Saturday, July 23, 2011

Imperial Woodpecker Sno-balls : A Summer Savior

It is no news (since it is in all the news of late), that the Northeast has been suffering from a bit of a heat wave.  Since I'm originally from Dallas, I'd like to think that I have a heartier appetite for such higher temperatures, but the absolute humidity here has me dying.  Places like Imperial Woodpecker Sno-balls, on the other hand, are really thriving!

Imperial Woodpecker specializes in New Orleans style shaved ice, a more fine-ground rendition of our childhood treat, and serving them in signature Chinese takeout containers.

The space is really small, and you'll be wedged against fellow sweaty people with mangy hair, but it gives you plenty of time to contemplate all the flavor combinations that you may possibly want.

Flavahz and topping options!  Interesting flavors include orchid cream vanilla, dreamsicle and sweet lou's nectar cream...ooOOooOOOoh!

I am not sure if it is like this everyday, or just weekday nights, but Imperial Woodpecker's is a one-man operation.  This poor chap was tasked with both taking the orders and creating the iced treats which meant lines a handful of people long can be quite the wait.

Part of the reason the sno-balls take so long to create is because they are actually triple tiered with syrup flavoring to ensure every beautiful ice shard is indeed saturated with flavor.  Such thoughtfulness = more patience required by everyone in line.

For a mere $1, you can get a healthy dousing of housemade condensed milk topping that soaks perfectly into the ice.  (You know I ordered me summa that!)

Thanan ordered this brilliant medley of colors and flavors including blueberry and mango (his colorful combination illicited much conversation about how awesome his vomit would look should he puke post-Imperial).

I ordered a medium sized wild strawberry + dreamsicle with condensed milk topping.  I absolutely adore anything that claims to be dreamsicle (aw memories of elementary school ice cream!).

I do declare that medium size is a bit overkill for anyone.  Small is 8 oz, medium is 16 oz and large is a whopping 26 oz of sno-ball.  A pound of snoballs.  At least it is just ice right?  Ha!

The sno-ball here is delightfully soft, fluffy and flakes perfectly with each spoonful.  

The condensed milk lends a bit of creaminess to the whole treat, making it indulgent yet light.  However, because of the addition of condensed milk, I couldn't really taste the dreamsicle or wild strawberry flavor.  I just tasted cold creaminess, which I didn't mind, with a back saturated by my own sweat (ha! gross, I know).  I'd probably opt for a creamy flavor next time.

It should be noted that the flavors do appear to be artificial and not created by natural fruit juices, if that matters to you.  That would be a complete nice to have, but I grew up on artificiality, and look at me now! (okay, don't look too closely!)

Regardless, the gang unanimously enjoyed the summer snack!

Fun sno-ball tongues!

Imperial Woodpecker's Sno-balls
145 Seventh Avenue South
Imperial Woodpecker on Urbanspoon


  1. This sounds like just what we need here. The sno-balls look so refreshing- luckily I can stay indoors in the A/C all day!

  2. I reallyreallyreally want one of these right now! With the milk topping for sure! I'm willing to deal with the mangy hair.

  3. those colors are beautiful! i agree, i want all of these right now with the milk and everything. and the colored tongues :)

  4. those sno balls are to die for. yum!

  5. Yeah for New Orleans-style sno-balls! And they even use the classic NOLA machine!