Friday, September 28, 2007

Hidden Gem (Ice Cream Counter: Inside Dr. Bombay)

I have eaten my fair share of ice cream in town this summer, none of which were of the supermarket variety. This was almost unexpected. With the closing of What's the Scoop on Highland and the moving of beloved Hank's in Grand park, the pickings looked slim for a while. Then things looked up the day we drove by Dr. Bombay near Candler park. The unusual name set off a light bulb in my head. I had seen that name some time ago, in the context of some hidden ice cream counter.

We got a prime parking spot right out front on that lazy Sunday afternoon. Walking in from the bright sunlit street, I had to take a moment to adjust to the dimness within. The tiny space was crammed with tall bookshelf, mismatched tables, and well worn sofas. It looked like some one's well lived in den, inviting and comfortable. A man in an equally well worn t-shirt sat at one of the little tables sipping a cappuccino over a book. He didn't look up. Neither did a couple quietly chatting at the sofas on the other side of the room.

We felt self conscious for a second in the quiet space, feeling like intruders. Then I saw a rack of baked goods on a counter in the far back corner and relaxed. The counter was old fashioned and displayed only a handful of ice cream flavors behind glass panels that threaten to become too cloudy with age. The flavors were straight forward, banana, vanilla, chocolate, etc. None of it looked fancy, but the texture of the offerings looked creamy.

We each got a single scoop split between two flavors. The single scoop turned out to resemble two stacked baseballs in danger of toppling over the too small styrofoam container. We carefully balanced the massive construction on a high top near the counter and dug in. Creamy, creamy, creamy was the word of the day. Pinky sized pieces of banana studded throughout the big ball of frozen cream on the top of my cup, while little nibs of cookie punctuated the smooth vanilla ball underneath. The cream was so rich, I almost couldn't take it after a few bites, almost.

The monster of a scoop defeated me about half way through. But I planned to go back for more, perhaps with a good strong cup of black coffee.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Sometimes nothing is better than a Krispy Kreme

I am not a die-hard Krispy Kreme fan. The flashing "hot" neon sign has never held any special power over me. I drive pass the cheerful green roof every morning without a second glance. I am immune to the whiffs of buttery fried dough that occasionally blow through the streets.

I should know better than to write the above. I should know that there aren't too many things in life one can state in the absolute and be right, especially when it comes to cravings for sweet things. For instance, it's hard to be sure when driving down an empty road late at night, uncertain of how far or how treacherous the journey ahead would be, that a fluffy circle of sugary thing wouldn't seem as comforting as the safety blankie from childhood. (I've actually never had such a blankie, but I can imagine its power).

It's probably a good idea to use the drive through. It would be too cruel to tear oneself from the warm cocoon inside the car. Get the original glaze if you are a purest. Get the glazed blueberry if you want something different. Heck, get a dozen if you can't decide. Pull into an empty parking lot if that's easy. Park under a street lamp if you are worried about dropping crumbs or if you'd just like to see the way the glaze crack between bites. Eat the donut exactly the way you'd like. If that means tearing the poor thing into twenty little pieces and smushing each between the fingers before licking the digits clean, do it. (Okay, maybe that's just me. I have no shame in practicing my weirder than most nibbling. If one single gulp suits you, do that.) Feel the sweetness spread within your cheeks and coat your insides. Sign with satisfaction and maybe a little sadness when it is all gone. Have a sip of milk to chase everything down if you were wise and had the foresight to buy some. Now, drive on into the darkness with sweetness in your stomach and warmth in your heart for having just had an unexpected and, most likely, undeserved sweet moment all your own.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The best cuppuccino I've ever had (coffehouse: Octane)

Let me first set forth the disclaimer that I am not a coffee connoisseur who roasts her own coffee or profess to know the nuances among the different roasts and beans. All I am saying is that Octane made the most fragrant and creamy cup of cappuccino that I could remember drinking since, well, ever. The friendly service and very very cute foam art didn't hurt either. I love this place.