It’s a yummy job, but somebody’s gotta do it. Santa Fe offers many varieties of cold treats—ice cream, gelato, frozen yogurt, ice pops—so the hardest part about finding the good stuff is simply choosing from the many options. This isn’t the final word on the creamy goodness, but it’s a good start!
311 Aztec St., 505-820-0025
Flavor: Mint chocolate chip
Total (with tax): $4.05
Coffee is great and all, and Aztec’s sandwiches can’t be beat but, on a hot summer day, it's very hard to pass up the café’s amazing homemade organic ice cream. I’m not even a big mint chocolate chip fan, but something told me Aztec’s version would be different. It was. The mint tasted like it was plucked from the stem yesterday—no artificial flavors here. I wandered around Guadalupe Street, licking contentedly, occasionally finding giant hunks of dark chocolate to crunch. Aztec’s selection of flavors changes often—in the past I’ve tried the ginger and the green chile, also fantastic.
Ecco Espresso & Gelato
105 E. Marcy St., 505-986-9778
Flavors: Earl Grey tea and lemon
Total (with tax): $3
A few summers ago I had a roommate who went to Ecco approximately five times a week. Since Ecco’s flavor offerings change every few days, this isn’t such a bad idea—and since you can get multiple flavors per cup (the kid-size cup, which I got, holds two, while the large cup holds five), the possibilities are pretty much endless. The gelato is smooth, sweet, creamy and almost perfectly flavored each time—the Earl Grey definitely tasted like the delicate English tea and, paired with the sweet lemon, it was almost too awesome to bear.
Ellie's Yoberri Park
325 W. San Francisco St., 505-995-1191
Flavors: Plain yogurt swirled with pineapple yogurt, topped with fresh pineapple and rainbow sprinkles
Total (with tax): $3.78
I really only have one question for the cosmos: Why did it take me so long to discover Ellie’s Yoberri Park? The space is friendly and inviting, the yogurt is simply amazing and the prices are great! My massive “small” cup of naturally flavored plain and pineapple yogurt was generously rainbow-sprinkled and topped with fresh hunks of juicy, sweet pineapple. Other toppings include any variety of fresh fruit, gummy bears, Fruity Pebbles, granola, chocolate chips and more. Just be sure to arrive hungry because these servings are big.
Refresqueria Las Delicias
4350 Airport Road, 505-438-0280
Flavors: Watermelon and orange with chile
Total (with tax): $3.02
My Spanish is rusty and I had no idea what I wanted, but the super-friendly woman behind the counter gave me the lowdown on every single flavor in the chock-full cases at Refresqueria Las Delicias, located in the Chamisa Center on Airport Road. Though tempted by grape-vanilla, cajeta, mango, cherry and more, I finally decided on watermelon and orange with chile (I couldn’t choose just one). The ice pops were very fresh (the watermelon even had little white seeds!), just sweet enough, and big enough that I put the watermelon pop back in the wrapper after only eating half, too full to go on. This shop definitely wins the Least Expensive Award, too.
56 E. San Francisco St., 505-988-3858
Flavor: Butter pecan
Total (with tax): $3.89
Legend has it that Santa Fe’s Häagen-Dazs is the highest-grossing Häagen-Dazs in the country. Set foot inside the shop on a weekend evening during the summer and it’s not hard to believe. As the only traditional ice cream parlor on the Plaza, the line oozes out the door practically every day during tourist season. As for the ice cream, it’s your classic Häagen-Dazs fare: thick, creamy, smooth and totally tasty. My butter pecan was sweet but not too sweet and riddled with nuts, adding just the right texture to make me happy.
Latitudes Espresso and Ice Cream
228 Old Santa Fe Trail, 505-986-9607
Flavors: Cinnamon and caramel pecan
Total (with tax): $3.51
Slightly off the plaza and shaded by trees, this little coffee shop in the shadow of the Loretto Chapel has your hookup for cool treats. Serving only the finest in ice cream (that would be FX O’Reilly ice cream from Maryland), Latitudes piles it on high with two flavors per cone. I indulged in the super-creamy stuff on a hot early summer day and, while I’m sure eating a cone was the nutritional equivalent of drinking a cup of straight heavy cream, it didn’t matter. That stuff was darn good. The shop also features locally made jewelry and tasty snacks.