I’m ashamed to admit it, but I’m a fair-weather frozen treat eater. I eat frozen yogurt almost daily in the warmer months, even switching my usual coffee meetings and chat sessions with friends to frozen yogurt dates. But when the temperatures drop, I pass on ice cream, with the simple thought of the cold indulgence making me shiver. It’s almost the same feeling I have toward drinking red wine on a sweltering summer day. I’ve been on a mission to find other offerings in our local ice cream shops.
Recently I walked into Haagen Dazs to order an ice cream cake for Valentine’s Day, and I saw the sign that made me realize I wasn’t thinking outside the box. Turns out Kris, the owner of our local Haagen Dazs, sells locally roasted coffee by Great Northern Coffee Roasters. She also has an espresso machine, so grabbing your morning latte, cappuccino, cafe Americano, chai Tea or hot chocolate isn’t out of the ordinary. One of Kris’ favorite hot concoctions is the spiced hot chocolate, cocoa mixed with vanilla, cinnamon and almond, and it makes for a great mocha latte as well. Kris will also hand pack your favorite flavors into pints or quarts to take home for enjoyment in the comfort of your warm home. One of her favorite treats year-round are the custom ordered ice cream cakes. She likes the Belgian chocolate and coffee ice cream with Oreos in the middle. I’m trying that next time without a doubt.
Blue Bird Frozen Yogurt has some wonderful seasonal flavors that help make the frozen snack seem more approachable in the winter months. They include eggnog, ginger bread, apple pie, pumpkin spice, snicker doodle and peppermint. Add hot caramel, fudge or raspberry syrup to warm things up. Stock up on your favorite flavors in the to-go containers, visit the Red Box and head home for a perfect night at home. Check back often for new flavors, which come out every week or so. Ashley Watson, the owner of Blue Bird Yogurt and Mountains Of Groceries (featured on p. 40 in our current issue) says their most popular flavors include cake batter, red velvet, sweet coconut and peanut butter. (Her favorites: thin mint, heath bar and cake batter.)
Another place I frequent often in summer is Dolce for their frozen yogurt and fresh fruit toppings. I now know I’ve been missing out so much more of their delicious offerings. For starters they are open daily at 6:45 a.m. and serve breakfast all day. Ranging from a healthy bowl of oatmeal to a hearty plate of breakfast tacos, they can definitely fit a variety of breakfast preferences. Twelve different grilled cheese sandwiches, fresh salads and two homemade soups made daily round out the lunch menu. The Thanksgiving sandwich reminds me of eating near Union Square in New York City at a place called Chat n’ Chew, one of my favorite old lunch spots post college. It’s prepared with Muenster cheese, turkey, arugula and a cranberry jam spread on French bread and served with Dolce’s homemade potato chips.
As for coffee, I was surprised to learn that in just 10 minutes they can roast a pound of coffee or espresso for you to take home, plus all the coffee they serve is roasted in house. And lastly, if you haven’t already noticed their impressive dessert case (my eye always go straight to the whoopie pies) then you’ve got a new splurge to experiment with. Pastry chef Malorie Harris bakes everything on site at each of the Blue Collar Restaurant Group restaurants and brings things fresh daily. She always has three different kinds of whoopie pies, three types of cookies and brownies, peanut butter pies, chocolate cream pies, tiramisu and cinnamon rolls. If that wasn’t sweet enough for you, then definitely try out the hot, made to order donuts. They come in orders of three, six or 12, and you can choose from plain, cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar or glazed. They come with three dipping sauces, chocolate sauce, maple glaze and a raspberry sauce.
Next up for my sweet tooth discovery trip was Moo’s Gourmet Ice Cream, where I learned they serve Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs all year long. WHAT?! How does a Brooklyn girl just find out that she can get Nathan’s topped all the classic fixins’ in Wyoming? Going to the original location with my dad every summer in Coney Island has been a favorite tradition for much of my life. Now, if I’m craving a little bit of Brooklyn, all I have to do is go to the Town Square. On the coffee front, Moo’s has their own blend of dark and light roast coffee named Moo’s Blend and roasted by Great Northern Coffee Roasters. All their cakes and candy are made in house and cover all the classics like English toffee and almond butter crunch to my personal favorite chocolate covered Oreos and cheesecake.
The owners Vicky and Rick Bickner are dedicated to their products and ingredients being organic and natural, which is obvious in that Rick will only bake his fresh berry pies in the summer when he can get the fruit directly across the street at the Jackson Hole Farmer’s Market. On a side note, Vicki insisted I taste her favorite flavor of all time, the lemon honey ice cream. She told me in 15 years of owning Moo’s and never taking pints home after work, she recently took four pints home in four nights and simply couldn’t get enough. It was really delicious, and a flavor pairing I probably wouldn’t have given a second thought had she not insisted. I’ll definitely be getting a full serving this summer when I’m back on cold treats.
Cocolove was my final stop on this dessert train. In the summer, eating a scoop or two of Oscar Ortega’s pistachio or vanilla gelato is an indulgent afternoon splurge of mine. In the winter when I go to Cocolove, I go in a different direction. Since I’m a coffee freak, I absolutely love getting Oscar’s signature blend or a double espresso with any of his incredible baked items. Cookies, biscotti, macarons, petit fors or bon bons are all so beautiful you actually need to take a moment to appreciate their beautiful shapes and colors before taking your first bite. If you’re looking for breakfast or lunch food, then check out his other location, Atelier Ortega, for items such oatmeal, crepes and quiche. You might also catch Oscar baking in the open production kitchen behind the counter. Don’t forget to stop in there this winter for the Mexican hot chocolate we featured in Liquid in the current issue (p.51).