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Sweet Stuff: Desserts in TLH

How sweet.  Summer has officially begun. What  a perfect time to indulge in fruity sorbets, luscious shortcake and over-the-top ice cream sundaes.

In Tallahassee, you can find all these treats, and lots more, whether you’re craving a gooey banana split with hot butter caramel, a pot of chocolate fondue or a refreshing chai crème brûlée. And you don’t have to miss out if you’re vegan or eat a gluten-free diet.

Our search for desserts led to ice cream and candy shops, bakeries, restaurants and even late-night delivery services. Friends and readers contributed their ideas as well, but if we’ve missed your favorite spot, let us know.

Here’s the scoop…

COOL TREATS

Big Easy Snowballs: It’s always snowball season at these two dessert shops, which create frozen treats using New Orleans-style machines. You have a choice of more than 90 flavors including the popular blue raspberry or tiger’s blood (three berries with a hint of coconut). The specialty is a “stuffed” snowball – any flavor with French vanilla soft serve ice cream in the middle. 1621 N Monroe St. (Lake Ella), 850-329-6010; 2819 Mahan Dr., 850- 999-1502.

Bruster’s Real Ice Cream: Wedding Cake ice cream, made with almond cake batter, and Tuxedo Strawberry, with white chocolate swirls, are the special June flavors at these two counter-serve spots, where you’ll find waffle cones, freezes, milkshakes, sundaes, ice cream and pies. Bring your own banana to Bruster’s on Thursdays and you get a banana split for half price ($3 instead of $6). 2475 Apalachee Pkwy., 850-309-0712; 1709 W. Tharpe St., 850-383-9782.

Cold Stone Creamery: Pick your favorite ice cream flavor, choice of mix-ins and it’s all melded together using two spades on a frozen granite stone, for a made-to-order confection. Centre of Tallahassee, 2415 N Monroe St., 850-553-4560; 1444 W Tennessee St., 850-425-1150.

Dairy Queen: There are three Dairy Queen shops in Tallahassee plus a spot in the Governor’s Square Mall, offering chocolate and vanilla soft-serve in a cup or cone plus varied Blizzard treats.

Fiocco at Urban Food Market: Rudy Sacchet’s family has been making gelato for more than three generations in the Dolomites in northeastern Italy, and now he’s sharing his experience at Fiocco Gelato Cafe in the sprawling Urban Food Market. Fiocco offers more than 20 flavors plus coffee drinks and bakery items, including cheesecake from Chef Alessandro Di Maggio of +39. Centre of Tallahassee, 2415 N Monroe St.; 850-765-9842.

Isabella Pizza: Along with Neapolitan pies and salads, Isabella’s offers six flavors of house-made gelato and Nutella pizza, which is stuffed with the hazelnut spread and topped with fruit. 799 W Gaines St.; 850-558-6379.

Lofty Pursuits: The venerable local ice cream shop, from owner Gregory Cohen, is a place where customers like to hang out. Watch Victorian-style candy made in-house on equipment from the late 1800s and check out retro toys and games. The ice cream menu itself is huge, offering floats, freezes, egg creams, ice cream sodas, nearly three dozen sundaes (not counting banana confections and treats like the kitchen sink, with 26 scoops in a stainless steel sink) and vegan ice cream options. Lofty Pursuits makes more than 30 syrups. Want dessert for breakfast? Order a pancake with candy, sprinkles and ice cream (regular breakfast items available as well). 1355 Market St.; 850-521-0091.

Mr. Cool: The Thai-style ice cream shop serves ice cream in six tight rolls instead of scoops. Servers mash mix-ins and a liquid ice cream base (including a basic version, vanilla, coffee, green tea or chocolate) on a pan chilled to a temperature of minus 14 degrees, then scrape the mixture into rolls, which taste a little lighter than a scoop. Pick one of the restaurant’s combos, like the Monkey Business (with bananas and Nutella) or create your own. Once the ice cream is rolled, pick three toppings. There’s one price: $5.99. 633 W Tennessee St.; 850-999-8476.

Nuberri Frozen Yogurt: The shop, with three locations, is primarily known for self-serve frozen yogurt (with no fat and low fat alternatives) but it also serves custard, gelato, sorbet and Italian ices. Dozens of toppings are available.

Peterbrooke Chocolatier: Satisfy your craving for chocolate or gelato (or both) at Peterbroke, which offers a cup, cone or pint of gelato, with 16 rotating flavors. 1817 Thomasville Rd. 850-577-3111.

Yogurt Mountain:   The yogurt shop serves more than 16 choices with nonfat, lowfat and gluten-free picks available, plus custard, dairy-free choices and tropical ice. 1801 W Tennessee St.; 850-765-0229.

CUPCAKES/PASTRIES

Au Peche Mignon: Feel like you’re in France (we can all pretend) while gobbling macarons, croissants and other pastries at the cafe, open more than 25 years. You can also get imported cheeses, salami and lunch. 1415 Timberlane Rd.; 850-668-5533.

Lucy & Leo’s Cupcakery: The local cupcake shop from owners Jean Bates and Paula Lucas, offers about a dozen cupcake varieties daily, plus macarons, cookies and cake balls (mini cupcakes available by special order). Gluten-free and vegan options are available. During the summer, cupcakes are $2 on Tuesdays. 1000 Thomasville Rd.; 850-765-0374.

Smallcakes Cupcakery and Creamery: The colorful cupcake shop serves more than a dozen flavors daily. You can special order medium or mini cupcakes and get cupcakes for dogs on Saturdays. 1480 Apalachee Pkwy., 850-765-2785; 3479 Thomasville Rd., 850-999-1943.

Tasty Pastry: The family-run bakery, which originated in 1963, is still run by siblings and certified master bakers Debbie and Mark Cross. It’s the source for breads, cakes, pies, cookies, bagels, pastries and take-home casseroles. 1355 Market St.; 850-893-3752.

The Cake Shop: The bakery is brimming with breads, pastries presents pies, cheesecakes, cookies, brownies, baklava, quiche and specialty baked goods.. Open for breakfast. 1908 Capital Circle NE; 850-386-2253.

Treva’s Pastries and Fine Foods: In her small shop and cafe, Treva Pasquarelli offers soups, salads, sandwiches, entrees (to go) and pastries. Her specialties include Key lime mousse pie and blueberry almond croissants. She also makes ice cream for sale by the cup or pint. 2766 Capital Circle NE; 850-765-0811.

RESTAURANTS

Blu Halo: Popular desserts at the upmarket restaurant include flavored nitrogen ice creams. The chilling temperature of nitrogen renders ice cream velvety and rich. Other signature treats are blueberry cheesecake with Kahlúa chocolate sauce and Nutella soufflé or splurge or a dessert cocktail. 3431 Bannerman Rd.; 850-999-1696.

Cypress Restaurant: Pastry chef Maria Mosca and executive chef/owner David Gwynn create a changing menu of gourmet desserts. Highlights include a decadent flourless chocolate cake with chocolate ganache; a bread pudding made of cornbread infused with maple syrup and topped with bourbon ice cream; and chai crème brûlée. The menu also features house-made ice creams and sorbets (including vegan and gluten-free). 320 E. Tennessee St.; 850-513-1100.

Food Glorious Food: Fans rave about the three-layer, sinfully rich “Perfect Chocolate Cake” but other favorite desserts at Food Glorious Food include Key lime pound cake and baklava cheesecake. 1950 Thomasville Rd.; 850-224-9974.

Habana’s Boardwalk: Savor Cuban desserts like flan (caramelized vanilla custard), tres leches (vanilla cake soaked with three milks), churros con helado (fried dough and ice cream topped with cinnamon sugar) and guava and cream cheese empanada at this homey restaurant. 2819 Mahan Dr.; 850-391-9111.

– Kool Beanz

Kool Beanz: Pastry chef Sylvia Gould is known for her imaginative desserts on a constantly changing menu. Her specialties include toasted coconut cream meringue cake, blueberry fig crostata and Thai basil panna cotta. 921 Thomasville Rd.; 850-224-2466.

The Melting Pot: Fondue lovers head to The Melting Pot for this chocolate treat (with several liqueur options for added decadence), served with numerous toppings including fruit and more chocolate. 2727 N Monroe St.; 850-386-7440.

Miccosukee Root Cellar: Owner Ruben Fields presents a menu of locally-sourced foods, much of it organic, and that includes dessert. Summer favorites feature a chocolate terrine with Thai basil ice cream, bay leaf pound cake with a strawberry lavender compote, and a pecan pie made with nuts from KBH Farms. Try house-made ice cream flavors like strawberry balsamic, Turkey Hill Farm sugar cane syrup ice cream and buttermilk crème fraîche. 1311 Miccosukee Rd.; 850-597-7419.

– 319 Wine & Cheese Shoppe

319 Wine & Cheese: This local cafe, owned by Bill and Lynne Edwards, features house-made cannoli, triple layer chocolate merlot cake, blueberry tarts, apple caramel bread pudding with ice cream and lots more. 6265 Old Water Oak Rd.; 850-765-7053.

DELIVERIES

Dipped:  If you’re craving chocolate-covered strawberries (and who doesn’t?), this place delivers. Cheesecake and other gourmet treats, including S’more truffles, Belgian waffles and bacon, delivered until 3 a.m. (call to check their delivery area). 2401 Pensacola St.; 850-296-7489.

Insomnia Cookies: Insomnia delivers cookies, ice cream and milk to fans anywhere within three miles of its Tennessee Street location to 3 a.m. 1525 W. Tennessee St.; 877-632-6654.

Z Baked: Find cookies and muffins as well as some comfort food, which you can pick up or get delivered (if you’re in their coverage area). Order online at zbaked.com. 2401 W. Pensacola St., 850-391-2206.

 

Coffee from the Root

Good news for those of us who love cozy spots for coffee.

Jason Card, who runs Journeyman Coffee and is a top-notch barista, is now officially sharing space with Miccosukee Root Cellar.

Jason is a pro who prepares hand brews and espresso drinks as well as classic coffee favorites.

An added bonus: breakfast and lunch goodies prepared by Miccosukee’s owners Reuben Fields and his wife, Sarah Keith Valentine.

My friend Gail and I recently shared a hearty, comforting bowl of gypsy soup, with sweet potatoes, chickpeas and red bell pepper (delicious!) plus quiche and a light, crisp pizza.

Muffins and other breakfast fare also on the menu. The coffee shop is open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday to Friday and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Miccosukee opens at 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday.

Journeyman Coffee is also a coffee catering company that sets up coffee and espresso bars.

When you go…
Miccosukee Root Cellar
1311 Miccosukee Rd.
(850-597-7419)

What’s cooking

Here are a few food and dining events this month in Tallahassee and nearby.

 

Pumpkin patches:  There’s still time to stop by one of the many pumpkin patches in the city before Halloween.  Choices include  Faith Presbyterian Church, 2200 N. Meridian Rd. , 850.385.6151; Tallahassee Heights United Methodist Church, 3004 Mahan Dr., 850.877.6276;  and Pumpkins by King, 1481 Timberlane Rd.  For a longer list, visit  fun4tallykids.com/Whats-Happening/Pumpkin-Patches/

2017 Million Muggle March:  Get in the spirit of Halloween with the Harry Potter bar crawl with Madison Social, the Brass Tap, GrassLands Brewing Company and Proof Brewing Company. Registration at Township. when you purchase your ticket you will have to choose a house. Your ticket will include a shirt representative of the house you chose and and drink at each location (yes, one of them will be butterbeer). Township – The Great Hall; Madison Social – Gryffindor; The Brass Tap – Hufflepuff; GrassLands Brewing Company – Slytherin; Proof Brewing Company – Ravenclaw Tickets $25 to $30.
When: 6 p.m. Oct. 28
Where: Madison Social, 705 S. Woodward Ave.
Web: facebook.com/events/

Tallahassee Chopped Junior Event: Young wannabe chefs  ages 9 to 17 will be able to compete for a chance to be a contestant on the Food Network’s  Chopped Junior TV show by entering  the Tallahassee Chopped Junior Competition and Silent Auction Event on Oct. 29. The event is hosted by Whole Child Leon, which addresses critical issues affecting young children and their families. Winners will be  flown to New York City to audition with the show’s executive producer and casting director. Fifty competitors at Tallahassee’s event will be divided into two categories — ages 9 to 13 and 14 to 17. The chefs  will create their own original dish made from a set list of ingredients.. Guests at the event will watch competitors,  have a sampling of  hors d’oeuvres from local chefs and cocktails, be able to bid in the silent auction and vote on their favorite dishes by local restaurants.  Tickets are $30  for ages 17 and under, $50 adult general admission, $100 VIP sponsors, $1,000 VIP When:  5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 29
Where: The Moon, 1105 E Lafayette St.
Web:  wholechildleon.org/

Sunday brunch: The 319 Wine & Cheese Shoppe  is offering a Sunday brunch with items like stuffed berry and nutella French toast, poached eggs and frittata (items can change). Kids eat free.
When:  10 a.m. Sundays through  Nov. 26
Where: 319 Wine & Cheese Shoppe, 6265 Old Water OakRoad
Web: 319wineandcheese.com

Seven Days of Local Delights: The event, which  kicks off Oct. 30, celebrates the area’s small farms. During the week, several restaurants will be offering locally-grown menu specials and you’ll have the chance to attend  workshops and community events. Participating restaurants include Cypress RestaurantChop House on the BricksDamfino’s Cafe & MarketEl CocineroKool Beanz CafeLiam’s Restaurant, Lounge & Cheese ShoppeLiberty Bar. Miccosukee Root CellarSage: A RestaurantTupelo’s Bakery & Cafe319 Wine & Cheese ShoppeSweet Pea CafeSweet Grass Dairy and Vertigo Burgers & Fries. Proceeds support the Red Hills Small Farm Alliance, a nonprofit committed to growing small farms and supporting the local food network. See the website for all events.
When:  Oct. 30 through Nov. 5
Where: Several locations throughout Tallahassee and surrounding areas.
Web: redhillsfarmalliance.com/copy-of-seven-days-of-local-delight

Pie and pastry making class:  Chef Jessica Bright McMullen  presents a class on making pie crust plus an entree of a leek and onion pie (topped with creamy chèvre),  apple pie and drambuie pumpkin pie with cinnamon whipped cream and a  green salad. In addition to learning to make the pastry McMullen will also discuss pastry techniques including lattice and other embellishments.   $40. Call 850.264.2308.
When: 6 p.m. Nov. 7.
Where: KitchenAble Cooking School, Cottages on Lake Ella, 1635 N. Monroe Street
Web: kitchenable.net

Vine and Dine: 319 Wine & Cheese Shoppe is hosting a Thanksgiving-themed wine pairing.  Owners Lynne and Bill Edwards will match five courses of traditional foods, from appetizers to pecan pie, with five types of wine.  Reservations required. $45. Call 850.765.7053.
When:  6:30 p.m. Nov. 10.
Where: 319 Wine & Cheese Shoppe, 6265 Old Water Oak Road
Web: 319wineandcheese.com

Trolley service:  The city of Tallahassee is offering free trolley service connecting downtown with Cascades Park, College Town and Midtown so you can visit area restaurants without having to drive and hunt for parking spots.  Pick up buses outside City Hall or at stops along the routes (marked by signs). There’s also a free bus service Friday and Saturday nights running to those areas. Check the city website below for real-time information. WiFi provided.
When: Lunchtime service is from 11:45 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. Buses return to stops about every 20 minutes. Free nighttime trolleys operate through the three neighborhoods from 4:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Where: Cascades Park, College Town and Midtown. All include a stop outside City Hall, 300 S. Adams St.
Web:  talgov.com/gis/trolley/index.html

FLORIDA

For a list of festivals across the state, check out visitflorida.com/en-us/florida-events/calendar.html

WEEKLY EVENTS

Brains and brew:  Exercise your brain and drink locally brewed beer (responsibly, please) at  the weekly Trivia Night at Grasslands Brewing Company (call 850-765-3014 to ensure it’s going on, as planned).
When: 7  to 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays
Where: : GrassLands Brewing Company, 603 W. Gaines Street
Webgrasslandsbrewery.com

Brickyard Farmers Market:  This new farmers market, now located inside the Urban Food Market, features homemade jams and jellies, baked goods, produce, plants  and other items. 
When: 
8 a.m.  to 4 p.m. Saturdays.
Where: 
Urban Food Market, Tallahassee Centre, 2415 N Monroe Street
Web:
 centreoftallahassee.com

Craft beer tastings:  Lake Tribe Brewing Company offers weekly tastings and tours. The $10 fee includes a souvenir glass, six tasting tickets and a behind-the-scenes look at the brewery.
When: 2 to 4 p.m. Saturdays
Where: Lake Tribe Brewing Company, 3357 Garber Drive
Web: laketribebrewing.com

Craft beer Tuesday: Get discounts on a variety of brews at 319 Wine and Cheese.
When: 5 p.m.  Tuesdays
Where: 319 Wine & Cheese Shoppe, 6265 Old Water Oak Road
Web319wineandcheese.com

Wine down Wednesdays: Order wine for $5 a glass during the weekly event.
When: 5 p.m.  Wednesdays.
Where: 319 Wine & Cheese Shoppe, 6265 Old Water Oak Road
Web: 319wineandcheese.com

Downtown Marketplace:  Check out fresh produce and food items, art and crafts by regional participants, live music and other attractions at this weekly event.
When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays March through December.
Where: Ponce de Leon Park, Park Avenue and Monroe Street
Webdowntownmarket.com

Eastside Farmer’s Market:  Local producers bring fresh fruits and vegetables, plants, herbal teas, gifts, handmade soaps and more.
When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.
Where: Luke’s Anglican Church, 3725 Apalachee Parkway
Web: facebook.com/eastsidefarmersmarkettallahassee

Food Truck Thursday:  No need to wait for the weekend to have some fun.  Stop by Food Truck Thursdays, with live music behind the Cottages at Lake Ella. Bring your lawn chairs, coolers, blankets and the whole family (dogs ok on a leash). Participating trucks subject to change.  Participating trucks may vary. Sponsored by the Tallahassee Food Truck Association and Lake Ella Merchants Association.
When: 6 to 9 p.m.  every Thursday. (Closed Aug. 3).
Where: behind the Cottages at Lake Ella, 1639 N. Monroe St.
WebTallahassee Food Truck Association

Frenchtown Farmers Market:  The weekly event features vendors selling handmade and locally grown products and produce plus eggs, honey, preserves and baked goods.
When: 9 .m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays
Where: 524 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Webfrenchtownheritage.org

Growers Market at Lake Ella:  Find fresh produce and other vendors at this weekly event.
When: 
Noon to 6 p.m. each Wednesday.
Where: 
The Growers’ Market, 229 Lake Ella Drive
Web: 
facebook.com/LakeEllaGrowersMarket

Lake Ella Sunday brunch:  Join the laid-back group enjoying the food trucks, live music and tranquil view of Lake Ella on Sunday mornings.
When: 11 a.m to 2 p.m. every Sunday.
Where:  The Shops at Lake Ella, 1641 N. Monroe St.
WebTallahassee Food Truck Association

Martini Mondays:  All martinis are $5 each at Brass Tap Midtown. There are eight martini choices, including the Chocoberry, Blackberry Lemon Drop and Passionfruit Martin.
When:  4 to midnight Mondays
Where: Brass Taps Midtown,  1321 Thomasville Road
Web: brasstapbeerbar.com

Tallahassee’s Farmers Market:  The longtime farmers market focuses on produce, offering “conventional, Certified Organic, Certified Naturally Grown, non-chemical, natural practices, hydroponics, growers and resellers.” Other items include  plants, flowers, honey, grass-fed beef and pork and cheese.
When: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays
Where: 1415 Timberlane Road at Market Square
Web: localharvest.org/tallahassee-farmers-market

Wednesday Roundup:  Get out of the office or the classroom and head to the Downtown Food Truck Court for a weekly lunch gathering.
When:  11 a.m. to 2 p.m.  every Wednesday.
Where: just off Gaines Street at 725 S Bronough St.
Web facebook.com/TallyFTA

Tallahassee Orthopedic Clinic farm stand:  Harry Kimble of K & K Farms out of Quitman, Ga. sells produce, nuts and figs outside the clinic on Wednesdays and he also sells his goods at the Farmers’ Market  at Market Square on Saturday mornings. Kimble specializes in peaches, plums, nectarines and pecans. (The corn pictured comes from Kimble’s stand).
When: 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesdays 
Where:
Tallahassee Orthopedic Clinic, 3334 Capital Medical Blvd.

You Make It, You Grow It: Local artisans, growers and producers and other items for sale at this bimonthly farmers market.
When: 11 a.m to 2 p.m. the second and fourth Saturday of the month
Where: Railroad Square Art Park, 602 McDonnell Drive
Web: facebook.com/youmakeit

Have a food/dining event you want to share? Send the info to TallahasseeTable@gmail.com at least two weeks in advance and we’ll try to get it posted here.

 

 

 

Setting the Table

Hello, Tallahassee. I’m Rochelle Koff. I love to eat and tell.

Edison2

I’ve spent a lot of my life eating in restaurants.  I critiqued them for The Miami Herald for more than 20 years, dining out three to four times a week. I also was the Broward County writer/editor for Zagat’s Miami/South Florida Restaurants guides for eight years.

When I wasn’t eating, I was an editor and reporter at The Miami Herald, the South Florida Sun Sentinel or, most recently, a legislative reporter for The Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times capital bureau.

foodBut the best part, then and now, is eating. Food is to be shared, a way to learn about the world and ourselves, a way to strengthen our social bonds.

My kids were tots when I started this obsession, and are now devout foodies themselves. My husband expanded his boundaries past grits, and rejoices they’re so stylish now. Our lives still revolve around food, we all still eat off each other’s plates and we all save something to take home.

I’ve been fortunate to savor some fantastic dishes from a great many cuisines in my travels and right at home. During my years in South Florida, I’ve slurped bird nest soup in Lauderdale Lakes, gorged on yuca fries and cafe con leche in Little Havana and chomped sdeep-fried chicken feet in Plantation. I’ve devoured pupusas and dosas and Indonesian fare so hot I cried, all in Tallahassee.

IMG_0497I’ll try anything — once. Except blood sausages. I’ve been told I may have had a bad version but I’m OK with never trying it again.  If you’re a fan, my apologies for dissing the dish.

I’ve tried culinary trends like dining in the dark (just use your hands), and have supped on experimental dishes at underground (and close to illegal) dinners. I’ve seen trends — portobellos, balsamic vinegar, polenta, beets, brussels sprouts and others — come and go, and come back.

Now, I freelance for various publications, including The Miami Herald, Tallahassee Magazine, 850  business magazine, Influence magazine and other publications. And, now, this blog.

I love taking cooking classes and learning new recipes. (I hope we can share our favorites.) I’m grateful to have friends who are really good cooks.

I’m originally from Philly, lived most of my life in South Florida, and now call beautiful, friendly and oh-so-green Tallahassee home. I’m exploring new culinary turf here and while we may not yet have as many choices as some other locales, there is a vibrant food and foodie culture here, and it’s growing.

I already have some favorite haunts  — Cypress, Mayuri, Tan’s Asian CafeMo Betta B-B-Q, Bird’s Aphrodisiac,  Kool Beanz,  Bada Bean,   Sage and Sahara, to name just a few  — and I want to eventually try every restaurant and experience every food trend in and around the Capital City.

I hope you’ll join me on this journey, and I welcome your suggestions and critiques. Let’s eat.