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This morning, while talking to Northside Social co-owner Stephen Fedorchak about the limited menu at his Clarendon coffee shop and wine bar, he mentioned that the food offerings follow “the equipment that [is] available for our use” in the historic building.
Which, of course, required me to ask what equipment he had available for his use. Fedorchak began to rattle off a list: panini presses, convection ovens, induction burners, and a soft serve ice cream machine.
The soft serve caught my attention, if mostly because I hadn’t seen it on the menu. For good reason: Northside hasn’t started selling it yet. Fedorchak says they’ll begin the old soft serve next week for Memorial Day weekend.
Northside pastry chef Rob Valencia is the man in charge of the ice cream. He’ll start with organic Trickling Springs milk as a base for his creamy confections, which will likely incorporate seasonal and, perhaps, searing flavors.
“I’m not sure if the flavors he’s been fooling around with are just for his own amusement or for eventual consumption,” Fedorchak says about Valencia’s experiments. “But I had some blueberry/lemon curd soft serve a couple of days ago that was, like, pretty off the charts. I had some peanut butter/cayenne or peanut butter/pimenton soft serve that was really good.”
So we shouldn’t be looking for the standard chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla flavors?
“When those flavors are done well, those are some of the best ice cream flavors out there,” Fedorchak says. “I think probably what we’ll do is we’ll have one conventional flavor and then one to two that are a little more showy things.”
Northside Social — which is owned by the same team behind Liberty Tavern — even has a plan for selling the soft serve. Say Fedorchak:
“One of the many incarnations of that building was the original location of a dry cleaner named Hurt Dry Cleaning, which had a dry cleaning business in Arlington for like 60 years. So there’s a drive-up window on the side where people used to drop off their dry cleaning. So we’re cutting out the window, saloon style, so we don’t have 30 screaming kids along with 30 cranky, caffeine-needing adults in line at the same time. So it will be a walk-up window on the outside for soft serve from Memorial Day through Labor Day.”