Beating the heat with excellent ice cream

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August 1, 2005 // UPDATED 1:56 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Tammy Sproule Kaplan
Tammy Sproule Kaplan

Downtown fans can find Blueberry Bliss - and eat Spongebob's square pants

Heat wave relief

Summer has tested our limits this year, with 90-degree days aplenty. A scoop of ice cream is the perfect antidote for hot and sticky weather. Here is a roundup of some of the unusual flavors you will find in the Downtown area.

Izzy's Ice Cream Caf, 825 Nicollet Mall, has launched Sponge Bob ice cream this summer, made with lemon ice cream, raspberry swirls and pieces of sponge cake. This flavor was the winner in an annual contest held by the St. Paul-based ice cream shop, in which customers submit recipe ideas.

For more adult-oriented tastes, Izzy's offers a Chocolate Zin, made with dark chocolate, balsamic vinegar and zinfandel, and Tiramisu. "Alcohol flavors really increase the sophistication level," says assistant manager, Adriana Christians. The store rotates flavors daily, and has about 18 flavors available at any one time.

Cold Stone Creamery, 600 Hennepin Ave. in Block E, is introducing new ice cream flavors every month this summer. Its August concoction, Blueberry Bliss, befitting summer's berry season, and is available throughout the month. The ice cream chain is known for its exhaustive list of flavors and toppings, and encourages customers to experiment with their own creative combinations.

Locally made Sebastian Joe's ice cream is available at Kramarczuk's, 215 E. Hennepin Ave. A selection of old-time favorites can be had, such as the signature Raspberry Chocolate Chip and Oreo, which, by the way, surpasses any version of Oreo you've ever tried before. You can also choose from the full gamut of flavors at the original source, Sebastian Joe's Ice Cream Caf, 1007 W. Franklin Ave. just south of Downtown.

Get connected, gratis!

Minneapolitans, do you know how good you have it? If you've traveled to cities like New York lately, with laptop in tow, you've probably gotten stung for $6 and upward to use a wireless Internet connection for the day. In Downtown Minneapolis, however, there are many places to connect for free, as you sip away on cappuccino or munch a scone.

Dunn Bros Coffee offers free wireless connections in all of its Downtown locations, except at 800 LaSalle Ave., which has no seating. Visit www.dunnbros.com for a complete listing of Downtown locations. CEO Chris Eilers says, "It was a fairly inexpensive amenity that our customers wanted. A lot of customers come in with laptops, and it made our stores more attractive for people."

Dunn Bros was ahead of its competition in making free Internet access available on stationary terminals as early as 2000-2001. Eventually, wireless became a more important element, and it was launched in stores beginning in 2002, and is now standard.

Eilers says that Dunn Bros never considered charging for the access and does not charge in any of its locations throughout the country. "We'd rather have people come in and buy a latte, and not charge them to use [our Internet access]. When Starbucks first rolled it out, and they were charging, this was a selling point for us."

Teri Peppe, owner of Marysburg Books, 304 Washington Ave. N., says that offering free wireless access has been a popular perk for her customers. "In the Warehouse District, in addition to the many students, we also see a lot of attorneys and IT professionals, and almost all of them come in with laptops," she says. "Many come in with clients. Even our vendors use it after making a delivery."

Marysburg Books began offering free wireless access within the first few months of its opening nearly two years ago. The coffee emporium also houses a free conference room, on a first-come, first-served basis. Peppe observes groups with laptops that come in frequently to hold business meetings via the Internet.

Numerous other Downtown locales offer free wireless. Here are some other locales: Betty's Bikes and Buns, 600 E. Hennepin Ave.; Coffee Gallery at the Open Book Center, 1011 Washington Ave. S.; Joe's Garage, 1610 Harmon Place; Loring Park Coffee House, 1301 Harmon Place; Panera Bread, 809 Nicollet Mall and 233 E. Hennepin Ave.; Taraccino Coffee, 222 E. Hennepin Ave.; Wilde Roast Caf, 518 E. Hennepin Ave.; Zeno Caf, 800 LaSalle Ave.; Au bon pain, City Center, 40 S. 7th St.; Baker Center, 109 S. 7th St.; and 225 S. 6th St..

Taste of the Nation Charity Event

A Taste of the Nation event will be held here in Minneapolis, at Le Meridien, 601 1st Ave. N., on Sept. 18. Several chefs from in and around the Downtown area will be cooking at this event, including, Isaac Becker of 112 Eatery, Seth Bixby Daugherty of Cosmos, Doug Flicker of Auriga, Vincent Francoual of Vincent, Scott Irestone of 20-21 at the Walker Art Center, John Mihajlov of Tiburon, John Occhiato of D'Amico Cucina, Jack Riebel of Dakota Bar and Grill, and Tim McKee of Solera and La Belle Vie.

Why tell you so early? Tickets are $100 per individual or $1,500 per table. Each chef will be responsible for cooking for one table. This event is usually a sell-out, so be sure to call for tickets without further delay. For more information, visit www.tasteofthenation.org.

National and local sponsorships, restaurant contributions and the work of volunteers ensure that 100 percent of the proceeds are donated to the fight to end hunger. The money is donated to a variety of local, national and international antihunger, antipoverty organizations.