In response to this summer’s offering of smoldering temperatures, we decided some ice cream was in order! The challenge? Uncover some of the area’s best, coldest and most unique ice cream offerings. We quickly realized that when we’re motivated, our favorite delicious treat is very easy to find, and sometimes in the most unexpected places. Our reader’s attention span would quickly be lost if we tried to go into details about every place, but we would like to highlight some of our favorites along with some lesser-known locations.
Our top pick: By far our favorite location of the day was about 20 minutes outside of Lake Nona, but completely worth the drive to Abracadabra Ice Cream Factory. Rule #1 when looking for good food, go where the locals go. So, we knew we were in for something special when we saw a huge line as soon as we pulled up. The main attraction here is ice cream made to order by means of liquid nitrogen. There are tons of flavors that can be added and several signature mixes. We sampled Tutti Frutti, Reese’s Explosion and Midnight Craving (Cookie Dough, Nutella and Oreos). The staff was relaxed and friendly, they took the time to explain the process. They also told us we can bring our own mix-ins to flavor our ice cream, and alcoholic beverages are allowed. There also is a healthy selection of hot food available, including wings, pizza and sandwiches.
Best hidden gem: Blink and you might miss Chill Pop Lounge. Just south of Nona on Narcoossee is a little shack that is easy to overlook if you’re not careful. We definitely missed it on our first pass and had to make a quick U-turn to get there. The setting was perfectly quaint, a few Adirondack chairs looking toward a setting sun. The staff here was just as friendly as Abracadabra’s staff. The menu features several flavors of gourmet ice creams as well as gelatos, shakes and floats. Chill Pop Lounge was definitely a highlight of the evening. If you haven’t been, check it out tonight. Just make sure to pay attention to your GPS, or you might miss it.
Best selection: 407 Cafe. The highlight of this local cafe is hands down its homemade gelato, which comes in a wide variety of ever-changing flavors. It was great to find traditional gelato flavors such as amarone cherry and stracciatella next to classics like chocolate and vanilla and less traditional offerings such as creme brulee and golden Oreo. There is a nice little patio outside the cafe where you can enjoy an afternoon espresso or a late night snack with your gelato. Along with its dessert offerings, 407 offers great savory items, including flatbreads and crepes.
Variety and toppings: Menchie’s and Yogurt Breeze. If it’s fun toppings you’re looking for, check out either of these local establishments. Both feature a rotating selection of frozen yogurts and sorbets and a great selection of toppings from fresh fruit to boba pearls to candy.
Other sources of creamy cold refreshments worth mentioning are: Canvas Restaurant and Market, RaceTrac, McDonald’s, Wawa, 7-Eleven, and of course Wendy’s Frosties to dip french fries in. There are many great Nonahood locations with tons of different ways to get that great summer treat. So, grab the family and head out tonight to find your favorite.
View the map of this challenge online at http://nonahood.to/fc-icecream.
Do you have a challenge you’d like us to attempt? Let us know at http://nonahood.to/foodchallenge