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Udderly Delicious!
Here's the scoop: a new premium ice creamery named Mootime is putting the moo-ves on the county

San Diego Union Tribune
by Kris Grant

You might call it Coronado's newest tourist attraction. On any Friday or Saturday night, you're likely to spy a line snaking down Orange Avenue that rivals those at Disneyland's most popular thrill rides.

At Mootime Creamery, though, the screams are for ice cream, homemade waffle cones and mix-ins. Anticipation of approaching the counter and "doing the moo" is part of the fun.

The popular Coronado ice cream parlor opened in October 1998, then doubled in size a year later. Last year Mootime opened in Hillcrest, and earlier this year at the Hotel del Coronado and the navy Exchange at North Island Naval Air Station. Mootime is also served at Loews Coronado Bay Resort's Market Cafe. Tomorrow, Mootime opens its largest creamery, at La Jolla Village Square.

Each creamery features an upbeat '50s-style diner decor. You might hear Elvis, the Marvelles or Check Berry crooning in the background. But the floor show here is top-quality ice cream, manufactured at Mootime's Coronado factory. Waffle cones are made in each parlor, and mix-ins including candies, nuts, fresh fruits, cookies and brownies are added into the ice cream on refrigerated granite slabs.

"The ice cream you eat in any of our locations was made within the past 24 hours," says owner David Spatafore. "I don't care how well you seal an ice cream product, you just can't freeze it for long and have it still taste good. When you freeze ice cream, it sucks out moisture. So the answer is, serve it fresh." Even with a staff of six behind the counter scoopsters, mixer-inners and ringer-uppers, the process takes time. Still, people are content to wait.

On a recent night at the Orange Avenue Mootime, Mark and Kirsten Christofferson and their two children were digging into their latest creations. "We've been coming here since it was just a little shop," Kirsten said.

Drew, 4, was enjoying berry sorbet with raspberries while his dad opted for double dark chocolate with three mix-ins: marshmallows, roasted almonds and Heath bar. Kirsten was trying orange chocolate. "The kids love coming here, but it's getting harder to surprise them" she said. "I'll say to Mark, 'Let's go to m-o-o,' but now Drew knows what that means."

The creamery serves a mini-moo (one scoop) for $2.25, two scoops for $3 and three scoops for $3.75. Each mix-in is 50 cents. (Prices are slightly higher at Hotel del Coronado.)

 


"The ice cream you eat in any of our locations was made within the past 24 hours."

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Spatafore, 30, is a Coronado native who credits his Italian heritage for leading him into the world of ice cream. After graduating from Cal State Sonoma, he worked for a dairy, then traveled throughout Italy sampling ice creams.

He is passionate about using the finest ingredients. "Last year we paid $64 a gallon for our vanilla; this year, it's $136 for the same product because of a flood in Indonesia. But I won't substitute an inferior product."

Vanilla is important at Mootime; the parlor serves vanilla, malted vanilla, vanilla bean and Silly Vanilly, a bright blue vanilla ice cream.

"Kids choose ice cream by color." Spatafore says, "and this one really catches their eye."

Flavors also include chocolate, but you might go with raspberry chocolate, white chocolate or Mexican double dark chocolate. There's strawberry, of course, but also peach, banana, black cherry, Kahlua, tiramisu, Irish cream, butter praline and cinnamon. Mootime also features sorbets, smoothies, root beer floats and coffee drinks.

Spatafore has created flavors for restaurants, including lavender ice cream for La Jolla's and a vanilla stout ice cream that's a best seller at Coronado Brewing Company.

And he has more plans on the horizon. Open for breakfast soon, with Belgian waffles served a la moo." That's waffle topped with ice cream, fruit and whipped ream.

Ice cream for breakfast? "What's the difference if you put buttered syrup on a waffle or ice cream on top? Spatafore says. :"And I love ice cream!"

Copyright © 2004 MooTime International, Inc.