Monday, May 10, 2010

The Joy of Gianduia: Lago Blu Gelato in Crescent Village

The other night, after Leftover Fiesta ended at our house, neither I nor C were particularly satisfied. "Do you want to get some ice cream with me?" I asked.

"Yes," he said, though the answer was pronounced the moment I said "ice."

Then began the debate of where to go. There were all the usual suspects: Prince Puckler's, Cold Stone Creamery, even TCBY came up. We mourned the passage of Baskin Robbins on nearby Willamette. We considered -- briefly -- the Safeway option. And then I remembered that we've been meaning to try Lago Blu Gelateria in Crescent Village for a while, and I suggested it. C was on board immediately, because he doesn't pass up an opportunity to visit The Ghost Town.

So we headed way, way north to Lago Blu Gelato. It's situated at the end of the strange, deserted little main street that is the heart and soul of Crescent Village, and it shares a space with Mezza Luna pizzeria. That's a fantastic piece of Italian design, right there: now you can have your Italian slice and your gelato, too, with an espresso at the end if you really desire.

18F3F45E-0C22-4AD0-A342-EFF9DDA5D079.jpgLago Blu itself is small and very much designed as a get-it-to-go ice cream shoppe. (There's ample sidewalk space outside, though, and already hints that this might become a seating area in the summer). The charm of this place isn't in its decor (which is modern, slick flooring with small wooden chairs and round two-person café tables -- nothing to write home about, but functional): It's the selection. There were about 30 flavors of gelato for sale when we visited, and this is apparently the norm.

The flavors ranged from typical -- vanilla bean, stracciatella (Italian chocolate chip), and a few kinds of chocolate (Swiss and triple) -- to the more exotic: Fresh Coconut, for instance, caught my eye, because it was the bright almost bleached-white that you'd seen in a real coconut's innards. For those looking for a completely Americanized experience, there was the Chocolate Peanut Butter Marshmallow gelato (which did, really, look pretty scrumptious). For serious gelato fans, there was a Gianduia (hazelnut-chocolate) gelato that looked divine, along with Spumoni and Tiramisu.

I went with Swiss Chocolate; C ordered the Dulce de Leche. They were both deliciously creamy and sweet; mine was particularly well-flavored. C liked his, too -- it had thick ribbons of caramel over the creamy, caramelly body. (As he was eating his, though, the server told a waiting family not to try the Dulce de Leche -- she said it was "pretty bland" that day. This is, I guess, a vote of confidence toward the assertion of "made fresh daily," even if it doesn't make me particularly optimistic about their consistency).

Two medium cups cost $8 -- much, much more than a comparable size at nearly any other ice-cream-type vendor in town. Then again, most places don't serve this much gelato this seriously. They hand out tiny plastic shovels to eat the treats with, and that somehow makes it last longer. Though they advertise espresso drinks, neither of us were tempted -- the place just isn't particularly welcoming as a spot to linger, and it's not feasible to eat ice cream and carry a cup to go.

They are (we found out after ordering) willing to split a cup, so that you can try two flavors at once -- meaning it would take a little less than three weeks, at one halved cup a day, to try all of the flavors. I, for one, would happily take that challenge.

Location: 2870 Shadow View Drive (North on Coburg; East on Crescent; North on Shadow View).

Hours: Monday - Thursday: 12 pm - 9:00 pm; Friday 12 pm - 10 pm; Saturday 11 am - 10 pm; Sunday: 11 am - 9 pm.

Lago Blu Gelato on Urbanspoon

Photo courtesy of Lago Blu Gelato website.


  1. I have heard there's a good frozen yogurt place over by the Chipotle on Coburg...

  2. Next time try to the gianduia for me, please.
    Your Mom