Best Gelato (2012)
Anybody can scoop good gelato from a tub, but it takes a master to produce the stuff. Ritchie Espejo has more than 20 years of experience making fine ice cream, and for a good deal of that time he has been supplying Perricone's Marketplace & Café. At Amore Gelato, his storefront operation next door to the legendary restaurant, he tests new flavors and makes daily batches of proven hits. Though many of his varieties are listed on the menus of other shops, the gelato's boldness of flavor and texture is all Ritchie's own. Not long ago, he created a passionfruit and rose-hip version for a wedding. Area chefs regularly ask him to come up with something special; they even go so far as to build dishes around his olive oil gelato. Waffle cones start at $4.50, a dollar more than cups, but it's worth it to do your part for the environment and to have a hand free for gelato-inspired gesticulation. Of the daily flavors, it's tough to beat the dulce de leche, but a combination of the salted caramel and fior de latte has a nice interplay of savory and sweet and will make you feel more like a gourmand than anyone licking something in public ought to have the right to.