Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Life got better on Bainbridge Island today


The day after we moved to Bainbridge Island was our daughter Catherine's 9th birthday. We had dinner, and then we decided to go find someplace to have dessert. To our surprise, everything downtown other than sit-down restaurants and the 21-and-over pub is closed by about 6:00pm, so we picked up something at Safeway and went home, a little sad. Last week, we dropped Catherine at BPA at 7pm, and were to return for her performance at 7:30pm. All we wanted was a cup of coffee and someplace to hang out for 1/2 hour, and again, there was no place to go.

That changed today. Most Bainbridge residents are probably familiar with Mora ice cream, which is manufactured here on Bainbridge, in a small plant on Miller Rd. The owners are Jerry Perez and Ana Orselli, who are originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and wanted to create a community-oriented ice cream place like one can find in Buenos Aires or many cities in Europe. We first had Mora ice cream at their first store in a giant shopping mall, Bellevue Square. They have lots of fantastic flavors, including several variations on dulce de leche, gianduja, marron glace, pistachio, and on and on. They also make great fruit sorbets.

Today, Mora's second store opened on 169 Madrone Lane, just off of Winslow Way in downtown Bainbridge. The great thing is, they're going to be open in the evenings, every evening! Jerry told us that he'll stay open until at least 9:00pm, and he'll stay open until 10:00pm if there are still customers coming in. The store is quite attractive inside, and has tables and benches outside which makes it a very inviting space for hanging out. The parking lot of Madrone Lane is small and surrounded by trees and buildings, so it seems more like a square/plaza/piazza than a parking lot. (Think of the hundreds of little piazzas all over Rome, for example.) That helps you feel like you're in a real community space, not just a unit in a mall.

Opening day had the usual glitches--the register couldn't take credit cards, our gift card (we bought a year's supply at a charity auction last year) wouldn't go through the register, and of course, the staff was not quite smooth at putting together the various items on the menu--they had to look at the cheat sheet. I expect that'll be worked out in a matter of days. The place was packed at 7:30pm when we went, and the staff was still smiling gamely and kept on scooping out ice cream. Debbie and I shared the chocolate parfait, which was layers of chocolate mousse, white chocolate and dark chocolate ice creams, with chocolate shavings in between, covered with hot fudge sauce and whipped cream. It was fabulous.
As well as ice cream, various ice cream concoctions like shakes, parfaits, brownies a al mode, etc. they have good espresso (Illy) which I tried. Jerry is also proud of his selection of teas. In the evenings parking is absolutely no problem downtown, since nothing else is open! (Except Thursday nights, when some stores stay open until 8pm).
How great that we can now get a good cup of coffee and some great artisinal ice cream after dinner, which is when I think most people actually want to go.

(I apologize for the photos--I took them with my cellphone.)