In high school, my friends and I would hop on the train at Wantagh and head 12-minutes west to Rockville Centre. The excitement of traveling without parents helped stretch our sense of exploration and kept our feelings of teenage angst at bay for at least a couple of days. Our desire for freedom was somehow abated by this simple act of privilege and indulgence.
Besides this, we went for one thing and one thing only, the gelato at International Delight Cafe.
It’s interesting that excitement can be derived from a single element and that the enthusiasm and desire for it remains relatively unchanged from childhood through adulthood. Who doesn’t love a cool and creamy creation dripping with hot fudge and topped with a cherry?
Almost two decades later, I share the same sense of adventure with my children while enjoying the delightful display of gelato that greets us at the door. Three full cases of the sumptuous chilled treat sit neatly in colorful rows, each calling for attention. The cases, their magnetic charm luring the boys from behind the glass, are always our first stop.
The food menu has been pared down over the years, and their children’s menu is appealing; it offers a drink, lunch and dessert for around $8. The gelato made on site has remained relatively unchanged, aside from a few additions. Choices such as Chocolate Elephant, Rainbow Cookie, Monki Doo and Turtle Brownie are conversations in and of themselves. The few needing explanations are described by the friendly staff who seem to love their unique products.
We enjoy our food amid the ’50s style artwork while training our eyes to food call window, which has been painted to look like a train ticket counter. We feel right at home.
The boys’ choices are simple. Daniel chooses strawberry and John, chocolate. I get Baci, a reminder of days in Italy, and my husband, Mike, chooses the very grown-up Cookie Monster Sundae. The portions are generous, and we leave happy and head back to the station. John works off his sugar rush with a display of acrobatics atop the platform benches, then we hop on the train for home.
If you’re really brave, opt for “The Kitchen Sink.” This monstrosity has 25 scoops, five toppings, bananas, waffles, sprinkles, whipped cream, cherries and plenty of spoons. My sister and her friends took this dare one high school afternoon. Seven of them forged their way through but for one small heap of unconquered dessert: one friend’s choice of peach ice cream mixed in with the cookies and creams and rocky roads; the flavors did not paring well.
Choose wisely in your own adventures, or simply sample it all!