Even though we have warm weather 12 months a year here in South Florida, summer still means it’s hotter than hell (and global warming is only making that worse). What better time to treat yourself to a delicious cooling treat like ice cream?
There’s no shortage of options in our area. I tend to eschew national chains, although I do have a fondness for Wilton Manors’ Dairy Queen, operating in the same spot since the 1950s! However, as a rule of thumb, I like to support local independent businesses or small local chains. In honor of National Ice Cream Day my hubby and I decided to have ice cream for lunch and dinner! Calories be damned, we checked out some local places.
128 S. Federal Hwy., Dania Beach
The classic ice cream parlor from your parents’ youth, right down to the red and white checkered tablecloths. Sure you can skip the lines and get a cone from the window in front, but then you’d miss out on the total experience harkening back to the 1920s-‘50s, although I doubt the servings back then were this self-indulgent. Huge sundaes and banana splits are the stars. Choose from a variety of ice cream flavors, all classics, topped with sauces, whipped cream, and fruit. For those without a sweet tooth (why are you reading this column?) the jumbo hot dog is almost pornographic. There’s also a candy store at the front offering vintage goodies.
1499 SE 17th St., Fort Lauderdale
The small local chain (there’s an additional location on 20th Ave, just south of Sunrise and the flagship in Pompano Beach) creates small-batch flavors mixing traditional favorites and inventive new combinations. They also offer artisanal marshmallows, made on premises flavored with pistachio, cookies and cream, and other jaw-dropping combinations. The ice cream is rich and creamy. The peanut buttercup flavor with shards of chocolate is delightful and comes in a choice of vanilla or chocolate base.
Softea Dessert Bar
908 N Flagler Dr., Fort Lauderdale
Soft-serve ice cream in unusual flavors inspired by Asian cuisine (taro, matcha, lychee, and Thai iced tea) are enticing enough. Then, when they add it to Boba tea, it just takes it over the top. The flavors are so good that we’re willing to overlook the overly bright, yet somehow dreary, décor and the less-than-friendly staff.
658 N Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale
Churn and Scoop Ice Cream next to Christina Wan’s has been sold and the new owners, a delightful husband and wife team, have turned it into Tutti Delights, serving up the richest and creamiest ice cream I’ve ever had. The flavors are familiar, yet inventive. A vanilla cream with chunks of ooey-gooey cake, banana with pieces of Vanilla Wafers, and almond brittle are among the options. They’ve only been open a few weeks and don’t seem very business oriented. Let’s hope that their terrific ice cream is enough to keep them going.
2301 N. Wilton Dr., Wilton Manors
Coming in last alphabetically, but first in my heart is the nirvana of ice cream shops. All the creations are small batches, made from recipes devised in-house. With more than 50 flavors, including dog-friendly, vegan, dairy, sugar, and gluten-free options, there is something for everyone. Seasonal flavors come and go and feature what sound like unusual combinations, which all somehow work, while others are mainstays including my favorite, “He’s Not Worth It.” Get a scoop and add unlimited toppings for a couple of bucks., or order a sundae, split, or milkshake. Then take your treat outside to sit in the shade and watch the pretty people pass by on the Drive.