Sunday, June 23, 2013

Paradise.  Utopia. Shangri-La. Heaven.

Lost Horizon is one of my favorite books I was forced to read in high school!

There are many, many names to describe our definition of the ultimate pleasure, environment or experience. Some imagine waves softly lapping a sandy beach, maybe think of living in the rain forest, some think of simple things like food.  Specifically ice cream.  Yeah, you heard me.

I've been reading and hearing about Paradise Ice on Main Street. Yesterday finally presented an opportunity for me and the Vivver to check it out.  Now, Viv is an ice cream connoisseur (connoisseuse?)  Well, to be honest, she's a connisseur of sweets and desserts in general.  She knows what she likes.  Although I'm not a big sweet addict, I do know a good dessert when I taste it and I can appreciate it.  I just don't seek it out.  However...there's Paradise Ice.

We walked in and were greeted very warmly by the husband-wife owners.  As we perused the menu board, we were told to ask for a sample of anything we were curious or unsure about. Paradise Ice serves up homemade (the old-fashioned way: custard) ice creams, sorbets and Italian ice.  They use organic, fresh ingredients and the menu changes frequently.  We were focused on ice cream rather than ices.  So, from the ice cream menu, some of the choices facing us were White Chocolate Raspberry Almond, Strawberry, Cinnamon Chocolate Chip, Irish Cream and Salty Caramel.  My baby requested a sample of Irish Cream...she's 7...what prompted that?  But she loved it and ordered a scoop.  I opted for the Salty Caramel.  We chose a table up front by the door so we were in prime people-watching position.

I have to hand it to the Wunderkind.  Her Irish Cream selection was rockin'!  I'm so impressed that this flavor appealed to her.  The Salty Caramel was exactly what I was hoping for and I was diggin' every single spoonful.  Their ice cream is what you really dream about when you dream of ice cream.  Thick, rich, cream infused with flavor that you just can't and never will get from a carton at the grocery store. What we both also appreciated about the experience was the atmosphere (comfortable and friendly) as well as the art. Viv pointed out to me that the pictures of  fruit that adorn the walls 
 were actually kind of holographic.  They are really beautiful photos which complement the cheery environment of this awesome, family ice cream parlor.

So, here we are one day later and as we were out geocaching, Paradise Ice came up.  Well, that pretty much brought our caching to a stand-still. The little one could no longer focus on treasure hunting.  So, we headed over to Main Street and upon entering, the nice lady who owns the place remembered us from yesterday.  I pointed to the Vivver and said, "You have a new addict!"  I refrained today, but the little one today sampled the Chocolate Cardamom Chip, liked it and ordered it. She gave me two (very) tiny tastes and it was damn good!  I'm impressed and wish I was such a good ice cream maker.  But, sadly, I am not.

For those of you here in Columbia, this place is worth a drive, no matter where you are.  We live in the Rosewood area and a short drive to Main Street is certainly worth the few minutes to get there.  As a non-sweet freak, I can tell you this. When I do want something sweet, I'll forego cookies, soft-serve, brownies, whatever, to drive to Paradise Ice and use my calories wisely!  If you haven't checked it out, trust me and do it.  Soon.  Like first thing tomorrow.  And, as you know I love, they are local, local, local.  A super-cool husband and wife team who are making ice cream like BOSSES! 

Oh, and full disclosure, I stole borrowed all these photos from their site. :-)

Paradise Ice on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Ain't No Kodachrome Around Here!

Simon and Garfunkel once grooved us all to this concept, I guess that was hailing the advent of color photography?  I know, I know.  Anyone older than me is either A) shaking their head that I'm right but didn't know it, or B) I'm wrong and they think I'm stupid because I don't know what the hell the song is about. It could go either way I suppose.

My musings will be short and sweet today friends.  My mom had a total knee replacement last Monday. She's now at a rehab facility for (duh) rehab (on the knee).  Here's what I want to convey today.  All medical and step-down medical facilities have completely abandoned the idea of serving patients good, healthy, well-balanced meals while in their care. Oh, no.  Today, everyone receives a "low-sodium", "low-fat", and "Diabetic" menu card.  I bet you that if I checked my (perfectly healthy) 7 year old into the hospital today for, oh let's say, a nose job (a non-medical problem), they'd serve the poor child this same dribble.  EVERY single meal that my mom has been served has been MONOCHROME. 

Now, I admit, I am no culinary school graduate, but somewhere in my life it was imparted to me that a plate must have balance. To me, balance is usually achieved by properly coordinating a green vegetable amongst the proteins and starches/legumes, etc.  Oh wait, I forgot.  She did get a dome-shaped mound of spinach the other day that was as green as Hawkeye Pierce's uniform.  

So, as warned by Romeo Void, I must remind myself to NVR say NVR. 

My mission here is to say that just because someone is hospitalized should not mean that they are fed worse than prisoners in our fine correctional system.  I'd love to know how much waste goes on in hospitals (if anyone bothers to track it) because I can tell you what was being passed off as French onion soup went promptly in the trash in my mom's room.  There's no amount of Mrs. Dash that can fix a bowl of dish water with onion flakes floating in it.

Medical facilities take note: Pipe some Simon and Garfunkel into the kitchens, buy the cooks some daggum vegetables with some color (and gasp! maybe even fresh ones) and let them cook them properly.  Hell, every time we go to the hospital, we're warned about how we might not wake up, survive the surgery or die from complications.  I'm thinking it's not because of the surgeons but the food service department. 


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