Imperial Woodpecker Sno-Balls

You may recall that on our recent trip to New Orleans, we enjoyed something called a Sno-Ball. We ate this Sno-Ball at a place called Hansen’s Sno-Bliz and though I was wary at first–“isn’t it just ice and syrup?”–I was quickly won over by the texture of that ice and the intense flavor of that syrup. So imagine my delight and surprise when I learned that over in the old West Village City Bakery space (at 7th Ave. and Charles) a New Orleans-style Sno-Ball place had just opened up, a place called Imperial Woodpecker.

After dinner last night at Co. (Jim Lahey’s pizza place), I was craving dessert. Something cold. Something like gelato. And then I remembered Imperial Woodpecker.

On our way there, we ran into our friends Rob and Kath; they were meeting our friend Anna. So soon we were inside at a table and it was time to order some Sno-Balls.

Here’s a look at the menu:


We thought it a little peculiar that $4 buys you 8 ounces, $5 buys you 16 ounces and $7 buys you 26 ounces. Sort of like movie theater popcorn.

When it came time to order, I asked the nice woman there (who was also the owner) about the tiger blood flavor. What is it? “It’s coconut and strawberry,” she explained. “A lot of people really like it, but it’s not my thing.”

It sounded like it would be my thing. So I ordered that, Craig ordered a green apple and Rob ordered a lemonade-flavored sno-ball.

Here’s Craig and Rob sampling their Sno-Balls:


And here’s my tiger blood up close:


I liked it! On a hot summer night, it was refreshing; it smacked of coconut and strawberry in a very nice way, a way that was 90% pina colada-ish and 10% sun tan lotion.

Craig certainly enjoyed his green apple flavor (Kath declared his the best):


It had that intense apple flavor of a green Jolly Rancher. And for all we know the syrup was made by melting Jolly Ranchers; but if it was, it was to great effect. It really hit the spot.

As did Rob’s lemonade flavor (not pictured because it was just white).

All-in-all, if you’re too full for gelato, but you want to cool down with something light and refreshing in the West Village, check out Imperial Woodpecker. There’s a great vibe there and, the night we went, live music. Two guys on guitar playing The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan.

A perfect venue for a hot summer night in New York City.

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