Getting the scoop on a new ice cream trend

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J-Petal dishes out rolled ice cream in familiar flavors such as vanilla and chocolate, plus more adventurous options including green tea and Thai tea. Photos by Tom McGovern J-Petal dishes out rolled ice cream in familiar flavors such as vanilla and chocolate, plus more adventurous options including green tea and Thai tea. Photos by Tom McGovern

By Sam Padgett

A new restaurant—J-Petal—has rolled into Barracks Road Shopping Center. And although the eatery offers both savory and sweet Japanese rice flour crêpes, and even serves drinks such as green tea and mojitos in a light bulb, its flashiest menu item is surely the Thai rolled ice cream.

Rolled ice cream is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: Liquid ice cream is poured onto a frozen platter and then scraped into cylindrical rolls. Think of a mix between Cold Stone Creamery and Benihana.

For anyone who watches elaborate dessert-making sessions online, J-Petal will feel like a dream come true, because it’s just as fun to watch your dessert being made as it is to eat it. Besides some of their adventurous flavors like lychee-infused Thai tea and green tea, most of J-Petal’s ice cream flavors can be found in many other shops (albeit in scoop form). After choosing your ice cream base you can select one of eight premade creations such as Monkey Business with bananas and Nutella, or add your own toppings.

Manager James Hardwick takes pride in the visual qualities of the food.

“When we see people taking photos of their ice cream, completely untouched, we know we’ve made something good,” he says.

We’re Tibetan on this one

In the location of the short-lived Breakfast House on Fontaine Avenue, a new “house” has opened up: The Druknya House. Owned by Gyaltsen Druknya (who also owns Salon Druknya on the Downtown Mall), the restaurant serves authentic Tibetan food such as momo, a traditional dumpling. “Whatever my mom cooks, we will serve the same way,” Gyaltsen says. He opened the restaurant to meet what he says is a demand for Tibetan food, and, so far, customers have proved he was right in doing so: The grand opening “was crazy” he says, smiling and shaking his head.

Parting ways

Tomas Rahal, longtime chef of the Belmont tapas eatery Mas, is no longer with the restaurant, according to several sources. Stay tuned for more details.

The Nook is back

After closing down for a few kitchen renovations (and worrying Downtown Mall brunch-lovers with its papered windows), The Nook has reopened. Though some new appliances and a few new menu options have been added, the restaurant’s ambience remains untouched.

Cornering the market

Armando’s has become a new late-night hub on the Corner. Located on 14th Street across from Revolutionary Soup, the restaurant serves Mexican food and drinks until 2am, and Armando Placencia is excited to be open. “I have been driving down the Corner for a while now looking for a space,” he says. “I really like the Corner. I love the energy, and I wanted to give everyone a nice place to relax and enjoy good food.”

More to love

There’s a new member in the Marco & Luca dynasty: Beijing Station offers the same great dumplings alongside an extended menu of Chinese food for visitors to the Corner, and the small storefront on 14th Street evokes the feeling of a hole-in-the-wall restaurant nestled deep in a big city.

Wine win

Ankida Ridge Vineyards’ pinot noir has been selected by Wine Business Monthly as one of the top 10 hot brands of 2017. Ankida Ridge is the only East Coast winery that made the list, and Christine Vrooman, Ankida’s co-owner and vineyard manager, says she is “excited to show the world that Virginia is indeed capable of producing world-class wines.”

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