I Scream ...
I've yet to meet an ice cream I don't like at Sophie's (1912 Magazine St., 561-0291), the new ice cream parlor beside Sugar Magnolia restaurant. I've tried fresh blueberry gelato, buttery hazelnut, a cream-colored vanilla that tastes something like certain vanilla soft-serves, dark chocolate, peanut butter (the bestseller), unchunky cookies and cream, and a mixed fruit that smacks of fruit cocktail. All have been evenly creamy, uncloying and rich with the promised flavor. Part-owner Thomas Ciriello says that's because he attended gelato school in Charlotte, N.C. The parlor's official hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday; unofficially, they sometimes lock up early, so plan your sweet tooth accordingly.
You Scream ...
Creole Creamery (4924 Prytania St., 894-8680), another 1950s-style ice cream parlor, opened in the historic McKenzie's Bakery space earlier this spring. It joins Vaqueros, La Crepe Nanou, Upperline and Kyoto in this secreted Uptown food pocket and is always hopping. Developer Jim MacPhaille purchased and restored the entire McKenzie's building (there are apartments upstairs) after a fast-food restaurant threatened to move into the neighborhood. The flavors here are exciting -- Creole cream cheese, plum-walnut, bananas Foster -- but I find the colors disturbingly unnatural and the ice cream's texture too thick and gummy. I've heard other customers oohing over its 'creaminess,' so taste for yourself. The hours are noon to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Through the Grapevine
Catch a re-run of the 'Components of Wine' seminar, to be held at Cork & Bottle Fine Wines (3700 Orleans Ave., 934-1386) beginning at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. Jennifer Correa of the Robert Mondavi Family of Wines will lead participants through the basics of wine tasting. The hour-long tutorial costs $15. Call to reserve a space.
The 21st annual WYES International Beer Tasting will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, May 29, at the Kiefer UNO Lakefront Arena (6801 Franklin Ave.). For the first time ever, the event will be air-conditioned. Swillers, who must be at least 21 years old, may taste more than 200 foreign, domestic and non-alcoholic beers. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door and $20 for senior citizens and groups of six or more. Call the UNO box office at 280-7222 or Ticketmaster at 522-5555, or log on at www.ticketmaster.com.