Best of Miami

Todo Frio Ice Cream N More: An Afternoon at 2011's Best Ice-Cream Parlor

There are very few places left unscathed by the tricks and trends of today's dessert experience. There are even fewer that stay true to their initial inspiration. Todo Frio Ice Cream N More is an exception. A rare find. An original.

The quirky decor and ode to Cuban nostalgia make Todo Frio an instant charmer. Throw in some spoon-lickin' tropical flavors, unique combos, and a friendly staff, and it's no surprise Todo Frio won New Times' Best Ice-Cream Parlor in this year's Best of Miami Awards.

Short Order recently spent an afternoon at Todo Frio sampling some menu items. Patrons know exactly what they are getting once they walk in. The ambiance speaks for the menu. A colorful Miami-tribute mural covers the counter wall, tiki-style cutouts decorate every inch of the parlor, and a talking bell greets guests as they enter. The TV plays big-band movie classics directly above an old domino table. The cones are named after key Miami neighborhoods and the shop sells candies and knick-knacks for the kiddos. Guests young and old come ordering their favorites, while others stumble upon Todo Frio after a day at the neighboring park. The toppings area even features a kiddie "doggy door" to slide orders through to the little ones (since they usually can't reach over the counter.)

The place boosts a number of tropical flavors that lay the foundation for most of the creations; think coconut, mango, pineapple, guava, almond, dulce de leche, and Spanish vanilla. Concoctions like Oscar's Garbage Can (vanilla ice cream mixed with seven kinds of candy bars), Strawberry Shortcake, and Energizer Joe (coffee ice-cream with chocolate swirl) add to the store's variety.

Todo Frio takes these  flavors and builds its signature sweet treats around them. One in particular revolves around the very pulse of daily Miami life: The cafecito. The Cafecito Joe takes a scoop of Energizer Joe ice-cream and tops it with a shot of fresh Cuban coffee. Those looking for more coffee than ice-cream can order the Cafecito Joe Jr.; a cup of coffee served with a mini spoon of Energizer Joe ice-cream.

Another outstanding menu option is the Sizzling Pineapple. Think of it as a tropical-twist on the traditional ice cream sundae. Half a pineapple is hollowed out and then filled with scoops of coconut, guava, and mango ice cream. Banana slices, strawberries, and a hot guava syrup are then layered on top. This delectable dish is ideal for sharing and yes, it is as good as it sounds.

The Guava Q will touch the hearts (and palates) of those who grew up eating guayaba y queso. A scoop of guava ice cream is covered with white cheese chunks and hot guava syrup. The creamy, sweet ice cream contrasts perfectly with the salty cheese chunks.

Todo Frio has also recently launched a hot-food menu that features four culturally-themed hotdog toppings. El Cinco de Mayo (guacamole, sour cream, hot sauce, cheese, & tortilla chips), El Perro Cubano (pork, pickles, mustard, ham, & Swiss cheese), Mama Mia (mozzarella cheese, marinara sauce, pepperoni, & black olives), and El Americano (chili & cheese.) The Cinco won. No regrets in the decision either.

And did I mention this spot is easy on the pocketbook? One scoop checks out at $1.50 plus tax. So ignore the frozen yogurt frenzy and head over to a good, old-fashion hole-in-the-wall. Todo Frio truly has some of the best stuff Miami has to offer.

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Liana Lozada