The new Rick’s Dessert Diner (located at 2401 J St.). is less crammed and more spacious than the old one (at 2322 K St.). It’s a diner for desserts, and desserts only, that will satisfy a customer’s craving for something sweet.
Portraits of James Dean, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe decorate the walls. A jukebox plays ‘50s music at the end of the dessert line, and loud chatter carries over to where I sat in a sparkly red-and-silver booth.
The room is filled with red and blue lights that reflect off the black-and-white checkered linoleum floor. The diner scene reminds me of Johnny Rocket’s.
A constant stream of customers comes through the door, joining the long line of people waiting for dessert.
The first dish that I dove into was the banana split ($6.75); made with three scoops of Oreo cookie ice cream, whipped cream dollops, maraschino cherries and fudge, it also has peanuts sprinkled on top.
The banana is cold yet soft, which goes well with the thick and creamy ice cream. A splash of color provided by the three maraschino cherries completes this dish’s appearance and adds a taste of sweetness that dominates.
I also tried the cream puff ($5.25). Like the banana split, this delicious treat has fudge and cherries in addition to the traditional cream.
The pastry has a tough but manageable texture, although a knife would make it easier to eat. The dollop of whipped cream, cherry and fudge perfects the dish with the sweetness and lightness of the cream, the bright and sugary cherries and the thick, chocolatey fudge.
After devouring the first two desserts fairly quickly, I felt a bit sick, but I still had to try one more: the Death by Chocolate Cake ($5.75).
I stared at the cake, knowing I had to eat it, while all I was really thinking about was the sad little kid in “Matilda” who is forced to eat chocolate cake by Miss Trunchbull.
I began to eat the cake, and the first thing I noticed was the extreme richness of the chocolate frosting. The cake is moist and layered between two different types of filling. The fillings are different in flavor; one is rich and dark, and the other is light and sweet with a cream cheese flavor.
Rick’s Dessert Diner is stocked with incredible desserts. It’s the perfect place to go after a night out with friends.
Everyone has a sweet spot for candy, and I definitely have one for Cleary’s Ice Cream and Candy Bar.
Located in Loehmann’s Plaza, Cleary’s is a single store that makes amazing “re-invented” soft serve.
Cleary’s was founded by Sacramento sisters Amanda and Christie Cleary in March.
Since then, they’ve expanded Cleary’s to host school fundraisers, as well as to cater weddings, birthday parties, open houses and more.
So how does it work?
You start out by picking a base, either creamy vanilla or “East Coast style” vanilla custard. Then you “flavor it up” by choosing a flavor to be mixed with the base.
Some of these mix-in flavors include peanut butter, root beer, chocolate, salted caramel and cheesecake.
Toppings include sprinkles, brownie bits, graham crackers, Twix and others.
After choosing your base, flavor and toppings, it all gets mixed together.
You can also choose to have a hard shell topping, such as caramel, toasted coconut or cake batter.
Finally, your “custom-made” ice cream is delivered in a plain white cup with a spoon and a friendly smile.
I decided to keep it simple and chose a small creamy vanilla base and strawberry flavor with brownie bits ($3.75).
It may have been plain, but it sure was good.
Honestly, I didn’t expect strawberry ice cream to be that tasty. It was rich in flavor and since it didn’t have strawberry chunks in it, I enjoyed it even more.
Unfortunately, the chocolate smoothie ($4.50) that I ordered was like any other milkshake.
Junior Sydney Michel has been to Cleary’s before.
“I think the store is really cute and old fashioned,” Michel said.
Cleary’s isn’t restricted to just ice cream and shakes, though. You can get frozen bananas, floats, and sundaes, as well as candy like “U-No,” “Hi-Chew,” “Ice Cubes,” “CupoGold” and “Charms.”
Ultimately, it’s the selection that will keep me coming back. I mean, it’s a ice cream parlor where candy decorates the walls. What’s not to like?
The Parlor Ice Cream Puffs
Parlor Ice Cream Puffs has blended two popular sweets to create an ambrosia-like dessert.
An ice cream puff is a doughnut sandwich with ice cream and toppings in the middle. The puff is so popular that hundreds have been sold since the Parlor (2620 Fair Oaks Blvd.) opened July 26.
In the evenings, there is usually a long line trailing out the door of the small shop, so be prepared for a bit of a wait.
The strong smell of doughnuts is the first thing you notice. Doughnuts are made in the back, but the smell is so sweet that I checked my mouth for cavities.
For first timers, a glazed doughnut ($3.95) is a must, but there are plain doughnuts ($3.95) or apple fritter options ($4.95) too.
Apple fritters are larger than the doughnuts and have crispy mounds of glaze and cinnamon. The fritters’ cinnamon, sugar and glaze generally overpower the toppings and ice cream flavors inside.
This is a shame because the Parlor’s ice cream flavors can only be described as blissful. Single ($3) and double ($4.50) scoops of ice cream are served in cups or waffle cones (50 cents). According to the staff, the most popular flavors are Midnight in Paris, Everything But The…, Sea-Salt Caramel and Wendell.
The Midnight in Paris flavor was unenjoyable due to the overbearing coffee flavor with unnoticeable swirls of Nutella.
Everything But The… (waffle bits, caramel swirls and pretzels) is too sweet with a doughnut, so it’s best eaten alone.
The Sea-Salt Caramel is too salty by itself, but the doughnut bolsters the sweetness.
But Wendell, a play on the childhood favorite Cinnamon Toast Crunch, is a vanilla-and-cinnamon Shangri-La.
My favorite is one of the unpopular flavors: the Thai Tease. It isn’t as sweet as the others, but has a fantastic herbal taste. However, the flavor is best without the doughnut.
And although most people quickly pass on putting any of the sorbets, like Main-Go, in their puff, the fruity flavor is surprisingly delectable.
After choosing a flavor and doughnut, customers can load unlimited toppings on their puffs ($4.45), including coconut bits, Captain Crunch and pretzels. The puff is then taken to the doughnut press in the back, which warms the doughnut but leaves the ice cream cold and refreshing.
Then comes the best part: eating the puff. It’s best to eat the dessert there; after 15 minutes, the puffs become a soupy mush, and the to-go bag disintegrates entirely.
The Parlor does not have any information about the ice cream puffs’ calories. They’re not required to post calorie counts because they’re a single restaurant.
“I don’t really look at the number of calories that I eat, so it doesn’t matter that much to me,” freshman Esme Bruce-Romo said.
“However, customers should be able to know what they are eating.”
Previously published in the print edition on Oct. 28, 2014.