Is it too cold for gelato? I say noespecially after sampling the fare at FRIO Gelato ( 3721 N. Southport Ave.; www.friogelato.com ).
There are other places that sell gelato, of course, but FRIO is distinct in that it has genuine Argentine gelato. ( Italians settled in Argentina in the late 19th century, leading to the dessert becoming a staple in the South American countryand beyond. )
People who visit this Southport Corridor spot are reaping the benefits of FRIO. ( There's a location in Evanston as well. ) Moreover, items are made in an allergen-friendly kitchen with a nut- and gluten-free focus ( so, no, there's no Reese's gelato, as one friend asked to see if this place has ).
What's even more wonderful is that there are several exciting flavorsand styles. There are gelato shops in Argentina that revolve solely around the dulce de leche ( understandable ), but FRIO ( in which everything is made in-house ) has flavors such as frutilla ( strawberry ), malbec con frutos rojos ( malbec wine with berries ), queso y miel ( cheese and honey ), menta granizala ( mint chocolate chip ), banana and many others.
And there's a lot more than the standard gelato in a cone ( not that I'd complain about that ). Patrons can select styles such as ahogado ( espresso poured over gelato ), barquillo ( a homemade waffle bowl with the two scoops of gelato ), cucurucho ( waffle cone with a swirl of gelato on topwith an option of having it dipped in chocolate ), hot chocolate with gelato, an Argenine gelato flight and sundaes.
So visit FRIOand you'll embrace the cold inside, no matter what it's like outside.
New look/food at Joy District
Joy District Chicago ( 112 W. Hubbard St.; www.joychicago.com/ ), which I have referred to as a "clubstaurant," has a new lookand eats.
The revamp is the first floor of the multilevel space, which has been "reconceived" as Parlay at Joy District, which is described as an "ultramodern sports parlor" with above-average bar fare.
In some ways, Parlay may remind one of many other River North spaces, from the DJ's music ( enjoyable '90s fare, in this case ) to the sleek ( mostly female ) servers who suggest dessert options while you wonder if they've acrtually consumed sugar in the last five years. However, the bites are truly enjoyable, nonetheless.
Offering include apps such as blackened shrimp cocktail, octopus poppers, seasoned chickpea fries and avocado crab toast. However, there are also pizza options ( like one with Italian fennel sausage ) and sandwiches like Korean pork-belly sliders and the "Mac Daddy" Dinner Burger, which is basically an upscale Big Mac. Also, there are desserts like French doughnuts.
The only letdown was the cocktail known as a Banana Blitz ( Captain Morgan rum, smoked simple syrup, banana liquor and lime juice ), which made both my friend and me wince. The Grapefruit Mule is much better, trust me.
Overall, though, there is much joy to be found in this district.