Food

LoFo Ice Cream Offers Wild Tastes

Eccentric flavored frozen treats and unusual foods offer consumers a new take on local cuisine

A scoop of ice cream after dinner: It’s an American tradition. At LoFo in Armory Square, which is now serving casually elegant dinners, forget your usual flavors like chocolate, vanilla and strawberry.

Michael Davis photo | Syracuse New Times

Lofo executive chef Luke Szabo displays his spruce tip ice cream, lilac ice cream, and sweet leaf and chamomile sorbet.
Michael Davis photo | Syracuse New Times

The dessert menu includes some wild (literally) flavors made with foraged ingredients. On Mondays, his day off, executive chef Luke Szabo heads to the countryside and forages for ingredients to use in ice creams made from scratch at the restaurant. Recent offerings have included lilac ice cream, spruce tip ice cream, chocolate sumac ice cream and olive oil and wild leek ice cream.

The menu is subject to change, but you’ll also find selections like Young’s double chocolate stout ice cream, cayenne chocolate chip ice cream, lemon poppyseed gelato, ginger beet sherbet and mixed berry and sage sorbet. For those who don’t eat dairy, some flavors are made with either coconut or almond milk.

Foragers like Szabo also like to harvest knotweed, an invasive plant, while its stalks are tender and not woody. Knotweed is crispy and tart like rhubarb, says LoFo owner Abigail Henson, and Szabo uses it to make a strawberry knotweed cobbler. “Paired with the spruce tip ice cream, it’s to die for,” Henson says.

Henson is passionate about sourcing local produce and ingredients for LoFo’s menus. For brunch-lunch, a Monte Cristo sandwich is built on Harrison Bakery egg bread and layered with pork belly, sliced pear and Jarlsberg cheese. Mimosas with a local twist are made with fresh-pressed orange juice and Harvest Moon hard ciders from Critz Farms in Cazenovia.

The restaurant now serves wines selected by Gary Decker, owner of Vinomania, and offers a list of 50 craft beers in cans. On Wednesdays during the summer, you can bring you own bottle of wine. Spend $30 on food and there’s no corkage fee.

LoFo, 214 Walton St., is open Wednesdays through Sundays, 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., with Sunday brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Call 422-6200 or visit lofosyracuse.com.

More Foodie Feasts at Armory Square

Events venue Sky Armory and next-door neighbor Modern Malt have introduced a summerlong weekly street fair with a focus on interesting foods and drinks. “Downtown Get-Down” kicked off June 11 and will continue on Thursdays, 5 to 8 p.m.,through Labor Day weekend, weather permitting, at The Alley, 351 S. Clinton St. (at Walton).

For the first event, Sky executive chef Jason Jessmore offered several specialties, including “Thaitalian” lobster noodles and “sweet-heat pork,” slow-braised pork shoulder in a molasses waffle cone with pickled corn and onion. Modern Malt executive chef Anthony Donofrio’s menu included poutine, tempeh wings and General Tso’s chicken and waffles. Guests had a chance to sample creative cocktails, like pomegranate ginger martinis, along with wines and craft beers. A deejay set up shop in the Clinton Street parking garage.

The weekly events are open to those 21 and older. Admission is $5 and attendees receive coupons to sample food from Sky Armory and Modern Malt. Food prices range from $1 samples to $4 to $5 appetizer-size plates and $7 to $10 near-entree-size portions.

Breadwinners on Darwin’s Menu

“The Best Sandwich Ever” contest has become an annual tradition at Darwin, 211 N. Clinton St. Fans and customers submit their best sandwich ideas for testing and tasting, with the winning creation featured on the menu board for several weeks.

This year’s winner is the “Eddie Muenster,” an idea submitted by Mark Rudy. The sandwich features thin-sliced seasoned pork loin, topped with bacon and muenster cheese, piled on Pasta’s stretch bread and garnished with lettuce, onion rings and barbecue mayonnaise. It will be on the menu for a couple more weeks. Submissions from two runners-up take a turn on the board starting June 30.

Darwin is a mainly takeout restaurant with an always-changing menu of gourmet sandwiches. Call 373-0484 or visit darwinonclinton.com.

Margaret McCormick is a freelance writer and editor in Syracuse. She blogs about food at eatfirst.typepad.com. Follow her on Twitter, connect on Facebook or email her at mmccormicksnt@gmail.com.

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