Because I am so up on hot food trends—in Minnesota and beyond—I had no idea that Thai rolled ice cream was a thing. But it is and has been in Minnesota for at least a year. Sota Hot & Cold opened in August 2017 in the front of the ex-Mai Village space on University Avenue in St. Paul. It now opens into Tapestry—which opened earlier this year—and the now connected sushi bar, Monkon Sushi. Apart from an entry they share a long connected kitchen and I saw some staff members in both spaces. I mention this because when I asked one of the staff at Sota if the businesses had shared ownership, she said no but it seems clear they do: Pheang Vang shows up as the person behind both ventures. Anyway, we ended up at Sota Hot & Cold last night when friends we’d just eaten dinner with at Homi suggested it. Perhaps because of the heat, lots of other people had the same idea and it was really quite busy. And the ice cream was good. Herewith a quick look at the place.
As you probably know, rolled ice cream—also called stir-fried ice cream—is made somewhat unusually. The ice cream base is poured onto a frozen “griddle”, mixed and spread and then scraped into neat rolls. At Sota you can either choose from standard combinations or construct your own from a list of bases, additions and toppings. As each order is made to order it’s a longer process than just getting a scoop but watching the ice cream being made is a strangely hypnotic process, at least the first time. Our boys were glued to the counter watching the orders being put together.
The ice cream itself we thought was quite good. There was also a lot of it. It comes in two sizes, $6.95 for the regular and $4.95 for a kids’ size. We all got the kids’ size and it was large enough for adults as well. We couldn’t imagine one person eating a larger portion—though perhaps the idea is to get it to share between two people. There’s casual seating in the Sota area if you’re not taking it outside—on this hot September night, nobody was—and some people were also sitting in the waiting area at Tapestry. I’m not sure how that goes when Tapestry is busy but on the basis of our visit last night I’m not entirely sure when they’re busy. We got there right before 7 on a Saturday night and it was completely empty. Apparently, they close at 8 pm and turn into a dance club space, but I’m still surprised there was no one there eating. Then again, reports of the quality of the food at Tapestry continue to be discouraging.
Anyway, here’s a quick look at Sota and the ice cream being made. Scroll down to see what’s coming next.
The boys enjoyed eating the ice cream as much as they enjoyed watching it be made. Odds are very good that we’ll back here often when eating out with them in St. Paul. Actually, I think Sota has a Minneapolis location too. And they’re probably not the only rolled ice cream game in town either. Alas, I don’t think we’ll eat at Tapestry any time soon. Not unless a number of positive reports of their food emerge. If you have such a report please write in below.
I’ll be writing up that meal at Homi in a couple of weeks. Next week from the Twin Cities I’ll have a write-up of our recent meal at Tenant in Minneapolis.