasabi pea-dust, cayenne pepper, sea salt, olive oil, the list goes on…) is a specialty of BGIC. To add to the good-humored nature of this food truck, the names of the menu items are playful - and some would argue verging on controversial - with titles such as “Salty Pimp,” “Bea Arthur,” “Mermaid,” “Mexican Affo-gay-to,” and “American Globs.”
The owners rotate the choices on the menu, keeping the number of ice cream flavors limited to ten or less. And even for these flavors, they stick to classic soft-serve ethos, creating all the items from a vanilla or chocolate ice cream base and then adding toppings to these. The Salty Pimp is the most popular buy; it’s a vanilla cone that is injected with dulce de leche, sprinkled with sea salt and then dipped in chocolate. It sells more than twenty-three times the next biggest seller (WOW).
But what ingredients and flavors do these artistic and ingenious out-and-prouders love the most? They’re all about juxtaposing tastes, so naturally they enjoy ingredients like salt, Mexican chiles, biscoff spread, ginger, bourbon and tequila. And favorite flavors? You’d have a hard time guessing that one of them is beet – but I assure you, it is. They also enjoy the shakes, with flavors such as Horchata, ginger-curry and chai.
Weirdest concotions? Choinkwich and the Nuclear Winter. The former is an ice cream sandwich with chocolate ice cream and a layer of bacon marmalade between two chocolate cookies. Nuclear Winter is a sundae make with chocolate ice cream, red chili roasted pistachios, srircha, and spicy hot fudge. “Served with a pickle, of course,” they say.
It all leaves you wondering just how far the imagination can travel in a food truck. Our answer? Farther than ever before.