Blu Berry Frozen Yogurt and Topping Bar sings a lullaby to restless sweet teeth with a symphonious menu of smooth fro-yo, blended with fresh ingredients and smothered in more than 50 decadent toppings. A conglomeration of 10 flavors—including fancy french vanilla, cookies and cream, and red-velvet cake ($0.40/ounce for each)—greet patrons as they enter the treatery and beg to be sprinkled with crushed pecans or peanuts, glazed in hot caramel, or mercilessly drowned in a tsunami of marshmallow sauce. The self-serve setup allows patrons to mix-and-match flavors and toppings, and customers can sample spoonfuls before they decide on how to construct the tastiest fedora for a snowman.
Old School Frozen Custard is fiercely protective of the frozen custard tradition. With locations in Capitol Hill and Fremont, the company has churned out its smooth and creamy products in the Puget Sound area since 2007. Here are a few scoops of info to nibble on when you visit.
Frozen custard has less calories than ice cream. That’s because it’s made fresh daily in a special machine using natural and high-quality ingredients—this, fans say, is why it tastes so much better than traditional ice cream.
The idea itself isn’t completely original. Before opening, Old School consulted with some of the most popular frozen custard shops in the Midwest, including Kopp’s and Leon’s in Wisconsin. That insight inspired Old School to source local ingredients and make its products fresh daily.
Staffers scoop custard into cones or cups. Or, you can order it as a “concrete,” which is a blend of frozen custard and your choice of mix-ins, toppings, and syrups.
Traditional flavors anchor the menu. Vanilla bean and chocolate are always reliable, but new flavors, such as peanut butter and chocolate or mountain blackberry, pop up daily throughout the month.
Old School custards can be found at certain retailers. That list includes all Metropolitan Markets, where you can purchase it by the pint and finally begin surrounding your house with that custard moat.
Meet the Owner: Rod Neldam is a third-generation baker. His grandfather ran a bakery in Oakland called Neldam’s Danish Bakery for many years, beginning in 1929.
While You’re Waiting: Take a look around. The walls sport the work of local artists, and management swaps in a new batch of pictures, paintings, and photographs at the beginning of every month.
When to Go: Grateful Bread hosts open mic nights every second Tuesday of the month from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Inside Tip: If you’re in the market for something specific, make sure to time your visit correctly. Challah is only made on Thursdays and Fridays, and wild rice and onion breads only emerge from the ovens on Saturdays.
While You’re in the Neighborhood: Take a stroll through the four acres of native plants, orchards, and nurseries at the Magnuson Community Garden (7400 Sand Point Way NE).
If You Can’t Make It, Try This: Grateful Bread hits the farmers’ market circuit Wednesday through Sunday, making stops at Wallingford, Queen Anne, and Shoreline Farmers’ Markets. Check the website for a current schedule.
It all began with a chowder competition. Shortly after Larry Mellum and his business partner opened Charlestown Street Cafe, pretty much everyone in the kitchen was convinced they had the ultimate chowder recipe. So they decided to put each version to the test. Every Friday, they let customers sample a different chowder recipe and gave them the final say in which one made it to the menu. The smooth-as-silk winner––a creation of one of the kitchen's line cooks––became so popular, people from all across Seattle would come to wait in line just for a taste. Inspired, the restaurant decided to take the recipe on the road, entering (and winning) chowder competitions up and down the West Coast. But the real victory happened 3,500 miles away in Newport, Road Island. There, Mellum and company's chowder took home the grand prize at the Great Chowder Cook Off––the first non-New England contender to do so in the competition's 20-year history. After taking home the grand prize three years in a row, and being inducted into the chowder hall-of-fame, the recipe officially retired from competition and now spends the majority of its time watching golf. When it's not in the kitchen, that is. Today at Pike Place Chowder, guests can taste that award-winning chowder––made using freshly picked vegetables and herbs from Pike Place Market––or sample one of seven other chowders, including a smoked salmon chowder, seared scallop chowder, and a vegan chowder. For those who hit their chowder limit, there's also dungeness crab rolls flavored with top-secret seasonings and fresh salads topped with Oregon Bay shrimp, while a second location in Pacific Place Center has earned a following for its made-to-order fish 'n chips, made with either Pacific cod or wild salmon.
Sample Donut Selections
National Press: Bon Appétit ranked Mighty O on its list of the Top 10 Best Places for Donuts in the country.
While You’re in the Neighborhood
Before: Prepare your sweet tooth with a savory prelude at Diggity Dog Hot Dog & Sausage Co. (5421 Meridian Avenue N).
After: Walk off those chocolate glazed and lemon poppy donuts at Woodland Park (1000 N. 50th Street).
In the kitchen of Fainting Goat Gelato, batches of dense, velvety goodness are churning slowly. Organic milk from Fresh Breeze Farms absorbs organic sugar, thickening as it gets colder, before Yalcin folds in the flavor. He infuses one vat of his low-fat treat with local berries and another vat with Turkish hazelnuts. Maybe later he'll make use of some pistachios from Sicily. He uses local ingredients whenever he can but recognizes that sometimes nuts grow better across the Atlantic, and more than anything he wants to make his gelato sing with rich, full, true flavors.
By using such prime ingredients, the gelato that Yalcin and his wife make in Fainting Goat Gelato takes guests on a journey as expansive as their own. The husband and wife moved to Seattle from Turkey in 1997 and subsequently focused on raising their daughters, but after their youngest started applying to college, they wanted to begin a new adventure. Today they keep their shop stocked with 18 flavors at all times, creating an ever-rotating menu that at any time might include fig-vanilla, honey-lavender, or Nutella gelato. Cups of Turkish coffee, espresso, and tea help round out the experience and thaw tongues chilled from licking a scoop of strawberry or lips frozen from kissing a snowman.