Chances are you’ve seen it on grocery-store shelves, and now you can enjoy a taste of DF Mavens’ self-proclaimed “finest dairy-free ice cream in the world” while strolling down the street. None of the 24 gelatos available here are dairy based; instead, DF Mavens uses only coconut, almond and soymilk, or in some instances a combination of the three. The offerings (most of which can’t be found on store shelves) are subject to change as the company, which has been making gelato for retail for about two years, switches out its flavors regularly: today a store employee recommended the Mint Almond Cookie Monster and the Coconut Green Tea (“it has a different consistency—it melts in your mouth more than regular ice cream does,” she said).
You can score breakfast and lunch there, as well: on the menu this morning was a vegetable wrap with hummus and a peanut butter and banana foster sandwich, along with a wide variety of freshly blended fruit and vegetable juice and coffee and espresso from Brooklyn roaster Brazilia.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the block between Second and Third Avenues, Spot Dessert Shoppe’s offerings are just as decadent, if a little quirkier. Colorful Asian-influenced creations light up the shiny new dessert cases of this second location of five-year-old dessert bar Spot. Located six doors down from the original, the new shop caters to those who want to take a little piece of Spot home with them.
“13 St. Marks [the first Spot location] should be more like a dining-in, sit-down restaurant experience where people can share desserts and tapas,” said general manager Mark Lee. In contrast, there’s only a few places to sit down at the Shoppe, but the bright lights and beautifully arranged desserts create a fun atmosphere for browsing for just the right treat.
At Spot, chef Yunnie Kwan consults with award-winning Thai chef and author Ian Kittichai to create hybrid concoctions that are generally recognizable but with an unexpected twist. Those with adventurous culinary tastes can try the Yuzu éclair or purple crème brûlée, which gets its flavor (and color) from the root vegetable taro. If you’d rather go with more traditional flavors, you still don’t have to compromise on style; Spot’s many varieties of mousse may taste familiar, but they come to the party dressed as bears, pigs and frogs. The shop also serves waffles, crepes and a variety of hot and cold drinks such as matcha lattes and Thai iced tea.
Spot Dessert Shoppe, 5 Saint Marks Pl., bet. Second and Third Avenues; 212-673-6745
DF Mavens, 37 St. Marks Pl., at Second Avenue; 212-260-9800