Sunday, January 21, 2018     Volume: 18, Issue: 46
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Santa Maria Sun / Eats

Cream of the crop: Nite Creamery brings nitrogen-blasted sweets and nightlife to Santa Maria

SPENCER COLE

When Nino Eng, 24, moved to Santa Maria from Long Beach to be closer to his now wife, one thing that caught him off guard was how limited his options were to grab a bite at night.

“We’d always want to go somewhere but everything would be closed by 8 o’clock,” he told the Sun.


I SCREAM
Santa Maria’s newest ice cream shop, Nite Creamery, offers freshly prepared flavors made by instantly freezing the product with nitrogen.
PHOTO BY SPENCER COLE

It’s part of the reason why his new business, Nite Creamery, located at 2003 S. Miller St. in Santa Maria, has operating hours currently set from 3 to 10 p.m. Eng said that once he was able to grow his staff beyond the nine employees he already has, the hours will ideally be expanded to midnight.

The name “Nite Creamery” is a play on words, he said, as both a reference to the late hours the business aims to be open and the method in which its ice cream is made.

“Basically, the difference between regular ice cream and our ice cream is with regular ice cream you make it in a big machine, it comes out cold, and then you freeze it—you don’t serve it right away, you freeze it for a day, and they call that ‘hard-packed ice cream,’” Eng explained during a Friday rush at his shop. “With nitrogen, because we get rid of that whole middle process of using the freezer, we freeze it right on the spot, so it’s not going through the temperature changes in the freezer.”

The process that instantly freezes the ice cream eliminates any chance of the tasty treat taking on what Eng described as a “freezer taste” or freezer burn.


HOMEMADE
All flavors and bases for the ice cream at Nite Creamery are made from scratch. Some flavors even come with made-from-scratch waffles.
PHOTO BY SPENCER COLE

“Because we’re instantly freezing it [with nitrogen], it creates a cleaner texture,” he said, adding the ice cream had a smoother mouth feel because, unlike traditional ice cream, there are no ice crystals. “With regular ice cream, you’re pumping air into it while it’s churning, but this is just pure, dense ice cream.”

Nite Creamery offers up to eight different flavors for patrons to choose from, and Eng explained that new flavors would be rotated in during the coming months. Current offerings range from Salted Caramel Crunch to Mint Mojito.

Since its grand opening on Dec. 30, 2017, the most popular choices among customers has been a tie between the Central Coast Crunch—with brownie bits, praline almonds, and a caramel drizzle—and the Roasted and Toasted, which features chocolate ice cream, graham cracker bits, and bonafide roasted marshmallows.


INSTANT FREEZE
Unlike traditional ice cream, Nite Creamery freezes its product instantly by blasting it with nitrogen, so ice crystals don’t form and a “freezer burn taste” is avoided.
PHOTO BY SPENCER COLE

Eng said that even though some flavors were set in stone, his staff will happily accommodate customers to find one they like.

“It’s not a problem,” he added. “We want to make sure our customers are happy. If they don’t like a flavor, we’ll make them something different.”

While taking photos and observing an average Friday afternoon for Eng and his crew, I was able to sample the Central Coast Crunch, and it did not disappoint. The smooth creamy texture of the ice cream balanced out the consistent crunch that came with each bite, and the caramel added just the right amount of sweetness to make me devour the small bowl in a matter of minutes despite having a full stomach from lunch.

I plan to go back, even if I fear for my waistline if I add consistent ice cream breaks to the end of each work day.

Staff Writer Spencer Cole is always available to visit ice cream shops. Contact him at scole@santamariasun.com.


Chef James Gentry’s ahi tuna at Rooney’s Irish Pub in Orcutt.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ROONEY’S IRISH PUB

Rooney’s Irish Pub has a brand new chef. Chef James Gentry joined the team in January, and his hiring seems pretty in-line with their plan to shape the venue as a prominent gastro pub in the region. If his fresh ahi tuna and avocado stacked with Chinese five-spice wontons, jalapeño vinaigrette, ponzu reduction, and grilled lemon (pictured) is any indication, the venue is off to a solid start. Check out his work at 241 S. Broadway, suite 101, Orcutt.

• Sad news to announce, foodies. After seven long, highly acclaimed years, Bell Street Farm in Los Alamos has closed. The venue posted an announcement on Instagram on Jan. 13, stating, “After seven years of your loyalty, laughter, hugs and yummy food, we have decided to take Bell Street Farm to parts unknown.” The announcement also stated another party would be taking over the space to open a new venue, but no further details were given.




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