A tale of two scoops

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Two hot workday afternoons downtown. Two ice cream runs at lunch. One in a car and one by foot. They couldn’t be more different, but they both make me happy in the way only a frozen confection on a summer day can. Blame (or credit) my co-workers for both these lapses in my (admittedly sometimes feeble) effort to not overindulge in sweets. The first run, on one of the first searing days we had in June, was to Portland. Believe it or not, it’s mere minutes from downtown. I thought my co-worker Bryce was exaggerating the proximity. I should have believed him -- after all he lives across the street from an ice cream oasis in the west end. The In and Out Dairy Mart is simultaneously welcoming with its pink and purple paint and endearing neon ice cream signs, and forbidding with its rules and regulations (besides the warning against loitering, a list of banned clothing items is posted). The air-conditioned shop offers 16 flavors of hand-dipped ice cream, starting at less than two dollars. I was here for the promised strawberry cheesecake flavor – and just in time too, as less than a full scoop remained. I took it in a waffle cone because, well, why not go all the way? Bryce and I demolished our treats, amazed at how like actual cheesecake (and apple pie in his case) they tasted, and laughed our heads off at the man who flipped us the bird and swore out his window at us when he (mistakenly) thought we cut him off in traffic. Who can yell at people eating ice cream?? The other run was to a bit more posh environs: Proof on Main. Another co-worker, Erin, sent me an email yesterday afternoon. Proof’s Gelato Cart updated their Twitter – they’ll be in front of Proof at 1 tomorrow with salted caramel gelato. Ice cream run? Umm. Yes please! I woke up thinking about salted caramel gelato. 1:00 couldn’t come fast enough. With Erin, Bryce and another ice-cream lover, Keith, we strode up Main St. purposefully. And sure enough, at 7th and Main awaited “Italian Handmade Goodness” under a jaunty red and white umbrella, the big red penguin standing guard. I’d feared that this being Proof the ice cream would ring up at somewhere around $8. Happily it was priced more in line with its street vendor vibe at $3. In addition to salted caramel, ice cream made with local peaches was on offer but there was no contest in my mind. Homemade by the chef, the caramel gelato was bliss in a little paper cup (and a cute one at that!). Creamy, sweet but not cloying, with the hint of salt to tease the tastebuds, every bite was moanworthy. Walking down Main Street in broad daylight I tried to suppress it, but eyed Keith’s half-full cup once I’d licked mine clean. You can bet I’ll stalk Proof Gelato Cart on Twitter. And if it’s too long between runs, I can always swing by Portland. In and Out Dairy Mart 2329 Portland Ave 778-9536 Proof Gelato Cart Follow at http://twitter.com/proofgelato for location updates
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