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Archive for the ‘gelato’ Category

Flat Top Pizza Company: New to the Streets

Posted by CMH Gourmand on May 20, 2014


Cuisine: Pizza, Ice Cream, Soda and Seasonal specials


We begin with a bit of Columbus Mobile Food culture. You may have heard of Mikey’s Late Night Slice, a guy named Mike started the first mobile pizza empire in the city. Then you may have heard of Pizza Mike, Mike Evans owned the first restaurant (pizzeria) in Westerville to serve booze in the dry city. Then his pizzeria burned down. Mike was on the Great Food Race and used that experience to start a food truck last year. And then there is Mike and Other Mike. In 2012 a couple of lads working on a food cart decided they needed to do something different to stand out from the cart crowd, so they started doing a grilled cheese style pizza on a cart. The concept worked but they found a cart limiting so they started working on a truck. It took a lot longer to build out the truck than expected so Mike opted for full-time employment while Other Mike continued plugging, painting and paying away on the Pizza Truck. Other Mike is owner/operator/dough slinger Mike Cyan. The lesson of this paragraph – if your name is Mike you are probably running a pizza truck. The name of the truck is an homage to how the pizza is crafted, on a flat top grill.

Flat Top pizza is much more than pizza. The menu also includes truck made ice cream and craft soda. Future menu items may include pepperoni rolls, cinnamon rolls and soups.

The pizzas start with homemade dough and high grade ingredients. The sauces and pesto are made from scratch.


The ice cream is made in small batches and served in scoops or floats.



The soda pops are hand crafted as well with a mix of traditional with not so traditional flavors. Mike makes special syrups and flavorings for each pop, which are mixed to order.



As for the name, Flat Top Pizza is made on a grill not in a pizza oven. The end result still combines pizza with a little grilled cheese char.

We like the look of the truck as well (as do many of the other food truck owners in town). Mike spent a long time crafting his truck, doing almost all of the work on his own. There is a cool retro look to the Flat Top (a Grumman truck, older than Mike is) with wood doors integrated into the design. Adding to the retro, pizza to go is served in paper bags (the way pizza was served back in the 1940’s and 1950’s). Flat Top officially launched in May 2014 so keep an eye out for truck as it starts to build a following at the usual spots. The easiest place to find Flat Top in action will be at Zauber Brewing Company, check with the truck and the brewery for schedule information.



Posted in gelato, ice cream, Locally Sourced, Mobile Food, pizza | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Quicklick: Gelateria (at Caffe DaVinci)

Posted by CMH Gourmand on July 21, 2013


As you are all aware, the heat and humidity index has been less than ideal. Perhaps the heat of July is what inspired this month to be declared national ice cream month many years ago. While I consume more than an average amount of ice cream throughout the year, I find it extra appealing during the heat of summer. (Now wait a minute some astute readers of CMH Gourmand are thinking, the title says Gelataria – that means a place that serves gelato). Yes, ice cream and gelato are different. Those differences make gelato even more appealing on a hot day. Gelato appeals to my summer bred sloth and impatience when not given instant gratification. The differences between gelato and ice cream make gelato an even better choice during the peak of the heat.

I have written in the past about my policy of having ice cream “sweat”. I don’t condone eating ice cream instantly. It is often served “hard” from the container – still very cold and resistant to quick licking. I prefer to wait about 5 minutes to let the ice cream start to melt. This improves the flavors and how they mix together, limits the dangers of the ice cream headache and makes ice cream easier to lick, spoon or slurp. Gelato is stored and served about 15 degrees warmer than ice cream, which means it is at optimal consumption temperature the second it slides into the bowl. It is also made with less cream and more milk so it is a less heavy to the taste and slightly lower in fat therefore less likely to propel one into an ice cream coma after completion.


So yes, I am a fan of gelato but it is a rare thing in Columbus. The few places where I do find it, I often walk away disappointed because it is typically just repackaged mass-produced gelato from elsewhere which is neither fresh nor refreshing. I wrote about the Caffe DaVinci Gelateria way back in 2007. I did not forget about the place but I had mistakenly thought Caffe DaVinci had closed. Driving by recently, I saw the open sign in the window and decided to see if their gelato was still as good as I remembered it.

It is. Twelve rotating flavors are offered. The staff behind the serving freezer are friendly (they have the best job in the building) and they are assisted with translations of the flavors on the back of each sign. Samples are encouraged. Servings and samples are both ample. I can not think of another place in town that would have better or more authentic gelato to offer. The owners are clearly gelato enthusiasts as shown by proudly displaying photos of famous gelaterias throughout Italy. Other than not honoring the tradition of paying first before ordering, the rest of the gelato experience here will be pleasing to the palate and cool you sufficiently to survive the rest of the summer.


Caffe Davinci on Urbanspoon

Posted in desserts, gelato | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Rocky’s Italian Ice

Posted by CMH Gourmand on August 17, 2009

Rocky’s Italian Ice
120 West William Street

The dog days of August have finally struck with a vengeance! While I am always up for an excuse for ice cream, there is one thing I crave to cool down with when it is super hot: Italian Ice. Unfortunately, it is a 6 hour drive to Johnnie’s in Chicago to get the best Italian ice on the planet. Fortunately, I can cut 5 1/2 hours off the road trip and get something that is really good and maybe a bit “cooler” up in Delaware.

Rocky’s opened in Delaware in 2003 and has maintained an element of cool since the doors opened. Tie Die T-shirts and funky signage preserves the summer vibes when the weather cools. The staff knows how to have fun while scooping away. This is a small building just southeast of the main drag in downtown Delaware. Most traffic is of the foot and bike variety so getting a close spot is not too much of an ordeal.

Rocky’s does have fun with deals and promotions. On Mothers Day they gave out free ices to moms and there is typically a Tuesday special of some sort.

The shop crafts over 30 flavors with about a dozen available on any given day. You can look up at the ceiling to see the wide assortment of cool creations past and present. For immediate gratification, it is easier to look at the flavors of the day on the wall. A special treat is a custard style gelato encased in Italian ice.

Tis the season for a road trip, so turn up your AC or crank down the windows and cruise 315 north for some Italian ice. If you opt keep heading north to Chicago, keep in mind the best….and only flavor at Johnnies, is Lemon.

Posted in gelato, Road Trip | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Columbus: Ice Cream Capital of the World

Posted by CMH Gourmand on July 2, 2008

Welcome to July – National Ice Cream Month. The link below is my Ice Cream Web Site. I have not updated it for over a year. However the good news is that all of the information is more or less correct.

Ice Cream Ohio

Two places I will add when I get time. Ollie’s Fine Ice Cream in Delaware and Susie’s Big Dipper in Piqua, Ohio.

You may have noticed that the CMH Gourmand blog banner reads Ice Cream Capital of the World (Columbus). I really believe that. I have had Ice Cream and gelato all over the world. I have also consulted on two books about ice cream. Having established my credentials, let me present the case for my argument. In Columbus you have easy access to four places that have all fallen on lists of the top ten ice cream shops in the country. These shops are (in alphabetical order): Denise’s, Graeter’s, Handel’s and Jeni’s. People ask me which I like the best – my answer – it depends on the flavor. I will say, on most given days – you will find me with a scoop of Jeni’s or Denise’s. My favorite flavor is Graeter’s Coconut Chocolate Chip.

In addition to the four ice creameries listed above we also have Johnson’s and Mardi Gras. Johnson’s has a fine vanilla bean and cool ice cream buckeyes for football season. Mardi Gras has some wonderful, exotic flavors as well as some traditional classics. I have taken ice cream fanatic friends from various cities to all of these places and my guests left impressed.

We also have three great ice cream places within less than a two hour drive from the capital city: Tom’s Ice Cream Bowl, Youngs, and (Velvet Ice Cream) Ye Old Mill. The first two have also appeared on a couple top ten lists in their day.

Added to the above, we have some really good high volume ice cream makers in Ohio. We can get the following in Columbus: Toft’s (Anderson’s General Store), Velvet Ice Cream – everywhere, Pierre’s (many specialty grocery stores), and Homemade Brand (most grocery stores and UDF).

So yeah, we are the Ice Cream Capital of the World, because we have the best selection of top quality ice cream one could find anywhere and it is all located inside of 270.

Granted, Le Mars Iowa has billed itself as Ice Cream Capital of the World since 1994 per the Iowa state legislature. No disrepect to the Blue Bunny Brand of high volume commercial grade ice cream. I am sure Le Mars makes more…..we make better. All hail the dictatorship! Le Mars, I have voted you down to Ice Cream capital of Iowa, Columbus is taking the World!

I am open to other names – if you can make a good argument for your choice.

Ice Cream Capital of: Ohio, The Nation, The USA, North America, or Western Hemisphere.

Posted in Columbus, culinary knowledge, gelato, ice cream | Tagged: | 6 Comments »

DaVinci…Cold – Devine DaVinci Gelato

Posted by CMH Gourmand on February 3, 2007

Caffe DaVinci

3080 Tremont Road

Upper Arlington, OH

614 459 9945


10:30 – 9:00 Monday – Thursday; 10:30 – 10:00 Friday and Saturday

I found true gelato in an unexpected place. When my mom mentioned that there was a new restaurant serving gelato, I was skeptical. This is real deal. Caffe DaVinci has a seperate section of the restaurant that is set up as an little gelato shop. They use a real Italian gelato machine and make it fresh in house. And, this is key, they also use a the correct type of refrigerated cooling case for the gelato. The trick to real gelato is to minimize the air that gets into the gelato and to regulate the temperature. Caffe DaVinci has balanced the art and the science needed to offer uncompromising gelato. They serve up eight to 10 authentic Italian flavors such as limone and stracciatella.

I have eaten gelato in Italy as well as two of the best places in the US – (Cafe Gelato in Newark, Delaware and Divino Gelato Cafe in Waukesha, Wisconsin – confirmed by my collegues Shannon Jackson Arnold and Michael McGarry). DaVinci gelato is worth ranking up at the top.

So what the heck is the difference between gelato and ice cream? Gelato has no air added in while it is being made (some cheap commercial ice creams are up to 50% air). Gelato is usually made with more egg yolks and milk but less cream. It usually has less fat (less than 10%) than ice cream (more than 10%) and is very dense. Gelato is also served at a higher temperature than most ice cream. Since temperature effects taste (at least in my opinion) a scoop of gelato often provides a better taste and initial mouth feel. When having an ice cream cone this is a state that I refer as “letting the ice cream sweat”. When I have ice cream, I usally wait to until it just starts to melt a little bit (dripping is like sweat) before I take that first lick which allows the tongue to taste the flavor more and the cold less.

A quick note about Caffe DaVinci itself. The DaVinci name is well known in Columbus and has been associated with several restaurants. They always deliver good food and use authentic recipes. At the caffe – you place your order at the counter and it is brought to you later. However, the caffe has really bad Feng Shui: the layout does not allow for a good flow of customers, the seating is cramped and the dining area is very loud – so not the best dining experience but a good carry out option. Also, I am intrigued by the personal (six inch) chicago style deep dish meatball pizza on the menu – I do plan to head back to try that out – after I have some gelato.

Posted in gelato, ice cream, restaurants | 1 Comment »