Creative Cooking

Perfect Pairings: Taste Da Island at Nu Cafe

A hike every Houstonian should attempt at least once.
A hike every Houstonian should attempt at least once. Photo by Kate McLean
If you're into eating clouds, Snowflake Ice is the snack to try. However, it's recommended you set aside two to three hours to complete the steps involved in taking this treat to the next level. The first step is to get really full on Dim Sum, shellfish or whatever in Asiatown. Second step: get a massage, because you deserve it. Then lastly, hit up Nu Café for their unique, thinly shaved ice.

A "Hill" size mound of shavings will cost $5.50, which includes one topping and one drizzle. A "Mountain" size costs $7.50, which includes two toppings and one drizzle. Additional toppings are 75 cents each. With 17 ice flavors, 27 toppings, and six drizzles to choose from, here's how to calculate the number of flavor combinations:

nCr = n! (n-r)!r!

Basic Hill: 50 possible flavor moves (n); choice of one topping, one drizzle (total equals r.) 

Total = 50! (48)!2!
Total = A lot.

Basic Mountain: 50 possible flavor moves (n); choice of two toppings, one drizzle (total equals r.) 

Total = 50! (47)!3!
Total = More than Hill. 

But to simplify, the coconut ice with sweetened condensed milk and pineapple always seems to clean up the heaviest of meals. Besides, calories don't count when they are served as thin as these (I am not a nutritionist.)

click to enlarge Twinkle, twinkle. - PHOTO BY KATE MCLEAN
Twinkle, twinkle.
Photo by Kate McLean
The twinkling, neon ice cream parlor is a welcome environment; patrons make orders by filling out a small form with a pen that resembles an oversized daisy. It feels a little like you've stepped inside a Lisa Frank binder minus a flock of winged-ponies drinking near a magical waterfall.


click to enlarge Shaving da ice, mon. - PHOTO BY KATE MCLEAN
Shaving da ice, mon.
Photo by Kate McLean
Large cylindrical ice cream blocks are hauled out of freezers and placed on a press with one very sharp blade on the bottom. A switch is flipped and the hunk is transformed into a "Hill" or "Mountain" size of paper thin cuts. Yes, you can get away with saying you went on a hike.

Initial contact with the texture causes any conversation to come to a slow stop. Back and forth, the cold, cold coconut is creamy and refreshing. It melts in your mouth, but for how finely it's shaved, it holds its shape for longer than you'd think. Ask them to double back when applying the sweetened condensed milk. Pineapple is a classic pairing with coconut, but they're are lots of cool jellies to choose from, like Mango.

Whatever you don't finish, you can pack to go. It will melt, yes, but throw it in the blender, add a little rum and happy hour is served.

Nu Café is located at 9889 Bellaire and open from 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Their 5901 Westheimer location is open 10:30 a.m. to midnight.


click to enlarge Skirtttt on over to Nu Cafe off Bellaire. - PHOTO BY KATE MCLEAN
Skirtttt on over to Nu Cafe off Bellaire.
Photo by Kate McLean
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