Pumpkinfest, Unexpected Muffuletta, and the Splits


There was a metric ton of fun things going on this past weekend in the Tallahassee area–wine events, local festivals and farm tours abound.

After weighing our options we finally settled on nearby Havana’s Pumpkinfest.

Pumpkin Patch Barn Photo Op at Havana Pumpkinfest

This little barn made a cute photo op for families on the hunt for pumpkins and the perfect fall picture of little ones.

A great thing about small towns is that they go all-out for their festivals. The Pumpkinfest may have been small but Main Street is also lined with all manner of antique stores providing ample browsing opportunities along with the craft booths, festival food booths and people watching these sorts of events provide.

Instead of availing ourselves of the food vendors on the streets we opted to stop into Joanie’s Gourmet Market and Fabulous Cafe. Now, normally I’d snark about setting yourself up pretty high for putting Fabulous in your name but in this case I just can’t do it: they are pretty Fabulous.

Joann's Gourmet Market and Fabulous Cafe

Not only do they have a charming selection of gourmet food items and wines, they have a short and sweet menu that was so tasty, I wish I lived a little closer. Todd ordered the Chicken Quesadilla and I had the Muffuletta Wedge. In fact, seeing Muffuletta on the menu posted at the front door was what sold us on stopping in for a late lunch.

Chicken Quesadilla from Joanies' Gourmet Market Muffuletta Wedge

The key to a good Muffuletta is the olive salad. Their house olive salad isn’t the same as what you’d get in New Orleans, but it’s very good on it’s own and certainly made for a good sandwich–it featured capers, which is not something I would normally include but it was an interesting choice. And there was so much olive salad on there that it was falling out of the pressed sandwich. Not that that’s a bad thing–you can be sure I didn’t let it go to waste.

They also had fabulous old-fashioned bottled sodas. Todd enjoyed his Vanilla Cream soda and I could have taken a nap in my Root Beer, it was that wonderful. Oh, sorry: Fabulous!

On the way home we started to crave something a little sweet. So I suggested a stop into Lofty Pursuits for some delicious ice cream. We were happy to see they were in the midst of a mid-afternoon rush (always good to see your favorite places busy) and happily perused the extensive menu to decide what we wanted to top off an already fun day.

Chocolate Banana Split from Lofty Pursuits

That, my friends, is a Chocolate Banana Split. Wanna know what’s in it?

  • 3 scoops of Deep Dark Chocolate Ice Cream
  • the requisite banana
  • chocolate, marshmallow and butter caramel sauces
  • chocolate whipped cream
  • chocolate sprinkles, chocolate chips, a waffle-cone sail
  • and a trio of cherries on top! (there’s another one hiding behind the sail)

It was perfect for 2; might have been a bit too much to try and tackle singly.

Did you do anything fabulously foodie this weekend?

Seeking Delicious Heights at Lofty Pursuits


Our friends to the North and Midwest might be taunting us with cooler temperatures, but it’s still hot as ever down here in Florida.

As the bank sign read 105 degrees, Todd and I headed out one recent Saturday on errands that took us over to Market Square. While the Square has always been a treasure trove of delightful shops, Lofty Pursuits (known for a variety of games, yo-yo and juggling supplies and other fun things) has relocated there from it’s longtime home at Lake Ella and, as part of their new digs, opened an old fashioned ice cream fountain!

The Ice Cream Bar of Lofty Pursuits

32 Flavors of Yum!

The official grand opening of this bit of nostalgia is just around the corner–September 4th and 5th–but for the last month they’ve been serving ice cream and testing out a variety of menu items as more pieces of this cream and fizz-laden puzzle arrive.

Because it’s not enough for owner, Greg Cohen, just to serve cold drinks and treats–what goes in them is important! The ice creams are from Tampa, the cream for the in-house whipped creams (regular, chocolate and strawberry–get all 3 on a banana split!) come from a nearby Blountstown dairy. The syrup for the egg creams comes from the original Brooklyn, NY, company that serviced the original fountains in Cohen’s old stomping grounds. And that’s just what I remember from talking with him over ice cream samples.

Oh, the samples. Of the 32 flavors we tasted at least half of them–maybe more–along with some of the toppings (the crystallized ginger is so moist, it’s amazing). The champagne sorbet was light and crisp, the mango sorbet as good as any I’d had from local pastry chefs, the birthday cake ice cream tastes like light, fluffy whipped icing with morsels (not bricks!) of yellow cake stirred in. The strawberry tastes like it came straight from the strawberry patch with a brief stop at a churn, the cinnamon like a creamy frosting that would be fantastic over some carrot cake or gingerbread (hint!), and the butter pecan was heavenly. Todd even liked the Guinness ice cream, and he’s not a beer fan at all!

Greg Cohen, Owner, Lofty Pursuits

Prepare to be Served!

(Apparently I should have found a bib before writing this post–my mouth as watering at the very thought of those ice creams!)

Our gregarious host was kind enough to tell us of some of his plans–bringing back drinks like Egg Creams, Rickies and Phosphates. A particularly yummy signature dish that is illusion food at it’s best (hint: it involves that amazing crystallized ginger) is on the to-do list that we’re definitely looking forward to, perhaps more than the ubiquitous Kitchen Sink-style concoction that inspires brain freeze at the mere thought of all that ice cream.

More and continual updates can be found at the Lofty Pursuits website or you can just stop by 1415 Timberlane Road #410 (next to Old Town Cafe) between 11 am and 10 pm, Monday through Saturday, (noon to 8pm on Sundays).

As tasty as those banana splits look (served in a banana boat with a waffle-sail set to steer you away from spills), I think my next trip will have to include a root beer float. Not only was Greg nice enough to confirm that the Sprecher root beer is caffeine free, he carries 2 soy ice creams–I think I might just be in heaven!