Chocolate Wasted Ice Cream & Treats Truck Hits The Houston Streets Friday

Photo courtesy Olivia Luisa Garcia
Chocolate Wasted Ice Cream & Treats will open for business Friday, August 22.
Remember when you were a kid and would hear the jingle of the ice cream truck coming down the street?

Nowadays, we tend to get our ice cream and popsicles from either the grocery store or one of the various ice cream shops around town. Yes, these are great, but what happened to the right to your neighborhood experience that traditional ice cream trucks provided? And again, that jingle?

A new updated version is about to hit the streets of Houston. Susan Sahwani-Garcia, owner of Chocolate Wasted Ice Cream & Treats, originally wanted to open a homemade ice cream mobile eatery, but as she began developing her project and realized how expensive that would be, she decided to start her business as a traditional ice cream truck selling all the classic treats and local products.

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Taste-Testing "Scoop Shop Only" Flavors

Photo by Joanna O'Leary
Ooh! A live batch! So much better than pre-recorded ice cream.

There are few reasons why you should pay five bucks for a small (one scoop) serving of ice cream at a Ben & Jerry's scoop shop in Houston when you can buy four times the amount of the same flavor for significantly less money at a local grocery store.

Unless, of course, you're seeking to sample one of brand's (usually) limited edition flavors only available in its brick and mortar stores.

As of press time, the Kirby Ben & Jerry's scoop shop offered several select flavors including, two from the new "SNL" series, "Gilly's Catastrophic Crunch" and "Lazy Sunday" as well as a smattering of (non-sketch comedy show themed) varieties such as Coconut Seven Layer Bar, Salted Caramel Blondie, and Butter Pecan.

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Popcart Handmade Ice Pops Cools Off Houston With Refreshing Popsicles

Photo by Rebecca Lynch
Each pop is bright, beautiful and refreshing.
We recently listed the five things missing from the Houston restaurant scene., and you can add popsicles to that list. Unless you visit a grocery store or paleta stand in our city, you'll have a difficult time finding a vendor who strictly sells popsicles.

Richard and Rebecca Lynch decided popsicles were the way to go after first looking at other foods. On June 22 they opened their "mom and pop" shop Popcart Handmade Ice Pops.

"Back in August 2012, my wife was laid off from her job, so we had wanted to start our business for a while, and my wife has always loved food, so I said, 'Why don't you look into starting a little food business of some sort?' We had no idea it would be popsicles," Richard says. "And then my wife came across a recipe book on popsicles one day and said, 'That's it!' So she started experimenting in the kitchen; she bought little plastic molds and that's where it all began."

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Summer Dessert Recipe: Mandarin Orange & Pineapple Cake

Categories: Recipes, Sweets

Photo by Molly Dunn
The juicy pineapple chunks in the whipped topping make this a refreshingly sweet cake.
When someone thinks of a "summer dessert," most likely cake does not come to their mind. Usually, sweet treats in the scorching hot summer months include ice cream, Popsicles, sno cones and the occasional milkshake. Cakes are covered in frosting, be it chocolate, strawberry, vanilla or cream cheese, and that's not exactly the best solution for a sweet tooth in search of something refreshing. Usually the glass of milk accompanying each bite does that trick.

But, what if the cake had oranges and pineapple? And the heavy frosting was replaced with a light and airy whipped topping?

That's what we call a summer dessert.

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Is "the New Cupcake" the Cupcake?

Categories: News, Sweets

Photo by Nate Steiner via Flickr
Why are cupcakes still popular?
Macarons are the "new cupcake." Or is it pie? Or how about cake balls? No, it's going to be doughnuts. But, what about popsicles?

This has been the non-stop conversation over the cupcake trend since the personal-sized treats topped with a swirl of frosting became popular in the early 2000s. Despite several "new cupcakes" making their appearance in the baked goods market, the cupcake remains the favorite.

A recent Slate article tracked every single food that has ever been labeled as the cupcake's replacement over the past eight years and found that 57 foods were called "the new cupcake" in news articles. In March and April 2010, nine different publications said macarons were the new "it" dessert -- we even supported that claim this past year.

But, if all of these sweets and treats (some were savory, like burgers and hot dogs) were supposed to knock cupcakes off the totem pole, then why haven't bakeries stopped selling them? And why haven't all the cupcakeries gone out of business? We spoke with several bakery owners who all sell cupcakes, whether it's alongside other products or their only product, to share their thoughts on the trend, and if they think the cupcake is on its way out the door.

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Cloud 10 Creamery's New Summer Flavors Are Certainly Unique

Categories: Sweets

Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg
I'm sorry, what? Tomato?
Ever since last September, I eagerly await the change of seasons in Houston, not because I'm waiting for that first cold front of the year (which right now feels like it may never come), but because each new season brings a new round of ice cream flavors at Cloud 10 Creamery.

The gourmet ice cream parlor in Rice Village has been churning out delectable and sometimes head-scratching flavors under the guidance of pastry chef Chris Leung. Leung is known for infusing Asian elements into his ice cream, resulting in combos like hazelnut-miso or the spring sundae, which featured red currant mascarpone ice cream and a green matcha cake.

A couple of weeks ago, Cloud 10 Creamery introduced us to the new summer flavors, and while not all were available when I swung by, those that were are pretty impressive.

Tomato ice cream, anyone?

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Tout Suite Opens Soon Bringing Macarons, Eclairs & Homemade Food

Photo courtesy of Tout Suite
Tout Suite is getting close to opening in East Downtown.
Tout Suite, sister company to Sweet Bakery in CityCentre, is just weeks away from opening. Despite typical delays from meeting city permit requirements and whatnot, the cafe, bakery and coffee shop is inching closer to opening its doors in East Downtown at 2001 Commerce. Tout Suite translates from French to English as "right away," and that's the premise behind this establishment.

Anne Le, president of Tout Suite, describes it as a European-style cafe, bistro and bakery where customers can snack on an array of pastries and sweets while sipping on a cup of coffee, or enjoy a quick, inexpensive and tasty meal.

"Since we've outgrown our very, very small bakery in CityCentre, we found this other opportunity to not only expand our kitchen, but to also serve other food that we are passionate about," Le says. "So, beyond our cupcakes and our macarons we worked hard to build our reputation on, we're branching out to also simple soups, salads and sandwiches to offer the neighborhood that we chose to be in more than just our baked goods."

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Chef Chat, Part 2: Roy Shvartzapel and What's Next For Common Bond

Chuck Cook Photography
Chef Roy Shvartzapel of Common Bond Cafe & Bakery and a display of freshly baked breads
Check out the first part of our interview with Chef Roy Shvartzapel.

At Common Bond, colorful desserts are lined up like painted soldiers behind a glass case. A big metal rack holds generously sized loaves of freshly baked bread. There's a selection of coffee drinks and you can even grab a light lunch before the kitchen closes at 3 pm.

Is it surprising that people are willing to line up at Common Bond in the morning and wait 45 minutes for breakfast? Maybe, but then again, maybe not.

While we were interviewing chef Roy Shvartzapel, a gentleman with a white beard from Lafayette walked up to compliment him on the quality of the croissants. "A friend told me that of all the things that surprised him about Houston, the thing that surprised him the most was finding croissants here as good as what he had in Paris," he said. "You've done a great job here."

And why are those croissants so good? In part 2 of this interview, we talk about the mechanics of making the perfect croissant dough. We also get the scoop on another other baked goodie that will make its first appearance just in time for the holidays and find out about chef Roy's ultimate goals.

EOW: What do you think about the 45-minute average wait time here at Common Bond?

RS: I've visited places like that over my career and used to say "One day, I'm going to have a place where people wait in line for things that I make." I think there's a value in that. Not for me, but particularly in a city like Houston that's the ultra in non-pedestrian. We, on a scale from one to 10 in pedestrian life, are at a zero. We're not even at a one. It's the infrastructure. We cannot have, for example, a subway system. We're just not designed that way.

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Chef Chat, Part 1: Roy Shvartzapel's Culinary Journey to Common Bond

Categories: Chef Chat, Sweets

Chuck Cook Photography
Chef Roy Shvartzapel of Common Bond Cafe & Bakery
His last name may be a little challenging to pronounce correctly, but chef Roy Shvartzapel of Common Bond is practically a Houston native. After traveling the world and working in some of the most renowned restaurants, he came back home to open the wildly successful, upper-crust bakery at Westheimer and Dunlavy. I get the feeling that this guy has two or three books in him, if only he had the time to write them.

Common Bond only opened a few months ago, but it's already so popular there's an average 45-minute wait in the mornings to get in. My Facebook feed is peppered with photos of friends waving around big, crunchy, brown croissants with as much pride as if they were carrying a Louis Vuitton satchel.

This is no overnight success story. After graduating from Culinary Institute of America, Chef Roy traveled the world for years, working for some of the top chefs in the world--sometimes for months with no pay just to learn their craft. His journey has not not just been about feeling the well-heeled masses, though. He's also lived and worked in the one of the poorest areas in the world. So, besides having great culinary knowledge to share, he's accumulated some valuable perspective on life's values as well.

In part 1 of our interview, Chef Shvartzapel describes the long, star-studded culinary journey that began in Houston and took him all over the globe until he made his way back home to open Common Bond. We'll pick up the story tomorrow in Part 2 and talk about some issues of importance to us consumers, like that 45-minute wait time.

EOW: Where were you born?

RS: Israel

EOW: When did you come to Houston?

RS: Two

EOW: How did you get into baking?

RS: The love affair began when I was in college. I grew up in a home where food was central to all things, which is typical in a Middle Eastern home. If you'd have asked me pre-college if I could see myself becoming a chef, you could have just as easily asked if I imagined becoming a conductor in a symphony. It was just as plausible--meaning, not plausible.

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Petite Sweets Introduces Frozen Custard Waffle Cone Sundaes

Photo by Molly Dunn
The Funfetti sundae is one of the best flavors, and the easiest to eat.
Petite Sweets is known for its creamy, sweet custards. And this summer, rather than filling up a tall cup with the signature treat, the West Alabama bakery has crafted a variety of frozen custard waffle cone sundaes using the three standard flavors: Chocolate, vanilla and swirled.

Custard is similar to ice cream, but it has a smoother and creamier texture than ice cream due to the addition of egg yolks.

Petite Sweets starts with a plain or chocolate-dipped waffle cone, then fills it with frozen custard (you choose the flavor) and decorates it with an array of toppings to create one of the seven available sundaes.

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