Gelato oh-so-giusto!

Don't look at your calendar.  Your calendar says it's the first day of Fall.  But we don't exactly abide by the summer calendar.  If it's hot and muggy and my air conditioner is still running at night?  You can be sure we're still getting ice cream. Or in this case, gelato!  Again!  MAN, is gelato having  a moment or something??  Or is it that people are finally getting wise that having good, quality gelato beats that ubiquitous Mr. Softee truck any day?

Can't recall who put this on my radar.  $10 says it was Time Out, but I've lost track.  Not living in Brooklyn this summer meant that I crossed off a TON more Manhattan spots than ever before!  I was looking at what was left of The List to tackle, and decided that another new gelato spot would add nicely to this summer's growing theme (last year's being surprisingly out-there flavors).

Gelato Giusto (which loosely translates to "the right gelato" as in, gelato done well -- hence my adorably punny blog title) is the NY outpost of a Milanese gelateria by the same name.  The chef of Gelato Giusto, a cute redhead that simply goes by the name Vittoria, has a long laundry list of pasticceria experience ranging from Harrod's in London to Laduree in Paris.  Returning to Milan, she decided to create a shop of luxury pastries, characterized by the genuineness of prime materials and passion "per la qualità degli ingredienti."

Now, everyone knows that Italian gelato is a national pastime and nearly a birthright.  I guess it never occurred to me that it would be made any way but with craftsmanship.  But I forget that half of their customers are tourists, and so, much like everything else in this world, I'm sure there are shortcuts.

Gelato Giusto's website specifically claims my favorite things:  produzione giornaliera (made daily), solo ingrediente naturale (only using natural ingredients), latte fresca di alta qualita (fresh milk of high quality), and frutta fresca di stagione (fresh fruit of the season).

So already I am on board.  Our NY outposts comes to life when an Italian insurance broker-turned chef, Lorenzo Franchetti, becomes pals with Vittoria and announced his plans to expand Gelato Giusto to New York, which he found seriously lacking of good, proper gelato.  Then - here's the best part - he went to the GELATO UNIVERSITY in Bologna.  !!!! There's a GELATO UNIVERSITY, people!!  (wait a minute.......this rings a bell.  Haven't we talked about this before??  Must investigate back log of blog.)  He then studied under Vittoria and finally opened up this adorable Chelsea shop in early 2015.

And by now I know you are thinking:  Jeanette, who cares, how was the damn gelato??  But I'm telling you that all this matters because above all, Gelato Giusto is delightfully authentic.  From the crisp, European attitude of the counter girl who when asked what farm the dairy came from looked at me like I was an imbecile to not know that it was supplied locally, and likewise for the ingredients - "From Italy, of course" in that wonderful sung accent.  To the three-or-so-odd people who were sitting in the small shop reading the newspaper(!) as if time was of no issue.  To the dropping in and out of Italian and English to various customers (I think they have regulars!).  To the adorable sign explaining to the dumb Americans that they were most certainly NOT an ice cream shop.

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And finally, yes, to the gelato itself, in simple flavors ranging from Vanilla to Pistacchio (their spelling) to Chocolate, and all colors of fruit sorbet.

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If I had thought a second longer, I should have gone classic not rogue and gotten that Pistachio.  Dangit!  But I can't help myself so I got Lavendar and Custard.

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The lavender was delicious but intense (herbs from the mother country herself, don't forget) and the custard flavor was a little underwhelming, but the texture was perfetto, and so I will easily go back and try different flavors next time.  Mostly I was in love with the whole experience.  Stepping in off the street on a hot day felt like being transported into another world.  I actually SAT(!) and ate my gelato for once! (I always take it to go.) And with Lorenzo himself behind the counter offering a quick , effortless grazie to the customers, I could visit every day, enjoy a stolen moment of bliss, and be happy.

Ice Cream truly is better at the beach

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Alright, alright, I admit it:  it's past Labor Day.  But it was SO EPICALLY HUMID & GROSS this past weekend that we squeeeeeeezed in one last beach day yesterday. In total, I made it to the beach SIX TIMES this summer!  Pretty impressive considering it's a good 1.5 hour travel for me from Queens, so it's not like I can pop on my flip flops and just head out the back door.  Our beach of choice is Riis Park, part of the National Park Service, and features an extensive sand beach and an art deco bath house built in 1932.  AND starting last year, it became home to Riis Park Beach Bazaar, an offshoot of the super popular Brooklyn Night Bazaar, which featured food vendors, indie designers, and upcoming musicians.

Which Beach Bazaar did too.  Including... dun-duh-na-na! - our favorite Brooklyn ice creamery, Ample Hills.

Look.  I went to Riis beach four times, but sometimes it's more of a French fry and beer kinda day, you know?  So I only got ice cream once.  I know, I know, how dare I!  But ohh, was it a doozy.

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The line was long and there were several flavors already sold out, but this one had me at hello.  Ooey Gooey Butter Cake is exactly what it sounds like:  Vanilla ice cream with hunks of St. Louis-style Ooey Gooey Butter Cake.  We all know I tend to lean towards the unique and original, and I'd never had such an ice cream before (even if it did seem a little less about the ice cream and more about the cake.)

.... Which is exactly what I got.  I swung for a pretzel cone cause I thought that would be the most orgasmic combination of salty-sweet on a hot summer day (instead, what I got was under salted and not very crunchy).  The ice cream was good, but my mouth kept getting interrupted by these huge chunks of cake!  And they were very gooey and very buttery and truthfully what I REALLY loved was the caramel-butter flavor they left in the vanilla in their wake.  THAT was good ice cream; you just have to take out the cake bits.

Listen.  I'm sure there are others that disagree.  I'm sure, like with Salted Crack Caramel, people DIE for this flavor.  But more importantly:  it doesn't really matter.  Cause we were at the beeeeeaaaaach.  And Ample Hills is here to stay, in every location.  And that line isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

So.  See ya there next year, Ample Hills.