Alameda a la carte: Wescafe Creamery
Alameda a la carte: Wescafe Creamery
Vanelly Trejo, manager of Wescafe Creamery, shows off some tempting waffle cones. Photo by Denise Shelton.
On one of the coldest days of the year, I decided to check out the new ice cream parlor on Webster Street. I admit that it's not exactly playing fair, since the desire for ice cream and cold weather don't complement each other very well, but I managed to work up a sweat on the way over. I took the bus from my East End neighborhood to Santa Clara and Grand and walked the rest of the way. It's farther than you might think (or at least it's farther than I thought it was). This allowed me to arrive suitably prepared for refreshment and had the added bonus of making me feel just a wee bit better about ordering up a hot fudge sundae to eat on the spot and some cookies and brownies to go. It's a sacrifice, but it's part of the job. You're welcome.
Wescafe Creamery is located at 1536 Webster Street, the site of the old Wescafe restaurant. (The restaurant has moved down to more spacious digs at 1518 Webster Street, with a much-expanded menu.) When the weather gets warmer, the lovely patio out back will be a great asset, and owner Monica Trejo (the Trejo family owns both businesses) told me they already have a number of birthday parties booked for summer. In the meantime, there are plenty of seats inside for those for whom ice cream cravings know no season. Monica's daughter, Vanelly, is manager of the new enterprise.
The offerings are varied and delicious. Ice cream and sorbet are sourced from Lappert's Ice Cream in Richmond. For those familiar with Lappert's Hawaii, the premium ice cream chain, the Richmond company is owned by founder Walter Lappert's son, Michael, but the two businesses are not otherwise affiliated. Some of the flavors are similar, like the popular Kauai pie, a mixture of coffee ice cream, chunky macadamia nuts, coconut, and chocolate fudge. Tropical flavors like mango are featured alongside the familiar vanilla bean and new options like green tea and caramel coconut macadamia.
Ice cream and sorbet, in cups, cones, shakes, and smoothies are the mainstays, but there are a few new wrinkles. The whipped cream is made on site and flavored. The cream that topped my sundae was sweetened with brown sugar and just a hint of cinnamon that gave it that extra bit of oomph. There is also a selection of homemade cookies and brownies that may be purchased separately or as part of ice cream sandwiches or, in the case of the brownies, a truly heavenly brownie sundae. Cones are available in both the standard cake variety and waffle cones, some of which are laced with various sprinkle combinations.
Would it be nice to have ice cream sodas and chocolate egg creams as well, like they have back East? Sure, but probably only myself and a few other transplants would notice. They have cones, banana splits, shakes, and some really great smoothies. The ice cream sandwiches, which allow the patron the opportunity of crafting his or her own from the various possibilities, are a fun adventure.
Coffee lovers might like to try the affogato - a shot of espresso with the ice cream of your choice - or an espresso shake. There are also regular cups of coffee and tea and an array of soft drinks and snack items to satisfy any additional cravings.
Wescafe Creamery, 1536 Webster Street; 522-7200. Open seven days a week from noon to 8:00 p.m. Visit their Facebook page for more photos and updates.
The Agony and the Ecstasy of February 14th
Love it or hate it, Valentine's Day is fast approaching. Whether you plan on sharing it with that special someone or drowning your sorrows by indulging in the pleasure-inducing chemical compounds found in chocolate and/or potent potables, there are a number of options on the Island for both the love struck and the love-struck-out. Here are a few:
Sweets for the Sweet
Sisters Kathi Honegger and Nancy Ryan have been making and hand-dipping truffles as a home-based business here in Alameda for the past 10 years. These top quality treats are really something special. Flavors include creme de menthe, Kahlua, swiss orange chip, and a caramel that's to die for. The truffles are $3 each, $15 for six or $30 a dozen and can be ordered via e-mail at email@example.com. You can arrange for pick up or have them delivered right to your door. You can also sample the sisters' handiwork at Alameda Wine Company on Central Avenue next to the Alameda Theatre. The AWC staff can recommend just the right wine to pair with whatever flavors you choose.
New to the chocolate scene are the old world-inspired creations of Peter Jensen. Based on family recipes from his native Denmark, Jensen uses the finest Belgian and French couverture chocolate. Fillings include caramel, praline, and their signature marzipan. Jensen divides his time between San Francisco and Alameda, so your order will be hand-delivered to addresses in Alameda and the Greater Bay Area. Visit the website for more information. Online orders can be completed using PayPal.
The Gaslight Emporium Candy Store, 1712 Lincoln Avenue; 769-1959
Last but by no means least are the fanciful candy creations available at Gaslight Emporium. Stop by and browse the varied assortment of handmade Valentine sweets beautifully wrapped and presented. There is also a large selection of Valentine cards and decorations on hand. Call for hours of operation.
Commodore Cruises and Events is having a special Valentine's Day dinner cruise featuring a buffet, white glove service, dancing, and spectacular views. A cash bar is available with all your top shelf favorites. Cost is $85 per adult. The cruise boards at 7 p.m. and disembarks at 10:15 p.m. from Commodore's Mariner Square pier on February 14. Call 337-9000 or visit their website for more information.
Pappo Restaurant (2320 Central Avenue, 337-9100) will be featuring a special Valentine's Day menu on the 14th as well that sounds sumptuous! Three courses and an amuse bouche are priced at $54 per person. Reservations can be made on Pappo's website.
Another Day, Another Dine
This coming Tuesday, Pappo teams up with CRAFT Beer and Wine to celebrate SF Beer Week. This special event starts at 6:30 p.m. and showcases a five-course barrel-aged beer menu with food pairings. Cost is $59 per person plus tax and gratuity.
On February 15, Rock Wall Wine Company (2301 Monarch Street, Suite 300, 522-5700) is hosting Viva Amore, a celebration of love, wine, and everything wonderful. Admission includes a wine flight, food from local vendors, a visit to the “photo booth of love,” chocolate tasting, a logo wine glass and even a henna tattoo! Admission to the event, which takes place from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., is $45 at the door, $35 for Club Viva members.