Oregon is home to a lot of restaurants, bars, wineries, and breweries, but there are tons of hidden gems that the majority of Portlanders aren't unearthing. To help guide us to these potential discoveries, we've enlisted some of our city's many food players to share their recommendations for a weekly feature dubbed Dining Confidential.
Linda Shankweiler, former creative director of MIX magazine and design director of The Oregonian, opened Pronto Pizza with her partner, Cynthia Cesnalis, in April of this year with a mission to offer tasty seasonally-fresh food to the SE metro area. Her east-coast roots (and savory memories of a semester in Italy) are evident in Pronto's pizza style. And that's why she supports other Italian-flavored SE establishments like J. Gelati.
J. Gelati is a tiny locally owned Italian ice and frozen custard shop tucked away in a strip mall right of McLoughlin Blvd. in Milwaukie. Being a frequent Milwaukie Farmer's Market patron, I had the good fortune of walking right by J. Gelati's farmer's market cart on a hot summer's day. John Greer, the owner, was dishing out scoops of his blueberry Italian ice made with fresh fruit purchased from the farmer's market. The Italian Ice was packed with flavor, but was light and refreshing with plump fresh blueberries. But what I really love is going to their store and getting a Gelati, a parfait-like dessert that layers Italian Ice with frozen custard. Their root beer Italian Ice layered with vanilla frozen custard puts a traditional root beer float to shame. They usually have one or two people working the counter, are always willing to scoop out samples of their many Italian Ice flavors, and it's incredibly affordable.
Image of J. Gelati courtesy Facebook