Pastry chefs typically get a little bit giddy when they get a new toy, and Meg Galus is no different. She spends a lot of her time plating artful, composed desserts at The Park Hyatt Hotel in the Gold Coast, specifically at NoMI Kitchen, the property's signature restaurant. But lately, she's been on a soft serve kick, thanks to her new machine.
"Especially in the summer, we get a lot of people coming in and just wanting something quick and something easy and something fun, especially out on our garden. So it was just kind of a fun thing to bring in and play around with," said Galus.
This week, she's cracking open black cardamom pods, collecting the tiny seeds, and combining them with milk, sugar and cream, creating a cardamom-scented soft serve that she eventually tops with a honey and orange-infused sauce that's loaded with fresh Tahitian vanilla beans. She also roasts pistachios, pureeing them into a thick paste, then adding it to her ice cream base, whisking it in until fully incorporated. Once it's done, she tops it off with even more roasted pistachios. If you choose to get a swirl of both flavors, you get both toppings. Her options are limitless.
"Any range of spices, teas we're infusing; today we have cardamom and pistachio. So we can do hazelnut, we can do coffee. We can do some familiar things and then play around with some more unfamiliar ingredients," she said.
And as she harkens back to her own childhood, filled with summers of DQ dipped cones, don't rule out the same treatment here.
"Oh there will be a dipped cone at some point this summer. There will be a dipped cone," said Galus.
Not only can you get an eight ounce version inside here at NoMI Kitchen, but you can also get a 12 ounce to-go in case you want to walk around Michigan Avenue or go down to the Lake, or just relive your childhood but in a much more upscale version.
Steve says soft serve has a lot less fat than regular ice cream.. And the flavors at nomi will rotate almost every week. Meg can do two at a time, but promises to have both the cardamom and pistachio the rest of this week.
Park Hyatt Hotel
800 N. Michigan Ave.