Lulu's Nitrogen Ice Cream is having its grand opening this Sunday, May 31, and the Edgewater spot is going all out to fete the occasion. Between noon and 4 p.m., customers will receive two free scoops (no toppings or waffle cone/bowl) when they purchase an ice cream ($5 for two scoops). Meanwhile, owner Luisa Santos will be giving the first 50 people through the door a limited-edition grand opening t-shirt designed by artist Brian Butler. If you miss out on the free tee, you can buy one and get two free scoops of ice cream while you're at it.
Lulu's will also be gifting temporary tattoos when you add a waffle cone/bowl or toppings to your frozen treat. What's more, Santos tells us there will be music, a photo booth, and even a drawing contest to see who can do the best rendering of Lulu, the company's beloved adopted cow and their source of dairy.
Over the last couple of weeks, the shop has been in its soft opening phase so that Santos and her team can get into the groove of things. When we stopped by last week, we were immediately drawn to the cozy interior. Between the wood washed tables and counter, mason jar light bulbs and vases, and red gingham accents, Lulu's looks like an inside of a picnic basket. Basically, it's super cute. "It doesn't feel like a hospital like some other ice cream places," said Colombia-born, Miami-raised Santos. Seating is available inside and out, and there's even a little kids table that adults have actually taken a liking to says Santos.
Ice cream-wise, the flavors at Lulu's vary depending on what local farmers can provide, but when we visited options included: Nutella, vanilla, piña colada (vegan), strawberry sorbet (vegan), mint with chocolate chips, cookies 'n' cream, strawberry cheesecake and Dulce de leche. The waffle cones and bowls are made fresh in-house daily ($1 extra), and toppings available are graham crumble, Oreo crumble,, chocolate chips, coconut shavings, waffle bits and diced almonds (0.75 extra).
We decided to try one scoop of Nutella and another of mint chocolate chip. The latter is made using fresh mint leaves from Lulu's hanging mint garden against the back wall. To make our dessert, Santos took the ice cream base of our choosing and combined it with liquid nitrogen in a blender right in front us. This process emits a cool cloud of smoke that briefly transformed the petite store into a science laboratory of sorts.
Using liquid nitrogen allows you to freeze ice cream in 20 to 30 seconds per serving. Santos explains this process guarantees freshness because you know your dessert hasn't been sitting around for hours or perhaps days. But more important, she says that as a result of the rapid freezing process, the ice particles are smaller and therefore the texture is far smoother than that of typical ice cream.
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The ice cream is indeed smoother, and the Nutella is reminiscent of cake batter you can't stop licking off your finger tips. It's totally decadent, and if you're a fan of the famous spread you'll be in heaven. Meanwhile, the mint chocolate chip is lighter (relatively speaking), and so much more assertive than the stuff made with mint flavoring rather than the real stuff. It's great and nicely offsets the richness of the Nutella scoop. We got ours in a waffle bowl because, why not? And it was totally worth it because of its buttery fresh taste.
Parking is available in the garage on 19th Street, so stop by on Sunday to draw, take pics and partake in some sweet experimenting.
Lulu's Liquid Nitrogen is located at 2001 Biscayne Blvd. and starting May 31 will be open Monday through Thursday 1 to 10 p.m., Friday 1 to 11 p.m., Saturday noon to 11 p.m., and Sunday noon to 10 p.m.