Tuesday, September 01, 2015


Our neighborhood happens to be saturated with a host of walkable ice cream, gelato and frozen yogurt options. This is not the worst problem to have. The strident newcomer, Jeni's Ice Cream, recently brought top-dollar haute artisanal ice cream flavors -- $28 for 2 adults, 2 kids to lap up Ndali Estate Vanilla Bean, Wildberry Lavendar, Brown Butter Almond Brittle and a sundae -- along with snaking lines around the block at all hours of the day. Sure, it tasted great, but the overhead involved in the experience ruled it out as a high-frequency option for us.

Upon witnessing Jeni's auspicious launch, we shuddered to think how the other local establishments might fare against such stalwart artistry in a hipster hood, but so far each shop seems to be different enough to hold its own. Froyo Life wins huge with the family sect offering a large selection of frequently updated flavors, toppings, ample space/seating & free toys/board games to occupy the ankle biters while adults peruse their large selection of current magazines. Gelato Bar is a well turned-out traditional Italian gelateria experience with classic flavors as well as sorbetto and a few frozen Greek yogurt options. 

Then the high-drama began. After such gleaming fanfare, Jeni's was suddenly shuttered for weeks with no notice save for a handwritten sign posted by a neighbor urging the business to fess up to having a product riddled with Listeria that risked the health of the 'hood. It reopened and the long lines reappeared, but only for a short time before they closed again. This second Listeria outbreak scare was widely reported and even made the national news. Now it was very easy not to crave the high-priced, not-worth-the-wait dessert. 

Cut to last weekend at the Barnsdall Art Park Friday Night free-for-all (not) when I succumbed to the child pleading for an ice cream from the Jeni's Ice Cream food truck. Here I stood, only 3 people deep in the line, but still flashing back to the pre-Listeria days and excrutiating wait times. When I finally arrive at the window, I've already accepted the $5.50 cost for a child's 2-scoop ice cream, but am now greeted with a new offense: the $1.00 extra charge to have your ice cream put on a cone.

Where does Jeni get the balls to charge an extra dollar so your kid can have an ice cream cone?! $6.50?? Retreating with ice cream bowl in fist-clenched hand, I swore, Never again, Jeni.

How I longed for simpler times and the reasonable yet delicious suburban ice cream stand of my youth.

Then today, when and where I was least expecting it, I happened upon the answer to my local ice cream angst. A frozen gem a mere 3 blocks north of all this fierce competition: Little Dom's Deli. Although a limited flavor selection, Little Dom's Deli has gelato and frozen yogurt for $3.00 and comes with a cone. But not just any out-of-the-package cone -- our esteemed local pastry chef at Lil' Dom's, Katherine Anne, handmakes small-batch fresh waffle cones on a pizzelle griddle. All I can say is thank you ... and Little Dom's Deli wins!

Here's a recipe from Saveur.com to make your own waffle cones on a nifty pizzelle griddle at home:

Pizzelle Waffle Cones 
1 ⁄2 cup plus 1 tbsp. sugar 
3 eggs 
1 1 ⁄2 cups all-purpose flour 
1 ⁄2 tsp. baking powder 
1 ⁄4 tsp. kosher salt 
1 ⁄4 cup whole milk 
1 tsp. lemon zest 
1 ⁄2 tsp. almond extract 
1 ⁄2 vanilla bean, scraped, seeds only reserved 
10 tbsp. butter, melted and cooled 

Using an electric hand mixer, beat sugar and eggs in a bowl until pale yellow and thick, about 4 minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in 3 tbsp. milk, the lemon zest, almond extract, and vanilla seeds. 

Gently fold in flour mixture until just incorporated, followed by the remaining milk and 7 tbsp. melted butter. Let batter rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Heat a pizzelle iron. Working in batches, brush iron with some of the remaining butter and add 1 heaping tbsp. batter to each mold. Close cover; cook until wafers are golden, 1 - 1-1⁄2 minutes. Wrap each wafer into a cone shape and let harden on a baking sheet, seam side down. Serve immediately, or store in an air-tight container for 1-2 days.

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