Artisan ice cream arrives and Lola’s returns in South Hills
Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream comes to Bridge Road bakery, and a hot spot just down the street has reopened as good as ever
I’ve got two words for you: Brambleberry Crisp.
Here are two more: Ice Cream.
Where can you get it? Sarah’s Bakery.
Already known for delicious baked treats and carryout dinners, that hot spot in South Hills is now a cool place to pick up some ice cream as well.
And not just any ice cream, but new-to-the-area artisan brand Jeni’s Ice Cream delivered weekly from Columbus, Ohio.
Namesake owner Jeni Britton Bauer started making ice cream using natural ingredients from grass-pastured cows back in 2002, years before artisan cream became the hot food trend it is today.
“I am so excited to sell this product made by a woman-owned business with sustainable ingredients and fair-trade farmers,” bakery owner Sarah Plumley said in announcing the new offering. “Jeni’s is made with love … and I can’t think of a better addition to the bakery!”
What makes Jeni’s ice cream unique is its silky texture and buttercream body featuring bright flavors in creative combinations like Middle West Whiskey & Pecans, Brandied Banana Brulee, Sweet Cream Biscuits & Peach Jam, Strawberry Buttermilk, Pistachio & Honey and Savannah Buttermint.
I had the opportunity to taste more than a half-dozen different flavors this week (tough job, I know) and can definitely vouch for their deliciousness.
We adored the cocoa-rich intensity of Blackout Chocolate Cake, the toasted-nut notes of Salted Peanut Butter with Chocolate Flecks, the sweet-tart tang of Raspberry Rose Jelly Donut and the crisp, clean finish of the sangria-style Frosé (frozen rosé) sorbet featuring a blend of pear, strawberry and watermelon.
My favorite, though, was the intoxicatingly good Brambleberry Crisp studded with oven-toasted oat streusel and spiked with ribbons on blackberry and blackcurrant jam. (The ice cream is flavored with prized Madagascar vanilla, the streusel is a family recipe and the jam is made exclusively for Jeni’s by a local farm.) Man, is it good!
Jeni’s ice creams come in single-serving and pint prepackaged containers (no scoops) and Plumley told me she’ll receive a new delivery of flavors every Wednesday afternoon.
Arriving today are Salty Caramel, Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, Goat Cheese with Red Cherries, Blackout Chocolate Cake, Coffee with Cream & Sugar and Lemon Blueberry Parfait, along with dairy-free Texas Sheet Cake and dairy-free Cold Brew with Coconut.
They all sound great, but I’ll officially be stalking the place until more Brambleberry Crisp arrives.
IF YOU GO: Sarah’s Bakery, 1011 Bridge Rd. in South Hills, is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call 304-343-2253 or visit the bakery’s Facebook page.
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A few days later I visited another hot spot on the hill, just a few doors down the street, at the newly reopened Lola’s.
Once again welcoming guests in spruced-up dining areas indoors and on new large picnic tables outside, Lola’s is known for a selection of really good specialty pizzas.
The Swift Level Farm Steak & Cheese with jalapenos, the Fig Jam & Rosemary with gorgonzola, the Artichoke & Goat Cheese with oven-roasted tomatoes, roasted garlic and Kalamata olives.
But don’t overlook the phenomenal starters, salads and sandwiches here, too.
I’ve enjoyed the panko-crusted, pan-seared mozzarella many times, so this visit I savored hearty homemade meatballs bathed in thick tomato sauce, followed by a nice Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with red onion, fresh oranges, avocado, feta and cilantro-lime vinaigrette tossed with mixed greens.
Other popular salad options include the pan-seared Goat Cheese Salad with tomatoes, mixed greens and balsamic vinaigrette; the BLT Salad featuring bacon, mixed greens, tomatoes, croutons and buttermilk herb dressing; a marinated Kale Salad with fresh oranges, pumpkin seeds, crumbled feta and cilantro-lime vinaigrette; and a Roasted Beet Salad with goat cheese, candied walnuts and balsamic vinaigrette.
For my pizza fix, I enjoyed a small Spicy Shrimp & Sausage topped with oven-roasted tomatoes and goat cheese on a perfect flat-in-the-middle, pillowy-around-the-edges baked crust.
And that legendary house-made red sangria they’re know for? Awesome as ever.
Welcome back, Lola’s! We’ve missed you.
IF YOU GO: Lola’s, 1038 Bridge Rd. in South Hills, is open from 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 4-10 p.m. Friday, noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.. For more information, call 304-343-5652, visit www.lolaswv.com or check out the restaurant’s Facebook page.
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Steven Keith is a food writer and restaurant critic known as “The Food Guy” who writes a weekly column for the Charleston Gazette-Mail and has appeared in several state, regional and national culinary publications. Follow him online at www.wvfoodguy.com or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. He can be reached at 304-380-6096 or at email@example.com.