LIQUID NITROGEN ICE CREAM: A LOOK INTO MISTER
Vancouver. We love our bikes, our hikes and our dragon boat races. And when we’re done with all that fitness stuff, what do we do? We flock to the nearest ice cream place to balance out the universe, of course! And with all due love and respect to some of the existing go-to’s around town, some of us are just obsessed with what’s new and exciting.
Enter: Mister. Since opening their doors earlier this summer, owners Michael Lai and Tommy Choi have proven that they can beat the heat with their brand of liquid nitrogen ice cream. So why liquid nitrogen, you might ask? First of all, it looks super cool (see: IG fodder). If you need another reason beyond you’re eating a science experiment, the technical answer is that liquid nitrogen freezes the ice cream mixture so rapidly that large ice crystals don’t have time to form. Smaller ice crystals equals smoother ice cream. Have you ever left ice cream in your freezer for a really long time and wondered why it looks like Superman’s cave now? It’s kind of the opposite of that.
The interior of Mister’s space boasts a clean, modern aesthetic that matches well with the mad science taking place within its walls. Giant liquid nitrogen canisters line the wall of the prep area, giving it even more of a chemistry lab-type feel. Another subtle touch we noticed was that they white-washed the old exposed brick wall, giving it a really cool frost-like effect. Seating inside is limited, but there’s lots of room to mill around outside. David Lam Park is just a short walk away, too, so there are definitely places nearby to go sit and enjoy your ice cream.
When visiting Mister, you’ll find a selection of 5 or 6 flavours on the menu board. The offerings usually consist of 4 or 5 regular rotating flavours, plus 1 or 2 seasonal flavours. During our initial visit, we sampled four flavours: avocado, dark chocolate, crème brûlée, and lemon frozen yogurt. Not being a huge fan of chocolate – is it foodie suicide to admit that? – I was pleasantly surprised to find that the dark chocolate was my favourite. Upon first taste, I immediately thought to myself: “This is what frozen hot chocolate from that movie Serendipity should taste like.” (Not like that disappointing chocolate slurpee mess that you get if you go to the actual NYC restaurant.) The crème brûlée is also a popular choice since it provides the added spectacle of watching them torch the sugar topping to perfection. If Mister made a dime for every time someone opened up their IG/Boomerang in anticipation of the sugar torching….
Speaking of not liking chocolate, can we talk about the Double Oreo? Yes, this is the Double Oreo flavour made famous by Adele when she paused to give Mister a shout-out during one of her concerts here this past July. Yes, it is that good. So good, in fact, that I like it even better that the dark chocolate that exploded my world just a few weeks beforehand. I made it my mission to convince a fellow non-chocolate-loving friend of mine to give the Double Oreo a shot, promising that it would be unlike any other chocolate ice cream she’s ever had. The moment she tasted it, her eyes grew wide with excitement and she exclaimed, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!” while shaking me by my shoulders. And really, isn’t this the type of reaction we all want when coercing our friends to try our food recommendations? The crazy thing is, this is a common scene outside of the Mister shop. People want try that place where they mix bits of avocado into the ice cream. They want to know if the crème brûlée tastes as good as it looks (by the way, yes it does).
When we first visited Mister before their official launch, we were already prepared to give them a pretty good score based on novelty of the liquid nitrogen and the fact that the ice cream didn’t suck. The minor reservations revolved around how they would expand the menu, and whether they could maintain the high quality of their product once they really start to get busy. Now a few months later, not only have they successfully smashed summer, they’ve run some killer seasonal flavours (Thai Iced tea, Mojito, Strawberry Mint), rolled out take-out pint service and even started interesting collaborations with other exciting new joints like Chachi’s Metrotown (ice cream sammies!).
We continue to enjoy our experiences each time we visit and are happy to give Mister a very solid 8.5 CHOMPS (out of 10). They just might be a fixture in Vancouver very soon, and we recommend that you check them out the next time someone asks you: “What’s chomping?”
Mister Artisan Ice Cream
1141 Mainland St, Vancouver