Ever since Baskin-Robbins began its dessert fashion show in 1953, more than 1,000 original flavors have sauntered across the nation's tongue runways, 31 at a time. With the ice creamery's iconic pink sampling spoons as your guide, taste-test as many as you like until you find the flavor that gives your soul a back rub, whether it's a classic flavor such as rocky road single scoop ($2.39) or a seasonal serving of Love Potion #31—white chocolate and raspberry ice cream loaded with raspberry-filled chocolate hearts—and America's Birthday Cake. Otherwise, keep it simple and bury your face within the flavor of the month—a chocolate and Swiss chocolate blend, brimming with pieces of chocolate ganache cake and chocolate chunks. The ice alchemists at Baskin-Robbins can also transmute their ice cream and sherbet into drinkable desserts such as floats, freezes, and shakes ($3.99–$5.99).
Angelo's Steakhouse Italiano treats its visitors to hearty feasts of tender sirloin and angus T-bones, as well as handmade pasta. Pappardelle and spaghetti mingle with meatballs, italian sausage, and cream sauce, and cutlets of chicken and wild-caught salmon pair with sides of fingerling potatoes. Meat lovers salivate over the special steak menu, which is full of beefy dishes such as the center-cut Durham Ranch bison sirloin or the Flintstone—a hulking 40-ounce (or greater) dry-rubbed rib eye served with two sides of pasta Bolognese and a knife made out of chipped obsidian.
The cooks at Velvet Grill & Creamery understand the timelessness of classic diner fare and a cold scoop of ice cream. All day long, they make breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes from scratch and churn out fresh batches of more than 20 ice-cream flavors. Breakfast seekers satisfy savory cravings with three-egg omelets stuffed with ingredients such as avocado, crab, linguiça, and feta cheese. Sweet teeth tear into Velvet's original pancakes, made with real oatmeal and buttermilk from a special house recipe. Later-day options include classic comfort fare such as chicken-fried steak and smoked pork chops doused with an apricot glaze. Among the sandwich selection, the house-special mega grilled cheese ($7.39) combines four kinds of melted, gooey cheese between three slices of bread to form a meal hefty enough to knock over Mechagodzilla should he return from his semester abroad in Prague. Diners can also lap up the eatery's rotating selection of homemade ice creams, which were spotlighted in the Lodi News-Sentinel for their incorporation of such unconventional ingredients as wine and butternut squash. Customers can also suggest new flavors and request special batches, which in the past have included licorice, bacon, and the sweet, sweet taste of victory over chinese finger traps.
When the trio of Jenna Harvey, Ryan Woods, and Steffen Haro graduated from UC Davis, they decided to create their own jobs. "It's not in our character to throw up our hands and say, 'Well, we tried,'" Harvey says as she remembers doggedly planning a 400-square-foot shaved-ice shack with Woods and Haro. Their dream quickly evolved into a shop nearly five times as large, complete with an espresso bar, a kettle-corn popper, and a drive-thru window. Named Pura Vida for the Costa Rican phrase that captivated Harvey during a charitable trip in 2007?"Though it translates as 'pure life,' locals said they use it as 'live pure,' and we liked what it stood for"?the affable staff douses fluffy curls of ice with sweet fruits, puckery sours, and an array of sugar-free flavors accented with marshmallow topping or ice cream in the middle. Hot and iced coffees, which Pura Vida hopes to someday source directly from Costa Rica, enliven palates in between bites of kettle corn, which pop from whole-grain kernels. As soft music floats through the red-walled storefront, free WiFi ricochets across the hand-built bamboo counter and onto patio tables perched beneath a shady pitched awning.
Mocha Magic has served up locally roasted coffee and homemade café fare in a sun-bathed modern space since 1994. Behind the café counter, sandwich makers layer sourdough and croissant with honey baked ham, smoked turkey, and fresh produce accompaniments. At breakfast, patrons can jumpstart the day with freshly baked scones and muffins, but are discouraged from jumpstarting a car by pouring espresso drinks directly into the gas tank.
TCBY (a.k.a. The Country's Best Yogurt) serves 98% fat-free yogurt, which contains benevolent bacterial cultures that assist the body with digestion and nutrient absorption. The menu touts silky soft serve in flavors such as cake batter and white chocolate mousse ($2.79–$3.99). Top your probiotic-packed treat with strawberries, gummy bears, candy bar bits, or a host of other toppings ($0.49–$0.89). TCBY's Beriyo smoothies—potent potions such as Strawberry Bananza and Berrylicious—contain frozen yogurt blended with bushels of fresh fruit ($3.99–$4.99).