FOOD REVIEW: Summertime Treats to Cool You Down
Check out some local shops and stands that specialize in the frozen and the delicious.
In case you haven’t noticed, the heat index around town has been climbing almost as fast as the sweat beads are falling from our collective brows, and I for one have had enough.
Now it is my job to scour the streets of the Lutherville area to hunt for that next great eatery and no weather shall slow me down. But when I gaze out my window at a wavy horizon that resembles a massive hibachi grill, it should come as no surprise that my search quickly narrows to the realm of frozen treats. I’m sure those of you who are reading this in Arizona (and by the way thanks for the dedicated following) will be quick to point out that 96 degrees pales in comparison to the triple digits much of the country will experience, but hey, I’m hot darn it, so follow me on a mission to stay cool.
Last week I wrote about a little diner called the Bel-Loc where I sampled one of their selections of milk shakes. Believe me, the shake was top notch and you could do a lot worse in terms of frozen treats. But in my case, a milk shake at Bel-Loc is usually accompanied by a stack of hot cakes, a few sausage links, followed by a nice long nap. For that matter most of your sit-down joints offer decent frozen selections but the whole process of sitting and ordering only dessert is both expensive and time consuming so I always suggest locating a specialty vendor.
In years past, there were establishments in Lutherville serving just ice cream but those days seem to be all but gone. Unfortunate as that may be, that certainly does not mean a good scoop is impossible to find. Take for example the folks over at Poulet Gourmet Catering in the Green Spring Station. At Poulet they make their ice cream on-site daily and have an assortment of flavors ranging from the usual suspects, such as vanilla or cookies-and-cream, to a few more exotic options, such as apple pie and banana cheesecake. It might not be the cheapest scoop in town, but the freshness and flavor can’t be beat.
For those of you looking to cool off without running up the calorie count, don’t fret. There’s relief for you, too. Admittedly, the words “frozen yogurt” generally don’t get my salivary glands pumping, but that may change after my recent visit to Yogoya Yogurt on York Road. With a handful of yogurt flavors that changes weekly, ranging from vanilla to grape to my new favorite, passion fruit, and a host of literally dozens of toppings, at Yogoya you can create endless combinations of bizarre and delightful FroYo wonders. Whether you want to go healthy and stick to berries and fruit or follow my example and pile on the peanut butter and chocolate chips, all is fair game at Yogoya.
Ice cream and yogurt are nice, but for my money there is no summertime treat quite so refreshing as a nice snowball. Maybe it was all that Italian ice I gobbled up as a child, but something about a fresh cup of flavored snow just puts me at peace.
Finding a decent snowball stand isn’t all that challenging, such as the Hawaiian themed Summer Shack Snowballs on Joppa Road, but if you are willing to make a short drive for something really special, I suggest jumping in the car and heading a few miles up the beltway to Elizabeth and Zyggie’s on Putty Hill Avenue in Parkville.
You may be thinking a snowball is a snowball but once you’ve sampled some snow at E and Z you’ll know that couldn’t be further from the truth. With dozens of specialty flavors, such as guava, amaretto Alexander, Viennese mocha, or lemon meringue pie, this humble looking snowball stand takes the art of ice in a cup to a whole new level.
The flavors are bold, the ice is shaved finely so it melts slowly, and the flavors are layered perfectly throughout so that each bite remains tasty start to finish. What started as a simple attempt to beat the heat quickly spiraled into a love affair between myself and a Styrofoam cup full of ice that I intend to continue for a very long time.
So in the end, I suppose the summer heat isn’t so bad after all. Sure we’re all a little on the sweaty side and teetering on the brink of hysteria, but the good news is once we finally fall off the deep end we can at least do so with something cold and tasty in our hands.