Food pundits tell us that the optimal way to cool down is to spice-up what we eat. But, to be honest, cold foods—soups, snoballs, fruits and salads—are more appealing and obvious. The trick is finding dishes with cool on several levels.
When ripe melons come in, High Hat Café rolls out a juicy watermelon-and-crab salad with shaved red onion and lime vinaigrette. Equally exquisite is the snapper crudo with watermelon, lime, gardenia and jalapeño at Coquette.
Maïs Arepas serves all kinds of cool Colombian food, and the ceviches—tarted up with lime, onion and chunks of ripe avocados—are divine.
At Johnny Sánchez chefs Aarón Sánchez and Miles Landrem are always innovating, creating and playing around with the architecture of Mexican food. Their ceviche pairs fresh-tasting cobia with sweet cucumbers and tomatoes, creamy avocado, the tartness of passion fruit and the heat of habanero, topped with crispy hominy for a slightly Southern spin.
Hit Haiku for its killer “King Cake” sushi roll—cream cheese and coconut shrimp inside, tuna, “eel sauce” and toasted almonds on top, or make it Maypop for chef Michael Gulotta’s crazy good “Chaat Salad” with coconut-cucumber ranch dressing.
The gazpacho at the Standard changes on the chef’s whim, but you can bank on cool combos like watermelon, cucumber and tomato. Café Degas is known for its heavenly potato and leek vichyssoise. Add some crusty French bread and good butter…magnifique.
The flavors at Creole Creamery are both simple (chocolate, vanilla, etc.) and supremely cool; think honey-lavender, magnolia or jasmine flower.
At GW Fins, chef Mike Nelson’s “Salty Malty Ice Cream Pie” is so airy, a side view of a slice appears to have layers like a Napoleon. A pretzel crust provides the salt, and then there is the caramel whipped cream, the caramel drizzle and a couple of chocolate-covered pretzels for garnish. Dig in and chill out.