Shiso Tavern

Sisho Tavern, Baltimore, MD

There has been a trend in my restaurant visits as of late – more frequent visits to the suburban ones and an avoidance for dreaded Washington D.C. with all its logistic and parking issues that tend to ward off the suburbanite for a nightout in town.  With that in mind I recently saw an online offer for an eatery in Baltimore, and I decided to give it try, giving me an excuse to ventur off the well-beaten path and hoping to find new sites.  Located near the Baltimore Harbor, Shiso Tavern sits in Canton, a rather quaint neighborhood that has a couple blocks chocked with gunshot-style row houses that have been converted into rather trendy eating establishments.  Touted as an Asian-Fusion/Japanese restaurant, I took my seat by the light-flooding window area during lunch recently.

Sushi Nacho - Sisho Tavern, Baltimore, MD

Sushi Nacho - Sisho Tavern, Baltimore, MDOnline reviewers suggested to start with the Sushi Nachos.  What arrived was a trio of small bites, consisting of fried wanton skin, seared tuna, avocado, salmon tataki, and dressed with a spicy mayo.  The wanton skin was a nice touch instead of the regular nacho chip which added a flakier and more delicate feel to the bite.  The tuna and salmon were clean tasting, perhaps a bit too clean with no distinctive seasoning added except for a bit of spiciness on the tuna sear – but I wanted more to enhance their mild flavors.  The mayo added the spiciness as written on the menu, but it overwhelmed the mild fish flavors.  Perhaps some citrusy flavors (yuzu?) would have taken these up another notch and would have made them more successful.  Overall, it was not a bad opener.

Ramen Bowl - Sisho Tavern, Baltimore, MD

Many online suggested the Ramen Bowl and it was a photo of it in the online offer that tempted me at first.  The bowl arrived as shown: a mound of noodles covered with beansprouts, a boiled egg, shredded pork butt, slabs of pork belly, and a garnishing of red chilies and green onions.  The noodles were a bit overcooked for my taste (al dente is not just an Italian preference, but a Japanese one too), the egg beautifully boiled as it oozed out its barely cooked yolk into the soup, the pork butt moist and well seasoned with its slight fatty unctuousness, echoed by the same qualities found in the pork belly with its crispy exterior and savory inside, and the red chili added a fresh mild zing to the bowl along with its vegetal pepper note.  Ultimately, it has to be the broth that steals the prize.  The version here had a mild sweetness from the use of chicken to make the stock, and a slightly smoky sour note from the use of smoked pork.  Although it was not the usual traditional ramen bowl, I was thoroughly enjoying all the above qualities (sans slightly overcooked noodles) and I nearly sipped on the broth until its last drop.  I would say this bowl is worth coming back for.

Mochi Ice-cream - Sisho Tavern, Baltimore, MD

Mochi Ice-cream - Sisho Tavern, Baltimore, MD

My waitress told me that I had some credit left on the offer, and so, I ordered something sweet to end the meal.  Initially, I was honing in on the Jasmine Tea White Chocolate Tart, but, since they were out of it, I chose the Mochi Sampler.  What arrived was a dish on par with Japanese culinary aesthetic with the mochi ice-cream balls sliced and beautifully fanned on the plate.  The ice-cream flavors comprised of vanilla, which tasted like it should, strawberry, a bit fruity but artificial, and mango, which tasted totally artificial and candy-like to these well-conditioned Southeast Asian taste buds. But it was the stretchy glutinous rice dough around the frozen bites that impressed me with its smooth and gummy texture that I expect from a good mochi.  Not always one for desserts (and also on a slight diet), I passed the rest on to another diner who seemed to be transfixed by these cold bites.

Sisho Tavern, Baltimore, MD

Shiso Tavern is rather nice find.  It is a quaint place with little pretense and its food does not steer too far away as it maintains respect for culinary tradition.  The Sushi Nacho was quite tasty with the different textures and flavors coupled with the fresh seafood, the Ramen Bowl a savory and satisfactory sip that was full of flavors and porcine heavenliness, and the Mochi Sampler that was quite a treat with that elastic dough surrounding some funky ice-cream.  I think that Canton is a delightful find, away from challenging Washington D.C. or downtown Baltimore, and I know I will heading up to this area more often in the near future.

Shiso Tavern Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tropical Ice Cream Cafe

Tropical Ice Cream CafeFor a number of years, I have been hearing good things about a certain ice cream store that has built its reputation on its unique offerings that are not found in most establishments.  However, I never made the trip on the busy beltway to it despite my curiosity for such tempting offerings.  But recently, I opened an e-mail with an offering of coupons for said place which I bought three of them immediately.  The reasons were twofold: to force me to make the trip to Tropical Ice Cream Cafe, and, the other, to satisfy my curiosity of what its unique ice creams would taste like.  For this blog, I made a couple of trips to Silver Spring, MD, just off the beltway, and here are the offerings that I sampled.  Advisory:  No animals were harmed in the process, except this sole reviewer who had to endure savoring these cold sweet samples.

The pictures of these twin scoops will read from left to right.


Tamarind/Lychee: The tamarind version has its characteristic sourness of this Southeast Asian/Central American pulpy pod that I enjoyed in this mix.  Its fruity sour qualities are tempered by the right amount of sugar along with the richness of the cream.  Bits of the pod fruit are studded in the scoops giving off hints of clove-like qualities in each bite.  The lychee version is a floral bite with its unique exotic but quite subtle qualities, with heady gardenia-like hints on the palate.  Bits of this Far East Asian fruit in the ice cream reinforce the mild floral and exotic qualities that I particularly enjoyed savoring with each spoonful.


Rambutan/Durian:  The flavor of the Southeast Asian Rambutan is very subtle but containing a rather high sugar content.  The ice cream version is close to the Lychee version but lacking in the floral notes of the latter.  However, knowing what the fresh Rambutan tastes like, I could detect a bare hint of the fresh fruit qualities.  The Durian version was far from subtle.  Here, the pungency of this fruit leaves its mark without any shadow of doubt.  The assertive sulfurous flavor is much evident in the spoonful, an acquired taste that I grew up on in the tropics, without overwhelming the palate.   I indeed relished every bite of this bold flavor, but make sure to taste a sample before venturing into palatal terra incognito.

Mamay Sapote/Jackfruit

Mamey Sapote/Jackfruit:  The flavors from this Central American fruit were completely new and interesting to me.  The only way I can describe its flavor is that it reminds me of a slightly fruity bubblegum, with its pink color adding to that impression.  The slightly rough texture of the ice cream is an indication of the fibrous fruit.  I found each spoonful intriguing,  wondering what the fresh fruit must really taste like.  The Jackfruit version was brimming with the flavors of this South American and Southeast Asian fruit.  Just like the Durian, its flavors are quite heady but, in this case, not sulfurous at all.  Like the Durian, its  notes hints of something fermenting but it is more subtle with the Jackfruit.

Passion Fruit Sorbet/Soursop

Passion Fruit/Soursop:  Another fruit from the both Caribbean and Southeast Asia is the Passion Fruit.  This sorbet version packed a lot of punch with each spoonful filled with the citrusy fruity flavors tempered by its sugar content.  Its unique fruit flavors are still fresh tasting in this frozen version and I could not get enough of it.  Similarly, the Soursop comes these same tropical regions.  The flavors are more subtle than the above scoop with a distinctive subtle fruity note. A rich custard-like quality is also evident which points to this fruit’s other name – Apple Custard.  Subtle but still exotic.

Rum and Raisin/Mango

Rum and Raisin/Mango: Back to the Caribbean with this spoonful.  Rich ice cream is studded with large rum-soaked raisins tasting sweet yet boozy from the alcohol, further reinforced by the rum running through the cream, leaving a slight bitter foil to the sweet flavors.  I must say this is one of the most alcohol-tasting R&R I have ever had, fit for any adult aficionado of this flavor.  The Mango version was a bit too subtle for me at first.  After trying a few bites, I could detect its unique flavors, much like a creamy Mango puree rather than the fresh fruit bits.  This reminded me of a yogurt-based Mango Lassi I have tasted in some Indian eateries.


Mango-Lemon/Ginger:  This joint offers no-sugar-added ice creams and this version had a combination of mango and lemon flavors.  The taste was slightly fruity, creamy, with a mild taste reminding me of sherbet.  I must say that the lower sugar content was barely noticeable from a regular version, and this would be high on my list if I were on a low sugar diet.  The ginger ice cream vowed me with the first spoonful.  The pungent ginger bite permeates every molecule of this frozen treat with notes of mature ginger and molasses-like brown sugar, with pieces of ginger studded throughout it tasting like crystallized bits – I could not get enough of this biting treat.


Guinness/Pistachio: When I saw this version made from the dark stout, I knew I had to taste this Jamaican favorite.  Since I was familiar with this alcoholic drink, I could detect the subtle dark notes along with a distinctive hopsy flavor in each mouthful.  This reminds of sneaking a few sips from my grandmother’s favorite brew (despite my father’s disapproval) but in a frozen version.  The Pistachio ice cream was green in color, well-flavored with its nutty oil.  Bits of the toasted nut punctuate the  cream with its strong heady flavor and aroma.  Green jelly bits were mixed in the ice cream that made this frozen custard more interesting than just the singular nut flavor itself.

French Almond/Harambe!

French Almond/Harambe!: Another nut flavored ice cream was French Almond.  This was not as subtle as the Pistachio as it was packed with the assertive flavor of almond oil which I enjoyed by itself – it overpowered the other flavors that I was tasting.  The creamy body is mixed with toasted almond slivers that further accentuated the nut flavor.  On one visit, the special was Harambe! consisting of Orange, Pineapple, Banana, Coconut and Rum flavors.  No individual flavor was too prominent as all the ingredients performed a well-balanced act with each individual component exerting an equal presence.  There was a slight Piña Colada and Orange flavor that made this special offering very enjoyable and worth tasting.

Ghanaian Salmon Pie

Behind the large display cases of the frozen treats, Tropical Ice Cream Cafe also offers other sweet treats like Rum Cake, Carrot Cake, and Lemon Cake.  Amidst all the sugariness, there is a large sign displaying a savory offering – Ghana Fish Pie.  This struck my curiosity and I had to try it.  Very short flaky pie dough encase a rather moist stuffing made from salmon, flavored with sweet onions, spiked with bits of fresh chili, and colored and flavored with the ever-present West African ingredient – palm oil.  I did enjoy these crumbly bites that brought back memories of a similar version made with sardines which I grew up on.  I can see why the owner, who hails from Ghana, is proud to sell these warm turnovers, and look out for these while you are there.

Tropical Ice Cream CafeTropical Ice Cream Cafe is the United Nations of ice cream for it offers frozen treats that are skilfully made with the bold flavors of fruits from all regions of the world, from the Lychee of Far East Asia, to the Durian, Rambutan, and Soursop of Southeast Asia, to the Mamey  Sapote, Passion Fruit, and Tamarind of Central America and the Caribbean, and to the Jackfruit of South America.  In addition to the exotic flavors, I also enjoyed the standard fares with the nutty French Almond, Rum and Raisin, and Pistachio versions, amidst the low-sugar or no-diary offerings.  The seasonal specials too were worth tasting, like the Rambutan and Harambe!  This is indeed a most unique ice cream store that makes a gourmand’s eyes like mine light up and go into a frenzy with indecision.  I’m sure after a few samplings you will be returning back to explore the other missed flavors.

Tropical Ice Cream Cafe on Urbanspoon


Montreal, CanadaFor the last few years, a good buddy and I have been travelling to Montreal, Canada, a city that we have fallen in love with for its walking neighborhoods, the quietness of a metropolis, the outdoor cafes and restaurants, the beautiful sights of cathedrals and wide esplanades, the carefree Jazz festival, the air of French sensibility without having to cross the Atlantic, and finally the wonderful cuisine that tantalized us during each visit. This francophone city boasts nearly as many restaurants as the top contender, New York City. Here is a list of eating establishments that we have visited and are worth mentioning.
Grilled SalmonBreaded Shrimp

SpanakopitaOn our last trip last week, after getting off the plane and dropping off our bags at the hotel, we immediately made a bee-line to the Le Plateau-Mont-Royal neighborhood, specifically to Rue Prince Arthur, a pedestrian street lined with open air eating establishments. Here you are able to find local Greek restaurants offering great lunch deals, four-course lunches for around $15. On one visit (usually more than one is paid), my starter was a generous piece of Spanakopita pie consisting of light and flaky filo dough interspersed with some crumbly feta cheese and spinach filling made savory from some enigmatic Greek spices; my friend’s lentil soup in another establishment was his favorite starter. My main course (not entrée – here it means appetizer) was a plate of well-seasoned rice, a tasty and well-dressed Greek salad, some crispy wedges of potato and finally the main star, a healthy piece of grilled salmon steak, moist and perfectly cooked. My friend’s portion of butterflied shrimp was tasty but the breading was off-putting to him; he prefers plain grilled shrimp which he has had before at another establishment that has, unfortunately, burned down. Usually a slice of moist cake and coffee or tea are the remaining courses to the long lunches that we relish in. I would recommend both La Caverne Grecque and La Casa Grecque. A walk to the close-by Square Saint-Louis to look at the quaint French-style homes is our digestif from such a satisfying meal.

Portuguese Grilled ChickenPortuguese Ribs

Portuguese Passion Fruit SodaA bit north of the same area, many Portuguese restaurants abound in this rather diverse neighborhood. We met up with a Haitian-American Facebook friend who lives in this city, and he was dismayed when I had told him I had eaten in a specific Portuguese chicken joint a few year ago, renown for large quantities but nothing else. So, on this trip, he promised that he would take me to another that he particularly enjoys. Rotisserie Portugalia is a small corner establishment with a faded obscure sign which makes it a bit difficult to find. Entering the establishment is deceiving since all you see is a grill and a bar counter; however, the small dining room is at the back. Since the chicken is what this place is known for, my travelling buddy and I both got an order that came with a side of salad, rice, and fries. The sides were decent and tasty, but the attention-grabber was definitely the moist and well-seasoned chicken that was slightly smoky from being properly grilled and spicy from some chili flakes; even the breast meat was flavorful and not dry. My newly-met friend’s ribs were quite good but he said he had better on other occasions – sucking those bones clean sure was not a good indicator of slight discontent! The perfect drink to wash all of this down was Sumol, a Portuguese fruity soda, of which the passion fruit version really hit the spot for all of us. Thanks for the recommendation, mon ami!

Rotisserie Portugalia on Urbanspoon

Schwartz's Deli, MontrealEveryone talks about this place – Schwartz’s Deli. It is located in the same neighborhood, and there seems to be a line of tourists waiting patiently to get in on any given day in the summer. I think the place garners more attention from the fact that Celine Dion’s husband bought this sandwich shop for $10m than the reviews of the sandwiches themselves. Since my buddy and I are not excited about Jewish deli food while in Montreal, we have never entered its doors; the long lines are not exactly enticing either. But all the guide books make mention of this place, hence my two cents worth. If anyone has gone in, please let me know!





Sauteed Salmon with Garlic Flower Sauce

Pork Terrine and Peach ChutneyOn a recent trip, a long-time Salvadoran-Canadian friend took my travelling partner and me to a French-style restaurant around the Le Plateau-Mont-Royal neighborhood. Les Infideles is located off the main St. Denis Boulevard but according to my friend, it is a hidden treasure without the stuffiness of fine dining. The complementary Carrot Soup set the right tone for the rest of the evening with its rich flavors from a good amount of pureed carrot and a full soup body that made this bowl tempting to be licked clean. My friend and I decided to opt for a couple of appetizers since they appeared very appealing especially during the warm week that we had there. The Smoked Fish Plate featured pieces of Trout and Salmon smoked a la minute with Hickory wood that made each moist morsel delectable. The Snails in Blue Cheese Sauce with Puff Pastry was definitely a la francaise with plump snails matched with a perfectly balanced sauce that could have gone overboard. My appetizer of Wild Mushroom tart was bursting with the wild boschiness and the slices of blue cheese sending out its slightly bitter tones, all napped by a rich demi-glace sauce that made this vegetarian dish truly satisfying. My host’s main course of Sauteed Salmon with Garlic Flower Sauce created enough envy to this reviewer’s eyes with the moist piece of fish coated by a rich sauce, accompanied by a bouquet of plump vegetables including the dual-colored carrot that made the dish visually tentalizing. For my main, I choose the Pork Terrine and Peach Chutney which was completely up my alley with the mild and fresh-tasting chilled pressed meat well-matched by a fruity and sweet peach chutney and served with slices of rich Brioche bread. This place is well-worth the hike for its quality cooking, the value (especially for fine French cuisine), and the smart yet relaxed ambience (we complemented the waitress’s eclectic music selection). Another note: this place is BYOB, so stop for a bottle of your favorite vin on your way there.

Lunch at Jean Talon MarketLe Marché Jean-Talon, Montreal

Further up from Le Plateau-Mont Royal neighborhood is the Jean Talon neighborhood which is renown for its large open market. This is where we headed one early afternoon to have lunch. Around the food court you will find different vendors serving a wide variety of cuisines, an indication of the influx of immigration to this part of Canada. My friend had some Indian-styled lentil soup that was spiced by a touch of cumin, a rich buttery croissant, and a mango-orange juice smoothie to wash it all done. I had an Olive Ciabbata filled with roasted vegetables Blue and Goat cheeses that hit the right spots(when on a vegetarian mode) with the sweetness from the vegetables and the richness of the diary products (Brie is unpasteurized in Canada, compared to here, which tastes stronger and more bitter on the rind). For dessert, we walked around the fruits vendors and I sampled all the fruits a la Costco, enjoying all their fruity and sweet glory. We stopped by a vendor and ordered some rich Portuguese egg custard, Nata, and Macaroons that kept beckoning us to sample more unique flavors like Basil Lime. The Jean Talon Market is just off the Metro Jean Talon and worth an afternoon of gastronomic adventure.

Notre Dame, Montreal, CanadaOne of our favorite sights is Old Montreal, by the St. Lawrence River, specifically the Notre-Dame Cathedral. After a couple of hours marveling at the beautiful color-stained windows and lights that barely light up the massive house of prayer, we stopped by Les Glaceurs, an ice-cream and cupcake store. Although it is a local chain, it does not have that commercial feel. The ice-creams are well-made without being too sweet, offering a wide selection including sorbets. The cupcakes look very tempting, but the ice-cream seems to always do its job of satisfying the craving for something sweet while cooling us down. Don’t miss out on this small place located on the side of the cathedral when down by the Notre Dame.





Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken and Grilled shrimp

Not far from the Notre Dame is Chinatown located on the main Boulevard Saint Laurent. Many eating establishments in this area offer Vietnamese cuisine – some Vietnamese moved here due to their knowledge of French taught by their former colonialists. One simple eating establishment that we particularly enjoy is My Canh. My friend’s order of the Combo No. 1 (I’m always wary of anything combo) came with well-marinated grilled beef, chicken, grilled shrimp, along with Imperial roll, salad and rice, which he enjoyed tremendously. My order (Combo No. 2) was similar except mine consisted of lemongrass chicken filled with the root fragrance without being overwhelmed by it or too salty from fish sauce. The fish sauce dip to the tasty Imperial roll was the perfect balance of flavors. The opening clear pho soup was full of flavor and worth every sip. Note: only cash is accepted in this establishment.

My Canh on Urbanspoon

Pita with Brie, Dried Cranberries, & WalnutsSeafood in Beurre Blanc

Grilled Chicken in Mushroom SauceBistro 1272 is located in the gay-friendly part of town, Le Village, where the main Rue Sainte Catherine is closed to pedestrians decorated with overhanging pink balls in mid-air during the warm months. Bumping into some friends there, we decided to join them for dinner. After perusing the menu, I decided to go with the night’s special. The entrée was pita bread filled with flavorful Brie cheese (not the American pasteurized crap) paired with sweet dried cranberries and toasted walnuts, creating a tasty balancing act of flavors. The order of Grilled Chicken in Mushroom Sauce took this cut of poultry to a good place. Moist chicken slices are smothered with a rich and slightly woodsy brown sauce that made it worthwhile mopping up with some bread; the sides of Pommes Purée and vegetables were also well-executed. My friend’s order of Seafood in Beurre Blanc was a revelation for him. The pieces of shrimp, lobster, and scallop were bathed in a rich and flavorful shallot and lobster-infused butter sauce that made my friend effusive throughout his meal. You can find well-executed meals here at a very reasonable price, and it is worthwhile dining al fresco watching the pedestrians stroll by.

Montreal, CanadaAh, we can’t get enough of this charming city every time we visit it. Just when we thought we had calculated enough days for our trip, we always felt a few more would have made it perfect. With such great food, amiable friends and strangers, and wonderful street life and eating ambience, it is hard to press the stop button and come back to the daily grind. But such wonderful experiences only allow us to continue with our trying lives while looking forward to returning to this beautiful respite again and again. With such wonderful gastronomic offerings, Montreal seems to make that call continuously to us, louder each time. We’re coming back soon; don’t worry!

Simple Pleasures

DSC_8365.jpgMother Nature is spot-on on her regular cycle as she unabashedly announced the official arrival of Summer last week with the first triple-digit heat-searing day of the year during the Summer Solstice.   With the sun keeping us indoors or beating us down during our brief scurries from the car to destination point, nothing comes better to mind as relief from the oppressiveness than either taking a dip in the pool or ocean, or having the quintessential heat buster in one hand – ice cream.   I chose the latter on that given day.


DSC_8329.jpgI came across Simple Pleasures while strolling through the Greenbelt Farmers Market some time last year,  and I was curious to see a vendor selling ice cream home-made with local organic milk and locally sourced fruits.  The owner was very excited in telling me all about his creations including one made with blackberries which were seasonal at that time.  Walking around with the cup in my hand, I was baffled by an interesting note, a je-ne-sais-qoui, that trailed at the end of each bite.  I scurried back to the owner and he coyly made a guessing game out of my curiosity which left me completely stumped.  Eventually, he told me that he had put some lavender essence as the back note – brilliant.  That day, I knew I had come across something interesting, creative, delectable, and well-crafted.  I had to discover the location of their store.


The Simple Pleasure store is located in Old Town Bowie, in between the new part of the city and Laurel.  Driving through this rather quaint section, one notices that this charming part has now been a bit forgotten due to its location off the main road and also to the new construction around Bowie, which has made this suburb a home destination for the middle class and the up-and-coming.  The store is located in a house that appears to date from the early part of the last century, judging by its sprawling verandah and wooden construction, alongside similar looking structures that have become Antique stores.  The coffee shop is on the bottom floor past the comfy living room area filled with sofas that beckons the guest to make it home.  In the dining section, tables hold small glass vases containing pretty flowers that add a bit of charm to the simple room that is filled with antiques and European pottery, which also fill up the upper level rooms – the owner was stationed in Europe for a few years, and he and his wife want to bring some elegant charm to the ambience.  Food orders are usually placed in the back where vats of freshly made ice cream are displayed along with some pastries.


The following are the flavors that I have tried and I won’t get flowery about presenting them.  Time for “Attaca” like in a previous blog on an Asian buffet joint:

DSC_8316.jpgLemon Custard: A pronounced lemon 0il flavor which gives the lemony kick in the cream without the acidity of lemon juice.  I’m a big fan of this.

Vanilla: Specks of real quality vanilla seeds in a smooth clean flavored ice-cream.  The owner said that some folks are not used to the real thing after having eaten fake vanilla for years.  But I prefer true vanilla that gives a slight heady flavor and aroma that match the smooth pure cream.

Stracciatella:  Ice-cream that has been laced with hazelnut essence and speckled with shards of imported Italian dark chocolate.  A taste of Italia and it is just Divino.

Rum Raisin:  Real boozy without knocking you down, studded with plump rum-soaked raisins.  I can’t get enough of this but I have to drive home at some point.

Dark Chocolate:  This gets as dark as it gets with the use of quality dark chocolate that gives me that satisfactory sweet bitterness from the high cocoa butter content.  This is a definite mood enhancer if you need something to perk you up with.

Strawberry Rhubarb:  This is a classic combination of sweet and slight tartness that I am fond of.  The fruitiness of the strawberries still shine though the rich cream.

Fruit Sorbets – rich with pure fruitiness without the artificial flavors found in the commercial brands.  Not too sweet also.

Obviously, everyone has their unique taste for flavors, and these are just samples of the wonderful offerings.  The flavors do change according to seasonal fruits and the creative whim of the owner, like Guinness or Chai – yumm!


DSC_8735.jpgOn my visit during the Summer Solstice, I ordered a childhood favorite, Banana Split.  It arrived in a beautiful frosted glass banana boat, filled with some chocolate syrup, a sliced banana, heaps of my ice-cream flavors of choice, topped off with a mountain of whipped cream and peaked by bits of maraschino cherries.  Bits of pineapple and fresh blueberries were interspersed amidst the cornucopia of sweet and rich flavors.  After I removed most of the whipped cream, I polished off this monstrosity with no hesitation, and I was amazed that I was able to do it without feeling oversated or guilty.  In addition to this ice-cream “meal”, they also offer a bowl of 5 scoops if you are in that kind of mood.  Most of us just can’t enough of a good thing.


The pastries are made by the daughter who equally likes to try out her creativity with the seasonal ingredients in these baked goods.  They are tasty, well-made and appropriately rich.  In addition to flatbread pizzas, wraps, and sub sandwiches, they offer Afternoon Tea which includes a cup of properly made tea, served in a teapot on a tea candle, and a serving of pastry or scone – this has been perfect for some cold winters in which I sought relief from the bitter cold with a “cuppa” and a sweet bite.   If you want to get a bit more fanciful,  they offer two types of High Tea which include finger sandwiches, a cheese tray, fruits, and pastries, along with the hot beverages and ice-cream.  However, an order has to be placed 24 hours in advance before showing up; I can never get myself to think so far ahead for this, but I will get my act together one day.

DSC_8721.jpgThe husband-and-wife team are dedicated people who are committed to small businesses around the area and to the community.  They are extremely friendly, and you can sense their passion for the fore mentioned when you engage them in conversation.  They hold a theme dinner one night of the month and it is usually standing room only – the last dinner’s theme was Mediterranean which I regrettably missed out on.  Throughout the week, they haul their ice-cream stand from one farmers market to another in order to serve the various people in the county.  These are passionate, hard-working, and knowledgeable foodies – my kind of people.

In an age of corporate chain coffee shops and ice-cream stores that exude indifference and impersonality, Simple Pleasures brings back the charm of knowledgeable owners who are giving you a part of themselves in the product that they serve.  Walking into their Bowie store, you get good food and ice-cream, warm smiling faces, and a comfy home-like environment to plop yourself down, away from life’s battles out there.  What more can you ask for than just some truly simple pleasures.

Simple Pleasures Ice Cafe on Urbanspoon