BazCones: Cool addition to sweets scene

Will 2004 be remembered as the year of the frozen dessert?


We've already witnessed the openings of two new gelato caf├ęs: Milano at the Main Street Market and Splendora's on the Downtown Mall. Now, good-ol' American ice-cream is making its move.


BazCones opened Saturday, October 23, just off the Downtown Mall in the pumpkin-colored building on Fifth Street that houses The Hip Joint dance/fitness-wear boutique as well as a Bikram Yoga center.


Personally, I can't imagine anything more appealing than a cool milkshake after 90 minutes of 110-degree yoga. Though Hershey's hard- and soft-serve ice cream creations star in the show, BazCones offers a lot more than sweets.


The breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu includes coffee and breakfast bagels, hot meatball and roast beef "Bazwiches," wraps, and hoagies served on Philly rolls. Winter additions will include hot waffles and apple pie (topped with ice-cream, of course).


All these options should keep Downtowners as well as looming construction workers happy. (Across the street and next to the venerable C&O, "The Holsinger," a five-story residential/commercial structure, will soon rise from a former City parking lot.)


BazCones is owned and operated by the Bazelak family of New Jersey (Bob, Wendy and their kids Michelle and Jeff). So what does Bob, whose sweet tooth got him into this business, think of his European gelato competitor? "Being from New Jersey," he says, "I'm more an ice-cream and frozen custard kind of guy." However, he does plan to add Coney-Island fave "Italian water ice" to the BazCones menu come spring.


BazCones is open every day, 7am-9pm, except Sunday.




Apples on a pedestal


Slow Food Virginia is following its September Artisan Cheese Festival with an even bigger celebration– this one devoted to America's favorite fruit: the apple.


"Apples from the Ark" is a two-day, October 29-30, extravaganza featuring everything from juicy tastings to exhibits and kid-friendly activities.


Friday evening's chichi celebration, honoring cultivator Tom Burford (aka "Professor Apple"), appeals to gourmet palates (and wallets, with tickets at $100-$150!) and involves a tasting of apple dishes prepared by local (i.e. Reed Anderson of Blue Light, Melissa Close of Palladio) and national chefs, sips of hard and sweet cider, and lecture by author Ben Watson dubbed "Sex and the Single Apple."


Saturday's mega Apple Tasting Festival animates the Rural Ridge Orchard in North Garden with dozens of edible and artistic exhibitors, tastings, and unique experiences like riding a six-car barrel train through the orchard as a storyteller recounts the tale of Johnny Appleseed. For directions to the orchard, see Tickets, $10 (children under 12 free) are available at Harris Teeter's customer service desk, by calling 1-888-265-8298, or at the gate.




Now Serving: University Grille


 Now that cool temperatures are here to stay, comfort food sounds more appetizing than ever, and comfort seekers in the Ivy Road area have a new source.


The University Grille, which bills itself as a "family restaurant," opened its Ivy Road doors in the old Hardee's space on Monday, October 18– and has barely closed them since. Since the spacious restaurant with its glass-enclosed main dining room serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it offers generous hours– 7am-11pm (Sundays 'til 10pm)– and an equally generous menu.


Though you'll find everything from hot subs to cold sandwiches and salads, co-owner (with Serafim Tavampis) Stavros Adamis says the Greek specialties– souvlaki, gyros, pastitsio (Greek lasagna), stuffed grape leaves– have a strong lead over Italian and American items.


Adamis says they've been pleased with their customers' diversity– students, seniors, workers, families, and guests from the nearby Cavalier Inn– and the customers are surely equally tickled with a new reason to pull off this busy city thoroughfare.


Brains behind BazCones: Michelle, Wendy, Jeff, and Bob Bazelak