Friday, January 23rd, 2009

New Raleigh Coffee and Gelato Store Trend

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LaVitaDolce is the new future trend as a casual eatery bar serving coffee, and gelato too! LaVitaDolce with no spaces, is the actual name.

…The malls are pretty dead mid week in January, especially during this slow economy.  But, there’s an eatery that seems to have a steady flow of customers.  It’s LaVitaDolce.  Not the type of common name you run across at the mall.  This eatery isn’t located at the food court where I might get lost among the sea of fast food kiosks.  Nope, LaVitaDolce has a corner of its own. And it’s unique enough for it.I think LaVitaDolce is the type of casual meeting place for the future.  I’m gonna start calling it LVD for short ‘cause I loved, loved, LVD…it!  It stands out. On the outside, it has a very modern and futuristic look to it.  It’s inviting in just that way. The store is mostly all white and has a bright orange wall.  The furniture is mostly all white and looks IKEA-like.  There are bistro tables with 2 and 4 chairs.  la_vita_dolce_modern_tableThere’s also a diner bar table with seating too.  For some it might be too modern or sterile looking, but I thought it was cool!  Right now, there’s only one store in the Triangle at South Point Mall.

They sell gelato and sorbetto…I think that’s the cute way of saying the sorbet version of gelato.  Instead of cream, they use water.  Great for someone looking for something sweet without the fat and calories.

And YUM-O as Rachel Ray would say!  By the way, I’m not sure she doesn’t get on my nerves but for some reason I always remember her saying that on her cooking shows.  That, and EVOO.

I tried the apple-a-la-mode gelato on a ‘lil plastic Pepto Bismol pink spoon that was shaped like a snow shovel…  that’s what I felt like doin’…shoveling some more in my mouth.  Lady, bring it on!  It was so GOOD!  I ordered a sampler.  It’s good for us gelato connoisseurs.

Oh, I gotta tell you a few quick stories.  When I was 11, I was lucky to get to go to Europe with my family.  I remember when we were in Italy and for one dinner, they served us spumoni ice cream and I just LOVED it.  Being a kid, I didn’t ask for much during the whole trip.  But that night, they gave me a second serving of ice cream.  Even today, I’d ditch dinner for ice cream any day.  And I have.  When I had some of my baby teeth pulled, I remember eagerly anticipating eating ice cream for dinner.  Funny how you can remember childhood tastes and smells and recall such random, happy memories.   Oh, and one time I got lost in the mall and there was a Friendly’s ice cream restaurant that I happen to stumble into…as luck would have it..ha!..that’s what I’m talkin’ about!  And the people there were really friendly to me.  I remember being scared and sad that I was lost but feeling okay and comforted with the gobs of ice cream those nice Friendly people kept giving me.

Anyway, here’s a photo of the sampler. la_vita_dolce_gelato_sampler_strawberry_mint_amadeus_dreamThese flavors are strawberry coconut, mint something (stracciacella…but who can remember all that?)…oh,  and a really unique one called Amadeus Dream.  That one is dark brown color and has some drizzled squiggly green lines of glaze on it.  That one was killer!  It’s made of hazelnut, pistachio, and almond.  The owner said the coffee one is very popular and they also had a banana one which looked good too.  For the sampler I ordered, they’re sitting ontop of these itty bitty ice cream cones and held up by an upside down mini paper cup about the size of a Dixie cup.  I’m no package branding genius…but that to me is a clever design!  Otherwise they sell ‘em in small, medium, and large or bambino, mezzo, grande…if you speak Italian. Prices range from $3-$5. I can’t wait to try the other flavors. Fer sure…next time!  Doesn’t the display case just make your mouth water? la_vita_dolce_gelato_display_choices

LVD sells coffee, sandwiches, drinks, smoothies, gelato..  This place rocks!  For lunch, I ordered the Ham and Mushroom Quiche.  It was good.  The owner said it was made by a local baker.  My only complaint was that it was too small and not really the size you would expect to pay for $5+…especially in this economy.

I asked one of the owners what her favorite Italian soda is?  She said blackberry soda.  So I ordered that one but was tempted to try the cinnamon one.  I dunno, I’ve been doing cinnamon everything lately.  Must be a winter thing.  But there are so many flavors to choose from.  You can see the syrups behind the counter.  la_vita_dolce_italian_soda_syrup_barI’m not sure the $3.50 price is warranted ‘cause there’s a lot of ice…kinda like the Frappucino coffees at Starbucks…but they seem to have people ordering that stuff all the time.  People like me!  They have a deal for a grilled cheese sandwich and chips for 3 bucks.  Now that’s more like an economy-conscious meal.  From what I hear, it sells real well with retail mall workers that don’t make a lot!

If you’re sugar conscious or diabetic, they also have sorbets (sorbeto, I mentioned) and sugar free choices.  They use Splenda.  I’m not a big fan.

Anyway great experience. I think this type of shop is the wave of the future.  I was actually almost surprised that our little Raleigh town has the first store.  That’s pretty cool ‘cause I think the concept will do well in any metro area.   We shall see.

I’ll be back there. But in the meanwhile, have a latte fun!

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