In July’s brutal heat, sometimes I just yearn for the nearest brain freeze. Here are a few ways to cool down.
The Orange Couch, located on Royal Street in Marigny is home to the delicious frozen gem, Mochi. This Japanese ice cream encased in sweet rice flour has a texture like a delicate gummy candy and requires no spoon. Plump and rotund, they are the perfect finger food because they don’t melt as quick as plain old ice cream. Mochi (pronounced mo-chee) is basically glutinous rice that has been pounded down and rolled out until it has a quality much like fondant, the malleable icing often used on large elaborate wedding cakes. The Orange Couch carries various flavors from passion fruit to pistachio. The lychee mochi is floral and sweet. The chocolate mochi has a coconut ice cream filling and tastes like a tropical vacation. A great destination for a dessert-date or just to lounge around on your laptop, the Orange Couch is the epitome of eye candy with a bright orange couch (who’d have thought?) and hip, pristine furnishings and funky lighting, like something you’d find in a style magazine. The specialty drinks come with scoops of ice cream and homemade whip cream. Try the affogato – a bowl lined with your choice of chocolate or caramel, a scoop of ice cream (I like the housemade vanilla), then drenched in espresso and garnished with coffee grinds. It puts iced coffee to shame.
Restaurant Stanley, overlooking Jackson Square, is fast becoming known for their delicious brunch and lunch – tasty eggs benedict poor boys, gumbo, onion rings, slaw – but did you know they also have a plethora of fabulous floats, malts, milkshakes and sodas to round out the menu? The root beer float alone is reason enough to have a seat at the soda counter. More interesting though, are the fruit-flavored Italian soda floats, which are a lighter, bubblier choice than a chocolate malt in the dead heat of summer. Rumor has it that sometimes champagne floats are even prepared, as well as milkshakes with a little extra kicker, say, a couple shots of vodka. The food here is quite filling, so a trip for sundaes alone is a good idea. For instance, the housemade ice creams are wonderful, like the rum raisin, which is far more satiating than bread pudding when you have third-degree sunburn after strolling the quarter.
For a sundae that sparks your competitive drive, head to Creole Creamery, for the Tchoupitoulas Challenge. On the wall of their Uptown location (they have recently opened a new location in Lakeview) you’ll find one picture striking fear into the hearts of man: an elderly woman sitting over an empty ice cream bowl the size of a baby’s wash tub. She isn’t smiling at all, but then again, her face might be frozen after completing the challenge, which awards a place on the Creamery’s “Wall of Fame,” to anybody who can eat an entire Tchoupitoulas Sundae in one sitting. This consists of eight scoops of ice cream with eight toppings plus cherries and whipped cream. You won’t have a hard time picking eight flavors. The pink peppermint pie and Creole cream cheese are classics, but there’s an ever changing selection of flavorful dreamboats including lavender honey, candied bacon and cinnamon and cayenne lime butter. The lemon ice and cucumber sorbet are musts for extremely hot days. On hot nights, prepare to stand in the line that snakes out the door.
Everyone has his or her favorite snowball, but Hansen’s Sno-Bliz just has that extra touch. Maybe it’s the friendly staff still run by the Hansen family, or the fact they’ve been making them (and their own syrups) since 1939. Maybe it’s the cream of ice cream, or all the pictures of Willard Scott. Something just makes theirs taste better. They are located at the corner of Bordeaux and Tchoupitoulas streets, across from McKeown’s Books. The best way to spend $5 on a hot afternoon: a Sno-Bliz and a bargain paperback. A Sno-Bliz is more important for soothing stress and regaining composure than a yoga class, and far less expensive.
The BLT sandwich at St. James Cheese Company’s was created just in time for local Creole tomato season, with Serrano bacon and fresh chevre helping to bring this classic lunch to a whole new level.