Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Getting local: Frosty summer treats

I don't go outside much these days. 34 weeks pregnant and the temperature and humidity are definitely the enemy. What's worse, I crave ice cream. I haven't gained a ton of weight but 5 more weeks of ice cream might land me in some trouble on that front... Add to that the fact that I have an irresistible 2-year-old who loves "brown" ice cream and I find plenty of excuses to head to a local shoppe. (Why can't I crave stone fruits like my pregnant friend in Ireland???)

My craving has helped me find a few spots worth a visit if you're in NJ. One of them is actually healthy!

I list them below in no particular order...

Zita's Homemade Ice Cream - New Providence - If you live in Jersey, there's a good chance you've heard of or read about Zita's. They have award-winning flavors like S'Mores and have been written up in all the local papers. It's a bit of a drive from our house - 15 minutes or so - so Saturday was our first try. It was GOOD! My little one wanted her favorite: "brown". I gave her the option of plain brown or brown with peanut butter and she quickly replied "Brown with peebah budder". Smart girl. It was delish, decadent chocolate swirled with rich peanut butter. My husband and I shared a cup of their signature flavor: 91716, vanilla ice cream with chocolate covered pretzels, caramel, peanut butter and chocolate chips. It was loaded with stuff, the salt from the pretzels adding an extra layer of flavor. We will be going back (I want to try the S'mores...).

On personal note, this place is run by a guy I went to grade school with. We went our separate ways after grade school, but randomly bumped into each other in DC and then again in Jamaica while in college. He wasn't behind the counter when we ordered, but I spotted him as we left. Next time I'll have to say hi, but things were beyond busy on Saturday with the line wrapping outside the door. But if you see this Pete, nice work! I'll be sending my friends...

Double Dipper Cafe - Fanwood - Note the location and you'll understand why we go to this one more than Zita's. It's less than a mile from our house, just across the street from our favorite sushi place. My duaghter now knows that if she's good while we have our sushi, we will likely head across the street for a scoop after. Here, she likes the peanut butter decadence - vanilla ice cream swirled with lots of peanut butter and studded with tiny peanut butter cups (it's one of my favorites, too.). the best thing I've had from Dipper's is the ice cream cake. I ordered a custom cake for my daughter's borthday - their cakes are 3 layer, standard is chocolate and vanilla, but I swapped the chocolate for Dulce de Leche. Best ice cream cake I've had in ages. It will become her birthday tradition! This is another family-run spot, friendly service and delicious homemade flavors...

And last but not least, the healthy one...

Let's Yo - Watchung - The yogurt craze has taken over and there are places popping up everywhere. This place recently opened in the nearby Blue Star shopping center. They have 18 flavors of self-serve froyo. I've been hitting the place about once a week for the last few weeks - it's organic, most of it is lowfat or nonfat, but most use regular sweeteners (I won't eat artificial sweeteners while pregnant and try to avoid them when I'm not). And they have a topiing bar that takes me back to my childhood summers in Maine where we loved The Viking - and ice cream shoppe with a topping bar. We'd pile on more toppings than ice cream... I'm more conservative these days. My favorite combo at Let's Yo is coconut yogurt with slivered almonds and a drizzle of hot fudge. The chocolate yogurt is remarkably chocolatey. I also tried vanilla - very good - and peanut butter - not up to my standard of excessive peanut-butteriness. They have fruit and candy toppings and everything comes in at $.49 an ounce. A reasonably sized treat costs about $2.50 - not bad at all...

Pregnant or not, this summer heat calls for a cold treat or two, so if you are from Jersey or find yourself in the area this summer, why not indulge? Maybe we'll see each other there!

1 comment:

Michelle said...

34 weeks pregnant here so I feel your pain! For frozen treats I love Vanilla Bean Creamery in Cranford and Yapple Yogurt in Westfield. The best thing about being pregnant in the summer is the excuse to eat as much ice cream as you want!

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