The first time I heard of fried ice cream was probably in the late 1980s, likely via a Chi-Chi’s ad. I’d see the commercial on TV promoting something that struck me as a paradox. How can one fry ice cream? The ice cream would melt if it went in a fryer, right? Obviously, this was doable, hence its presence on the desert menu of a restaurant. Still, fried ice cream has been one of the more-perplexing food items I have come across in my life.

At some point years later, I had some (I cannot remember the restaurant). Far more recently, I decided to get dinner and dessert from Casa Vallarta in Eau Claire. The person on the other end of the phone recommended their fried ice cream:

Colorful fried ice cream.

How does it work? Typically, ice cream is coated in egg whites, then something like corn flakes, then deep fried for a few seconds (those two layers provide enough insulation to keep the ice cream frozen while providing the deep fry effect on the outside). That’s pretty cool.

This is what you get at Casa Vallarta, with additions. There’s whipped cream, sprinkles, chocolate and fruit sauce, a Maraschino cherry on top, and a dessert tortilla on the base; I also got a taste of coconut. Of course, the vanilla ice cream itself was fully intact — slightly creamy and still shaped like a ball.

Down into the ice cream dome.

If you’ve never tried it, and still cannot quite ponder how ice cream can be fried, go order some at Casa Vallarta. I can definitely say that 10 year old me would never imagine that one day, I would be writing about that sweet seeming impossibility I saw on a commercial break.

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