In between the beignets and Vieux Carré cocktails, you have to go on a NOLA ice cream tour, especially when the parlors are this charming.
A NOLA Ice Cream Tour: What I Look For
When it comes to ice cream, I’m particularly “crunchy,” or more accurately, I’m like a purist from a Portlandia skit. I value seasonal ingredients, and ideally, local dairy products. If I see a lot of sprinkles and colorful flavors, I’m out.
My litmus test is mint chip ice cream. If it’s green, I pass because I want my flavors to come from food, not food coloring. The irony is that as a kid, I only and very adamantly ate the green variety and swore the white ice cream was a fraud. So you see, I’ve always been picky, but the reasons have shifted.
Admittedly, the word “tour” is a bit of a stretch here, but we did sample two ice cream shops in one day. We were dedicated to the cause. We even scheduled our departure time around one of the ice cream schedules, so what this NOLA ice cream tour lacks in breadth, it makes up for in pure heart.
Hotel Peter and Paul
Sundae Best, the scoop shop, is part of Hotel Peter and Paul in the very artsy Marigny district of New Orleans. While I tend to lean on Air BnB’s for travel, I now want to plan a whole trip around this hotel. I’m passionate about historic preservation and reinventing old buildings whenever possible. Plus, the company leans into church puns, and the website feels straight out of a Wes Anderson film.
In their own words…
Hotel Peter and Paul is the result of a four-year restoration of the former Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic church and school. The site is steeped in history, from the splendid Henry Howard-designed buildings to the school’s appearance in A Confederacy of Dunces, and its author’s (possibly apocryphal) three-person funeral in the church.
The former schoolhouse, rectory, church, and convent have each been carefully restored and repurposed for new congregants. Each building has its own inspiration and narrative, with the resulting restoration ensuring that no two guest rooms are exactly alike. We hope you will honor this landmark by adding to its history through your own experiences.
A NOLA Ice Cream Tour: Sundae Best
Sundae Best specializes in handcrafted ice cream made with locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. They offer classics as well as New Orleans-inspired flavors like the King Cake scoop we ate (when in NOLA, right?). While we couldn’t have the full experience of the interior because of Covid, we still enjoyed the charming porch.
Had this not been our second helping of ice cream for the day, we may have ordered one of their very punny sundaes- The Cold Testament or Three Wise Men (a 3-scoop sundae).
A NOLA Ice Cream Tour: Parish Parlor
We passed Parish Parlor while we were on a long walk through the Garden District, and we couldn’t resist how bright, airy, and inviting it was.
In their own words:
We are a locally owned, locally sourced, from scratch, small-batch ice cream parlor in the heart of New Orleans’ Lower Garden District.
Our menu is inspired by New Orleans and the classic flavors we grew up eating. While our specialty is classic French-style ice cream, we also offer seasonal sorbets and vegan, alternative milk-based options.
All of our ice cream is made in small batches, which allows us to satisfy sweet tooths with seasonal ingredients and holiday favorites (like King Cake and Egg Nog!) Thus, our flavors are always subject to change.
From scrolling through Parish Parlor’s Instagram posts, it’s clear they value community and use ice cream as a fundraising tool to support good causes. I can definitely get behind that mission.
Until next time, NOLA! We’ll be back for more beignets, ice cream, and a church stay.