Speaking with Jung Kim, manager of Very Berry Cafe, about the physical attributes of his snow ice reveals it’s something different. Questions like “Does it have curvaceous ribbons like Taiwanese shaved snow?” and, “Does it have small holes to soak up heavy-handed pours of fruit syrups like Hawaiian shave ice?” were not met with the desired head nod. Seeing that I was having trouble envisioning this treat’s nuances, he gestured to the only Korean-bred Jade Snow machine in Las Vegas.
Unlike other Asian-inspired frosty fare made from cutting mounds of ice and flavored powders into free-flowing forms, this involves freezing and shaving a combo of whole and condensed milk in just seconds into lush, ethereal flakes. The method is reminiscent of that scene in Edward Scissorhands where Johnny Depp crafts an ice sculpture and mimics falling snow.
Once you have a frolic-inducing flurry, it’s time to capture it in a snow box. Kim says most customers stick with strawberry and mango flavors, but more traditional tastes of red bean and taro are also on rotation.
Much like the assembly of s’mores, it’s all about the layers. First comes the base—fruit foundations are fresh purees—then a generous pile of snow ice, followed by complementary notes of cereal, condensed milk and locally made gelato. You can also build your own prismatic spectacle by choosing a base, two toppings ranging from caramel popcorn to Pocky sticks and a drizzle of chocolate or honey.
If the transition from summer to fall has proven difficult, opt for a mango macchiato or banana latte, along with other caffeinated heroes. And who could pass up a bear- or pig-shaped animal gelato adorned with marshmallow noses and Oreo ears? It’s all in the effort to bring something different to the dessert playing field.
Very Berry Cafe 4983 W. Flamingo Road #B1, 702-527-0027. Daily, noon-midnight.