Note: First Looks give previews of new dishes, drinks, and menus we're curious about. Since they are arranged photo shoots and interviews with restaurants, we do not make critical evaluations or recommendations.
Jet Tila calls Kuma Snow Cream the next big thing in frozen desserts. Some call his Taiwanese dessert "snow ice," others refer to it as "fluff ice" and in Taiwan it's known as xue hua bing. Tila just calls it snow cream, which combines the feel of powdered snow with the taste of ice cream.
"I came up with the term by experience," he says. "This item is heavily Asian driven, and I wanted to make it more mainstream."
Snow cream starts with a base flavor, and for now that includes five: mango, Kuma Snow (vanilla), strawberry, green tea, and taro which is "by far the favorite so far."
Make your own or pick one of five combinations in either the smaller ninja ($5.50/20 ounces) or larger sumo size ($7/32 ounces). Then choose from 24 toppings that are hot and cold such as green apple jelly, Oreos, mochi, Cap'n Crunch, or red bean, and five sauces that include condensed milk, mango, chocolate, strawberry, and caramel.
Tila calls Kuma Snow Cream a proof of concept store with plans to open in Los Angeles and New York City already in the works. "I feel like Vegas is my home," says Tila, who was the executive chef of Wazuzu at Encore Las Vegas and now runs The Charleston in Santa Monica, Calif. "Vegas will be the gauge of how far and how fast we take this thing."
The adorable logo, a polar bear wearing a tie, is found throughout the store. Each of the combinations have their own logo, a variation on the polar bear. Kuma, which is Japanese for polar bear, features a bright turquoise and splashy lime green interior with seating for about 30, although Tila figures the New York version will only occupy 400 square feet.
Click through the slideshow above to see more of the sweet treats at Kuma Snow Cream.
Kuma Snow Cream
3735 Spring Mountain Road, Las Vegas, NV 89102
(702) 816-KUMA (5862); http://kumasnowcream.com/
About the author: Susan Stapleton is a freelance writer based in Vegas. You can follow her on Twitter @susanmstapleton