Posts Tagged ‘fro yo’

Graphs: Elite Sweets

By Ryan Cornell

A salad bar with candy instead of veggies and chocolate sauce in place of dressing: pretty much sums up the average frozen yogurt joint. But what do customers load up on? We asked the folks at Sweet Frog, Yolly Molly, Tutti Frutti and Josie’s Frozen Yogurt and found that the best-selling topping doesn’t come in a wrapper.

 

Photos: stockcreations/shutterstock.com (Bowl); FADEDink.net/shutterstock.com (M&Ms); Pierre Leclerc/shutterstock.com (Gummi Bears); Glenn Price/shutterstock.com (StrawBerries); Jason Stitt/shutterstock.com (oreo); Steve Degenhardt/shutterstock.com/ (peanut butter cup) 

 

(May 2013)



Guide to NoVA’s Dessert Shops

By Maddy Berner

cupcakes

Ruth Black/shutterstock.com

No matter the time of day, or diet you’re on, everyone craves the sweet, decadent taste of dessert. Thankfully, the Northern Virginia area is teeming with various sprinkled delights. From fro-yo to giant cupcakes, use your lunch break to explore only the newest and most delicious in dessert fashion. Only the finest sweet shops take residence in NoVA, and we categorized the best by location to help you get to know them.

Something to remember: Larger chains often have multiple locations in the NoVA area. If you see a shop you want to try, look for it in a community closer to you.

*Know of a bakery or cafe that’s absolutely delicious but isn’t featured on here yet? Leave a comment below and we’ll keep updating as we discover new places!

Alexandria

Just Desserts
Take a baking class and learn how to make these decadent treats, or simply shop the menu for an array of cakes, tarts and bars. Each one is made with the utmost care by Deirdre Parker, who has been in the business for years. Just Desserts also offers seasonal sweets, as well as catering services./ Alexandria; 703-801-6325; justdessertsva.com

Lavender Moon Cupcakery
Blood Orange Dreamsicle, Mexican Chocolate Pudding – it’s obvious this bake shop has a knack for uniquely-flavored cupcakes. Some online reviewers say it’s the best in the NoVA and D.C. area with their intensely moist, sweet cakes and decadent frosting./ 116 South Royal St., Alexandria; 703-683-0588; www.alexandriacupcake.com

Alexandria Cupcake
This shop calls itself a cupcake boutique bakery, complete with European style décor. But the real treat is the cupcakes, which are heavenly in their simplicity and taste. Their daily flavors include dark chocolate and red velvet, but call ahead to see if they’re serving their PB&J or rosewater cupcake./1022 King St., Alexandria.; 703-299-9099; www.alexandriacupcake.com

Alexandria Pastry Shop
Not only does this Alexandria staple offer gluten-free, sugar-free and allergy sensitive specialties, but they use locally-grown produce and European chocolate in their batters. They even offer seasonal treats like gingerbread and pumpkin bread. With wedding cake and catering services available, this place seems like the one-stop shop for all your sugary desires./ Bradley Shopping Center, 3690-H, King St., Alexandria.; 703-578-4144; alexandriapastry.com

Buzz Bakery and Lounge
You’ll feel like you stepped into a sweet treat wonderland at Buzz Bakery. Go early for breakfast, or stop in the afternoon to browse their cupcakes, pies and cookies. Then, come back at night where comfortable couches and intimate table settings make a hot spot for romance./ 901 Slaters Lane, Alexandria.; 703-600-2899; www.buzzbakery.com

hollin hall pastry shop

A wedding cake from Hollin Hall. | Photo courtesy of Hollin Hall Pastry Shop.

Hollin Hall Pastry Shop
Hollin Hall has won numerous awards for their take on weddings cakes and other pastries. Not only do they offer your typical treats, but they also sell a variety of decadent mousses in flavors you probably won’t find anywhere else. See what 30-year pastry veteran Mel Meadows is cooking up!/ 7920 Fort Hunt Road, Alexandria.;703-768-9643; www.hollinhallpastry.com.

Bittersweet
Yes, this café and catering company offers a variety of cupcake combinations – coconut cake with lemon buttercream, anyone? But they also serve savory cupcakes like mini lasagnas and mac n’ cheese. But if you’re going for sweet, try their Kahlua mocha trifle, lemon cloud mousse, or others. The possibilities are endless./ 823 King St., Alexandria.; 703-549-1028; www.bittersweetcatering.com.

The Dairy Godmother
Professionally-trained and lover all things sweet and fluffy – Liz Davis has created a unique place for custard lovers. Check online for her Flavor of the Day (sometimes Mexican chocolate or summer pudding), then purchase a homemade dog treat for your furry pal. Both man and man’s best friend will not be able to resist her original family-style desserts./ 2310 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria.; 703-683-7767; www.thedairygodmother.com.

Rita’s Italian Ice

Combine Italian ice and custard and you have Rita’s. This chain is a favorite amongst many in the area, especially on a scorching hot day. Their menu contains every frozen treat you can think of, with toppings to mix into each one. Go classic with an Italian ice, or load up on the mix-ins with a creamy custard Blendini./ Alexandria Plaza 6242-C, Little River Turnpike, Alexandria.; 703-256-RITA; www.ritasice.com.

Occasionally Cake
The real Cake Bosses are right here in town and they have a custom-made cake for any occasion. Choose from a variety of more than 100 flavors including carrot cake, cookies n’ cream, fuzzy navel, red velvet and tiramisu and let these artists work their magic for birthdays, weddings or even dessert (cupcakes). / 8859 Richmond Highway, Alexandria; 703-780-2253; occasionallycake.com

 

Arlington

Red Velvet Cupcakery
This bake shop recently came to the Clarendon area in 2011. Using locally grown ingredients, their cupcakes are moist, fresh and decadent. They even donate their leftovers to shelters and organizations in the area. Suggestion? Try the red velvet. It’s ultra-sweet and, of course, a classic./ 3035 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington.;703-243-5660; www.redvelvetcupcakery.com.

Crumbs
Another popular chain bake shop is Crumbs, also located in Clarendon. They sell brownies, muffins and cakes, but they are known for their giant-sized cupcakes, which can easily feed two or more with their abundance of frosting and taste. Buy one to split in flavors such as Key Lime and Dulce de Leche./ 2839 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington.; 703-5244001; www.crumbs.com.

pinkberry

Fresh frozen yogurt. | Photo courtesy of Pinkberry.

Pinkberry Frozen Yogurt
The Arlington location of this fro-yo giant just opened a few years ago, but has become successful in luring in customers with their unique and healthy toppings. Choose a base flavor then pile on syrups and toppings. These guys promise you’ll feel light and refreshed – just like their yogurt./ 2930 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington.;703-312-9433; www.pinkberry.com

Boccato Gelato
When you walk into this quaint gelato and coffee shop, you’ll think the ice cream looks too good to eat.  Take a bite into rich flavors like cake batter and banana or request your own idea for a creamy concoction on their chalkboard. Fun, different and deliciously authentic./ 2719 Wilson Blvd., Arlington.; 703-869-6522; www.boccato.com

Hiedelberg Pastry Shoppe
Hailing from Germany, Heidelberg’s authentic treats have public officials from all over the area coming for more. Since 1975, the Büchlers have been serving desserts that satisfy both sides of the Atlantic. Take a number and enjoy complimentary coffee while waiting for you order./ 2150 N. Culpeper St., Arlington.; 703-527-8394; www.heidelbergbakery.com

Pastries by Randolph
This local favorite takes pride in their dedication to dessert. Cakes of all shapes and flavors are available and can be custom-made. They also offer pastries like petit fours, chocolate dipped strawberries and small tea cookies. These guys keep it real and keep customers coming back./ 4500 Lee Highway, Arlington.; 703-243-0070; www.pastriesbyrandolph.com

Arax Café
For authentic Armenian desserts, Arax Café reigns supreme. Ice cream and sweet treats like baklava are popular, and often reflect the season. Summery flavors like mango and coconut will relieve you on a hot day, but the friendly customer service will stick with you forever./ 5852 N. Washington Blvd., Arlington.; 703-532-3320.

 

Fairfax

cupcakes actually

The storefront at Cupcakes Actually. | Photo courtesy of Cupcakes Actually

Cupcakes Actually
We gave them a “Best of NoVA” award for their cupcakes, but the sister/owners’ passion and dedication to flavor speaks for itself. We’re not sure where to start on their menu – with choices such as pistachio, orange and blackberry – but their decadent vanilla and chocolate cupcakes are surefire winners./ 11944 Grand Commons Ave., Fairfax.; 571-522-6315; cupcakesactually.com

Simply Desserts
Prize-winning cheesecakes and sculpted cakes make this dessert shop well-known and divine for those with a serious sweet tooth. Owner Kimberly works tirelessly to decorate cakes for any occasion, making sure even smaller treats like cookies and cake pops are original and baked to perfection./ 13140 Madonna Lane, Fairfax.;703-362-8942; www.simplydessertsonline.com

Breeze Bakery Cafe 
Annandale and Centreville might be Koreatown with their endless options of BBQ’ed bulgogi and H Marts, but sometimes it can be hard to find a good Asian bakery. Breeze satisfies this need with its desserts, including sweet potato cakes, Bing Soo (gelato) and bubble tea. Plus, it’s open until midnight all week just in case your date at Honey Pig runs late. So grab a bite, then relax on the upstairs deck with friends – and forget you’re in Annandale at all! / 4125 Hummer Road, Annandale; 703-462-9093; breezebakery.com

The Swiss Bakery and Pastry Shop 
Guten Tag! If you’re looking for a place to score decadent German sweets without dealing with pesky customs, look no further. The Swiss Bakery, with locations in Springfield and Burke, offers European chocolates, fresh-baked pastries and wine and beer from across the pond. Tschüß! / Ravensworth Shopping Center, 5224 Port Royal Road, Springfield; 703-321-3670; Burke Town Plaza, 9536 Old Keene Mill, Burke; 703-569-3670; swissbakery.com

Victoria’s Cakery
Pound cake, scones and delicate tea desserts separate this bakery from your normal cake shop. Of course, the classic wedding cake option is also available, with flavors like lemon and almond on hand. Look for the quaint red shutters outside this welcoming dessert establishment./ 10430 Main St., Fairfax; 703-273-0800; www.victoriascakeryinc.com

Shilla Bakery
For an Asian spin on American classics, visit Shilla for their successful blend of both. The staff has traveled to countries like Japan and South Korea, looking for that hot new dessert trend. Their website even contains a section for new products. Ever heard of melon bread? Read more online!/ 10940 Fairfax Blvd. Suite E-F, Fairfax.; 703-691-1171; intelisystemstest.com/shilla

Unique Bakery
Owner and founder David Behnam has been in the business for 30 years, whipping up custom wedding cakes, pies and cheesecakes. Converse with the friendly staff, sip coffee and browse whatever seasonal flavors this award-winning bakery is offering at the time./ 9557 Braddock Road, Fairfax.; 703-426-7202; www.theuniquebakery.com

Sweet Berry
Customers online rave about the dozens of gelato options available here. Everything is made fresh, including a warm waffle or French crepe to accompany to your frozen delight. Flavors include strawberry, tiramisu, hazelnut and coconut./ 9432 Main St., Fairfax.; 703-978-2112.

Woody’s Ice Cream
It’s a simple, classic ice cream shop taking residence in the 21st century. Get freshly-made soft-serve ice cream in a cone, dipped in chocolate, or over a brownie. Splurge for a milkshake in flavors like peanut butter and black cherry. Only open for the summer!/ 10435 North St, Fairfax.; 703-277-9553; www.woodysicecream.com

Vina Café Bakery
This dessert shop was originally a Chinese bakery, but the family updated it to include a fusion of eastern and western flavors. They now serve Taiwanese-style buns, Vietnamese-style pastries and of course, all-American cakes./ 3900-C Pickett Road, Fairfax.; 703-239-2828; www.vinacafebakery.com

Dulce’s Bakery and Empanada Shop
Entering this dessert shop will transport you south to the rich culture of Latin America. Grab an authentic empanada – sweet or savory – then try with one of their cupcakes or cookies. These guys are longtime NoVA locals, and are dedicated on bringing their unique flavors to you./ 3900-C Pickett Road, Fairfax.; 703-978-8021; dulcesbakery.com

 

Falls Church

Lazy Sundae
A quick milkshake fix can be satisfied at this small, intimate shop in Falls Church. They serve sandwiches as well, but the ice cream and milkshakes are too creamy and sweet to pass up. Try the coconut and taste actual slivers of roasted coconut mixed inside./ 110 N. West St., Falls Church.; 703-525-4960. 

The Mirage Café
We have to ask: who hasn’t had a craving for the honeyed, crunchy taste of baklava? Thankfully, Falls Church has The Mirage, a restaurant and bakery that specializes in the Middle Eastern dessert. Order this freshly-made pastry in bulk, along with a variety of other treats packed with nuts from Iran, Turkey and Afghanistan. Try the balooria, basma or maamoul./ 5916 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church.; 703-845-1600; www.miragesweets.com/.

Frozen Dairy Bar and Boardwalk Pizza
This frozen custard shop has changed a lot since opening in 1950. But through it all, it continues to deliver some of the creamiest and most genuine ice cream in the NoVA area. There’s a lot of history in this place, so grab a cone and enjoy that old-timey atmosphere./ 6641 Arlington Blvd., Falls Church.; 703-534-4200; www.fdbpizza.com

Natalia’s Elegant Creations
Voted best bakery, coffee shop and lunch spot in Falls Church – you simply can’t miss out on the sweet and savory items offered at Natalia’s. This quaint little café specializes in fresh, high-quality products that can be vegan and/or gluten-free. Their gourmet cupcakes almost look too pretty to eat and their various tortes will have your mouth quivering for more./ 230 West Broad St., Falls Church; 703-241-8040; www.nataliaselegantcreations.com/.

 

Leesburg

Mom’s Apple Pie Company
Experience the warm, comfortable feeling whenever you dive into an apple pie again and again – and without preservatives. All your favorites are featured on the menu, including stand-outs like almond amaretto, peach and the ever-classic apple. Their blackberry pie was even voted one of the best in the south by Southern Living Magazine. Breads and cookies are also available./ 126 A Commerce St., Occoquan; 703-497-7437; 220 Loudoun St., SE, Leesburg.; 703-771-8590; http://www.momsapplepieco.com/.

 

Manassas

Confections
A cupcakery “that delivers to you” sounds almost perfect to us, but it’s the variety of cupcake flavors that seal the deal. Come in every day for a different selection: Snicker’s, Coconut, Watermelon, Maple Bacon and Pistachio – just to name a few. And this place loves to support the community, so choose them next time you want to host a party or school event!/ 12801 Galveston Court, Manassas.;703-670-6639; http://www.confectionsonline.com/.

 

McLean

blueberry buckle
A blueberry buckle from Danielle’s Desserts. | Photo courtesy of Danielle’s Desserts.

 

Danielle’s Desserts
Danielle and her baking expertise have been featured on multiple news outlets, which proves just how divine and delicious her treats really are. Layer cakes, pies and cookies, among others, sprinkle the menu. She even offers gluten-free desserts, enjoyed in a warm and inviting atmosphere./ 2001 International Drive, McLean.; 703-442-4096; http://www.daniellesdesserts.com/.

 

Reston and Herndon

Edibles Incredible Desserts
To start, the cake designs featured at this shop are one-of-a-kind and impressive – we would know, we’ve featured them in our magazine twice! Past the cakes are cool confections like gourmet truffles, rich fudge and of course, cupcakes topped with loads of frosting./ 11917 Freedom Drive, Reston.;703-709-8200; www.ediblesincredible.com

The CupCake Ladi
“Superior quality, superior taste,” is what the CupCake Ladi says about her organic cupcakes. They’re made with certified organic ingredients, meaning their great taste will leave an equally great feeling in your stomach. One NoVA Mag reader says you haven’t lived until you try her Moo Moo Moo Cow cupcake, but there are so many options, you’ll be itching to try them all!/11412 West Washington Plaza, Reston.; 703-787-6775; http://www.thecupcakeladi.com/.

Milwaukee Frozen Custard
If you thought there were only two flavors of custard, think again. Milwaukee serves more of them than we can count, with the amount of mouth-watering toppings surpassing even that. Creamy custard is mixed with crumbs and glazes to create blends like s’mores, lemon meringue pie and pumpkin pie./ 300 Elden St., Herndon.;703-467-0900; www.milwaukeefrozencustard.com

Pitango Gelato
This chain claims they use only the freshest ingredients, such as grass-fed cow milk and free-range eggs, which they often import themselves. Their shop serves flavors ranging from sweet to tart, all with an authentic Italian twist. Pitango customers deserve the best of the best, and the gelato definitely delivers it./ 11942 Democracy Drive, Reston.;703-606-9906; www.pitangogelato.com

Chesapeake Chocolates
Always fresh and always handmade – that’s something promised by Chesapeake Chocolates. This dessert shop specializes in chocolate truffles, bark and shapes, making sure to add a little texture with nuts, dried fruit and toffee. Stop into this family-owned location for your next Valentine’s Day gift. They make it personal./ 11426 Washington Plaza West, Reston.; 703-620-0082; www.cheschoc.com

 

Vienna

Nielsen’s Frozen Custard
Nielsen’s ice cream feels like melted butter on the tongue– smooth, creamy and oh, so good. There are loads of fun toppings to choose from, but nothing is wrong with going au natural. Made fresh every few hours, this frozen treat is hard to beat./ 144 Church St. NW, Vienna.; 703-255-5553.

Amphora Bakery
An ever-increasing demand for sweets caused this bakery to relocate not once, but twice! Amphora now employs over 20 experienced bakers, chefs and designers to bring the rich taste of Europe to every bread and pastry on the shelf./ 405 Maple Ave. West, Vienna.; 703-281-5631; www.amphorabakery.com

Cupcakes!
The name of this cupcakery speaks for itself. Simple, elegant and just plain delicious – if that’s what you’re looking for, then Cupcakes! makes it easy. Choose from cupcakes of the classic variety, or change it up with lemon blueberry and pumpkin./ 527 Maple Ave. West, Vienna.;703-938-3034; www.cupcakescupcakery.com

sweet city desserts

Decadent treats from Sweet City Desserts. | Photo courtesy of Sweet City Desserts.

Sweet City Desserts
The concept of this shop was to allow customers to watch the pastry chefs as they work. They can order any of the Filipino-style desserts, then relax in the lounge area surrounded by free Wi-fi and soft music. Try a purple yam cupcake first, it’s just one of many unique flavors there./ 131-A Maple Ave. West, Vienna.; 703-938-8188; sweetcitydesserts.co

The Pie Gourmet
If you thought you knew every type of pie, think again. The Pie Gourmet offers dozens more, as well as specialty cakes, cheesecakes and other desserts. Check out the photos of each pie, then choose the right flavor for any occasion. It’s guaranteed to delight the taste buds./ 507 Maple Ave. West, Vienna.; 703-281-7437; www.piegourmet.com

Cenan’s Baked Goods
Stop into Cenan’s for a sandwich, but stay for their array of homemade pastries, including delights like brioche, meringues and Turkish delights that are authentic and sweet. Cenan himself promises hearty, fresh bread every morning, without the icky preservatives./ 122 Branch Road SE, Vienna.; 703-242-0070; www.cenansbakery.com  

Yas Bakery
Since 1986 Yas has been supplying Vienna with delicious Persian cookies and cakes. If you count yourself among the many baklava lovahs, this market is a must-stop shop. One Yelp reviewer says, “If you’re interested in unique foods, Yas is like a playground.” / 137 Church St. NW, Vienna; 703-242-4050; yasbakery.com

Silva’s Patisserie
A patisserie (often spelled with a miniature rooftop accent thing over the ‘a’) is a French or Belgian bakery that specializes in pastries and sweets. This family-owned hidden gem boasts a selection of tempting desserts that will have you packing on the pounds if you’re not too careful with their marzipan, creme brulee and macaroons. There’s even key lime pie, which is undeniably hard to find in NoVA. / 167 Glyndon St. SE, Vienna; 703-255-6880; silvaspatisserie.com



One Mo’ Fro-Yo Shop: Menchie’s Signs Deal for Two NoVA Locations

Posted by Carten Cordell / Thursday, June 21st, 2012

fro-yo

CGissemann/shutterstock.com

How many fro-yo shops are there in NoVA, again? Do we really need another one? Well, perhaps today isn’t the day to ask since we’re approaching triple-digit temps out there.

Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt recently signed leases in both Alexandria and Arlington. Menchie’s touts a selection of more than 40 rotating flavors and “every topping under the sun.” You can mix as many toppings and flavors as desired and the price is based upon the weight of your fro-yo creation. For those of you who still scream an astounding “Yes!” to mo’ fro-yo, you’ll be disappointed to know it isn’t slated to open until the fall. Sorry.

But if I’ve suddenly gotten you in a fro-yo frenzy, tell us where you’re going to get some and why you chose that shop.



Memorial Day: The Great Indoors

Posted by Carten Cordell / Friday, May 25th, 2012

American flag

The beach? That's so 2011. / Photo credit: Shutterstock/ spotmatik

It’s come down to this: you have a fantastic four-day weekend in front of you (can I get an amen!) but you don’t really want to venture out into the massive holiday crowds. Totally understandable. If this is you, not to fret. Here are a few ideas of celebrating the long weekend a la air conditioning.

picnic

Look - no ants! / Photo credit: Shutterstock / Morgan Lane Photography

Throw a potluck/picnic in your living room. Forgo obvious picnic spots for an in-home feast. Try out one of these recipes plus a red, white and blue dessert and just relax, knowing there’s no group of tourists moving in on your spot. Or a line for the bathroom. 

party

Wig not included. / Photo credit: Shutterstock/ CREATISTA

Download a playlist and dance the day/night away. Don’t think all the best parties are out  in the city. You can easily transform your extra guest room/living room/den into a musical extravaganza with the help of some hot tunes (check out here, here and here to get you started). 
 

photo shoot

Too cute for words. / Photo credit: Shutterstock / Melanie DeFazio

Have a Glamour shots-style photo shoot.  Get the family together and take some fun shots. It’s never too early to get the dreaded Christmas card photo out of the way or to sport your patriotic pride.
 

sundae

This sundae was made for eating. / Photo credit: Warren Rojas

Jump in your car and spend the day fro-yo hopping. You’ve heard of progressive dinners? Same concept, only with one course in mind: d-e-s-s-e-r-t. Check out our Dining Desk’s Freeze Jag for a month’s worth of NoVA’s yummiest ice cream treats. 

Check back here daily for more things to do + events to hit up this week/end. For tons more Memorial Day coverage, go to our guide here

–Lorin Drinkard



Freeze Jag: Intermission

Posted by Warren Rojas / Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

[We interrupt your regularly scheduled sweets sortie for this meditation on the state of frozen desserts in NoVA today.]

In Northern Virginia, summer can mean many things. But most of all it means that it’s hot out.

Not warm.

Not pleasant.

Hot. Sticky, wet, swampy horror heat that gets under your skin and steam-cooks your brain.

For years, a healthy dose of ice cream has been the go-to remedy for beating the heat, but lately the frozen favorite has seen an increase in frosty competition from the resurgence of the tangy, original style frozen yogurt, and the funky flavors of Italian gelato.

Boasting about its low-fat content and natural ingredients, frozen yogurt start-ups like Pinkberry and Red Mango stormed the country since their founding in the latter half of the last decade. Gelato producers took a similar approach, spinning its product as a classier, more delicate alternative to ice cream. Northern Virginia and D.C. has seen several specialty gelaterias open like Plush (Vienna) or Boccato (Clarendon, Old Town Alexandria); some are on their way to becoming successful franchises—Pitango has four locations, Dolcezza, three.

Gelato and frozen yogurt places have popped up in bustling civic centers like Reston Town Center, Old Town Alexandria, Tysons Corner, Clarendon and all over Washington.

Still, what’s wrong with ice cream? In all of the frenzy, how have the area’s old fashioned ice cream makers fared in the blitz of trendy treats?

“We’re selling more ice cream now than we ever have,” Kline’s Freeze owner James Croushorn said, he and his wife having bought the business from his father-in-law 13 years ago. “We’re pretty much maxed out when we’re busy; this little building wasn’t built to do the business we’re doing.”

Kline’s sells locally sourced, old fashioned, low-fat soft serve ice cream and has been in Manassas since 1965. Things haven’t changed much over the last half-century. “We’re selling the same product we’ve had for 30-some years,” Croushorn boasted.

Trends come and go in the dessert market, and Kline’s hasn’t been immune to trying out hot new items in the past. “I think years back my in-laws tried to sell a yogurt product here, and our customer base didn’t like it and didn’t want it,” he said. “I’m sticking with ice cream.”

The longstanding popularity of a place like Kline’s, which has weathered countless trends in the past, isn’t surprising. But it seems that even the newer home-made ice cream shops do not view gelato and frozen yogurt as a serious threat. “I know it has not affected us, our sales are also growing” Toby Bantug, who owns Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream with his wife, Monina, asserted.

Toby’s serves hand-dipped, super-premium ice cream, which Bantug makes on the premises. And while Bantug acknowledges the popularity of frozen yogurt and gelato, he doesn’t view them as a threat for the ice cream market. In fact, he welcomes them. “Although frozen yogurt has the healthy thing going for it, it makes people aware of frozen desserts and makes people think about ice cream. It’s all good,” he said.

David Tax, owner of Lazy Sundae, which serves hard ice cream made from dairy from the Shenandoah Valley, is equally unfazed by “it” dessert shops. “The quick hitters, the trendy places, you’re not going to see those places in three or four years because they’re hitting, and as soon as their business takes a downturn, and it’s going to because it’s a trend … they’re history,” Tax predicted.

Outside of the cities and suburbs, trendy frozen goods barely register with ice cream vendors. Moo Thru turned out to be a runaway success when it opened in 2010 despite its remote location. The modest stand sells ice cream made from cream sourced from owner Ken Smith’s own dairy farm, and he claims it’s not uncommon to see people coming from as far as 40 or 50 miles away just for a cone.

“It seems that the more [customers] taste our product the more they want of it,” Smith said.

Smith’s stand has been doing so well, in fact, that the dairy farmer turned ice cream magnate is considering opening a second location in Northern Virginia proper. Even with expansion on his mind, Smith hasn’t given competition from gelato and frozen yogurt much thought.

“I don’t think [gelato and frozen yogurt] are in my realm of thinking simply because they offer a different type of product,” he said. “When we were starting in this business, gelato was a name that was thrown at us a lot… a new dessert product people were striving for… and yogurt being the same, and it’s not that we’re without a thought of those products… but right now we’re focusing on our quality ice cream.”

So there you have it: ice cream—it’s still popular.

—Kris King



Freeze Jag: Cultured

Posted by Warren Rojas / Friday, August 12th, 2011

August is historically the steamiest, stickiest, sweatiest month of the year–brilliant move, Founding Fathers, building the nation’s capital on a swamp–in these parts. We’ve tracked down 31 frozen treats (one a day for the rest of this month) to provide you with some temporary, and often insanely delicious, relief.

The place: Cultured – 216 Loudoun St. SE, Leesburg; 703-771-1116; www.culturedleesburg.com

The prescription: fro-yo with chocolate-covered pomegranate. “Have you ever had plain yogurt? It’s like that,” was the circular reasoning my tongue-tied server tossed out when pressed about the difference between the newish Cultured (debuted, briefly, last fall) and all the other preexisting fro-yo slingers.  Turns out their “naturally tart plain yogurt”–the raw material is provided by neighboring South Mountain Creamery (located across the river in Middletown, Maryland)–lives up to its name. The end product is more icy than creamy, with that tell-tale tang that suggests all the promised probiotic magic is still happening. It’s “plainness,” however, is counterbalanced by the panoply of toppings available (one free flavoring agent per order; extras will run you $0.50 a pop), including the dark chocolaty and luscious pomegranate pieces that ultimately found their way into my cup.

Feeling naughty? Load up on all your commercial favorites, including: Reese’s Pieces, Coco Roos cereal, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, chocolate sauce, crumbled brownies from the adjoining Mom’s Apple Pie bakery, ginger lemon cookies, crushed York peppermint patties and/or crushed Oreos.

Counting calories? Sidestep snacker’s remorse by indulging in guilt-free sweeteners, including: blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, mango, peaches, honey, organic blue agave and/or Japanese mochi (plain or sesame).

Hell, if you doctor a cup with nothing but fresh fruit and wholesome grains, you might just walk away with the healthiest “treat” in town…

–Warren

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Keep tabs on the month long Freeze Jag trek here.



Freeze Jag: Yolly Molly Cafe

Posted by Warren Rojas / Monday, August 8th, 2011

August is historically the steamiest, stickiest, sweatiest month of the year–brilliant move, Founding Fathers, building the nation’s capital on a swamp–in these parts. We’ve tracked down 31 frozen treats (one a day for the rest of this month) to provide you with some temporary, and often insanely delicious, relief.

The place: Yolly Molly Cafe – 12164 Fairfax Town Center, Fairfax; 703-272-7007; www.yollymolly.com

The prescription: AYCE fro-yo. I’ve seen adults wander into this newish fro-yo pipeline and stare wide-eyed at the bank (eight in all) of self-serve machines, somewhat perplexed by how they should proceed. One dessert-savvy tot, on the other hand, instinctively marched directly from the front doors to the fro-yo nozzles and began dictating his mix-and-match order to his doting guardians. Lucky for him–and us–no one need wait in line or dawdle at the front counter during Yolly Molly’s weekly all-you-can-eat promotion (Mondays and Tuesdays from 4 p.m.-7 p.m.).

For $6.99 (regular price: $0.59 an ounce) one can indulge in all kinds of probiotic goodness, including: California tart (standard base favored by the entire froyoverse), wild strawberry, triple chocolate (billed as low-fat, but definitely delivers a mousse-y, uber chocolaty experience), pomegranate energy, pink lemonade sorbet (sweet-tart palate cleanser with plenty of citrusy staying power), plain raspberry and vanilla bean (spicy and creamy standard bearer).

And don’t forget to travel down the toppings bar, a customization carnival stocked with: fresh fruit (mango, pineapple, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, shaved coconut), cookies (whole animal crackers, crushed oreos), sugary cereals (Fruity Pebbles, Captain Crunch), straight up candy (gummi pieces, M&M’s, toffee bits) and sauces (honey, white chocolate syrup).

–Warren

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Keep tabs on the month long Freeze Jag trek here.



Smorgasbord 2.0: What’s Coming to Clarendon

Posted by The Editorial Desk / Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

In this edition of Smorgasbord: Pinkberry to open August 5; Trader Joe’s building permit approved; and Ben’s Chili Bowl comes-a-courtin’.

Pinkberry Opening August 5

Clarendon’s Cold War is heating up with the impending opening (August 5) of Pinkberry’s N. Filmore location. Pinkberry (of the inanely annoying jingle) will offer six frozen yogurt flavors (original, chocolate, mango, pomegranate, watermelon, and salted caramel), along with the familiar fixin’s (including granola, gummy bears, and chocolate). Additional offerings include fruit parfaits and smoothies.  I haven’t sampled Pinkberry yogurt so I can’t opine on the quality or flavors, but so far this is all sounding pretty familiar (i.e., Clarendon Boulevard’s Red Mango).

Two big differences between the chains that will excite fro yo fans is that Pinkberry will offer 25-ounce take home portions, “swirled-to-order” and the location will keep later hours than its competitor. Sunday through Thursday, the store will close at midnight; Friday and Saturday it will close at 1 a.m.

Pinkberry
1220 N. Fillmore St.
Arlington, VA 22201

Trader Joe’s is Getting There?

If you’ve been waiting anxiously for $3 wine to come to the neighborhood, there is good news for you. ARLnow.com reports that Arlington officials finally approved Trader Joe’s building and zoning permits for its Clarendon Center site. Interior work will begin soon. Stay tuned for an opening date.  

Ben’s Chili Bowl Looking to Expand

Could it be that Clarendon is not just for pizza, cupcakes and burgers these days?  Apparently, Ben’s Chili Bowl is making a play for the Clarendon corridor. The brothers Ali are considering an expansion of their chili half-smoke empire and Clarendon is on the short list of six locations for a satellite. Watch your backs, Hard Times and  Weenie Beenie!

-Johnisha M. Levi