Cloud 9: What the Hell is Snow Ice and Why is it Awesome?

It tastes better than it looks, just bear with me on this.

604 W. Belmont

Website

All right, comrades, ready to eat something from Taiwan that looks like wax paper, feels like snow, and tastes like whoop-de-frickin’-doo? No? Then go away, no one likes you.

All cold, hard truth aside, here’s a conundrum for you: snow ice. It’s what happens when you freeze a block of flavored ice, and use an industrial ice-shaver to shave it into really thin sheets. I don’t like to use the word “shave” because that implies that my ice cream has hair, and that’s just wrong. In fact, this stuff is incredibly clean.

The good folks at Cloud 9 have, aside from free board games to play (what?), snow ice in four flavors: Original (it would help if I knew what original meant, but it just tastes… white icey creamy), Mango, Strawberry, and Chocolate. You can put some syrups and toppings on it, and it’ll end up looking something like the thing at the top of the page. And it tastes pretty damn good.

You’d think this would be in “the good,” but it’s in “the okayish” category. This is because I do have a few complaints with the place, but none of them are major. I think that would have been obvious based on the category it was in, but people are stupid.

First off – only four flavors? Seriously? If they add a pomegranate flavor, I will personally make a category called “Shaved ice is amazing” and put it up there. Because pomegranate shaved ice would taste like getting killed instantly in an enjoyable porn accident and going to kitty heaven to pet the softest of kitties for eternity. And at your funeral you get underwear of the opposite sex tossed on your casket.

See how many goats there are? That's their amount of flavors. That's it.

Second – it’s fun for like, one visit. Snow ice is an interesting treat that gets old fast. It’s in the middle from good to amazing – not exactly amazing. Like I said, if they add more flavors, like a shaved ice flavor of the week, it’ll probably shake things up and make it more interesting.

Third – I don’t know, I just think things come in threes, so I’ll make up that there’s an evil hamster that lives under the seats and steals your pants. WAIT, I KNOW! The furniture is weird to sit on, and kind of fragile.

So it’s worth a visit, that’s for sure, but because of the above factors, and because it’s more than a few blocks away from the nearest el station, not worth going out of your way to become a regular. If it gets better I’ll let you know here.

Forever Yogurt Red Line – Serve Yo Own Damn Self Mofo!

Concept art of the Red Line location

931 West Belmont

Website

When I go in and I go to the register to order my frozen yogurt, I’m doing it wrong and I’m a terrible person please someone kill me oh my God, I’ve got ugly all over my eyes. But thankfully the staff is very friendly about my status as a blight upon the living. Turns out I have to yank the lever on my own (oh shut up) and top the frozen yogurt all by myself. Because that’s what real Forever Yogurt customers do.

So comrades, does it sound like a recipe for disaster, or a recipe for chaos? I’ll give you a hint: chaos and disaster mean the same thing in this context.

Well, not really. I’ve been in Forever Yogurt Red Line several times, and I have never seen yet someone:

  • Licking the cake batter yogurt straight from the dispenser like a guinea pig
  • Poisoning the nozzles with something hard to pronounce
  • Trying to fill a water cooler bottle with every flavor to save it for when the Weasel King comes and destroys Chicago
  • Having a terrorist nose that sneezes all over the nozzles
  • Combining the cookies & cream with the plain tart, and causing a massive explosion in the process

I’m sure that the folks in the Wicker Park location have their own self-serve horror stories. But with a cop car directly outside at all times for the CTA, I’m sure if anyone’s asked to leave, it will be less of a question and more of an implied “yes.”

As for the froyo itself, I figure the best way to judge any frozen confection dealer is by their vanilla – because if you screw up the most basic flavor, then why are you in this business? It’s damn good vanilla, although usually they only have the French vanilla as opposed to the regular (but let’s not be too picky, Dave).

Sure, the decor might be a little overwhelming (subway trains do not dispense frozen yogurt. If you try attain froyo in this manner in real life you will die violently, and not by my hand for a change) and they might play the music a little loud. But dammit, this place is far better than that Tang Cups joint just down the street (yogurt cheescake? Really now, make up your mind), it even beats my previous dive, the Yogen Früz whatchamacallit (please stop compromising taste for health), and certainly it’s better than the Baskin-Robbins/Dunkin’ Donuts (does anyone even use the BR register, or is it just the DD?). All of these restaurants are on the same block. Wrap your head around that. But Forever Yogurt is THE place to go between Sheffield and Clark on Belmont.