Affogato at Frankie’s

The perfect summer treat for Mendocino

The pour

It’s officially summer in Mendocino. That means we get both warm sunshine and cool fog, the weather ebbing and flowing across the ocean bluffs in a dance that keeps us endlessly switching between shorts and sweaters, flip flops and scarves. In the middle of this seasonal back and forth, we find ourselves in the mood for ice cream all the time, but when the breeze picks up and the clouds roll in, we get too chilly to really enjoy that quintessential summertime treat.

It’s quite the dilemma.

At least, it was until we remembered the other day that Frankie’s in Mendocino serves café affogato. Ah yes. Café. Affogato. That charming Italian invention of freshly brewed espresso poured over a scoop of delicious gelato. It’s the perfect way to scratch that summer and sunshine itch for ice cream when the weather outside actually calls for something just a touch warmer.

A couple of us started talking about it the other day, and we got so excited just thinking about that magical marriage of espresso and ice cream that we made a pact to go get our hands on some as soon as possible. So, after a recent team meeting at the inn, we jumped in our cars and made a dash for Frankie’s.

We were positively giddy with anticipation as we strode through the door to the cozy little pizza parlor and stopped before the gleaming case of frozen goodness from Cowlick’s Ice Cream up in Fort Bragg. We perused the flavors they had on hand. Should we go with the traditional Vanilla? The spicy Ginger? The deeply rich Dark Chocolate? Oh wait. We had it. One Chocolate and Peanut Butter, because peanut butter. One decadent Black Forest. And one Candy Cap Mushroom for a truly local twist. Ah yes, this was it. We watched breathlessly as the barista pulled each shot of espresso. He grinned at our incredibly obvious enthusiasm and drew out the drama of the moment, pouring those perfectly brewed shots oh so slowly over each scoop.

At last, the much anticipated affogato clutched in our eager hands, we found an empty bench on the deck outside, and surrounded by the typical lunchtime crowd of locals and visitors happily enjoying Frankie’s gourmet pizza, we dove into our little mugs of perfection. Cold. Warm. The sweetness of the ice cream was tempered by the smooth richness of the espresso. It was frothy, creamy. And oh, there was so much flavor swirling around our tongues. It was positively decadent; and between the jolt of the espresso and the sugar rush of the ice cream, the ultimate afternoon pick-me-up.

It was the perfect size too! Not too large, not too small… We ran our spoons around the bottom of our cups to savor every last drop. Mmhmm. Well, maybe… We looked at each other and laughed out loud, knowing that we were just going to have to get another.

Besides their amazing café affogato, Frankie’s makes superb pizza, salads, and falafel. They serve local beers and wines, Cowlick’s ice cream, and several other goodies. Check them out next time you’re in town!

Written by Laura Hockett