Blame it on my Canadian blood or my Irish heritage, but I can’t seem to embrace Orlando’s wicked hot summer. Like most Orlando residents, I spend from May until October complaining about the heat and whining about the humidly. But I have found just one consolation: the weather gives me the excuse to eat ice cream as often as I choose all in the name of “cooling down.” Here are a few of my absolute favorite chill out spots…
Lu Lu’s Ice Cream Shop
It’s only been a few weeks since Mel Porter and her hubby converted the BBQ stand next to Winter Park’s Eat More Produce into the cute little ice cream cottage it is today, but word travels fast among ice cream aficionados and Lu Lu’s is quickly becoming an area sensation. Named after her daughter Ava (a.k.a. Lu Lu), this petite parlor exclusively serves Orlando Ice Cream Company product either straight up or transformed into signature items like the delicious Dole Whip Float.
You can’t miss Twisted Bliss’ vibrantly hued walk-up window perched on Orange Avenue in the heart of Orlando’s Ivanhoe Village, where soft-served ice cream, Italian ice, and gelati are layered together in one colorful cup and then topped with things like crushed Oreos and Fruity Pebbles. This eclectic mix of flavors and textures is a perfect mid-afternoon pick-me-up in between stops at area vintage and antique shops or as an after dinner treat following a meal at nearby White Wolf Café or The Greek Corner.
Founded in St. Augustine in 2010, this small artisan ice pop chain set up shop on Orlando’s East Central Boulevard this past spring with their infamous atypical flavor concoctions blended from fresh and often locally sourced ingredients. While offerings change regularly and new recipes are always popping up, summer’s refreshing favorites include Cucumber Lemon Mint and Pineapple Cilantro (my favorite). Daily flavors are written on the chalkboard and posted on Hyppo Orlando’s Facebook page.
4 Rivers Sweet Shop
In line with 4 Rivers’ typical calorie-laden fashion, its Sweet Shops now offer a Cupcake Drop-In Milkshake. Patrons pick from the bizarre range of cupcake concoctions (including the infamous Coke & Potato Chip cupcake) and then select a scoop from the equally wacky ice cream flavors (including Airplane Cookie and Caramel Popcorn). It’s all mixed together, poured into a monstrous cup and voila… you’ve got a milkshake perfect for sharing with at least two other people.
Images by Kristen Manieri